Coney Island is and always will be ‘the people’s playground.’ It’s a place where people of all backgrounds come to have a good time. ~Harold Feinstein
Photo credit : google
photo credit: JLozier
There’s a different kind of comfort that comes from knowing that you are putting your best foot forward. It’s called psychological comfort. Look at a picture of the Coney Island boardwalk in 1925. Men were in full-on three-piece suits, hats. They may have only had one suit. But they pressed it. They made it look as good as possible. ~ Tom Ford
You know I have always been passionate about human rights for all but I was very passionate about the civil rights movement that started in the sixties. I just was. I studied it , read books and poetry about it. Tried to do what I could to live and love a certain way because of it. I was like this at a very young age. Because of that I am also very passionate about the black lives matter movement. I feel it is a natural extension of what our predecessors worked towards. I was posting something about the black lives matter Movement and someone said to me, well Why don’t you care about Jewish people? Well of course I do. What does that have to do with it. I get some form of that question a lot and I think it comes from a place of fear, anger and yes, even racism. I really don’t understand that question so I have trouble answering it. I mean to me it’s like going to a cancer benefit and screaming at everyone “don’t you care about AIDS”? Of course we care about AIDS but this is a cancer benefit today. Being that said there is something to be said for being passionate about one thing and really sinking your teeth into that one thing. Robert Redford, the fabulous actor and environmentalist activist once said that he didn’t really respect people that change up their cause and jump from one cause to another all the time. This comes from a man who has made an incredible shift in the world with his environmental efforts. His efforts have made ripple effects across the globe and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t support other causes or care about other causes but he listened to his own specific Dharma. His Dharma was the environment . Here is a picture of Redford on the set of A River Runs Through it. An amazing film that celebrated Nature. The river, family , free spirits and Fly fishing.
I mean we all support different causes but to be passionate about one thing and really try to make a difference with that one thing isn’t a bad way to go. There is nothing wrong with that. Then I saw it explained so perfectly by Ram Dass from his blog.
For each of us, you’ve got to be very quiet to hear your unique dharma, your unique way of expression.
Somebody comes along and their major thing in life is to regain the rights of indigenous peoples.
Someone else comes along and their major thing is to awaken people to environmental degradation.
Someone else comes along and their major thing is to clean up the incredible oppression of women.
It isn’t a question of which thing is worse, or which is more worthwhile. Each person has to hear what is their part in the whole process of how their compassion expresses itself.
I am doing this gig. This is my part. It’s no better than your part, it’s just my part. I’m not under some illusion that I have a different part and I honor everybody else’s part, I just have to constantly keep listening to hear what my part is anew.
There is no rule book about this.
We are all on the edge of having to listen freshly all the time. When your children are little you hear theDharmaone way, and as they grow you hear it another way, because you listen freshly. The plane at which all the dualities exist is relativity real, and the plane in which they don’t exist is relatively real, and that’s equally relatively real, so you can milk it any way you want to… We all need a gig.
I think he expressed my thoughts perfectly and I wanted to share that because I wasn’t exactly sure how to explain myself because I usually think that question comes from a negative place but I wanted to answer it none the less. I have always appreciated Ram Dass and his wisdom through out the years.
Look , if your going to read my blog and hate me for it at least take the time to understand what I am actually saying. I have all these white guys who are very angry at me because of my blog ” but it’s tradition ” about the advertisement world in the fifties. When I said men were king of the castles and advertisements catered to white men wasn’t a dig against white men. It was the truth about the ad world during that time. I mean there weren’t a ton of ads on TV that were targeting blacks or Hispanic or any other minority that I noticed growing up. I was not saying white men were bad, or sexist or any of that. I was saying the ad world was targeting the mostly white male market and rarely targeted the white woman in the fifties!. I am not talking about now. I am also not saying white men were sexist but things were different back then. I also know that people all over the world have been discriminated against somewhere at sometime by somebody. Everyone. I also know that all kinds of men can be sexist just as not all men are sexist. There are no blanket statements here. I was once in a convenient store where an older black woman was harassing the Indian cashier saying he wasn’t an American. She looked at me and said right right ? We are american but HE is not. I kindly said to her that I think she was wrong and I want no part of this. The cashier was very upset and very embarrassed by this event. So see I understand that anyone can harass or degrade anyone else. There is no one group of persons that holds the market on degradation. I am not hating on white men. If you think that your not reading the blog correctly or you’re not Understanding my Intent. I mean my father is a white man and he was everything to me. How can I hate white men when my most significant role model was a kind, loving and honest white man. If you disagree with me and want to hate on me that is fine but please read it and really understand what I am really saying . That’s why there are pictures of old advertisements from the fifties in the blog. I’m sorry if I upset people but I really thought it was clear what I was trying to convey. I don’t hate any one group of people. That would go against everything I believe in and have believed in since I was a child. I love everyone. I’m not a hater of any one group or persons. Peace.
“Blues had the pulse beat of the people who keep on going.” By Langston Hughes
Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.- Charlie “Bird” ParkerI’m a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration- joy and pain sit side by side. The blues started off in some field, some plantation, in some mind, in some imagination, in some heart. The blues blew over to the next plantation, and then the next state. The blues went south to north, got electrified and even sanctified. The blues got mixed up with jazz and gospel and rock and roll. – Cornel West.
The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits. It’s better keeping the roots alive, because it means better fruits from now on. The blues are the roots of all American music. As long as American music survives, so will the blues.
Once you discover that you can, then you must. And it’s not easy. You have to take direct steps. You really have to count your blessings and you have to make a decided effort to not get seduced by the blues.
When you lose all hope in people. In humanity. The disappointments pile up and the hope is pushed to the bottom of the pile. It’s pushed to the bottom of the pile until you don’t see the hope anymore. Despondency.
Disappointment. It’s an important word. It can be the needle in the haystack. It can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Or it can be the ending of the beginning or the beginning of the ending.
Last year I went to the big sister/ brother organization to try to be a big sister. I really wanted to give back. I wanted to help another kid. Since I was adopted and came from the foster care system I always wanted to help other kids but didn’t always know how. Anyway I tried to become a big sister. People said when your really sad a great way to get out of that is to help others so I tried. I went to the Big Sister/ Big Brother office for an interview and they really liked me. They liked that I was in the arts and was a singer. The girl who interviewed me was super sweet and we really hit it off.
When I filled out the application I felt the need to be extremely honest when the health part came up. You have to be honest so I told them I had bi-polar depression but I was under a doctor’s care.
They said that shouldn’t be a problem but we do have to check with a therapist if you’re seeing one and I had just lost my therapist because she left the office. They reached out to a woman I had only seen once or twice. Well that was a mistake because she didn’t know me.
She told them no. Don’t let her be a big sister. That was so wrong. This ” therapist” was very odd and after I saw her three times I stopped. She didn’t believe anything I told her. I told her I was a singer. She wouldn’t believe it. All she had to do was google my name and she could see I was a singer. It’s not like I was saying I was Aretha Franklin. How is she going to help me if she doesn’t believe anything I tell her about myself. She kept talking about Jesus All the time, not even knowing if I was a Christian or not which is extremely unprofessional. She wasn’t gonna he able to help me so I stopped seeing her. She didn’t believe me, she assumed I was delusional for some reason. I wasn’t and the prior therapist knew that.
I asked her why she told the big sister people NO and why I shouldn’t be a big sister and she said because it isn’t about you. I said I know it isn’t about me, it’s about the child and I want to help a child. I think I can offer them something good.
So long story short I was told by the big sister organization that they unfortunately had to decline my application because of what this ” therapist ” said. They said they really thought long and hard about the decision and they were so sorry. All because of Someone I had seen twice or three Times. ..I was so disappointed.
They came and often. So much that I decided to expect them. I probably invited them after a while. It became what was comfortable. It was like an old friend that I despised but also kept inviting back to my home. Why?
I didn’t know how to stop inviting this old friend. It was familiar. It became part of my routine, a daily occurrence. They were welcomed along with anger and sadness and loneliness and frustration and hopelessness. After a while I knew no other way. I was so tired. All the time I was tired.
Was my lack of success self-imposed? Something Denzel Washington said in the movie Roman J. Israel Esq. I connected with that statement. Probably partly so although I did try. I did try so hard to succeed. A Great movie by the way if You haven’t seen it yet. So good. Denzel Washington was at his best playing a “socially awkward” on the Autistic Spectrum Character and what chaos that can bring even with a super-sized heart. He said, “I’m sick of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.” I felt the same way.
There comes a time where you realize you break free from your own chains of chaos and destruction or you drown. You have to find a way out or you don’t. It is up to you.
I went to the office for a training for big sister / big brother and I was just as qualified if not more to be a part of this organization. I had more love in my heart than most of the people in that room, I could feel it.
I could have omitted that I was bipolar on the application form but that would be untruthful. Dishonest.
At the time I was so sad about this decision but I decided to let it go and maybe try again at a different time. I still haven’t found a good therapist. It is almost impossible to find one because I have tried. They are over whelmed with patients. There is so many that aren’t very good and the good ones either don’t take your insurance or they can’t fit you in or they are just too expensive. The rise in people seeking therapy has risen dramatically of late and the market is flooded.
Disappointments. I’ve had a few.
I can say at one time I didn’t think I would make another day. Not one more day. But I kept on truckin’.
I had to let it play out because what if one day something wonderful were to happen.
What if one day a dream would come true. Sometimes I stayed alive to please others. I didn’t want to hurt my parents. If I left the earth the people I left behind would pay the consequences and sorrows of my decisions and the complexity of that stayed in my mind. I felt it not fair to them. So I kept on truckin’.
I’ve always been a Robert Crumb fan. Lol.
Sometimes I tried to indirectly end my life in self-destruction and self loathing. That didn’t work. I was still here.
I learned people will disappoint you. Almost always. There were a few who didn’t and I will cherish them to the day I do leave this earth. Very few but there were a few. I had a couple of north stars in my life. Thank god.
But even with that I learned that I would have to pull myself up first. There is no one else really. It’s all up to me.
That’s when it changed for me. The light inside turned back on and I decided it’s me and me. We are either gonna do this or not do this. If we are gonna do this we need to do it right.
As Soon as I decided that I realized another level of internal strength I didn’t know I had. It was almost like a door that opened to a new floor that had been locked all these years. A floor with golden doors and plush carpet and lots of purple and kittens and puppies.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
A door so bright and so vivid that I still needed my sunglasses. This floor was there all the time. I just didn’t have the right key to unlock it.
People say it’s only you that can make you happy. I think that is true because you have to love yourself before you can love someone else but once you get to that floor things are clearer. Love is there. Loving someone and having them love you back is an amazing gift. And as Nat King Cole taught us there is nothing greater than to love and be loved in return.
I thank god every day for the gifts I am receiving now. The love I am receiving. The love I am giving. I am so full of gratitude and on some days I cannot stop smiling. I am so happy I decided to keep on truckin’ because if I gave up and gave in I would never have experienced the gold doors and the plush carpet and the purple colors that are blinding me with righteousness and brightness and glory. I have seen the eye of god and the eye of the devil. I have seen them both. I looked them both dead on and saw the reflection of myself in their eyes. I had to choose… more disappointments or more love. I chose love.
I am a big sister now metaphorically and I am so happy to be one! I am a baby sister. I am a friend and a lover and a daughter. I am me. I am in love. I love my neighbors. I love my brothers and sisters. All kinds. I love all the animals and the trees and all that is living and sharing this planet with me. I am so grateful and full of gratitude.
I hope one day you will find the key to the floor with the golden doors if you have not yet found it. It is there waiting to be unlocked. I know. It is waiting for you.