Music as a Reflection of My Personality

Growing up I had quite the eclectic taste in music as evidenced by my collection. During the days of vinyl and early compact discs, affectionately known as CDs, I racked up an impressive inventory of popular, soulful, rock, punk, new age, jazz, and every genre in between. My music collection was even admired by the crooks that broke into my apartment and stole my entire collection. Incidentally the crooks broke into my neighbor’s apartment the same day but left my neighbor’s CD collection barely touched. My neighbor embarrassingly stated the crooks had a pretty good musical acumen.

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However, for me my selection of songs always seemed to come from some deep place in my soul. Music, as we all agree, can reach the depths of our souls and provide us some type of haven for whatever emotional experience we are dealing with at a given moment. This is no different for me, thus I’m not saying anything new. But what I do recognize is where my mind is as a given song “speaks” to me. My awareness is critical to understanding things about myself.

I have recognized the hills and valleys of my emotional journey and have come to appreciate and manage through most of those times. So far so good considering my stupid ass has made it this far in life.

When I think of some of the bands or lyrics I have connected with and how they spoke to me I shiver. From my beloved Circle Jerks to the heavenly voice of Yolanda Adams I have experienced a musical rollercoaster – sometimes all within a day. Really? I can go from punk to gospel within minutes? There is something seriously disturbing about this – but at the same time quite interesting.

I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything

But then again I was thinking about nothing

And then my mom came in and I didn’t even know she was there she called my name

And I didn’t even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!

And I go: What, what’s the matter?

And she goes: What’s the matter with you?

I go: There’s nothing wrong mom

And she goes: Don’t tell me that, you’re on drugs!

And I go: No mom I’m not on drugs I’m okay, I was just thinking you know,

Why don’t you get me a Pepsi?

And she goes: No you’re on drugs!

I go: Mom I’m okay, I’m just thinking

She goes: No, you’re not thinking, you’re on drugs! Normal people don’t act that way!

I go: Mom, just give me a Pepsi, please

All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me

All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me

Just a Pepsi

Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies

What my taste have done is allow me to analyze the emotion I’m experiencing and then make some type of assessment on how to cope. Or it might open my mind to a moment when I should be rejoicing. Even more, the music might give me a calming effect [Music calms the beast] that will get me through the day. It’s all good and it is usually needed for the moment the music presents itself.

I can appreciate having this discernment about myself and the impact of music. Nearly every day I have theme music in my head for how I perceive myself for the day. It’s kind of like the Shaft music but not as cool, nonetheless, just as effective. And in my growth as a human being I no longer feel strange because of my eclectic behavior. I am still learning to embrace this part of who I am – I just need to connect with those who have similar experiences with their musical taste.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I am an A-N-G-R-Y Black Man

…as was told to me by an unreliable source but I went with it.

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My first response was, “What? I’m Black?” Well I sure wish I was informed that about 50 years ago. Oh yeah, wait, I was reminded of my Blackish [shameless plug for the new series on ABC] ways since I can remember. Yes I was told of my black roots from my loving and adoring parents, while being reminded of my inheritance through reparations from my black brothers and sisters, and then down to the non-Black folks that marveled at my athleticism and ability to dance like Carlton.

So I suppose I was aware of my being black. But was I angry?

I set out to understand whether the statement rang true for me or was it merely poppycock?

Side note: when was the last time you can remember a black man using poppycock in a sentence? I digress.

  • I have been surrounded by negative news of police brutality in recent weeks and I have been beyond disappointed.
  • The news surrounding black on black crime has made me despair for the future of my own kids and the impacts of our collective neighborhoods have on their lives.
  • I sit and ponder the fate of black men previously held in high-regard only to have sins of the past take them to new fates – and my heart is shattered.
  • I think of my own childhood and my desire to assimilate only to be called out of my name by my own brethren and I feel betrayed. Et tu Brute?
  • I relive in my mind promotions eluding me and my frustration levels mount because I merely want my offspring to enjoy the abundant fruits of my labor – but my cupboards are empty.
  • And finally, my experiencing first-hand the evils of divorce and the impact it has on my family, my friends, and my community and I become greatly unsettled.

But still I’m not as angry as I felt I should be. Where is the anger people notice within me?

Upon resuming my analysis of my life disappointments and shattered dreams I came up with this:

A – Always

N – Negate

G – Gross

R – Representations of

Y – You!

I finally discovered how I have been perceived and what it means! My light bulb moment came in the middle of the night as I was tossing and turning wondering where my agitation was coming from. I went through my mind yesterday’s debates and other uncomfortable disagreements where the last straw was bashing the character of others. And this did, in fact make me ANGRY.

But my emotion of anger was not misguided but on point. It was defending who I am as a human being. Others may become angry for various reasons but their anger is just as valid as mine. We are all humans and demand the respect as such. Thus, I came to the point that I will not accept a view of myself that is not in line with my own truths. Basically, this translates to “I don’t give a *bleep* what you might think because I know who I am.”

On the surface this might sound angry but in truth is not. It is standing up for my beliefs. And I trust each of you will do the same.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Anger Management 101

Hey YOU! And You! And You! Take a deep breath with me and slowly exhale and say “woo-saa!” Relax, do it again.

We have all been there with our emotions. We have experienced a moment or two when we are on either side of the anger chain – instigating or receiving. Every angry emotion we experience is valid, otherwise it wouldn’t exist within ourselves, however, many times we need to get a grip. This is where I want to help.

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It very well may be that someone knows how to push your buttons. Or you might have a tongue that can split concrete. Or you might like taking out your aggressions on the nearest garbage can (of course not the metal ones as I wouldn’t want you to hurt your precious fists). And you might even feel justified when that no-good-loser-two-timing-deadbeat-of-a-dad makes that stupid mistake and you pick up the nearest object and hurl it his way. No matter that it is your size eight shoe with a metal heel. And you might be justified. But in the end where does anger get us besides potential broken bones or scars (both emotional and physical)? Therefore, I want to share some ideas on how we can all overcome this emotion rollercoaster of anger by practicing a few simple tactics.

First, let’s look at it from the instigator standpoint:

  1. If you don’t have something good to say – STFU! Pretty straight forward but ultimately the tongue is what gets most of us started.
  2. Don’t text mean crap. A doctor once told me be wary of the sniper shots you take with your spouse and loved ones. You know what they are – a little jab here or there.
  3. Keep your hands to yourself. This applies to both men and WOMEN. Women are no more free to strike a man than a man a woman. Unless it’s in self-defense which then I would recommend using some other type of force…like a taser.
  4. Remember the love in your spirit. We all talk about how loving we are – well then show it even if you become frustrated with a given situation.
  5. Stop looking to blame. Annoying, annoying, annoying. Just stop it even if you believe it in your heart. Otherwise, repeat #1.

And for those of us receiving aggression that tips us off into the deep-end of anger:

  1. Ignore, ignore, ignore. If you have to count sheep – think of baseball games – or lilies in a field then do it. Don’t go off the ledge.
  2. Don’t drive or operate machinery. And if you are driving don’t speed. Kind of like the Xfinity commercials – you don’t want to end up in a ditch because of your cable provider.
  3. If you need to speak to anyone use your life line and call a friend. However, attempt to steer the conversation away from the object of your anger and instead focus on talking about lilies in the field. Or baseball. Or, whatever… (Repeat #1)
  4. Put the text machine down and don’t do it. Don’t record into infinity the nasty thoughts you conjure up. It’s no fun to have these things backfire on you.
  5. Go work out. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just don’t punch cheap plastic trash cans because they need protecting, too.

Remember good peeps, we are all in this together whether we like it or not. Stupid people make stupid decisions in which we have to pay the price. Sometimes we may be that stupid person and other times we are not. It’s life. But working on ourselves can get us through these difficult times.

Now excuse me while exercise the list for my own self-control.

Go well and with love good peeps.