I used to have this childish thing I would do where I would imagine myself in opposing circumstances and ask myself which would I pick (if I could choose), over the other. It was always a comparison between two crude scenarios. Strictly hot or cold stuff. No lukewarm loopholes. A choice had to be made.
An example, is whether I would prefer to be blind or be deaf. Or if I would prefer to never be able to walk or have no hands. Or if I would prefer to be beautiful and dumb, or intelligent and culturally ugly. The list goes on.
I can’t explain why or when I started doing this. I can only attempt to reason.
Billie Holiday, Downbeat club, New York, c. February 1947 (photographed by William P. Gottlieb)
When I was a younger, I used to have a book that was basically a collection of biographies of all the greatest black jazz musicians and artists. It was filled with stunning black and white pictures of elegantly dressed young black women, and dapper young black men. Pictures of them in their element; happy, fulfilled, killing it. People like Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Lester Young and Nina Simone. I loved looking at the pictures, reading through it, getting to know some of the artists who had inspired people for generations, some I’d heard of, some I hadn’t – I loved being able for the first time (this was before Wikipedia was a thing for me), being able to get some insight into who they were personally.
And I hated it. Yes, I grew to dislike that book as it became for me an encyclopaedia of a predictable cycle of disaster, tragedy and abuse.
I feel like I need a mental break on a regular basis, and I’m wondering is it just me or a symptom of my generation? Are we just lazy and weak?
Our parents were the kind that worked 2, 3 even 4 jobs at a time, with years going by without a holiday, yet never complained or took ‘time out’ or ‘sabbaticals’.
In my generation, we have one or two holidays a year and we are being diagnosed with depression, exhaustion, burn out etc in the thousands.
Of course the other element of it is maybe our parents did feel like that and just said nothing.
I don’t know.
It’s been 4 years since I started this blog. Ordinarily that would be a cause for celebration but I just have so many…
When will a black body be equal to a white one?
When will justice deign to include every race and not just one?
When will we be allowed the right to express our fury, anger and frustration without being labelled as the ‘savages’ that they always knew we were?
Why do they always require the expression of our pain to be muted, strangled & DIGNIFIED?
Lately I’ve taken some time to reflect on a few things pertaining to this thing we call ‘life’, and it struck me that I think a lot of us (at least in the Western World), are chasing an illusion of it (albeit fed to us by ‘society’ from the day of our births), that does not really exist.
What do I mean by that?
Somewhere along the line, we were taught (whether consciously or subconsciously), that we have the power to dictate every aspect of our lives or how they will go – our goals, ambitions, successes, relationships…that all are within our ‘infinite’ power to direct and construct. As if life itself is merely a puppet whose strings are being pulled by us; as if we’re the ones in ultimate control. If we just follow certain rules, then ABCD will happen. I think this one of the greatest delusions of contemporary culture and modern society.
It’s only the truly deluded and out of touch with reality who will try to convince you that this doesn’t exist post teenage years. If anything, it becomes more sinister, ultimately more life-changing and more severely competitive.
So in school peer-pressure was
– Making sure you weren’t the one with Ellesse trainers when everyone else had Reeboks
– Wearing a chain thinner than a spider web that was practically a choker, when everyone else’s ones were of an industrial strength and width, and long enough to play double-dutch with if they should so choose
– Rolling your skirt up to the extent it looked like you had a tyre hanging around your waist like a hula-hoop, or for boys allowing your trousers to sag low enough to be a natural dustpan and brush along the street
I mean there are just endless examples, non?
[N.B. If you are not up to date with episodes in Season 2, this review may reveal some spoilers]
This show barely needs an introduction. Its reputation is infamous and it’s not hard to see why. I love good quality American shows, and getting caught up in this was definitely like opting for Chick Chicken instead of KFC. However, I looked at it this way; last year Single Ladies was my guilty pleasure for 2011 (a show I won’t be returning too, please God help me to keep that promise); in 2012 I decided for Love & Hip Hop to fill that category…and I have not regretted it.
It is the most appalling, infuriating, disgraceful and downright addictive American reality TV show I have ever watched.