In Which I was Taught and Wasn’t

I’m trying to keep myself occupied while I wait for school to start (because at that point I’m going to be as occupied as I’m sure I can handle).  So I got this book from the library that I’m too lazy to go look at the title of. I mean, its on the table…I’m on the couch….too much distance.  What’s that the young whipper snappers say? First world problems? The book is basically about writing and gives some pretty interesting exercises.  I’m going to start doing the exercises on here because what is life? Who is John Galt?  The exercise I’m working on now is as such (the short Amberized version): Think of someone who influenced you greatly in life. 1. Make a list of things that said person taught you 2. make of like of things they didn’t teach you.  Vague? Yes I know. It was like that in the book too.  But I chose my brother to write about since he is mi amigo numero uno. So here’s my list.

Things JBB Taught Me

  1. It’s good to get out and travel; to know that there is something other than Mississippi, Casket Company, Thermos, small town gossip, or family as only friends and hardly that because they usually feed the gossip mill.  And travel will teach you that traffic really is much worse in other places.
  2. You can always make something out of nothing.  It can be slicing bananas and frying them in a pan of orange juice and serving it under the guise of a French delicacy.  Or sipping your sweet tea with your pinky out to add a touch of class to the collard greens and fried chicken you just ate. You and your cousins are fancy.
  3. Fun doesn’t stop just because you get older.  It’s completely possible to grow an awesome beard and still watch Dragon Ball Z and play Gran Turismo. Just make sure you marry someone who enjoys the same things so she can’t judge you.  Instead she’ll send videos of you playing an airplane simulation game in your suit jacket that you haven’t changed out of from church to your sister. And they’ll enjoy a good laugh at your expense. Look at that concentration. Land that plane, dude.
  4. It’s best to know God for yourself.  You can go to church for years, be raised in the sanctuary, attend every service (including the Church Anniversaries and the Choir Days that cut into your Sunday afternoons. Vital time. Lord knows you’ve got school tomorrow), be baptized or sprinkled before you can walk and still not know shit about God.  Read your own bible. Choose your own church, even if there isn’t a choir and music which, as you know, is hard on black baptists.  Know your own form of worship.
  5. You’re as good at something as you think you are.  If you want to be an engineer and someone says, “Engineering? You must be good at math!” then dammit you’re good at math.  Sure, you barely passed math in highschool and you may have struggled with Calculus. You lack basic study skills. But they don’t have to know that.  All they need to know is, “Yes. Yes I am.”
  6. Listen to all types of music. Country, Bluegrass, Rock, Jazz, Rap, everything.  Not for any particular reason. You’re a hipster. You can do that. Just enjoy it all.

Things JBB Didn’t Teach Me

  1. Love is complicated. You can love someone and not trust them with any fiber of your being.  You can love them and doubt that the love is mutual. It can feel as one-sided as you think it can.  And even when love is almost overbearing, consuming your every waking thought and bursting into your dreams like some masked intruder, it can be wholly difficult to express.
  2. Don’t listen to certain music when driving.  You already drive with two feet. You’re already a danger to society. Mixing in Rage against the Machine or Big Krit will only make you speed even more.  It’s like a direct link to how heavy your foot is on the petal. Don’t do it. Love yourself.
  3. One of these days you’re going to have the balls to tell someone you have feelings for them. And then you’re going to make the mistake of lying your ass off to impress them. Everything becomes exaggerated. You go from being unemployed, but training your replacement in how the computer systems work to officially being the IT person at your old job. Everything you think they want to hear is what you’re saying. You’re feeling scared and inadequate. Then you’re going to lose them because you didn’t believe in yourself enough to show your face. They’ll get tired of you not meeting them half way or wanting them to validate you. Validate yourself.
  4. You can always search for God in good things. Beautiful things. Honorable things. A pay raise. A new car. That picturesque sunset. But you’ll most likely find him at rock bottom.  When you’re blowing snot into your sixth tissue and crying in the bathroom while the shower runs so that no one can hear you.  When you’re skipping church on Sunday, laying in the grass catching a tan, looking up at the sky. Not because you’re trying to be one with nature. But because you’ve been looking mighty pastey lately. More so because you’re trying to disconnect from the rest of the world.  That’s when you’ll find him.
  5. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone is beholding.  They’re going to look at the hyper-pigmentation, the black heads, the unruly hair, the shot glass figure, and they’re going to tell you that eh, you’re not that attractive. You’re going to blow money on Proactiv which is like crack for skin. Dye your hair. Dress differently. Invest in a push-up bra and squat like a sumo wrestler.  And even after all of that work, you’ll still hold onto that lingering feeling of being unattractive.  You’ve got to dig through all of what you’re not and find what you are.
  6. Always record your thoughts. You’re not going to remember it later. You’re lying to yourself.
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