I have a weird way of listening to music that most people probably find annoying. I will listen to the same group of songs over and over again for sometimes weeks at a time and then move on to another group of songs. I’ll revisit my favorites several times and blast that shit for weeks at a time again. I don’t know why I do this, but thank God for headphones, because I’m pretty sure my listening style would make other peoples’ heads explode.
Lately, I’ve been listening Rap and Hip Hop from the 90’s/early 2000’s. Since my education of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and what all that encompasses for black people and what they experience on a daily basis, I’ve felt this need to revisit some of the music I grew up on (though I had to hide it from my parents at the time), because I feel that until recently I could never really understand or relate to it. This time around I knew I would be further educated by it. I added some Tupac, NWA, TLC, En Vogue & Salt N Peppa to my playlist. I know there’s much more to that genre, but those were people I was familiar with. I grew up in an area where this music was popular, but a bunch of sheltered white northern kids had no fucking clue what they were listening to.
There is one particular song by TLC that really overwhelms me with deep thought and emotion. It’s off their Crazysexycool album and its called Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes. The whole song is excellent, but every time I hear this part I have waves of emotion wash over me:
“I just don’t understand the ways of the world today; Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to live for.”
God. That encompasses so much of how I feel right now. I feel like the world is crushing me. I’m not trying to define what TLC meant with their song. I can only say how it speaks to me. Recently, my husband and I decided our kids were done with brick and mortar school buildings after this year and especially after the Vice Principal of the ARTS ACADEMY used the word “authority” multiple times on me in a phone conversation. The system is looking to crush anyone into submission that isn’t part of the ruling class. So, though I’m a privileged white person, the wheels of greed of the top corporate rulers and politicians consider me a fail because I’m not like them and I don’t support their shit. They would just as soon crush me under their wheels of greed right next to my black brothers & sisters, my Native American brothers & sisters, even though the color of my skin fools the local cops from automatically labeling me suspicious in some way. Black and brown people are born into this burden and reality and they are reminded of it every day. For a middle aged white woman, the eye opening is overwhelming on so many levels since its not blasted into our faces forcefully.
As a now awake white person, you literally have to redefine your purpose in life. It’s no longer about chillin’ in your ignorant tight knit white community with cute middle class homes, nice yards, decent jobs, and the ability to puff your chest out in pride as you look down at other people from your self-made pedestal when in reality your little middle class ain’t shit in the grand scheme of things. The world isn’t really any better from your existence as you help the collective use up the world’s resources.
Now as an awake white person, you find yourself not knowing in what way you personally can fight against the system machine. Crying at injustices – the deaths of unarmed black people while the cops go free without consequence. Reading about a college student who was beaten by cops for literally no just cause. Reading about the world losing its water supply while millions of gallons are wasted on fracking. Reading about entire communities in the Alaskan island who have to relocate because climate change is literally washing their islands away after their ancestors settled there hundreds of years ago. Reading about politicians and their stupid ass-judgmental-out of touch-bullshit they are apparently allowed to spew from their ignorant fucking mouths without consequence. “I just don’t understand the ways of the world today…sometimes I feel like there’s nothing to live for.” Except I don’t long for the days of yesterday. The days of yesterday would leave me ignorant of the plight of others who don’t share my privilege. The days of yesterday would have me helping the wheels of greed turn for my corporate and political overlords. No, I cannot help them do that anymore.
I will gladly stand with the other rejects of society and lend my strength to learning sustainable living and helping others to do the same. We don’t need your system and the Earth doesn’t need it either. I stand for myself. I stand for black and brown people. I stand for the trees. I stand for the animals. I stand for the melting ice caps, the thawing permafrost, the sinkholes in Siberia. We must heal or die. Otherwise there will be literally nothing left to live for.
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