Hello Starshine beauties.
I am going to tell y’all a story.
But first, a theory. Every day, I do some walking to get to work. Some mornings, my back hurts or my hips hurt or I’m cold. I like to listen to music while I walk. Frequently it is my beloved booty music, I walk and bounce my ass to the Yin Yang Twins or older Pitbull. I use my way too many playlists to get me where I need to go.
If you’ve ever watched wrestling, boxing, MMA etc fighters have walk out music. Your walk up is that minute(s) you have to pump yourself up. Even if you don’t like combat sports, watch a few walk ups. The bouncing, the concentration, bodies poised to fuck some shit up. That is walk up/out music.
I pick my music to help me set my mood. Get my mind right. Occasionally there is an older construction worker I see in the morning and he’ll ask what my music of the day is. This morning it was Black Sabbath to start and when I hit the long block I walk along, it was about the Pantera.
When I got on the bus I switched to something a wee bit more sedate and then I went down a memory rabbit hole. Imagine yours truly, a baby potato getting their first set of braids. Now, I wanted braids because EVERY glamorous and beautiful Black girl I admired had them. But, what I really wanted to do was headbang properly.
The first time I was alone with my new braids and I got my Slayer tape, found the spot and HIT IT. I blared Raining Blood as loud as my stereo could go and I headbanged for my life. Horns up, hair flying, legs spread in a power stance. It was fucking dreamy. Around the same age, I stomped around my bedroom alone singing along with my fave Metallica tracks, I tried to channel James Hetfield so hard.
I headbanged to classical music. Me watching Disney’s OG Fantasia involved a lot of conducting while head banging. I’ve longed to figure out how to both headbang and twerk at the same time.
I tell you these stories because, for many years now I’ve thought very deeply about what the core of my being is. What matters in my bone marrow. Who am I? What is important to me? What isn’t?
I’ve always been prone to introspection to the point of occasionally being damaging to myself. Lately, given my dayjob situation, economic position and epic failures at making my art and creative life financially sustainable, I’ve had to look back at little headbanging Shannon to see what the truth about me is.
In the core of me, what I need to feel satisfied and happy isn’t much. I need my music to twerk or headbang to, I need my loved ones. I need to make enough money to eat nicely and buy underpants when I want the or the occasional pair of bad ass boots. I don’t want or need emotional or spiritual satisfaction from a dayjob and I struggled with that for a while.
All I need is money from it. Pay me.
I’m comfortable saying that because, my heartswork is elsewhere.
I want you to feel like it is okay to not engage with the whole idea that we ALL want some kind of spiritual fulfillment out of having to play capitalism. You don’t.
I struggle with this a lot. I struggle with trying to live by my own set of morals and ethics, while under capitalism. I struggle and feel shitty that I can’t afford to dress ethically. I can’t afford to eat well/ethically. I get mad because I can’t pay to play in the lit world. I can’t pay to take your class person I’ve never heard of. I can’t give money to you lit mag who rejected me.
Frequently, while I’m doing the shit I like, I have a detour of shame or anxiety because I’m not doing things the way I am supposed to. I get upset with myself for failing at being as good a potato as I can be.
Then I remember, I am the same potato who cried their little eyes out on hearing Albinoni’s Adagio in G for the first time (y’all I can’t even get 30 seconds in without cries). I was in a park in Tacoma and I think I was about 5 and I sat in the grass during a free concert and just sobbed. I am that potato.
I am the same potato who in pre-school hated ballet but loved jazz dance because we got to dress up as baby bats and I got to wear my Mom’s most special red lipstick.
I am the same potato who gets SUPER hype to know that this year for the holidays I’ve gotten to financially support some folks in need.
I am the same potato who strutted around an empty apartment listening to my Dad’s Aerosmith records and tried to belt Dream On like a fucking champ. I still do.
Look babes. The point is, we are all going to struggle with ourselves sometimes. With how we are, with feeling weird moments of pop up shame. It happens. What is important is what we do next.
Imma get my walk up music on. I’m gonna walk like nothing hurts and the world is bowing at my little fat ass feet.
Shit is hard. Sometimes it feels bad.
But we out here y’all.
We gonna be okay.