I’m back on it. Here’s your Monday Positive Vibes:
I’m not black… in case you haven’t noticed.
I’ve never dealt drugs. I’ve never been to prison. I sure as hell can’t rap.
But in a lot of ways being poor, hungry and borderline homeless transcends race. Yes, I may have “ white privilege.” That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thrown on the ground and held at gunpoint by police officers. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been jumped and left to cry in a pool of my own blood. It doesn’t mean I haven’t seen my own mother’s teeth knocked out of her head.
Over the last few days I’ve been watching both the Showtime documentary and the new Hulu show about the Wu-Tang Clan and outside of the drug dealing, prison and rapping, I am reminded so much of my childhood. So much of the daily lifestyle is the same.
The thing is though – I don’t have to be reminded. I dwell on it every single day. That’s what pushes me to keep moving.
I think about being sent to my neighbors to ask for food because we were so hungry.
We ate cereal for nearly every meal. It was the cheapest thing we could get with our food stamps. We always ran out of milk and had to use water instead, probably because a lot of those food stamps were being traded for pills.
We sat in front of the TV all day because Mom thought it was too unsafe for us to play outside around our Section 8 housing. In case you’re wondering, that’s why I’m just now learning to swim.
Mom couldn’t afford a babysitter while she went to cosmetology school so at nine-years-old I was babysitting my little sister. I’m pretty sure that shits illegal.
I think of the violence. So much violence. So many black and blue faces. So much blood. That shotgun stuck in my mother’s mouth. It’s there every time I close my eyes, even when I blink. It never leaves. Those are stories for another time.
This weekend Elizabeth and I decided to take the family to an Italian restaurant. My five-year-old said “I don’t want Italian.” He’s a great kid. He was just being a five-year-old. I looked at Elizabeth and said “I can’t believe I’m in a place in my life where my kid can turn up his nose at amazing Italian. I’ll never forget my first time eating McDonalds and thinking we were rich.”
And that’s the point of the Wu-Tang documentary and show – a bunch of poor guys who came from the absolute worst, who worked their asses off and are now able to live lives completely opposite of where they were. As Method Man said, “I’m just happy my kids don’t have to grow up the way I did.” Amen, Meth. Amen.
I discovered the Wu-Tang Clan in high school and their lyrics hit me slap in the face. I heard where they came from and then saw where they were. I told myself that if they could do it, I could too. Aside from color, the big city of New York and my non-existent ability to rap, we weren’t all that different.
If anything, I hope I can be like them and serve as a small example that you can change your life around. I never thought I would travel the world, own a business, live where I’m living, become an IRONMAN or have the family I have.
I never thought I would until I told myself that I would. Once I made that mental flip it was all over. Some people run toward success. I don’t. I run away from poverty.
I’m not special. I’m not good looking. I’m not a genius. I’m not fast or strong. I just work harder than everyone else. You can do that too.
And never forget – Wu-Tang is for the children.
I hope your week is full of Positive Vibes.