Lupe tells the story of my transition into summer.
I tend to speak in quotes.
SpongeBob, films based on Tolkien, random YouTubes and Vines, Tarantino movies, The Big Lebowski, and numerous other sources find their way into my speech pattern (but mostly SpongeBob – and that’s not a joke; my friend Ethan and I spit SpongeBob lines like we’re Stephen Hillenburg’s Uzi).
I also think in quotes with regularity. Often these prepackaged sentiments and phraseologies come from songs, especially rap songs. Very frequently, lyrics (of any genre) fill my mind whenever I’m not focused on something in particular. And sometimes when I’m being very intentional about focusing my thoughts into words, they get translated as lyrics.
As I gathered my thoughts for this post, thoughts which will inform and reflect on my current state of mind, I found myself tossing around a lot of Lupe Fiasco lyrics. I tend to see writing with section headings as a cop-out, or at least a significantly easier way to compose a long piece, but sometimes the unicorpus essay doesn’t fit the bill (I made that word up by the way).
So, let’s do it. Oh, and you might notice it’s been eleven days since I posted. While I probably had a few days where I could have written, it was the end of the school year and mental faculties and writing time are generally needed elsewhere.
Never Forget You (ft. John Legend)
Take me to that old familiar place, take me to memories we won’t erase
Take me to all that we had, good and the bad
I’ll never forget you, I’ll never let you go
I’ll never forget you, I’ll always remember, I hope you know.
Like I said, it’s the end of the school year.
I think, more than any year of my life, I’ve reflected on the unfortunately brief nature of college relationships. When you go to college, they tell you all about making great friends. They don’t say anything about leaving them four years later. Four years, and that’s only if they’re in the same class as you. Four years, and that’s only if you put in the work to maintain the friendship as you become a sophomore, a junior, and then a senior.
They tell you all about the new and different people you will meet and the memories you’ll make and the new ideas you’ll be introduced to. They don’t tell you about the day the memories and the ideas are all you have left.
They tell you about meeting someone special – because, as a homeless Army Ranger in San Diego and a Macy’s worker in Minneapolis have both told me, college is where you find the girls – they don’t tell you about thinking you found someone special only to see it all blow up. They tell you about finding love. They don’t tell you that personal chemistry is harder than Organic Chemistry.
They tell you about those intellectual types called professors. They tell you about the liberals, the atheists, and the self-loving and self-righteous doctors with little or no time for the needs of students. They don’t tell you what it means to be a name and not a number, what it’s like to have someone so educated care about your work. They don’t tell you what it’s like for your instructor to be your fan and to be your friend. They don’t tell you how freaking cool those people are.
I’ve learned all those things now (except Organic Chemistry).
I have one semester left at St. Norbert, and while I’m going to take a nearly unbearable weight from this place I’m not going to be able to take the actual people with me. But what I shared with those people will stay with me forever, and I won’t let a grad school here, a job there, or a better market for graffiti art way out there take those people away and prevent me from maintaining some of those relationships.
I’ve spent a lot of time at St. Norbert bemoaning everything I don’t like about it. I’ve overlooked a lot of good things. I’ve missed out on or taken for granted a lot of great times with friends. And now we’re right down to the wire.
Just know this, Norbs people: I’ll never forget you. I’ll never let you go.
Words I Never Said (ft. Skylar Grey)
It’s so loud inside my head
With words that I should have said
As I drown in my regrets
I can’t take back the words I never said.
Somewhere along the way I became a social activist. I also became pretty liberal. A lot happened this year that changed the way I see the world. I’m a feminist, I’ve worked through my feelings on the LGBTQ community (post on this coming soon), and I’ve become deeply moved by the plight of darker-skinned Americans. I don’t know where you put me on the political spectrum. If a concern for the poor, minorities, women, the environment, and education makes me a democrat, so be it. If support of local governments and the protection of the unborn makes me a republican, then fine.
Truth is, I give fewer damns about politics than Rhett Butler. (BTW as someone who leans left but has previously voted right, can anyone give me a reason to like any of the Republican Presidential candidates? And what’s up with Hillary? She doesn’t sound so good either. If I use my right/privilege to vote in 2016, are there any dope third-party candidates?).
No, I’m not really concerned with politics. I’m concerned with people. I’m here to talk about the tough things in life that make us uncomfortable. If you’ve ever taken a look at the About Me section on the blog, you’ve seen that I call myself an Establishment Saboteur and a Cultural Provocateur. I’m here to call out mistakes and provoke change. And hopefully I continue to add actions to words. I won’t let myself regret words I didn’t say, even if it makes half of my Facebook friends uncomfortable.
My changing worldview has been working in a sort of yin-yang with my Christian faith. Although I’m a follower of Christ first and everything else second, my understanding of Christianity – how I “do” it and how Americans “do” it – can evolve as I continue to listen and learn. It is my hope that my voice can help the Christian church do a better job of living the Gospel and representing Christ as it exists in a country that is much more than a hive of WASPs. This is going to make up a series of posts coming over the next couple weeks (along with a number of other religion/theology themed posts). And maybe this liberal fundamentalist can change the way you (as a Christian or non-Christian) sees my faith and my religion.
I only have one life to live before moving on up, and I can’t take back the words I never said.
Til I Get There
I’mma keep it cool, and I’mma do me
It is what it is and that’s how it’s gon’ be
Until I get there, until I get there.
And yeah I got flaws, I know I’m not perfect
But all the ups and downs, will soon be worth it
When I get there, when I get there.
I’m returning to Culver’s to work this summer. This will be my third summer there, along with two Januaries and a few other breaks thrown in. It can be a really tiresome job, like anything in food service, and I’d really rather be doing something else. But it’s a job, and for that I’m thankful. Sometimes you just have to make money, and even a job like mine can glorify God (KB gave a talk on that idea at last year’s Legacy Conference. Absolutely merked it). While I’m a pretty darn good cashier and dining room cleaner person, I actually struggle with a lot of the other tasks. My bagging skills have been compared to that of a blind monkey’s. But the job is a chance for me to learn and improve and grow and do things even when they’re tough and/or not fun.
There are truly some nice things about working at Culver’s besides a discount on food. I have plenty of strange, pleasant, and fun interactions with customers, I learn a lot about people, I work for good managers, and I enjoy my co-workers. I’m actually kind of a celebrity with the high school kids there. I’m not really sure why.
However, the job is going to wear on me, and that, combined with the other jobs, responsibilities, and events I’ll have this summer, could make this a tough few months.
Or it could make this a terrific few months. If I approach things with a positive attitude, enjoy the good things about Culver’s, savor the occasional beers and/or smokes after a long day, take in the beautiful weather when it isn’t too humid, spend quality time with family and friends, play a bunch of basketball, and invest in reading and writing, this could be a great summer.
But it is what it is and that’s how it’s gonna be. Until I get to late August.
Superstar (ft. Matthew Santos)
If you are what you say you are, a superstar
Then have no fear, the camera’s here
And the microphones, and they wanna know
If you are what you say you are, a superstar
Then have no fear, the crowd is here
And the lights are on and they want a show, yeah
I’m a writer. Whether or not writing ever earn’s me a living, I’ll continue to do it.
I think I’m a pretty decent writer. And a lot of people have told me they think so too, especially since the blog became eloquent mumbler.
There’s two important things to do with this:
First, I have to stay humble. I think one reason I’ve gained fans is my voice, and that voice almost never brags or boasts. So call me out on that if I ever come off as self-important, self-righteous, or condescending. I intend to remain honest, self-deprecating, and humble-bragging.
Second, I have to make the most out of whatever talent I have. Maybe I have what it takes to be great and maybe I don’t, but I won’t find out unless I put in the time and effort necessary. If I am disciplined, I should have time enough this summer to make major leaps and bounds in my writing ability.
I can’t let a lack of effort or a lack of confidence cut my dream short. If I’m a superstar then I should have no fear. If not… well, only one way to find out if I’m not.
The Show Goes On
Alright, already, the show goes on
All night, till the morning we dream so long
Anybody ever wonder, when they would see the sun go
Just remember when you come up
The show goes on.
I guess I don’t really have to explain this one too much, right? Not a bad theme song, especially when thinking about people you’ll never forget, speaking words that are tough to say, moving on through daily life, and working on a career, all while moving into the summer months.
Soli Deo Gloria