…used to have a complex, about gettin’ too complex … (Brown Skin Lady)
Knowledge of Self is like life after death … (K.O.S. Determination)
Both lines are from Black Star, the 1998 collaboration between Mos Def and Talib Kweli (find all the lyrics from all the songs on the album here). Feel free to call me Radio Raheem (‘Do The Right Thing’) since I’ve been taking it back to the ol’ school beats. Don’t care. It’s necessary.
I have been struggling with my place of spiritual service, among other things. Wrote about it not too long ago. I didn’t wait around, though: I acted. I visited another church on Sunday and it was cathartic. Things at the church were timely, organized, and friendly, not to mention close to home. I felt welcomed and a part of the folk who were in attendance. As I finished out last week, I felt the nudge to start making moves — I have responsibilities where I am, but will start splitting time until it is right to make a full move.
I was feeling mighty low on Friday, having found out that I wouldn’t be able to visit with my son on Saturday. I haven’t set eyes on him in about a year and a half but he’s going through some things. That’s another story for another time.
Sunday was good. Remember my #OperationFindTheGarage? It fell to the wayside when my garage door opener stopped opening. However, it is great to have a hero (say it with me now, proper-like: Hee-Row) because, after using tools of technology, it was discovered the plug in place in the ceiling of my garage had gone to the Great Beyond. One extension cord later, dangling from said device, and voila! It’s working again! Which means, the Operation will commence again, directly.
So the lyrics — you’re asking why did I start with them and when will I ever get to the point. Hey, this is real life with a fiction writer who’s trying to tell you a real life, not-fiction story. Slow ya roll for a minute …
Today was Day 29 of my gym membership. After completing the Six Week Challenge, I became a regular member. I am 29 work days into it (I don’t go on weekends or holidays). I had the pleasure to stand outside, talking with two of my gym mates, after we’d been pummeled for the day. We shared war stories from our lives and after getting in the car to drive home, both songs indicated above were playing. The two lines above jumped out because they define a part of me.
Leave us rewind to the early ’90s. My first trip down the altar was … let’s just leave it at ‘a trip’. I’ve written about its dark side in other, more private places. I think I might, at one point, have mentioned that during those years, the real me took refuge, deep in my heart. It buried itself to preserve itself. The complexity that was me went undercover: I had a complex about gettin’ too complex because doing so, because being the real me, became a thing of life and death at that point.
But then, I was widowed out of that situation and the real me began to emerge again. I’ve been through even more since 1999 when I was widowed the first time but nothing as dark as those days, but a bunch of sadness as those who visit the Cave regularly have gotten tastes of . The real me is still growing and maturing, like fine wine, I hope. Wine with a tinge of saltiness — not so much as to turn off the taster, just enough to create a desire for more.
As I shared some of the history with my friends this morning, I realized that I had gained a whole lot of self-knowledge. To find oneself is, as Def and Kweli say so eloquently, exactly like life after death.
For me, it’s true in multiple ways.
The complex about gettin’ too complex is out the window. Take me, leave me. I’m is who I’m is.
Life after death.