I remember the first time I heard L.L. Cool J. I was sitting outside one of my friends houses and this car drove by wafting it through the air. I actually walked to the end of the block, so I could listen to it longer. Hip hop was everything to most of my friends. I enjoyed it, but I never went as hard as my friends because I liked so many different types of songs and artist. Whitney, Bon Jovi, Tiffany, White Snake, Madonna, Club Nuvo, Janet, Duran Duran, George Michael, and sooooooo many others. The 80s were great to me musically. To this day I still know all the lyrics to so many songs from the 80s. But when it came to hip hop I though it was just ok, until LL’s I’m Bad reverberated through the air that day. Don’t get me wrong I still liked and listened to all the other stuff (it was the majority of what was on MTV and VH1) but when I was with my friends it was exclusively hip hop. I would sometimes attempt to record hip hop videos, so I could play them back later memorize the words and practice some of the dances they did. The funny part is I have never felt as if I was fully a part of the hip hop culture (or any culture for that matter). I always felt as if I were an observer of things. Yes, I participated by attempting to dress in a trendier way, learning lyrics, and dances. Still, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in. Trying to be a part of something but never getting to the point where I was actually a part of it.
Its odd but I have never been a super fan of another human. Yes, I really enjoy the things that artist create, but I have never owned a poster of anyone. I have never been a crazy screaming teen fan girl, hell I barely put my hands in the air because I actually do care. I would find myself at Saints skating rink bopping along to music in the party room looking at the total immersion and joy of my friends and wondering what that must be like. To allow yourself to just be so completely into a person or song that you lose your mind when they walk in the room or you simply hear the song. Well L.L. would be as close as I would ever come to that. I didn’t have a poster or a T shirt with his name on it, but I did get a five by seven pic of him at the Run DMC concert in 88 that I went to with my cousin. That was my first and only concert for most of my life (I wouldn’t go to another until I was in my mid 30’s). It was over whelming to see people losing their mind screaming pushing and shoving trying to simply get close to another human. I just couldn’t understand it and didn’t like being a part of it.
Perhaps my struggle with freely connecting with artist was based on the fact that I struggled with the connections in my real life. I felt connected to my sister, brother, and cousins but I didn’t feel connected to my mom. Also, I began to realize that the fantasy connection that I had created in my mind with my father was not real, just the wishful thinking of a child.
I totally blamed my mom for all the bad things and sincerely thought the world of my dad. He was tall, handsome, dressed nice, had a nice car, and he was fun! He was the total opposite of my mom. In my mind the reason he wasn’t around was because my mom kept moving us around and because she was so mean. It wasn’t until I was in an early teen that I realized that he wasn’t the knight in shining armor that I had made him out to be. I worshiped him. To this day my favorite cereal is Life and has been since the first time I ate it at his house with bananas cut up in it. Even now I often think of him and that day we sat just the two of us whenever I have a bowel. I was so happy and totally satisfied with whatever the amount of time and attention he showed me. Most times, it wasn’t much. He would pick me up and we would be alone for a little bit. Usually we went to my aunt Andreas house or one of his girlfriend’s houses. I would be with other people and not really spend time with him. It hurt a little but pushed it down and sometimes made up stories about how he was watching over me without me knowing from another room or place.
This is going to sound awe full but at some point, my dad had a couple of kidos, different moms born about a week apart. Yup, papa was a rolling stone. I didn’t judge him because all the men I knew were cheaters and all the women I knew had been cheated on. Sadly, I just thought this was the way it was. With the introduction of the new kids came something I had not expected, jealousy. I was not really jealous of my new brother, but I was super jealous of my sister, her and her mom lived with my dad. From my perspective, she was born into the life I had always wanted but never got to have. She got to take dance classes and sometimes I would have to go and sit in the corner during the classes and watch her in her little cute outfits twirling around as my dad watched. I know it’s silly, but I really felt that my dad loved her and liked me. So, moving to Kirkwood meant that, I saw my dad less, but I gave him a built-in excuse (distance) so I didn’t have to feel unwanted. What also served to put space between my dad and I was that I actually realized that he only did the things he said he would about fifty percent of the time. I guess when I lived in pretend land, dad was perfect, and I let a lot slide. When I came back to a place based in reality, I noticed just how imperfect he was it made me angry, and I lashed out. I was a freshman in high school and full of emotions and hormones. There were quite a few times when he was supposed to be coming for me and I would wait and wait constantly looking out to see if he was pulling up, but he never showed up. The very first conversation I had with him after one of these missed weekends I went off, he said something about being sorry like usual and I told him “yeah you are sorry!” I tried to convince myself that I didn’t really want to see him anyway. I was devastated that this was the end. I was no longer caught up in my dad’s charm. I was no longer his super fan. I felt broken, untethered, and angry. I began to rebel, believing that I was just as or more capable of running my life with little to no input or guidance from the adults in my life. I felt disconnected from everything and in my mind, I was on my own….
*Reflections… As I am writing this I and growing in the understanding of who I was, how my past has influenced many of my life choices and who I have become. There are patterns in my life that have lived just at the edge of my awareness that I am now fully aware of. Even if no one ever reads a single word I am so happy that I am honestly examining the thoughts, emotions, feelings, and motivations that have shaped my life. I have thought about writing for so long but shied away for fear of hurting others, but this story is not designed for that this is purely for my own growth and understanding and the hope that sharing my story helps someone share theirs.
“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
― Paulo Coelho