Throwback Thursday Jams – Talib Kweli – Beautiful Struggle

“Lookin’ for the remedy but you can’t see what’s hurtin’ you
The revolution’s here, the revolution is personal”

What ya’ll know about that Kewli😎😏 #ListentotheWords

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Resurrection

I am thankful for my struggles because one thing they have taught me (the one trait I strive to maintain as part of my character) is humility. I understand that I am flawed, that there were a series of awakenings that ultimately led me to the truth, and that freedom didn’t find me whole, but in pieces. I don’t worry what others think of me because YAH is my only judge and I am allowed to be a work-in-progress. For this, I strive to have as much compassion on others as I can because I don’t have it all together and I will never pretend to. I didn’t wake up automatically understanding who I was. There were stepping stones to this. When dealing with people who may not know what I know, I remember that my resurrection happened in stages.

The Butterfly is Supposed to Struggle

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Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” No one likes to struggle because the pain, of any kind, does not feel good. In fact, many of us probably spend our entire lives seeking to struggle less. To reduce the chances of pain and heartache in our lives, of embarrassment and of shame.

The only problem with this is that the butterfly is supposed to struggle. It is how it achieves its beauty in the first place. The butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without this struggle, the butterfly will never, ever fly.

To my beautiful butterflies out there, don’t try to circumvent the struggle, don’t bypass the pain or override the alarm. Let what needs to happen, happen and listen to what it has to teach you because the struggle is necessary for the growth. The struggle is good if you want to fly.

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Update: How Did You Do?

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So, how was No Whining Wednesday? You can be honest. I will.

Before I do, for those new to NWW, see last weeks post HERE to understand what it is, what it’s about and how to participate. Tomorrow is our second week of the newest feature to The PBS Blog and I’m going to try to do better because I was a mess last week. I failed miserably.

AND, I didn’t even have any quarters.

You know what, I don’t even want to talk about it.

OK, OK, I will. But only because I like you. What had happend was…

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I woke up that morning to a situation that brought me to tears. Not just tears but TEARS. I was balling. Here I was balled up on the floor praying away the anguish on the first day, but that’s not all.

Eventually, I decided to be a big girl about it and clean myself up because I remembered that it was No Whining Wednesday and I wasn’t supposed to be whining, let alone crying. I decided I would make pancakes before I got to work. Usually I’d just grab a cup of coffee or maybe some fruit so I was treating myself. So I thought.

This is Tuesday so I’ll get all my complaining out the way now. I hate…OK, hate is such a strong word… I dislike very much the taste of pancakes using oil. I like to use butter instead. For the twenty-nine years I’ve been on this Earth, my pancakes have always done well using butter. Except last Wednesday. They started to stick. I changed pans, thinking it was because I wasn’t using the cast iron skillet. It started to stick again and not just a little bit but like crazy. So, I started again using oil. It started to stick again. I should mention my sister in law is visiting. My plan was to make us a nice breakfast this morning (since I admittedly let her feign for herself the first night.)

My sister-in-law, awakened by the noises coming from the kitchen, walks in.

“Don’t worry, I’ll still eat them. I don’t really know how to make pancakes myself.”

“But I do! I do know how to make pancakes! Uhhgg.”

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After giving the pan (the butter and the oil) a piece of my mind I remembered this was No Whining Wednesday (something I started) and that I was definitely not winning.

At the end of it all the pans started to behave themselves and my pancakes and turkey bacon came out lovely.

The rest of the day smoothed itself out and all of my locs are still here. By the end of the day Wednesday all was well. I think I even had enough time left in the day to watch a chick flick (which turned out to be whack but I didn’t complain. I’d already done enough of that.) As I think back on it now it didn’t turn out so bad (maybe I just needed to write it out?) but I definitely had a rocky start.

So, how about you? I know you did better than me.

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To Be Real

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Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

“The Velveteen Rabbit,” also called “How Toys Become Real,” is a children’s novel written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. First published in 1922, the story was Williams’ first and most popular children’s book. If you’ve never read it before, the story is about the journey of a toy velveteen rabbit learning about love and what it means to become real.”

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People talk a lot about realness today, but few people understand what it means to really be real. The phrase “Keep It Real” is prominent, yet many people are not willing to hurt for it.

“He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these.”

Why is wisdom measured by old age? I suppose its because by the time your hair is gray and your knees buckle and you can’t walk as far, by then you’ve gone through enough heartache to know real. You see, you’ll never be real without going through the furnace of affliction. Yes, diamonds are beautiful, but they had to go through much pressure to get that way. The truth is that we learn early on to hate ourselves because we learn to fight against disappointment, to buck against pain, and to despise trial. We learn not to rejoice in the bad but to complain about it, never once considering that such pain is reaping strength in our favor. As a result, we end up being fake most of the time because we’re not strong enough to be weak.

“Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.”

This. This most painful, most humbling of a moment. Now, you’re real.

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Audacity

Photo Credit: By Ali Arif Soydaş @aliarifsoydas

 

Concrete painted the color of our scars
red for the blood of every gangsta who died
believing that defending a street corner
was keeping it real
for every nigga who wears degradation
like it’s his first name
every rebellion
that hates nothing more than truth but a mirror
prissy pink for every woman
who thought her legs were the railroad tracks to femininity
purple for every woman who wore her hips like monkey bars
and her heart like a welcome mat to trample on
when the hatred is spread so generously across her breast
that she feeds this to every “no good man”
she can’t deny a place between her legs
for every tire streaking soot of alcoholic footprints
leading to 24 hour liquor stores
like “look how easy this money is”
green for all the trees whose winters are too brutal
to change from the boo-boo brown of its community
not when hope still hangs it’s strings in the crack filled streets of Harlem
where faith whispers it’s goodbyes to chains and locked doors
the ones with concrete style floors
and bronze heavens
and every prayer is polluted with “I told you so’s”
for every struggle
just remember
that the sun still has the courage to rise in the mornings
which means that the day still has the audacity
to be beautiful…

Psa 3:5 “…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”