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The Red Tape Will Not Trip Me And The Glass Ceiling Will Not Stunt My Growth


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I cannot remember the last time I was truly rejected. How do you remember rejection when you live in it? When you have to constantly remind yourself that you belong? That the red tape will not trip me and the glass ceiling will not stunt my growth.

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Feels like I am stalking an ex. But instead I am stalking past bands. Let’s not confuse my rejection for delusion. I was raised by this country to believe that everything I put my heart into, had the talent for, worked for and reached for would be mine. But it looks like my parents taught me right. I did not take into account the politics of the human mind.

How we want others to do well, but not better. How video might have hurt the radio star, but it was ultimately pictures that shot it point blank in the head. A picture may say 1,000 words, but it will never let me hear you sing. I know what, “not being a fit,” means.

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For a moment I was made to believe that I had no right to blues, no right to jazz and sometimes being tone deaf and screeching ads value to a song. I was made to believe that the banjo had no ties to the banza. An instrument brought from Africa by slaves. An instrument once considered to be in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “proper to the negros,” is now an American staple. When I hear the banjo I am reminded of the red tape I have to push away and the ceilings I have to bow my head to. I must consider myself lucky for if I stayed my essence would have been stolen. But I am sure that your idea of what my essence should be is enough to make you interesting, so you will just keep on going. As you have before.

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For a moment I was made to believe that the things I ran away from in my youth concerned with spirituality were to be hidden. We hide them, because they are real. We hide them, because they have the power to hurt and the power to heal. We hide them, because we have seen things that cannot be described. Things that cannot be unseen. And as I push the tape away and bow my head I see others bragging about the things that make me who I am.

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I cannot remember the last time I was truly rejected. But I do remember every single time I was truly affected. Who am I to say that something belongs to me? I was raised in an island where my hips moved to the beat. It knew where to go. I did not need to sit and write down its notes. The music I grew up with needed to be loved. It needed to be danced to like a child needs a mothers hug. Not torn apart from its home to be given up for adoption. To people who might learn to read its notes in a way I never knew how, yet will manage to raise a lonely child. Disconnected from it’s roots.

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  1. Loved reading your words. Loved even more hearing you speak them. How easily we seem to forget that when you cut something into its parts, you kill something in it. That when you cut something–or someone–from its context, you starve it by removing it from the nutrient-rich soil in which it grew. You turn it-him-her into a ghost. Thanks for reminding us what someone who refuses to be a ghost sounds like. Makes me snuggle deep in my own skin again and make myself at home.

    • Thank you for reading and dissecting my words. Its hard to stay authentic and claim whats yours when there is very little concept of intelectual property in todays world.

      • And even harder when there’s so little respect for cultural property, when people want to life what’s “cool” out of a culture and leave the people of that culture behind. Like reveling in all things Black and Latino except for Black and Latino people themselves. Your stuff helps remember to name where I come from, and not just ethnically and geographically.

  2. Pingback: Best Blogs 1 May 2015 | ChristopherinHR

  3. Engaging piece which for me hovers between prose and poetry (poetic prose?) You have a nice voice, very clear and good tones, enhances the piece – read unfalteringly. I wish I could do that! Nice blog…..

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