Achilles’ Last Stand

Sometime during the beginning of March (when i originally started this piece), i got kicked in the ass—by my Father, with words.

I’m not a degenerate. I’m no lackey. I’m not a youngin (relative, of course) who needs (or likes to) be told what i should or should not to do.

My friends and family all know that. However, pep talks and sermons from a parental are what i need at times—even when i dislike believing i do.

All that know me, know that i don’t like direction, or really “need” it from others.

Regardless of my path to get to the status and place where i stand—multiple precipices at once: it’s like, in my head, i’m standing on several platonic plates that can move in any direction at any given moment, with subtlety and/or with devastation, yet i’m cool with those prospects—i dislike anyone being an authoritative stance on things. Especially when it comes to me.

I’ve done much my whole life without solicited guidance. And, i say this with awareness and no disrespect to my mother, to my grandmother nor my aunt Gloria. I’m acutely keen and respectful, divvying out credit where all is due, for i despise dis- or miscredit for things, of what they’ve or anyone has attributed to my well-being and how they’ve laid down cornerstones for my psyche for life.

Throughout all levels of education, i journeyed along without much initiating influence and input from those older than me. I researched what i wanted, what i desired; i looked at what i liked and disliked about schooling and, due to familial circumstances (maternal health, economics and geographic location) sought some input.

However, i still maintained my voice and reasoning as the heaviest of the weights.

My fraternity brothers (the GREAT Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Fall ’03, AAI) and my mother, especially, have often and recently remarked—as well as a few of my home girls, like Steph!—that i really don’t do a lot of things like others, that I’m “crazy,” that i truly dance to my own beated drum.

All told, with that independence and semi-acumen, i tend to leave too much on the table—i don’t live up to what i should be doing. And, a lot of that telling-off to me is unsaid. A lot of times it is said but i acknowledge and let it sit in the satchel of carried but discourage intuition and encouragement.

The conversation yesterday (this was back in March ’11, by the way) was really the opening of a genie for me—a veritable Pandora’s box, a proverbial kick in the rear.

My ears are always ringing: humming to sounds of blues medleys, lyrics, ballads, sensual jazz tunes, hypnotic rock and roll drums.

When i started writing this post, i was on the subway, traveling from the BX, on the 6, from my frat brother, James’s crib, and i was struck with the urge to write. I looked at my bare arms (well, to me), and was like, WTF, Mac? I saw the left arm, specifically, and thought, you need that new tattoo ASAP that you Tweeted about.

I knew I needed to scribe. I had been slacking.

Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles Last Stand” was the underlying backdrop to the writing barrage. The emotion, energy, and downright musicality of the track was the catalyst. I don’t care for lyrics really; well, i do, but i don’t memorize much. Weird, i’m sure, especially since i’m an English major and voracious reader, as well as lover of music.

I care more for overall syncopation and musicality than everything else. Unless, of course, the lyrical content is so blatantly demeaning, subpar, or atrocious—the case for a ton of the mainstream (radio, commercial) hip hop these days. I’ll not get into that right now, though.

One of the tattoos i want fulfills a very quiet desire: another Lenny Kravitz song, “Tunnel Vision,” that has stayed within the crevices of my thoughts since i learned the meaning behind the moniker in ’99: focus.

Focus was the crux of that conversation with my pops. I lack it. I’ve known and noticed my shotgun-esque take on life for years. I’m not blind nor oblivious. Yet, i know that without a dedication to singular tasks, my mercurial and polymath tastes and modus operandi will suffer. I love all and everything. The problem with it, however, is that since i have the means to indulge or, at least, experience most (if not all!) of those ephemeral or long-standing interests, i will do as i please—i will do everything and not care to see what’s new, what feels good, what’s bad–whatever.

I gotta change up some things. I think. And others think so, too. I’m not too sure what is the right course of action, yet—for me.

I’ve been afraid for a while to be part of the 27 Club. I’m near application age.

If i am so grand to be accepted into that infamous fraternity, i need to fulfill a prime requirement: doing things, something, grandly. I’m not there yet. I’ve only done a ton of mini things—all are local, personal, friendly and familial. There are a little over six months remaining for this process. Can’t believe it’s been that long.

For this terminal year (for an insane lot of people) i definitely want to restructure and reorganize my energy, my focus. Right now, as i approach the precipice of the year (i’m continuing this piece months later, and on the final day of it) i’m realizing that actions speak, words are pantomiming gestures at best.

Pulling from the title, i gotta make a stand. I hope it’s not a final one as it says, but if it is, if we are all to go come 12-ish months from now: damn, i hope whatever remnants are survivors, a speck of mine lasts.

We’ll see what happens. So, to the mythical and to the real: here’s to going for something, someone, to whatever is in our minds and hearts.