by: The U.N.EYEwitness.
(In no particular order)
1. HOW TO DRINK EXCESSIVELY.
Ok, so maybe I learned this skill at Hampshire College, but I certainly mastered it this year. After enduring SUPER stressful, long days at work, nothing made me feel more alive than heading to the bar or frequenting my local Flatbush liquor store to unwind at home. My favorite drink? Whiskey sours. My favorite hour? HAPPY HOUR. Hell, I even invented a drink of my own: The Twisted Twenties. (2 shots malibu, 1 shot whiskey, ginger ale and a splash of lemon juice. Feel free to try it sometime, I swear u won't be disappointed.)
2. HOW TO NOT COMPROMISE MY WELL-BEING FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE.
This principle led me to making extremely important life decisions, like quitting my job to pursue my artistic side that lay dormant for a year and a half. It just didn't make sense for me anymore to exist in a collective non-profit environment if my own individual self was extremely jaded, disenchanted, and frankly unable to lend my full self to a collective. I was sick of being on the verge of a breakdown every three months, and decided to take some desperately needed ME time. This lesson stands for every moment in my life, but quitting my job was the first time it reigned true to me.
3. HOW TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH AND TRUST MY INSTINCTS.
Sometimes, you have to trust that you can fly even when you're not even sure you can walk. From the grand decisions in my life (see #2) to the minimal, but nevertheless still important (ie, cutting my hair), I learned that I had to listen to my own soul first before anyone else. After all, the feeling of regret is much stronger than the feeling of trusting that it WILL all work in your favor in the end, AND the satisfaction that you believed in your own power and strength.
4. HOW PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WILL PAY FOR THE STUPIDEST SHIT.
I'll just name a few: KFC's DOUBLE DOWN; McDonald's McRIB, iPADS (come on, really? It's an iPhone on 'ROIDS); any and every "AS SEEN ON TV" product sold in a Walgreen's near you; tickets to Willow Smith's concert; $250 Beat Headphones engineered by Dr. Dre himself; Antoine Dodson and Jersey Shore Halloween costumes; 3D glasses for 3D TVs; tickets to "insert-movie-that-didnt-need-to-be-3D-at-ALL"...the fucking list goes on. And on. And on. (I shiver just thinking of the bank statements for y'alls Christmas shopping.)
5. HOW THE QUEER SCENE IN BKLYN IS THA SHEEEIT.
Though I moved here from Bmore in May '09, I hadn't really identified with a queer scene outside of the SHITTON of Hampshire folks that also moved to NYC. It wasn't until I performed at Rivers of Honey in March that the floodgates opened. Sooo many beautiful queers (mostly female bodied), sooo many welcoming artistic events, shows, potlucks, house parties, b-day parties...psssh, who am I kidding? I'm clearly preaching to the choir. Y'all know who u are. Thanks for embracing my outlandish ass this year :-D
6. WHO MY REAL FAMILY IS (CHOSEN AND BIO).
This lesson hit me harder than EVER this year. I've met a SLEW of folks, and in doing so I've had to make some severe (re)evaluations about who is in my life for a season, and who I literally cannot imagine my life without. These folks have helped me through this rollercoaster of a year, kept me laughing, advised me on love (and lust), made me dinner and drinks, cried with me, prayed with me. I can't trade them for the world...
7. HOW REAL MUSIC MADE A COMEBACK.
Soooo many albums dropped that are instant classics, or just so damn good that it doesn't even matter. My ultimate favorites include: Janelle Monae's "Archandroid", Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah Part II: Return Of The Ankh", The Roots' "How I Got Over", M.I.A.'s "MAYA", Nneka's "Concrete Jungle", N.E.R.D's "Nothing", Rick Ross' ignorant ass on "Teflon Don", Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy", Big Boi's "Sir Lucious Leftfoot", Cee-Lo's "The Lady Killer", Reflection Eternal's "Revolutions Per Minute", J. Cole's "Friday Night Lights" mixtape, and hell, even Fat Joe's "The Darkside Vol. 1" (yeah, shocked the hell outta me too). Sorry Nicki, u ALMOST made it on principle, but "Check It Out" killed that "classic" status for me.
8. HOW OUR OVERDEPENDENCY ON TECHNOLOGY IS GONNA BE THE DEATH OF US ALL.
I literally cannot live without my BlackBerry. And I for some reason pay $30 extra/month for unlimited web access. Apparently, I NEED to be contacted via Facebook/email/gchat/BBM/Tumblr/texting SIMULTANEOUSLY everyday, all day, in order to feel "in tune". And good Lord, don't let this sumbitch freeze on me from communications overload, b/c then, the apocalypse is on us. Truth be told, the apocalypse IS on us. What the hell did we do before 2005??? Why do I need to have both my iPod AND phone charger on me at all times??? We're so tuned in that we're literally afraid to drop out. This really is an addiction, folks...and we're all enablers. (I won't even start on our laptops. Or wi-fi.)
9. HOW THE LEFT NEEDS TO STAND UP, OR SHUTUP.
The whole world's goin to hell in a handbasket...and we're still beefin' over beef and tofu. I understand that our issues are all-encompassing, and range from *takes deep breath* environmental/reproductive/climate justice to prison reform to education reform to lgbtqueer politics to anti-war to healthcare to homelessness to worker's rights to HIV/AIDS. We're the ones with the true and just vision on what it will take to set this country in the right direction. However, we're full of so many divisions that we can't even sort out our internal politics to be able to DISMANTLE, DESTROY AND REBUILD this nation. Granted, the Tea Party gained power b/c they're rich and white, but our voices and life paths are SO far reaching that their influence shouldn't be THIS dangerous. There's no reason why Obama should have to COMPROMISE with the Right. I literally can't even stomach folks saying the word "revolution" anymore without mumbling "you mean...NEVERlution?" under my breath. I'm trying to remain optimistic that we have what it takes to shape the country with our bare grassroots hands in this coming decade. I know it's easier said than done, but it can be done if we TRULY work collectively.
10. HOW TO MAKE A DOLLAR OUTTA 15 CENTS IN ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES IN AMERICA.
Each month, when it's time to pay rent, I wonder why the HELL I chose to move here. Taking a tremendous pay cut (HEYYYY UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS!) didn't make that question disappear any sooner. But, somehow, I'm doing better off with less than I was with more. I learned what's most important to purchase, how to budget, and how to cook more BANGIN' ass dishes, since all my $$ wasn't being shredded by takeout. And overall, I realized I'm making my mama proud that I'm on my own, carving a path for myself, growing everyday, and having a phenomenal time doing it.
Hope your 2010 brought you some striking revelations, and that 2011 allows you to finish what you started...or to start completely anew. It's been real. Holla atcha in tha new yeeeearrrr!!!!