(You Hungry? Good. That page has been updated.)
I rose early in the morning and headed to the window. If I can see them, can they see me standing here scantily clad and half-dressed? I stare at myself every morning in that same window pane, looking at my reflection at first and then to the outside world. Lucky for me, my neighbors in the condo facing my kitchen don’t have a regular morning schedule. Their children are getting so big. Even the baby is walking now. I do the same thing every morning, my same old un-usual routine that simultaneously tells me what I look like and what the weather will be. I pulled my hand back immediately the other day, shocked at how cold the glass had become overnight. It’s winter.
Stores and subway cars have turned on the heat, but I wear my coat inside anyway. I wear it while I shop for vegetables. While working, and while tutoring. N’s school assignment was to write a paper about the Big Five personality types, a test administered by psychologists to help determine what kind of personality they’re dealing with. I wanted to make the most out of her tutoring session, so I didn’t take the test myself, but I can guess I’m somewhere in between a loving, emotionally driven ego-centric hippie, and an uptight orderly soldier. I like control, and I like having control over my surroundings, and I’m glad to know I have control over everything. Please, allow me to explain.
I am whole. I have everything I need. I don’t need to sell the other half of Brandon’s birthday present in order to have a safety net underneath me because like I just told you, I have everything I need. Word on the street is that tickets to the Jay-Z and Kanye West concert are going for $600.00, and that’s for average seats. We actually have better than average seats. We have amazing seats and we’re supposed to be going this coming Sunday, but the closer the date gets, the more I think about selling my ticket and just letting Brandon go with my roommate and her friends. But as soon as that thought enters my mind, I picture Brandon alone, or not alone but rather without me, in that huge arena, his arms lifted high in the air as he excitedly raps along. And I see him look over at what should be my chair next to him, and instead there’s some rich cat thumbing his iphone during what could have been our magic moment.
And yeah, I imagined that scenario. And yeah, Brandon probably won’t ever let his eyes leave the stage, let alone to look over at me. And yeah, double yeah, I can’t stand Jay-Z and could care less about seeing him. He raps almost solely about things that I don’t agree with, and I don’t secretly desire to meet him and bring him to Church the way I do with Kanye All-Day Let’s-Play West. But…I think I’m gonna keep the ticket. It’s time to enjoy the things we work so hard to buy. Or the things I worked hard to buy so that I could see Brandon look happy. He’d do the same for me. And after all, he’s so excited. I want to be there and not be concerned about serious matters for those three hours. I found myself having a good attitude about the whole thing during a competition to name the most Kanye West hits the other night. I did pretty good, felt a little confident, and started naming what I thought were Jay-Z songs too.
“Ooh! OOH! And what about the Jay-Z song when it’s like, him talking about the girl. And he’s like, in love with her. And Pharell is singing. And then he’s like, ‘Oh you’re so beau-ti-ful…”
“That’s Snoop Dogg,” Amber counters.
Whatever. I have everything I need on the inside of me. I have wisdom too. Maybe not the kind of wisdom that correctly identifies hip hop, but wisdom nonetheless. I have abundance on the inside of me, I have healing and health on the inside of me. For the Bible tells me so. And knowing these truths, confessing these truths, and believing these truths has given me unshakeable peace lately.
Perhaps it is because I willingly volunteer so much information, or perhaps it is because I seem “approachable”– a quality I adore in others and myself, and a quality that I plan to always possess as an evangelist–, but people seem to like asking me very personal questions. The idea that I’m approachable makes them feel comfortable doing it I guess. Lawrence Saintly Saint-Victor told me that I looked like a younger version of our Pastor’s wife, and I just about did a backflip. She’s beautiful and so wise, but above that, she too is approachable. She’s never shunned me or appeared too busy when I’ve stammered through a greeting, not even recently in Atlanta when I caught her at the end of a long conference. I just did it again, didn’t I, just volunteered a whole story? So then maybe it is me. But anyway, people never hesitate to jump right in and ask me what it is that I plan to do now that I’ve left the cafe. How I pay my bills. How I afford new clothes. The solution to all of that just came to me, and the answer is…”I’ll tell you in two weeks”.
What I’d like to hear is less nosey questions and more of what it is I heard come out of Santrice’s mouth this weekend. I had a few precious moments with her as we walked to get pizza in the freezing cold. Big, fat slushy drops of snow were weighing our umbrellas down, but she didn’t rush the walk. She listened as I opened up about what the last month has been like, confidently at first and then she continued listening as Miss Doubt joined our conversation. I hate Doubt, I hate second-guessing the decisions I’ve obediently followed through on. I thought I had locked Doubt away in a closet and poured gasoline on her lying ass, but she broke loose**. But then Santrice lovingly, patiently, and obediently reminded me that there is no good thing God will withhold from those who walk uprightly. And then she proved it…by shoving some money into my hands. Anyone who knows me knows that I started arguing with her about why I didn’t need it, but that was only to mask the tears that eventually came out. I fail to find words when I think about how lucky I am to still be discovering friends at such a late point in the game of life. Beyond lucky, beyond blessed.
Raise your hand if your skin’s acting a little weird because of the weather change. Raise your hand if it’s time to do something about it. Well then, let’s go. You and me. And I’ll sing the Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun” while we figure everything out. You hum the background, ok?
**Taylor, don’t say ass. I slipped. Big Sister loves you.
Written to: Gnarls Barkley “Crazy”…and then Ray Lamontagne’s cover of “Crazy”, The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” (it was a ROCK LOBSTER!)