So recently I've spent a lot of time marinating on myself, my life, etc etc, for a lot of reasons. Not the "where am I going, why am I here" ruminations, but more like "where have I been" and "why do I/should I like myself" ruminations. Anyway, here's the latest. For some reason I've been on the Jay-Z tip this week. No clue why. I mean other than the fact that he's my favorite rap artist of all time, that is.
Nonetheless. No matter what anyone might say about him, let it be said by me, right here, and right now, that he has said some relevant shit. Maybe not to anyone else, but he has for me. As is obvious I've been listening to The Black Album this week. And I posted this some time ago in a note in Facebook but I never sat here and took the time to actually explain how it is that the lyrics are so relevant to me.
Before I continue, let's see this lyrics. It's really the first part that I like the best:
"I ain't never been to jail; I ain't never pay a nigga
to do no dirt for me I was scared to do myself
I will never tell even if it means sittin in a cell
I ain't never ran, never will
I ain't never been smacked; a nigga better keep his hands
to himself or get clapped for what's under that man's belt
I never asked for nothin I don't demand of myself
Honesty, loyalty, friends and then wealth
Death before dishonor and I tell you what else
I tighten my belt 'fore I beg for help
Foolish pride is what held me together through the years
I wasn't felt which is why I ain't never played myself
I just play the hand I'm dealt, I can't say I've never knelt
before God and asked for better cards at times to no avail
But I never sat back feelin sorry for myself
If you don't give me heaven I'll raise hell
'Til it's heaven"
Now. I've lived in a lot of places in my life, and one place I am glad that I lived in...or rather two places, if you think about it...is the 'hood and the barrio. Yeah, I lived in the ghetto...for a good portion of my life. Was born in Oakland (or a tiny city close to it that no one's ever heard of) and while living in LA, have spent a lot of time in and around the hood. It's not necessarily something I pride myself on, but I AM glad it happened. Why? Well, I saw a lot of shit and went through a lot of shit that I would never have seen or experienced. It put me in a much different state of mind, I think, than any of my "peers". Meaning, more specifically, any younger Asian females that were raised in a basically middle class environment. With this in mind, I continue.
I've never been to jail. Yeah I've committed crimes, (no I don't just mean dowloading shit illegally) I've done my share of petty theft, been an accessory to a few things I shouldn't have been, whatever. But I wouldn't ever pay anyone to do anything I was scared to do myself. If I want shit done, *I* will do it. Since after all it's been proven time and again, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
I've never ratted anyone out, I've never told anyone something solely for the sake of saving my own ass. Fuck that. I would never roll over on anyone, would never try and sell someone out. I've never run away from my responsibilities or from the cops or anything like that, either.
I would never let myself be treated like a bitch. And when I say bitch, I don't mean the "bitch" I'm usually proud of being (read: a strong woman) I mean like, a little cowardly pussy. No one would ever be able to lay hands on me and get away with it. If you touch me the wrong way, I'll kill you.
I like to believe that I'm not a hypocrite. I don't ask people for anything that I wouldn't give them in turn (although hence, I never ask anyone for anything, but there's as reason why and that's a whole long, other, different story). I also don't expect more from people than I myself am either willing or capable of doing. And there have been many, many times in my life, where I did tighten my belt rather than ask for help. I've been hungry more than a few times because I was too proud to ask someone for money or help in some way...and that's because I don't want ANYONE to ever say that I owed them anything. I would never want anyone to be able to claim that anything I have or am was because of them. EVER.
And yes, foolish pride has held me together and made me who I am, for better or for worse. And I can be proud of the fact that I've tried my damndest to never play myself. I would never do something if I didn't believe in what I was doing. I would never be something I didn't believe in or support anyone I didn't believe in. I would never sacrifice my strongest principles for trivial shit. Never.
Now this last part here? Sure I have sat back and felt sorry for myself, but I got over it soon enough and played the hand I was dealt. And I did ask God for better cards, most of the time to no avail. I've asked God for better cards quite a bit recently, what can I say? Has he dealt me a better hand than the ones I've been playing? Only time will tell I suppose. In the meantime I like to believe that I'm a woman, no a PERSON of honor and integrity, someone who still believes in honor and integrity for that matter. Someone who would die for the things I truly, truly believed in. Someone who isn't afraid to be passionate and CARE about things. Someone who isn't afriad to fight for the things she wants and believes in.
The main two things I would die or kill for? Love. Honor. And that is all.
And THAT is one reason why I think I really like myself.