A new year. Another year. As we get older it starts to feel like the years are rolling into one long month, with some hot days and some cold days, some wet days and some dry days, and all the while everything keeps rolling on, uninterrupted. It feels like it was only a few weeks back when last year began, I was sitting right here, looking at an almost identical sunset, trying to figure out where the time went. How do I reflect when it feels like no time has passed? Still, the least I can do is share a lesson learnt last year, that you may not repeat my mistakes needlessly.
Bag lady you gon’ hurt your back,
Draggin’ all them bags like that,
I guess nobody ever told you how,
All you must hold on to is you, is you, is you…
As always, kindly press play. Incidentally, the one lesson I did not learn last year, or the year before, is when to stop begging you to play the tunes. Clearly. You should play today’s song, it will take you back to a time in your life when you were unfamiliar with the concept of baggage, assuming you’re about my age. When I first heard this song, watched the video actually, I was captivated by the harmonies, and the colours. It was, is, a stunning video. It took me another five years to hear her, really hear her, and now, another seven years later, I sing this song like she wrote the damn thing especially for me…
I said, one day all ‘em bags gon’ get in your way…
Have you noticed how the older you get the more stuff you lug around? If it’s not family drama with the parents and siblings, it’s familiar drama with the lover, spouse, ex, best friend. Crap at work and crap at home. Money fails and Jesus tales, sex foes and baby woes. Politicians on our minds and the taxman on our asses. Cops checking our breath and doctors checking our breadth, both frowning, and fining. Now I could sit here and give you a long speech on how you shouldn’t let your problems get you down, how you should live life one day at a time, dance like nobody is watching, run through the flowers…all that fluffy stuff that will make you feel oh so uplifted. I could do that, but I won’t, we both know I am rarely, make that barely, fluffy, and even when I am, I am in no way encouraging. What I can do, however, is share the words of wisdom I’ve learnt to live by, as spoken by the great sage, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Fuck fear, drink beer.
Profound, no? No? Probably not, beer tastes quite bad. How about, ‘Fuck fear, drink wine!’? That doesn’t rhyme, does it? ‘Don’t whine, drink wine.’ Better? Not really, that doesn’t have quite the same je ne sais quoi to it. Yes, I speaka da francais. Kinda. Okay fine, I don’t, but my google does, and google is my…say it with me…friend. Ah fuck it, let’s drink some wine. No really, that’s not a slogan, let’s drink some wine, right now. If there is one thing I’ve learnt in this life, it’s that a glass of wine is always a good idea. Five glasses, perhaps a bit too much, but the one is a good thing. Wait, I have digressed, no? Ah yes, the wisdom of the man in the tight black t shirt…
Fuck fear. Drink beer.
That’s a simple way of saying life is too short to be cautious, playing it safe and all that jazz. All it does, that seemingly wise caution, is leave you frustrated, wondering at the bloody what if’s. What if I had taken that job? What if I had left, or more likely hadn’t left, that (wo)man? What if I had more money? What if I was skinnier, or taller? What if I had a bigger car, or a better house, or a fancier pair of shoes? What if I had been buying whiskey by the bottle, would she have had a drink with me then? What if I hadn’t agreed to go home with him that night, would he have called me? What if I’d done the arts degree I wanted, instead of medicine like my father insisted? What if I pack it all in and move to Malindi? What if I quit my job and become a filmmaker? What if I get back with my ex and she leaves me again? What if I like weed too much and get addicted? What if I’d voted for the guy from the other tribe? What if Jesus comes back? What if, what if, what if…
Fuck fear. Drink beer.
I can’t tell you how to resolve the more existential problems in your life, faith, purpose, religion, morality, those are deeply personal and better suited to a blog with pictures of a sunset, or happy babies. I can, however, shed a bit of light on the other problems in your life, love and sex and everything in between, those are problems I can speak on with some authority, seeing as how I often lack one or the other. Or both, depending, but that’s a story for another day.
Bag lady you gon’ miss your bus,
You can’t hurry up, cause you got too much stuff,
When they see you comin’, niggas take off runnin’,
From you, its true, oh yes they do,
So pack light…
Some days you get to the point where all the junk you’re carrying around becomes too much to handle, it starts to weigh you down, or drag you back. On days like that, you need to ask yourself, what would Stone Cold do? Okay fine, you can ask Jesus too if that makes you happy, but start with my guy, he’s a lot simpler. I’m all for learning from the past and embracing your flaws, but when the past is keeping you from moving into the future, and flaws are being used as a bullshit safety blanket, then perhaps it’s time to let it go. All the baggage we haul around, walking around like wounded antelopes fleeing from similarly wounded simbas, this story must end. It is no way to live.
Girl I know, sometimes it’s hard and we can’t let go,
When someone hurts you oh so bad inside,
You can’t deny it, you can’t stop crying,
So, if you start breathin’, then you won’t believe it,
You’ll feel so much better,
So much better baby…
These lyrics are from the album version, not the one you’re listening to, in case you’re wondering why I’m writing something other than what’s playing, and (possibly) what crack I’m smoking today (you know I can hear the joke you’ve just made in your head, right? No really, I can…). The reason I put up this version? Listen to her riffing, from 2:50…garbage bag lady, Gucci bag lady… let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go… plastic bag ladies, baby baggin’ mommas…betcha love can make it better… I’m convinced that Ms Badu is not entirely sane, but dammit if this song isn’t the sanest thing ever put to song. The best bit is you can apply it to whatever situation you find yourself in. Really. The answer to any question you have ever had about your love life, or the lack thereof, is in this one song. Yes, the song you refused to play. Yes, I’m like a dog with a bone, but you already know that, no? And don’t go thinking her lines only apply to women, gentlemen, this song works just as well for you too, if her concerts are anything to go by. I’m just saying, this baggage story is gender neutral, no?
This year, when you get stuck, ask yourself, W.W.S.C.D? That’s right, F.F.D.B.
Fuck fear, drink beer.
Or wine. Yes, or water. Yes, or tea. Dammit, I am not being literal, you bloody alcohol nazis (read, Mututho), just drink something, anything. Yes, whatever you want… Can’t a girl get poetic around here? No, wait, this girl actually can’t get poetic, which is why she uses lyrics, and slogans from the shirts of wrestling legends. Clever, no? Probably not.
Happy new year, my lovelies, may this year be kinder to you than the last.