Name: Christina A.
Occupation: Retirement Consultant.
Location: Glendale, CA.
I never thought to ask for a raise until I was in my 40s. It blows my mind cuz I gave 12 years of my life to that company. I learned a lot, don’t get me wrong; I’m still using some of those skills in my work today.
When I finally did a money awareness course, it dawned on me like a piano dropped on my head, that I had some major issues around money.
To begin, my family never spoke about money.
I mean, are you kidding me?
My father, may he rest in peace, had his some heavy shit around money.
I remember this one time when I asked him how much he made –
I mean, I might’ve just said, “How many times do you masturbate a week?”
He never answered me.
In my family, we never spoke about 2 things: sex and money – and we would probably speak first about sex before money.
In the early days of my company, I would write “Maybe you could send me the money you owe me / your invoice has been probably overdue by 30 days, blah blah.
Maybe, can I please, do you mind, that kinda shit.
To this day sometimes I catch myself writing those words.
But God created the delete button, and damn am I grateful.
FADE IN: Anne Ferney (18) and Jaquila Gilmore (16) drinking Dr. Pepper:
A: And that’s when her mom started rattin’ around Wilkinsburg going around to people’s houses, “Is my son here?” I am, like, oh my god, I don’t want ever for our family to experience that. You could see in her face that she was scared.
J: My dad. First, he’s the first one to call me. And then my mom called me. And then my best friend called me and, I didn’t know what happened.
A: The news keeps sayin’ they had an Automatic AK and I’m just thinking it couldn’t be an AK cuz they kept hearin’ the shots go off so you know he kept pulling the trigger.
J: How you actually know that, just blew my mind but OK.
A: It sounds like first person let their clip go and the second person let their clip go. They say eight people got shot. Cuz first on the news they say, “Ok, four people got shot.” The next thing you know five people comin’ up dead. I’m like, yo, they just changed from four people shot, five people shot dead, eight people shot, like. And then they brought the little baby out, like, there was kids in that house. And one of the girls was pregnant. Basically, it was six people that died. If you want to be technical.
J: I don’t know who she is, but she was pregnant and she was shot. I’m like, this is cray-zy. I gotta get out the hood, cuz this is too much.
A: My senior year, I’m tryin’ to go to Florida cuz you can graduate with a trade.
Writing from the car
Sun is shining the weather is sweet (queue music)
I am parked among the wealthy, the exuberant, the luxurious.
Why does this always feel so foreign to me?
Oh, that’s a bigger question for another cocktail.
I have a few minutes, and the only thing I want to do is – touch
Hand to heart
Close my eyes, and
Anchor into me.
Can materialistic overwhelm disconnect you from you?
They say it’s true.
I say that it does.
I find myself unchained and segregated, searching for my anchor.
Physical proof of value and entitlement
The statues, the sprawling greenery, the dream of…
The world loves this shit and I am torn and yet curious by it
Why isn’t it easy?
I look at my basic car
My simple keyboard that connects to my, yes, luxurious phone
I look at my leather bag, authentic jewelry, Nike shoes, American citizenship, and on.
When you look at me, my life is not far off from that.
The abundance I take for granted
I toss to the side as I look for the next
FADE IN: a man talks into a camera.
Uh, I’m being inarticulate. You just gotta be focused. You gotta be clear in what you want and why. This world is changing. And it’s not looking good. You know.
NPR did this story about the Survivalists among the rich. These guys have built underground bunk-like-houses for the next “apocalypse”. They’re speculating a full-blown civil war. Billionaires have gone out and bought secret get-aways with generators and solar paneling, specifically for Doom’s Day. You know Reddit online? The fuckin’ chief officer carries with him a survivalist bag – canned goods, water, ammunition, maps. Another superrich dude went out and got laser eye surgery simply because he fears supplies will eventually dry up. I mean, yeah, who gives a fuck about his eye surgery, that’s not the point. Listen to what he’s sayin’.
They’re sniffin’ the shit and it don’t smell right. And who are they? The movers and shakers of our world.
Everything that’s happenin’ with Trump and China and Russia; the environment, mass shootings, the increasing black and white tension, – it’s not looking good.
But, that’s the point I’m trying to make. We can’t get upset about it anymore, we’re way past that.
Nah man. The breakdown of society or at least a catastrophic earthquake is just around the corner. And now’s the time to get really crystalized in what you want and why you want it. So, what’s your Why?
FADE IN: neighbors staring into the sky.
…And, and I hate to be the bad guy [he leans in] but which neighbor has the brightest outside light? I mean. Come on! It’s brighter than a reading lamp. I told the girls, you know, they’re really sweet but they forget to turn it off all the fuckin’ time. They have guests over tonight so I’ll have to wait. But, man-oh-man. I wanna sleep, you know.
When I moved here 20 years ago, there was darkness. The ol’ school kind. The stars were everywhere, you could see the stars from the ocean. It was beautiful. Now with the whole technology thing, it’s like everybody wants light, God forbid some shadow. There are only 2 spots at the beach that stay dark if you want some star gazing: on the left after the parking lot and the Whaler where the pathway stops; and on the right, at the second parking lot near 23rd. Das it.
It’s slim pickin’s now. Those are my hiding spots.
He looks up.
Yeah…I miss staring into the night.
They look up.
You know, I put a chair in the heart of my garden just for star gazing. Its beautiful. It’s been a while since I’ve sat there but das cuz when’s the last time you’ve seen stars?
We look up again.
I’m sure Orion is somewhere up there.
I thought I was over it.
It’s been years.
But, it’s not like it’s been years and I didn’t do shit about it.
No, I processed.
I grieved, lost my way, found the map and got back on the path.
(like a machine?)
I don’t want to cry, I tell her.
Like she’s expecting me to.
“That’s ok! You don’t have to. It’ll find its way up.”
(my jaw tightens)
No, but that’s the thing.
This ain’t my first time at the rodeo.
I’ve balled, girl.
Slobbered, face distorted and all kinds of ugly.
(I’m getting tired)
Continue reading “’til you’re ready”
FADE IN: woman and man.
She: I was in a Uber car, well, really Lyft but you get what I mean. Jamal, my driver, asked me what I do. I said nothing. No really, I said, “Nothing,” all nonchalant and shit. He took a second to understand, much like me, really, I mean who says that?
I said nothing. Ugh. What kind of despicable human, am I?
A week later, I’m at this yoga retreat and someone asked me again. I was just about to answer Nothing, when I stopped myself and took a gulp of my piping hot apple cider, burning my mouth. And I pretended I didn’t hear him, or maybe I pretended to react like I was still thinking about what we just talked about. I looked stupid, is all. Well, if I’m not sure what your intentions are, I’m going to blow you off.
I know damn well who I am. Why is it hard to say it, “Who me? Oh, sure, I’m an artist.” Or, “What do I do? I do greatness. I am greatness.”
Mohammed Ali would say “I’m the greatest,” so why can’t I?
Continue reading “the great unknown”