Today was the fourth consecutive day of fruitlessness and minor melancholy. This pattern began on Friday and hasn’t revealed any sign of passing. I was in a crappy (would love to use a different word) mood all day. Last night I went to bed with the idea that today would be different. I watched that movie with Hailey Berry, called, ‘The Call’. Although a little dark, it was an awesome movie. Maybe that movie contributed to the way I felt today. Anyway, I set my alarm clock an hour earlier than usual. My mission was to get up early and jump start the day. I flossed and said an additional set of prayers. I prayed for other people instead of myself hoping that God would notice my selflessness. This morning I woke up, cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. After cleaning the house up a bit, I made myself some bacon and eggs. I was contemplating topping the meal off with grits, but I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. All this deliciousness was subsequently washed down with a can of frozen tropical fruit punch that I pulled out of the freezer. Oh yes, today was going to be different. It was going to be a productive day. Yeah!
Fast-forward to now…
About 30 minutes ago I walked into the house sweaty and breathing pretty hard. See, I had a run in with some dude who lives up the street. This guy has always been a trouble maker and it just so happens that today he decided to disrespect my mother by saying her flowers in her garden looked like trash. Eh, that was a no-no buddy. My mom loves her flowers, so like any man of the house I had to re-act… and I did. I chased the punk up the street for about 3 miles. We ran through bushes and neatly arranged landscapes. He crossed major intersections and weaved through moving cars. I on the other hand waited for the cars to slow down and for the light to change. After I caught him (what? you thought I wasn’t going to catch him since I waited for the light to change?) we exchanged words and…well you know what happened next. In the same fashion that a cheetah sniffs and stands over it’s fallen prey, I told the guy that I better not see him around my mothers garden again. He looked up at me and remorsefully shook his head up and down. I spat beside him on the pavement and walked away into the sunset. This is the animal kingdom people! Only the strong and fierce survive.
My imagination is going to get me in trouble one day. My apologies, that previous paragraph never happened. It probably happens in the jungle everyday and most men probably fantasize about having those kind of ‘cojones’, but that event never took place on my street. However, I did run a peaceful and reflection filled 3.5 miles. Not one where I am chasing another man with my head leaning back, screaming explitives. Mutha F%&*#! However, it was one where I spoke to God and asked him what message he was trying to get through to me.
Today I watched two different FIFA Americas Championship Basketball league games, while attempting to write some of my book. The first game was between Jamaica and I forgot who. Jamaica was down by about 25 points during one stretch of the game. For some reason I was looking for Usain Bolt, but this was basketball not track and field. Jamaica made a few promising runs here and there, but they looked tired while the other team looked in complete control. Ah, it just came to me! They were playing Puerto-Rico. I am a big fan of JJ Barea, mostly because I can relate to him. The guy is about 5’10” and has a motor like a Ferrari. Not to mention that he is dating Miss Puerto-Rico, which would accelerate any mans life. . The second game was between Brazil and Paraguay. Brazil suffered its third consecutive lost and I believe that they were eliminated. I caught that game on its tail end so I don’t have much to say about that. After the games ended I closed down that window on my computer and directed my full attention on a section of my book called, ‘Days Inns’.
A few days ago I shared some excerpts from my book with my mom. The excerpts that I shared with her were mainly from chapter one of my book titled, “Life Back East”. She enjoyed it but gave me a ton of ways to make the reader more interested in reading my book. She spoke about aspects of our neighborhood and about the property that our house was built on. My mother touched on the violence, hatred and racism that existence right outside my door. She even informed me about the deep history, such as the tunnel in my neighbors basement that was part of the intricate underground railway system developed by Harriet Tubman. So many things that I never knew were part of my childhood growing up. At the time she was inputing this information into my mind I was excited, but also a tad overwhelmed. Chapter one was progressing along smoothly, now I had to potentially reconsider what I had written. That night I went to bed eager to break chapter one down into subsections. Each topic that my mom explain to me would all go under Chapter one. Yeah, this was great! Tomorrow I would start talking about the old, trashy motel that existed behind my house and how it transformed my neighborhood. I even posted my excited about the workload ahead.
Since that night, 3 days and about 15 hours has passed. During that time I haven’t been able to write down a single word worth sharing. Well it may be true that we are our worst critics, the sentences that I formed today were egregious. Yesterday’s were no better. The ideas were in my head as well as on my hard drive. I looked at my notes several times and encourage myself that all I needed to do was open up a new page in Microsoft Word. Ladies and gentlemen, that page is still open and blank.
A few hours ago I went out to help my friend with her car and then headed over to the gym. I arrived around 7:40 and was very excited about sweating and releasing a massive amount of stress on the treadmill and in the weight room. After all, my book is partially about running. As I walked toward the stretching area, as I always do, I stopped and gazed in the mirror for a second. I just looked at myself and took a deep sigh. What a day, I said to myself. I dropped my bag next to me and began to stretch out my quadriceps and calves. Boy was I tight. I lied down on my back and pulled my knee to my chest. This stretch is great because it pulls on your butt muscles. Its ridiculous how much stress our butt muscles hold. After my butt muscles were loose and free I unlaced my shoes and proceeded to change into my running shoes. Mental preparation is so important when running. And while I change my shoes, I make sure that I focus my mind on how hard I’m going to run and how good the pain is going to feel. However, just as I reach that point of mental equilibrium one by one the lights in the gym begin shutting off. I look around and notice a handful of people looking around as well. Just then a voice over the PA tells myself and the other gym members that LA Fitness is now closed. Mutha F$%&#$… more expletives.
I leave the gym with a few other irritated members. One guy to my right adamantly tells me that he is going to change gyms. He says that it’s ridiculous that at gym would close at 8pm. I agree, however, it is Labor Day. In my car I grab my phone to see if anyone tried to contact me. No one. ‘Of course’ I say to myself. I can’t believe that this day is progressing like this. Nothing is going right. I call my mom and tell her what happened. She apologizes for the day that I am having and tells me to come home and run outside. On the way home I pass by one of my favorite smoothie shops, called ‘Bahama Bucks’. They make a mean smoothie! Hesitant whether I should stop off and treat myself to a strawberry smoothie, my mother calls me. “Were you able to grab the lemons from the store” she asks. “Damn it, what is going on with you today, Ade?”, I ask myself mentally. “I’m sorry mom, I totally forgot about the lemons. Do you want me to go back to the store and pick them up?” I ask. “It’s okay sweetie, just come home,” she says. I grab a smoothie for myself and a sugar free slushy for my mom and head home.
I walk into the door and let my mom know that it’s me making all the commotion and not an intruder. She recognizes my voice and we talk. I tell her about the day I had and she tells me that I need to embrace this day. “I realize that you had a very trying day, but it was also very productive,” she goes on to say. In my mind, I say to myself, “how in the world was my day productive?” I napped for 2 hours, watched about 3 hours of international basketball, went to the gym and stretched for 15 minutes and to top things off, I didn’t write a single profound entry toward my book. What part of that is productive? My mother looks at me and shakes her head. “You still don’t get it, do you?” she asks. “You woke up this morning, right?” she asks. “Yes”, I say. “How did your knees feel” she asks. “They were a little stiff, but overall they were good”, I answer. “What about your eyes? Were you able to see what was in front of you?” she asks. I laugh and tell my mother that of course I am appreciative for the many blessing that I have, however, my day was unproductive on a different level. Again she looks at me and shakes her head. “Sweety, these moments aren’t flukes,” she says. “I know I gave you a heap of information the other day and your mind may be in a state of chaos, but you will find your way through the fog. Write about your day today and share it with your readers. Writing a book isn’t just about adding words to the pages in your book. It’s about getting yourself right and acceptance,” she tells me.
I walked into the house sweaty and breathing pretty hard. I just ran 3.5 miles filled with reflection and thanksgiving.
Writing a book is about getting yourself right and acceptance. I’m getting “righter” and learning to accept things better. That includes productive AND unproductive days.
It’s just a book and whether it is a best-seller that captures the attention of millions of readers, or if it only amounts to a personal accomplishment that collects dust on a shelf in my room… my life thus far has been productive. I’m breathing.