Photo by Dondre Green.
Editor’s note: Before we even start. Let me just admit I’ve been trying to get this post up for two whole weeks. Damn you, holidaze.
I’ve been in a bit of a holidaze lately. Maybe it came from seeing people line up for Black Friday deals at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe it came from Nelson Mandela’s death hitting me particularly hard (more on that later). Maybe it came from turning 24 on November 26th—that week overshadowed by Turkey Day/a family-less Friendsgiving—and my dad forgetting to contact me from Africa on my B-day, but making it a point to call two days prior to discuss negativity and intra-family financial squabbles. I don’t know.
But before we move any further, let’s define “holidaze.” Urban Dictionary—yes, that urban dictionary—refers to it as: “the feelings of confusion and excitement people have between thanksgiving and christmas.” We’re going to disregard the other 5 definitions that don’t apply at all. For the record, this version of holidaze received the most up-votes, at 1532 (with less than 1/4 disagreeing).
It’s that time of year where meetings get cancelled by snow storms and inclement weather. Getting any type of new work done towards the end of Quarter 4 is really difficult. We naturally wind down as we look forward to recharging our batteries during The Holidays, only to get freaked out by spending a little too much family-time, then rush back to wherever we’ve made home, welcome in the New Year, and hope to bring it in on a good note.
Whatever I’ve been afflicted with, I’m mostly getting over it, so that’s good. But let’s re-hash some of the symptoms. It mainly came from balancing my (ever-changing) schedule, and responsibilities. The constant hustling that puts me in position “to live”—i.e. society’s definition: I have money for rent, food from the grocery store, and some flashy material things—but not what actually fully fulfills and allows me to prosper. The struggle between doing cool creative stuff that I thoroughly enjoy, and paying the bills, when the two are currently mutually exclusive.1 Needless to say I’ve been really backed-up creatively. You can also sprinkle in some lingering long-distance heartbreak.2
I turned 24, and the tail end of 23 was one of the more confusing time periods of my life. One that spun me into a mini-depression. When I look back at this time, you probably couldn’t pay me to re-live it. I spent some nights reminiscing about the past, the cool things I’ve done, places I’ve been, and envious of old positions where I’ve been in setups that allow me to be more productive than I currently am. Not optimizing the present to work towards a better future is neither productive nor healthy. Luckily, indulging in some really great art, and being around some fellow creatives I respect, have resuscitated me.
I took some time to enjoy some cool cultural stuff: I watched Blue Is The Warmest Color at IFC Center. Read Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her. Saw the recent KAWS and Yayoi Kusuma exhibits in downtown galleries. Watched a game at Madison Square Garden for the first time (thank God it wasn’t the Knicks).3 And took time to binge stream the highly influential 1990s anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. The fact I did most of these things alongside cool people helped as well. I had a really great conversation with my filmmaker friend Xavier, while we were killing time for Blue Is The Warmest Color to start. Like me, he relocated from the Boston area, we met in 2012 while at school—we were both renting out cameras for film projects.
The heart of our convo was centered around acknowledging that we both probably would be getting more creative work done in Boston, because of the slower pace, and overall sense of comfort we experience there. That environment gives you the ability to slow down and focus on your craft more. But, Boston doesn’t have enough positive, inspiring stimuli and collaborators around to keep you motivated to create something truly special.4 And staying in your comfort zone, just for the sake of remaining comfortable doesn’t get you anywhere. That’s not how you grow.
If you actually have some designated time to work on passion projects in NYC, and are getting paid to do so, you’re really living the dream. That takes me to my next point. Between all the hustling and re-adjusting, I feel like I haven’t done not one single killer S&R feature since I’ve been here in New York…
- Don’t get it twisted, I do have options/offers for “industry jobs” that pay salary, but this has been an exploratory period about lining up my time investments with my future interests/possibilities (a.k.a. self-afflicted trauma/the sacrifice). [↩]
- The Drake line from “Paris Morton Music” sums it up nicely, “I’m on some Marvin Gaye shit, a bunch of distant lovers.” [↩]
- I checked out Duke vs. Arizona. My team The Celtics are probably doing too well record-wise to get him, but Jabari Parker looks like he’ll have a very long NBA career. On the other hand, Aaron Gordon needs more time to develop his game. I’m not quite sure what he’d excel at in the NBA. [↩]
- Obviously, I’m speaking for myself here. That’s how I feel after 6 years on-and-off there. 3 years consecutive, then the internships in NY started happening, world travel, and it seems I’d be in-and-out of Boston every six months. I went to a 5 year school, and designed my schedule that way for a reason. The 6th year was most of 2013, saving up to make one more move to NY. We both expressed our love for Boston, Xavier was born in Cambridge, so he’s lived in MA’s Suffolk County for much longer than I. Although I have plenty of memories from the early/mid-90s Cape Verdean section of Dorchester. My grandfather had a house there that one of my uncles sold after my grandpa died—my dad still holds a grudge against my uncle over it to this day. For what it’s worth I love that house. When I lived on Dot. Ave for most of this year, I wasn’t too far away from it, but never visited. [↩]