When I was 15 I had 96 pictures of Michael Jackson on my wall. “Thrillermania” was in full force. I was already hooked in from “Off the Wall” and therefore, a certifiable MJ super fan. This was before the Internet age information explosion so I scoured magazines and the Sunday paper week after week and even the tiniest of pictures made the cut. It is almost unfathomable to me just how huge Michael Jackson became. The impact he made on music, dance and entertaining is EPIC. (No pun intended of the mention of the lucky record label that released such gems as “Off the Wall” and “Thriller”) I mean Michael Jackson broke the color barrier on MTV. Michael Jackson was an R&B artist who crossed over to pop radio then became its King. Michael Jackson moonwalked across a stage and turned the world on its ear.
And for this, I can only admire and honor him for his art. Yeah, things got weird. But even then, I couldn’t bear to believe it. Instead, I chose to reflect on the path he was on. An incredibly famous and dynamic child star, he grew into an even bigger uber-celebrity when he was a young man. He had people constantly wanting him and grabbing for his attention and maybe he was never able to get grounded, to relax into his being. And as weird as things got, I always maintained the hope that he would be back, that he still had something in him. And maybe just maybe he would hook up with Quincy Jones once again and shoot another album straight to the moon.
I was a shy kid and used to hang in my room a lot. I had my roster of cassettes and my little boom box permanently in the play position. Music has always been my salvation and all these years later “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” are still in my steady rotation. And as I sit in disbelief, the same set of lyrics keep playing in my head. When I was 15, I thought Michael Jackson was singing them to me. Now that I’m 41 and know a whole lot better, I think maybe he was singing them to himself.
Lift your head up high
And scream out to the world
I know I am someone
And let the truth unfurl
No one can hurt you now
Because you know what’s true
Yes, I believe in me
So you believe in you
Help me sing it!
Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa
Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa….
via Daily Prompt: Vigor
Vigor. That’s a good word. It reminds me of how I try to stay fired up about life. My Aunt, who recently passed away, and my Mom were/are both in nursing homes. Every time I go to visit, I think on the way out, “Man, I’ve got to really, really live, every day. Do NOT forget this Cahla.” Because one day, I am not going to be this young and full of vigor. One day very soon. It is true, even though it sounds so corny. Life does go by in a blink. And the next thing you know, you’re old. And who really knows how that’s going to play out? Some people rock their lives until the day they die. Others fade away. Living takes a toll and you either meet it head on as you age or you wither. I’d prefer the former to the latter. I’ve recently gotten into fitness for the first time ever. It sounds so cliche for someone my age. But I’ll tell you what. It’s now or never. Now is the time to capitalize on the fact that I can still get in shape, before it’s too late. Grab the vigor before it’s just too late.
via Daily Prompt: Anticipation
Anticipation is good and bad wouldn’t you agree? It’s the ultimate in not having control. Sometimes anticipation is for a good reason, sometimes a bad. But it always kills. The waiting and the waiting and the waiting. Kind of like when it feels like it takes forever to get to an anticipated vacation destination and a blink on the ride home. Kind of like when you are dreading a situation that you know is going to happen whether you are ready for it or not. The pressure builds and sometimes you handle it and sometimes you don’t. And although I label myself as an “avoider” when the chips are down, I always show up. My friends don’t call me “Come Through Cahla” for nothing!
via Daily Prompt: Aromatic
I love how the sense of smell has a way of holding memories. In a most pure and intense way. When something is so aromatic that just the mere scent of it sends you vaulting back to a time and place with such alarming speed that if you close your eyes, you think you are there. When I was little my Nonnie always used to give me apricot juice. It was sweet and yummy and divinely delicious, just like everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that Nonnie served up. Many years, moons, experiences and travels later, long after Nonnie passed on, I had forgotten about that luscious aroma. Until. One day I came across a bottle of Apricot juice at a friend’s house. Upon being offered some, I instinctively picked up the glass and smelled it. The rush of the sweetness instantly propelled me back to Nonnie’s kitchen, in the safe, warm, comfort of my childhood. I was so simultaneously overwhelmed, taken aback, sad, grateful and reminiscent that I burst into tears on the spot. This year was 30 years since my Nonnie died. I still think about her every day. Her presence lives on forever deep in my heart.
via Daily Prompt: Mythical
Mythical. I immediately go to candles and incense but then I realize that maybe I was thinking mystical? Either way, I like the sound of both words. Mythical reality sounds like an oxymoron but as it applies to our recent U.S. election, it is accurate and real. The hangover is still in full effect and now that I’ve started writing about it I’ve realized that I don’t want to write about it at all. So–back to mystical, I mean, mythical! I always loved the Greek myths. We were taught them in Catholic School which I always found rather weird, but, hey, I’m sure they had their reasons. The Catholic Church is quite mystical with all the allegory, the miracles and yes, the incense. That is my favorite part of the Mass, or it used to be seeing as I don’t go to church anymore, except for funerals it seems. I determined long ago that the Catholics just didn’t want me based on my lifestyle so I’ve stayed away. I was dragged to Church every Sunday for my entire childhood. I remember feeling gloriously free on my first Sunday at college, when I was finally able to make the choice on my own not to go. Instead, I probably hung out in my friend’s room where we listened to music and burned some incense…
via Daily Prompt: Percolate
When the feelings and emotions percolate inside you, it means they want a way to come out. The back is really better, yes, and I am doing everything I can to relieve my body of the built up stress that is residing there. I can’t figure out if life is just harder as an adult or it’s just that these times are harder. I don’t remember my parents being stressed and overwhelmed but who’s to say? Maybe they just hid it from me like good parents are supposed to do. I went to high school in the 80’s when my only worry was trying to fit in. Of course, that seemed like a pretty big worry at the time but pales in comparison to the New Millennium. I guess that’s why they call it hindsight? Fortunately for me I am a stubborn Taurus and I don’t give in that easily, if at all. My kickboxing instructor always brings up the virtue of mental toughness during the brutal 15 minute hyper-cardio workout at the beginning of class. I feel grateful that I’ve been blessed with it. If I had the chance to switch up today’s Daily Prompt word I think I would have picked Endure.
via Daily Prompt: Tart
Tart is actually a good way to describe how I am feeling today. Not in a bitter way, not in a distasteful way, more like a sharp way. I threw my back out on Sunday. And while the pain is close to unbearable, I always take it (yes, it happens often enough) as a reminder that my body is telling me something. Reaching out to me to say, “hey, Cahla, you are not *noticing*.” I have buried a lot lately, especially with my Aunt passing away. I’ve never been that close to death before. I’ve never witnessed it up close and personal, in that moment of someone moving on to their next journey. I know it deeply affected me, how could it not? I am not dealing with it very well. I have tried to bury it by brushing the feeling and the images and that memory aside, all the while thinking about it all the time. But the thing is, my body doesn’t want to carry it around. Hence, the back. I do know this–I am aware and yet I seem to still do it a lot. The brushing away….I guess it’s a lesson that I need to continue to learn, until I get it right.
via Daily Prompt: Or
“You can go with this or you can go with that.” Lyrics to a song I knew long ago that a friend put on a mix tape for me. Remember those? It used to be the ultimate communication tool for a friend, a crush, a lover. We would sit down among our cassettes, vinyl and CDs and mull over song after song, formulating our playlist. If I put on this song, will she get it or will he not? Too obvious, too subtle? I made a lot of mixes just for myself too. Some of those cassettes are still hidden away in my closet. From time to time I take them out and look at the songs that I had written on the case. And the title. Because you know, you always titled them! That was one of the most important pieces. One of my favorites was titled “My last week of college” and looking back at that playlist I still remember all of the songs and how I felt that week. It’s a nice piece of my personal history to tap into from time to time. A window into the past to make me smile in the present.
via Daily Prompt: Primp
Primp. Hmmm, what an obscure word for a prompt. Even though I know what it means I still looked it up, hoping for a spark of inspiration perhaps? Because of course the only thing on my mind is the election results. I work with a very diverse group of people. From the outside it could be viewed as an odd soup. A good amount of people are from the very town that our office is in. Lifelong residents who are known as “townies”. These people have grown up in one place, most have never left and they are proud to call this place home. Quintessential Americans. The remainder of my co-workers are from all over the world. Central America, South America, Europe and Africa. They have come here for a better life for themselves and their families and they are proud to call the U.S. home. Yesterday all anyone could talk about was the election. Today, no one has even brought it up. I think maybe everyone is turning it over in their heads trying to figure out what it all means. And regardless of who you supported, we all know it means different things for different people in this office. It feels uncomfortable and that discomfort is hanging in the air because at the end of the day, we all love and respect one another. One of my lovely co-workers brought in dozens and dozens of doughnuts, comfort food to help everyone feel better. She left a note of love with them. Everyone is partaking, happy to have a delightful sweet on this very uncertain morning in America. It is a little piece of common ground that we are all happy to share today.
via Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts
Well today is Election Day here in the U.S. I am already having second thoughts and I haven’t even voted yet. I’ve never been this anxious, exasperated, and reluctant to vote in my entire life. I’ve developed an ever-evolving strategy as to how to approach this conundrum of the highest order. As I am lucky enough to live in a staunchly “blue”(re: Democrat) state, I am fortunate to not feel the pressure of those in “swing” states, where the vote could go either way. My last minute change in strategy involves waiting until after work to vote, as opposed to the get-it-over-with strategy of voting this morning. This in and of itself is a problem. Voting in a safe environment is a privilege that many, many people the world over do not have. Here in the U.S. we need a big societal perspective change. We are stuck in this highly divisive, I’m right you’re wrong and if you’re wrong you’re a moron paradigm that is getting us no where fast. And that is exactly what they want. “They” being not us, basically. The power elite has become very adept at The Distraction. “Distract the people from the real issues so we can continue to walk all over American Democracy like it just doesn’t matter.” And that’s what they have done. Divide and Conquer. The interesting thing about it is that all of a sudden, many Americans have woken up and all of a sudden people realize that they can have a say in the matter. What that say is remains to be seen and will be very telling as to where we are at as a people. Either way, tomorrow morning, half of the country is going to wake up unhappy and that is never a good thing.