I’ve been observing the changes in my behavior since I’ve been at school and away from home for the first time, and I wrote a song about it. Wanna hear it? That sucks because there isn’t one. But there is this list of things my mom can't make me do anymore.
1. Eat Vegetables
For breakfast this morning, I had a plate of french fries. For dinner, I had THREE delicious bacon, ham, and cheese sammiches. My mother tried to instill the value of veggies in my life. Tried real hard. She put green vegetables on my plate at nearly every meal, and fruit at breakfast. She had a food pyramid game that was so raw (BTW: It ain’t even a pyramid, nowadays, it’s a circle), and she really thought she had reached her goal when I called her asking her to bring me green beans and cabbage… OR SO SHE THOUGHT! (Don’t tell anybody, but that cabbage been sitting in the refrigerator since she left them left them there and at this point, I’m scared to open the container because I don’t want to know what old cabbage smells like.)
2. Rep My Set
I grew up in an African-American suburb with my peers trying to turn it into something more gangsta. Growing up in this environment and slowly learning to hate my peers left me with two choices: become the sort that bends over backwards to assimilate, or become Assata Shakur. Rebel that I am, my choice was obvious. But now that I’m in college, I’ve scaled it back a bit— for reasons.
I was Chris Rock who said “I love Black people, but I can’t stand [n-folk].” At the time, I didn’t agree. I was one. Nonetheless, some seventeen years later, the thought resonates. Take my roommate, for example. I don’t object to her, per se. She’s a people, for the most part.
Her friends, however, are rude folk, ugly folk, nasty folk. I walked out my room one time to grab something to eat (not a vegetable) and there are wrapped willies walking in my living room and a love juice stain on the couch. THEN WHEN I WENT BACK IN MY ROOM, THEY HAD SEX ON MY BLANKETS AND BROKE MY DECORATIVE PILLOW!! How do you break a pillow? HOW DAT WORK?! WHERE THEY DO THAT?!
The various shenanigans of my roommates’ friends and others of their ilk have caused me to dial back on my infallible defense of Black folk. So, no—not repping my set as much.
3. Thugging for the Lord
Yes, I’m a 120 pound, 18 year old engineering student from the ‘burbs, and I’m thugging. Now, I know what you’re thinking—you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s a positive declarative! This is supposed to a list about what she isn’t doing. You can’t do that!” Now that I’m being forced into becoming something like an adult, I’m realizing that a great many of y’all ain’t all you’re cracked up to be. Some of you are outright full of it, and it makes realize that I’ve spend my childhood in awe of you for nothing. It makes me firmer in my convictions. I challenge your ideas. I buck your system. I dream of gnawing at your corneas.
One of the biggest and most startling changes in myself that I’ve noticed are my views on religion and spirituality. First of all, I haven’t set foot in a church since I’ve been here, but I find myself more spiritual than ever. I was raised in church, and while my mother is progressive, she's also very, very Christian. In my grandmother’s church, they have the notion that prayer lasts two hours and you haven’t touched God until the keyboard organ has started up and Sister Martha* has danced her wig exactly 26.7° askew. Now that I have distanced myself from Sister Martha and the Swoop Bang that Tried, I have new perspective. I talk to God daily, all day sometimes. That’s my homie. I know that’s an increasingly unpopular view, and I couldn’t care less. Cuz I’m a thug.
4. Giving Dambs
I’ve never been one to be overly generous with the dambs, but most times I would at least try. In most instances, I would reach deep deep down into the corner of my pocket and come up with one scraggly little damb and I’d hold it in my hand. The poor, little, decrepit damb would cough and look at me with longing eyes and I’d whisper, “Be free” and the little damb would fly. But no more. My dambs don’t fly no more — they got lazy just like I did. You could tell me Little Timmy fell down the well and I’d just do some rendition of “Po’ Little Tink Tink” because: A. Really, Timmy? Again? And B. I don’t care and don’t feel like caring and my mother’s not here to make me care.
I don’t care about deep cleaning — I was all pressed because I accidentally left my dustbuster at home when I moved in, but I haven’t seen it or the right side of a dust rag since August, and I couldn’t care less. I don’t care about appearances — I straight up wore giraffe footie pajamas, complete with a hood with antlers, some black boots, and gold earrings to class last week. It was 60 degrees outside and I was about to be late trying to pick an outfit because everything I picked out left me out in the cold. My need for warmth overrode my sense of appropriate dress. I was snuggly. Obviously my cute wasn’t affected, because I also pulled a number. I guess “no, I quite literally woke up like this” has a certain appeal for the boyfolk. Go fig.
Jai-Celeste is a 18 year old college student who spends her days contemplating the wonders of her new-found adulthood, and debating if it would be easier just to spend her life as a caterpillar. If you're looking for her you can find her in these e-streets, eating bacon and silently judging the mothers of children with improperly punctuated forenames.