The stats machine is telling me today’s post is post number 500. So much going on in ‘real life’, we’re right on time for some introspection…
By the personal and professional standard I hold myself to, I’ve had back to back ‘house money’ years. I’ve been in the Game long enough to know this pace won’t last forever, but this extended upswing has given me new perspective, or rather it’s added to the perspective I have. I don’t feel as if I’m changing in a dramatic way, but I feel I’ve opened a door in understanding how others think. Let me explain…
To start where I started, and to be shaped by the philosophies and politics that shaped me, I was aware of how ‘power corrupts’, but I just didn’t get it. I have enough ego to know that once in a while it’s in your best interests to let the world know ‘Yeah, I got this.’, but to live a lifetime where everything is driven by someone doing you wrong at some point; not me. While also not my style, there was a point in the process where I understood the Hater Code (if I can’t have it, then you can’t either). But to be fair, the only thing I’ve consistently hated on the past couple of years is the Miami Heat, so how much of a hater am I really?
The new perspective I feel I have a better understanding of now is ‘being born on third base.’ I was (proudly) not born on third base, so it represented ‘the Other’ for most of my life. But from where I sit now, I can at least get how people who have never known a certain type of struggle have no need or understanding for religion. And on the flip side, I see better how much all of our religious beliefs are shaped by the cultures that raised us. In a larger sense, I’m really saying I have a new understanding of conservatism. If you’re too far removed from the cycles that feed and encourage a certain type of self destruction, then it would be hard to separate ‘the person who can and will pull themselves out if we give them a little help’, from ‘the person with no intent of changing their situation’ (and feeding the worst stereotypes people associate with any type of socialism.)
Here’s how this relates to me individually: as my life, and the things I want out of this life have all started to fall into their proper place, I feel now that the best way to serve the people I love and the communities I love…is to be myself. Not (as I intended at earlier points) to be some outsized, WWE version of ‘Malik Aziz turned up to 11’ that you I get to play sometimes on stage or in front of the camera, but as the me that those who know me the best have gotten used to seeing and talking to everyday.
‘Boston’ was a prime example of this. A year ago, I would have felt compelled to say…’something’. As last week played out though, all the points or opinions I felt were made by others: I just shared or retweeted them as I chose. It doesn’t mean if shit really hits the fan, I won’t be right back on the frontlines. It just means, in a way, I’m returning to a ‘classic’ version of myself: when I speak up, you know I’ve thought about the viewpoint, and I believe in it. The much, much less serious version of this is my relation to black cinema right now. When I and my generation started, Spike had kind of established himself as ‘the Voice’, so most of us felt compelled to be our generation’s ‘Voice’. Now, they may not be household names just yet, but there are so many good, young black filmmakers out there telling original, good stories, I don’t really feel like I ‘have’ to do it anymore. I do it when I want to do it. (Having said that though, consider this: Clooney and Eastwood directed their first feature films at 40, Denzel was in his 50s when he did it. So by my new standard, I’m somewhere between ‘right on time’ or ‘ridiculously ahead of schedule, still.’ Chew on that.)
I’ll end this milestone post, on this last but definitely not least statement. If this is your first time passing through or your 500th, thank you for coming by. Some of the regulars I know very well, some of my internet stalkers I probably wouldn’t be able to guess in a million years. But especially those of you who I do know in ‘real life’, you have left your mark on me as much as I have on you. In terms of this space, I’ve been figuring it out as we go along, but over time I fee like this has become a pretty accurate reflection of me and my personality. Days like today you see the intellectual and spiritual core, but most of the time: silly, romantic, soulful, eccentric. Sounds about right.
So here’s to the next 500!