Sunday, September 21, 2008


It's 3:17 in the morning, and I had worked up from a nap and began to battle depression. Depression can be a bitch at times, but I always find a way to jump back to my joyful self.

Did you ever remember a time in your life when you was feeling lonely, losted and unloved? Have you ever been to a place where you was told to be on your best behavior so you won't be found guilty of association?

I have. As I was surfing You Tube, I stumbled across Gospel Group Commissioned's beautiful Gospel song "Secret Place" and as I was listened to the song, I began to think about the first time I heard the song and how much it means to me. It helps me find peace whenver I'm feeling down and it also brought back some memeories that I hold dear to my heart; being loved and accepted for who I am.

In 1993, I was hired to work with the Freedom School program as a teacher and one of the requirements was to take part in a 3 week training; two weeks at Shaw University in North Carolina and the final week in California. During my teenaged, years, I was always fanscinated with Southern culture, and I had always wanted to visit, and this would be my second time visiting Shaw University, but this time it would be more a posistive experience. The first time I went was two years prior to a Church convention and I was told by the former leader that I had to be on my best behavior becuse there was many Southerns who didn't like New Yorkers.
"Why" I asked.
She told me that the media had portrayed New Yorkers as being rich, and that it made them jealous along with many other New Yorkers who went the convention with egos.
I was shocked. I was unaware of the 'so-called' tension between Northerns and Southerners. Sadly, I found out that was true.
The second week, I was hanging out with one of the students and he told me how a guy from our training program had major attitude; he was standing in the doorway like he owned it and when the student got near the doorway, he gave him a look that said
"You better say excuse me!"
I was pissed, sad and hurt; I couldn't believe that the student would act like that. Espcially since he was a guess at a historically Black college!!
I remember telling the student that though I was from New York, I didn't like the way he acted, and if he had to bust his ass, do what you got to do.
I knew he must have been shocked to hear me say that because anybody else would have copped a major attitude because of where they're from.
During the first week, I had began to feel homesick, because it was the first time I would be away from home for a long period of time in over 10 years, and I remember that Friday I was walking around the campus, a student from Chicago called me over to speak and we cliked. the rest of the night, I began to hang out with other students from the University, and by the time the weekend ended I began to feel loved and envied. I recall eating with them and one of the students from the program gave me a look that said "I can't beleive this nigga is hanging out with the them"
In other words, the nerd wasn't supposed to be chilling with the popular people.
(He would have gagged had he known that one of the fraternity brothers personally invited me to a party at his house. The more I hung with them, the more I learned that if you have a great heart and soul, people will be drawn to you, and that's what I loved about my expericne at Shaw University 15 years ago; all you gotta do is have love in your heart.
I remember asking them to recommend some Gospel artists and they told me to check out Commissioned, so after I returned to New York, I copped the tape and fell in love with "Hold Me" and "Secret Place"
The saddest part about the trip was leaving; I remember telling one of the students a brother from Philly that I was going to cry because I had such a great time.
"Please don't because if you do I'm gonna cry too" he replied.
I held my tears, until I got on the plane and headed towards California for the last week of training. The minute we pulled off, I cried a bucket of tears; while I was crying, I remember Michael Jackson's interview with Oprah and he recalled once when he and his older brothers were scheduled to go to South America, and he hid in a closet crying because he wanted to stay home and be a normal kid.
I didn't want to leave North Carolina; I wanted to stay and enroll at Shaw University, graduate and find permanet residence there. Maybe one day I will.

Writing this post was a sad and joyful experience; the sad part is missing being with a great group of southern people who showed me love, and was able to not judge me based on where I was born and raised. The joyful part is that I can always flashback to the great memories I had and share them with others.

Songs played during the writing of this post

Secret Place
Peformed by Commissoned
1991 Benson/A&M Records

Peformed by Diana Ross & The Supremes
Written by Brian Holland-Lamont Doizer-Eddie Holland
Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Doizer
1967 Motown Records

No comments: