Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Saga of POSITIVITY!!!

Hi friends.

If any of you were in the vicinity of Wilmington, North Carolina in the past 24 hours, you know what this blog is about. I was just outside, swinging on the squeaky porch swing, thinking I should do my dishes or vacuum or something productive in light of my Mama-san's pending descent on Wednesday, and then I realized, "No goddammit, I am feeling too good and it must be blogged about."

Friends. Friends. I tell you this, and it is true:

I made my hip hop debut last night, to a crowd of some fifty spectators, with three beers in me and a whole heck of gumption.

And it was awesome!!!

The full story is long and indebted to Karlena Janelle, my truest bluest friend of old, with whom I drove the mean streets of Tulsa blasting Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, and Kanye West. We were also searching for animals, but that's irrelevant. And over the course of these many midnight safaris, when we weren't choreographing dances to not very danceable songs, we were learning lyrics, and we were quietly living our deepest lifelong dreams: to be the baddest rappin' bitches who were ever born Caucasian.

Some years later, I am twenty-four years old and have gained accidental notoriety in the Wilmington karaoke circuit, being that white girl who raps. My canon is limited to The Black Album and "Stronger" but, as far as I can tell, nobody gets too sick of it. Meg's mom even sees it when she's in town, and gives me this big ol' hug, and seemed pretty much delighted that it had happened. (As an aside, my friends here all have these amazing alter egos that emerge on karaoke stages - I have never seen more heartfelt, kickass renditions of Elvis, Journey, and R. Kelly as I have from the twentysomethings I go to school with).

So. Every year, the MFA Program holds an "Absurdist" reading, which is basically a fancy front for a talent show. Props are encouraged, as are pyrotechnics. Last year, the reading fell on the heels of the whole Break Up Catastrophe (and lord it was hard not to incorporate some things that rhyme with "jobless dick") and there's a photo of me looking pretty much miserable, slumped over in my hoodie. I look how I felt: fat and unhappy and terrible.

This year, I wanted in.

And it's true; I'm a hog for attention. I never get so patent a rush as when I read, when I'm standing up in front of folks, and they're laughing. Hard as it is to maintain at times, being the designated family comic ("Come on Rachel, say something funny") is something I delight in more than I can say. Truthfully, at its very core, it makes me less sad.

And I did what any good wannabe rapper does: I Googled "how to write a rap."

Around forty thousand collective hours of rehearsing later, mainly in my car and in front of the mirror, my very first rap is firmly branded on my brain. I duct tape letters to the back of a giant hoodie: RACH RICH.

And then it happens. It fucking happens!

Of course, they make me go last. I'm sitting in the front, clutching my knees and vibrating anxiety, as all my peerless peers make their absurd contributions--this, also, after two weeks of thesis readings where I inevitably leave thinking "Goddamn we are a talented bunch." And then, and then, and then--

Hell, look for yourself:

That happened. That was real. That was real life.

And then, yeah, maybe I overdid it in celebrating and woke up on my couch at noon today fully dressed with Pinto's nose one inch from my open mouth, but still. Real life!

I can't name all the amazing things that folks have said to me--and not just "Holy shit" and "Oh my god" and "You did it, you're a rapper" and also "You are the craziest person I know" (okay I made that one up)--but one of my friends hit it on the head.

"You just made a room full of people so happy for five minutes."

And that's it. That's what feels best. You can hear the laughing and the clapping and the badass Mario beat I nicked from YouTube. And everyone stood up and cheered and shook my hand and it was great.

Today, after stumbling around and appeasing Pinto (who was fortunately the sole witness to my collapse on the couch following about ten vodka sodas), Meg texts me: "BREAKFAST?!"

Anyone who went to Hamilton knows there is nothing better than a huge, horrible breakfast on top of a hangover. And so we trucked out to one of Wilmington's bajillion breakfast nooks and ate ourselves silly on eggs and sausage gravy and discussed the beauty of breakfast. For some reason--probably because my body is just so glad to no longer be poisoned with alcohol--I get downright giddy when I'm hungover. It's a nonstop giggle track. And Meg makes me laugh anyway, but I doubled over dead when she said, "I'm feeling very positive today."

Which then results in us driving with the windows down and screaming "POSITIVITY!!!!" out the windows and just reveling and shrieking and butchering every song on the radio, and we drove past Greenfield Lake and whole flock of birds was fluttering and diving and the sky was so blue and the air was so warm and the clouds were huge and white and it was more than positivity, it was being young and loved and alive and so, so glad. A literal jolt of happiness.

And then we went to the dog park, and you all know my feelings on the dog park, and how they are the best place ever. And Pinto cavorted and charged and made friends, and there were little puppies tussling and getting dirty, and we didn't get back to our usual lives until six p.m., but it was still bright out and Pinto fell asleep in my bed and then I posted the video on Facebook and I'm waiting to go viral. No, not really. Okay kind of.

My mom always used to say she never kept a journal because she only felt like writing when things were bad. That's true. But it's also true that I am so motherfucking up right now, so good with everything, that it had to be written down.