Personal Life Lyrics: The Black Parade

I hinted the idea of My Chemical Romance as I threw shade to that poor student with the previous post.

This time around, I feel it necessary to converse with you the lateral ideology that comes with being genuine then and now.

Yet again, substitute teaching rears my experience in how I am perceived as a teacher in the classroom among not only students but other members of faculty and staff.

When I was a young boy
My father took me into the city
To see a marching band
He said, “Son, when you grow up
Would you be the savior of the broken
The beaten and the damned?

“Why…when he was a young warthog” sings Timon to Pumba from the iconic Disney classic The Lion King and it should come as no surprise for me that this year, 1994; would be the defining year that my father and I would develop a startling passion for music. You see, my father is a music collector of sorts. In terms of a better analogy for our relationship (compared to Simba and Mufasa), he was (and still is) the order and I am the structure. As the story goes, Simba was a stubborn, prideful prince that disobeyed the order from his father to not venture from Pride Rock. Sure enough, he had to be saved by his father from the hyenas because of his pride, but in my case it wasn’t pride that always got me in trouble in my ventures, it was my curiosity (because curiosity killed the cat, or in this case my backside). I’ve learned (and he has as well) that my inquisitive nature has made me one hell of a generalist.

He said, “Will you defeat them
Your demons, and all the non-believers
The plans that they have made?”
“Because one day I’ll leave you
A phantom to lead you in the summer
To join the black parade.”

Inquisitiveness isn’t without some other emotional risks as well.

Enter 1999.

In the case of my teenage beginnings, my shyness and insecurities came from being the outcast (as I’m reminded of the song from Outkast – 13th Floor Growing Old*) in a new setting, away from the Pride Rock and into the land of hyenas. There is another word of generalist that was shunned upon.

Nerd

The protection that my preadolescence years gave me was done. My greatest enemy? The scars of new territory. Unfamiliarity was (almost) everywhere. I recall the first time I went to elementary school. I cried so hard and ran, looking for my dad. I didn’t want him to leave me in this unfamiliar place!

This moment was instilled in me during my first day in middle school.

Sometimes I get the feeling she’s watching over me
And other times I feel like I should go
And through it all, the rise and fall, the bodies in the streets
And when you’re gone, we want you all to know
We’ll carry on
We’ll carry on
And though you’re dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We’ll carry on
And carry on I did. Middle school was a wake-up call into the life of imitation and assimilation. I slowly changed the way I wore my clothes, my grades, although they were okay, weren’t like they used to be. I recall my 5th grade math teacher and her infamous influence, watching over my academic performance as it rose and fell. *Even though I wasn’t in that class anymore, her belittling attitude towards me lingered. This carried on in high school too.
And in my heart I can’t contain it
The anthem won’t explain it
The fact that I was learning an old skill in a new setting:
Adaption
A world that sends you reeling from decimated dreams
Your misery and hate will kill us all
So paint it black and take it back
Let’s shout it loud and clear
Defiant to the end we hear the call
To carry on
We’ll carry on
And though you’re dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We’ll carry on

 

High school in 2002 was quite interesting. The combo of adaptive nerd carries on for me, as 9th grade saw new beginnings with both old and new faces, and they had their own misery and hate to deal with, as I did in middle school. Both middle and high school presented an environment that I rarely had to deal with in elementary: The majority of these schools had Black students, like me! I was used to diversity. The mixing of ethnicity and cultures into the pigment of the neutral, not just the totality of neutrality in general! Regardless, I carried on.

10th, 11th, and 12th grade to go…

And though you’re broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches

And I march on, ready to leave high school.

Glad that was over.

On and on we carry through the fears
Oh, oh, oh
Disappointed faces of your peers
Oh, oh, oh
Take a look at me cause I could not care at all

And oh, I was so glad too. I was ready to embrace change that I’d enjoy:

Seeing how much my peers would change and I’d try to remain the same. But the ship made piece by piece from the same pieces over time never can be the same.

Can it?

Do or die, you’ll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you’ll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won’t explain or say I’m sorry
I’m unashamed, I’m gonna show my scars
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it’s who we are
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I’m just a man, I’m not a hero
I don’t care

Throughout the years, I’ve learned to embrace my genuineness in all its glory. Case in point:

How this experience reaches the classroom, the staff, and members of faculty.

I’ve learned from my father the power of pride (the order of my father) and the subtlety of humidity (the introverted nature of my shyness made virtuous). I show myself unashamed, with the scars from the past into the school setting.

All of me.

I really learned to not care throughout the years what others think of you; that you are shaped by your scars. You’ll have hyenas ready to eat you, to take advantage of you when you are from a distance land, but remember:

To thy own self be true – Hamlet from Shakespeare

We’ll carry on
We’ll carry on
And though you’re dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We’ll carry on
And though you’re broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches
Do or die, you’ll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you’ll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
(We’ll carry on!)
Do or die, you’ll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you’ll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
(We’ll carry on!)
The greatest attribute that defines anyone is their ability to stand out above the rest. This is what I do whenever I am in any setting. This song, its lyrics, mean something to me as a testament of my time trying to define myself. You will always do so. You are a masterpiece of art; a symbol of royalty that has been though tragedy but also triumph as well. I present that to all.
Embrace your qualities.
Be genuine.
*RIP Mrs. Sharpe
Website:
*Here is the link for Outkast

Personal Life Lyrics: Spoonman

 

I can personally relate to the lyrics of this song.

Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can)
Spoonman
Speak the rhythm on your own
(Speak the rhythm all alone) spoonman

It seems to be something that I can relate to with almost every aspect of my life, especially with my job as a substitute teacher. I see it all the time in the presence of children and teenagers: A tapping pencil on the desk, the tapping fingers on a cell phone taking pictures on Snapchat, hands on the table making beats to lyrical battles in a classroom that is without a teacher that has made the classroom ride the beat of their drum. Yet here I am, with them, riding their own beat without fault or filter. There is a feeling of empathy in their rhythmic entropy; the stressed and unstressed taps that are no longer hinged by an authority that seemingly knows them from track 1 to 180. You think that a track with a featured artist on the label (insert the substitute teacher i.e. me) that the track would follow suit in the absence of the primary artist (the primary teacher).

Damn, I was wrong on so many levels.

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me, yeah
Save, oh 

I remember all of the days that I had to freestyle the track off the top of my head. Man, it was difficult to get these kids to follow it. They all enjoy the beat of their own drums. On days like these (there were so many of them), I had hoped that someone would save me. You learn in your own way that entropy has a way of teaching you what tune each student plays. I still recall it the previous lesson:

Stressed and unstressed.

You can discern groups of students this way.

The hard and the soft.

The brave (another word for foolish) and the reluctant (there are so few of these)

Nonetheless, I’ve learned that knowing is only half the battle. The goal is to get them together to the rhythm of your beat.

Well, all my friends are Indians
(All my friends are brown and red) spoonman
And all my friends are skeletons
(They beat the rhythm with their bones) spoonman
Oh, hmm

Two groups but so many sounds. If I’ve learned anything about this job, it’s that personalities come out as honestly as possible. My rhythm in the classroom; in a classroom with students that I don’t know, is as good as dead. “A resurrection, a rebirth is in order,” is something I would utter to myself (as a student looks and hears my uttering, asking if I’m okay. I’m Not Okay from My Chemical Romance plays in my head to the male student.*). 

*Some shade thrown involuntarily to the poor student.

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me
Save
Save me
Save me, yeah
Save
With your…

With honesty comes an advantage to the rule of conformity that the primary teacher has set. I toy with the rhythms that each group creates. Each one is genuine, individually, but I know that together they can accomplish so much more. You learn that you save time and effort the more you can empathize with their experience with some of your own.

With your hands
With your hands
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Hands

And with these hands, I type my experience compared to the music and lyrics of Spoonman by Soundgarden. It is quite liberating to do so, as it uncovers insight and enlightenment from a track that can I can relate to as a musician. The power of my many talents come into fruition through my hands from my eclectic mind.

Mmm, come on while I get off
(Come on while I get off)

Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, I’m together with your plan
Save me
Save, yeah
Save me
With your, with your hands
Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can) spoonman

I’ve learned that having an eclectic mind with an array of unique talents, particularly in music and arts, can make an amazing difference in the classroom. One of the things that I particularly find comforting is to write out my experiences in relating to songs and the lyrics they hold. It is said that there is a song for everything. For this, in dedication to Chris Cornell, I can invoke some spark of lateral intuition to those that read and understand where I am coming from. As quoted by Cornell himself as for the meaning behind the song:

It’s more about the paradox of who [Artis] is and what people perceive him as. He’s a street musician, but when he’s playing on the street, he is given a value and judged completely wrong by someone else. They think he’s a street person, or he’s doing this because he can’t hold down a regular job. They put him a few pegs down on the social ladder because of how they perceive someone who dresses differently. The lyrics express the sentiment that I much more easily identify with someone like Artis than I would watch him play.

This quote goes both ways as I’ve learned from doing this job (substitute teaching). The paradox of how I perceived the kids and how they perceived me.

Experience is the greatest teacher.

 

Websites:

http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/request_10-94.shtml

https://play.google.com/music/preview/Tyxatdy6aqawgsgqdwiwokpelea?lyrics=1&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=lyrics&pcampaignid=kp-lyrics