The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today…

That I turned 19. I’m celebrating the anniversary of that birthday. Do the math and you’ll figure out that today I inch ever closer to aging out of yet another demographic. No special plans today, other than doing some writing, treating myself to lunch, and maybe getting to bed early and squeezing in a little extra sleep.

I did fire up the iPod on the way to work today and try to find something that spoke to where I find myself on this, my thirty-ninth, birthday.

I ended up going back to a song by a favorite band from my college days, the Indigo Girls. It was “Watershed” that I listened to first. The lyrics simultaneously summed up where I feel like I am right now.

Thought I knew my mind like the back of my hand,
The gold and the rainbow, but nothing panned out as I planned.
And they say only milk and honey’s gonna make your soul satisfied!
Well I better learn how to swim
Cause the crossing is chilly and wide.
Twisted guardrail on the highway, broken glass on the cement
A ghost of someone’s tragedy
How recklessly my time has been spent.
And they say that it’s never too late,
but you don’t get any younger!

Well I better learn how to starve the emptiness
And feed the hunger

And reminded me that where I’m going is up to me.

 Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony’s your heaviest load.
You’ll never fly as the crow flies, get used to a country mile.
When you’re learning to face the path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while.

As luck would have it, Amy and Emily were back on the next song to remind me of something I’ve always known anyway. One of the consistent truths in my life, tested over and over again, is this: If I want something, I either have to go out and find it or at least put myself in it’s path. Nothing sums that up for me better than “Hammer and Nail.”

Gotta get out of bed get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands, not just my head
I think myself into jail
Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.

For some reason, I always come back to that song to get my momentum back.

Finally, I picked “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, because some days I really need to believe “Today is where your book begins…”

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

By then, it was time to get on the train to work.

15 Comments

  1. Happy B-day T!! Hope you’re gonna celebrate it with the family.

  2. Happy birthday, Terrance. Hope you have a lovely day.

  3. Happy Birthday Terrance! I turned 40 last February 25, and ran my first marathon last October (marine corps, woof). I was all Strum and Drang leading up to the date, but this year has been fab-u-licious! I, too, love Amy and Emily, and they, too, speak to my soul. I just found your blog, so I hope I haven’t “over-shared!” Peace, Ed C in DC

  4. I just turned 42 and it really isn’t that bad. I heard just yesterday on the radio that I am allowed to shave off up to seven years online… Not yet, I earned these lines! Happy Birthday

  5. Happ Birthday T

    Love
    Norris

  6. Happy Birthday.

    I hope you have a great day.

  7. I hope you continued to have a beautiful, celebratory day. *HUG*

  8. T: I just turned 40 two weeks ago. Happy Birthday. I have to tell you a class I was teaching today (so happy present) used your website for dialogue about LGBT issues and it went to amazingly well. You are a kindred amazing Aquarius soul for freedom and difference. I look to everyday, and obviously many of my students are too. Best and happy sleep!!!

  9. sorry for the poor writing at the end! i too need sleep!

  10. Love the Indigo Girls. Love that album! Also thanks for responding to my query about ADD. Enjoy your birthday!

  11. I really enjoy reading your blog, it always has great insight. But I am very frustrated with the media’s lack of questions to the presidential candidates about global warming. Now that it is down to just a few candidates I would think that this would be a bigger issue.

    Live Earth just picked up this topic and put out an article ( http://www.liveearth.org/news.php ) asking why the presidential candidates are not being solicited for their stance on the issue of the climate change. I just saw an article describing each candidate’s stance on global warming and climate change on earthlab.com http://www.earthlab.com/articles/PresidentialCandidates.aspx . So obviously they care about it. Is it the Medias fault for not asking the right questions or is it the candidates’ fault for not highlighting the right platforms? Does anyone know of other websites or articles that touch on this subject and candidates’ views? This is the biggest problem of the century and for generations to come…you would think the next president of the United States would be more vocal about it.

  12. Happy birthday a couple days late! Hope you had a lovely 20th anniversary of your 19 birthday.

    I am going to have to dig out the CD with Hammer and Nail on it. I had forgotten how much I love that song until you mentioned it. The other two songs are regulars in my playlist, though.

    BTW, I stumbled across your website while searching for something or other and I am now a frequent visitor.

    Blessings to you and your family.

  13. A very happy birthday, Terrance! I’m embarrassed that it is belated, but since it is, you know it’s legitimately me and not some pod version of Katharine. 🙂 It’s been an Indigo Girls kind of week — I heard “Blood and Fire” on Dave FM the other day, and I’ve always liked “Hammer and a Nail.” 🙂

    I hope it was a good celebration!

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