Do you remember the first time you heard the album that changed your life? I do. I never actually owned the album, but did have it on long-term-loan from a friend. The day I gave it back was a sad, sad day. But today, as I was engaging in one of my favorite pastimes, yard sale-ing, I spotted it’s familiar jacket, carelessly tossed in a box of random wares, and I snatched that baby up.
Now, as it sit here listening to it all over again, I am reminded of a post I wrote about it on a former (and less public) blog. So now, I blow off the dust and share something from the Messie Jessie archives:
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Everything is Everything- The REeducation of Messie Jessie
Current mood: catalyzed
Isn’t it funny how things always seem to find you just when you need them? To me, that means the universe is telling you that you’re on the right track.
In a desperate attempt to divert my seemingly magnetic draw of the weirdos on the subway, I took the suggestion to listen to some music during my commute. It didn’t matter if I was actually listening to anything, just as long as I looked like I was. I needed to appear as if no matter how much you felt compelled to talk to me, I wouldn’t be able to hear you, thus keeping me out of a plethora of uncomfortable and annoying situations. But, being me, I decided that if I was going to have the earbuds in, I might as well have something coming out of them. Since I brought just the basics with me while I live in my friend’s livingroom, unfortunately the CD’s didn’t make the priority list. Graciously, my friend let me borrow a CD from her (sparse) collection. I didn’t have many options, and even fewer appealing ones, but among the wreckage there was The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I always liked her, but never listened to the entire album so I thought I’d give it a shot. I knew she got a lot of acclaim for it, but I figured even if it wasn’t my style I could just turn it off and pretend to rock out.
Turns out, I really like the CD. So, I’m sittin’ on the subway, jammin’ to some Lauryn, when up comes track number 8: When It Hurts So Bad. Now, I know this CD came out in 1998, but it was like Lauryn and I were totally on the same wavelength. It was like she plucked the thoughts right out of my head -10 years before I even thought them- when she sang “What you want might make you cry/ What you need might pass you by/ If you don’t catch it/ And what you need ironically/ Will turn out what you want to be/ If you let it”.
As the tracks progress, it was like I was making the evolution in thought and emotion right along side her. By the time I got to Track 13 Everything is Everything, all my positive affirmations were being reaffirmed when she sang “What is meant to be will be/ After winter must come spring/ Change, it comes eventually”. In that moment I felt like I could take on the world. It was as if Lauryn was my soul sista, no matter what she ever said about white people. By the time I got to where I was going, I wanted nothing more than to write her a fan letter, telling her how much I loved her, thank her for understanding and apologize for everything my race did to her race…. Ever.
So, here’s where I get all sappy and philosophical on ya. When people talk about everything happening for a reason, even if you can’t see it at that time, you really need to believe them. If all those bizarre and creepy dudes hadn’t invaded my personal space ten too many times, I would have never thought to listen to music on the sub, and I would have never shared the inspiration and camaraderie with the fabuloz Miss Lauryn Hill.
P.S. And God damn, this album is still as relevant as it was on day one.