Anthony Hamilton released his latest album on March 25, and I’ve been living with it for about a week. (Pre-ordered because I stan for that man’s voice.) It is definitely an older generation’s album, music you’d hear on your parent’s radio station. But I dig that kind of music, music that elevates women, music where men express love through their actions and words and not the abilities of their dicks, music that makes you long for someone to wrap you in warmth the way the lyrics draw you close.
This isn’t a review of the album though. Buy it yourselves and be blessed. No, this is about one song, one lyric in particular. Slightly over two minutes into the title track What I’m Feeling, Mr. Hamilton sings “You showed me what a man feels like when he’s covered, baby.” That stopped me in my grooving because I am pretty much clueless over that sentiment. I grew up in a single-parent household. I had a stepfather and he was a great provider, but he was not a second parent. My mother is a nurturer. She’s submissive (in the Biblical sense) and Southern through and through. But the dynamic between her and my stepfather seemed much more slave and master than one of a loving couple. To this day, I resent everything about that situation. The waiting on him hand and foot, the home-cooked meals, the obedience…other than keeping the bills paid, he did nothing to deserve any of that. And lest you think I’m just overly opinionated, my mom agrees with me. Okay, probably not completely but she doesn’t read my blog.
It is said, in a 1970s book called Psycho-Cybernetics, that a habit can be broken in twenty-one days. Of course, this idea has been extrapolated from simply habit-breaking to life-changing. I am no psychologist so I dare not say that stopping something cold turkey for 21 days is curing. It isn’t. However, it is effective, even forceful.
At least, it is for someone as indecisive as I.
Four years ago, I gave myself 21 days to quit sodas. I’ve only sampled a handful since and the majority was accompanied by vodka. #kanyeshrug I once gave myself three weeks to quit cereal, which I will admit was more difficult than the sodas. Cereal is no longer a monthly staple in my pantry. Occasionally, stress has brought a box of Honeycomb back into my house, and I usually finish the box in less than a week. And then I go cold turkey again. Last spring, I was heartbroken over a situation that wasn’t going in my favor and I just couldn’t move beyond it. I installed a countdown on my phone that I couldn’t contact the source of my heartache for 21 days. It took less than that. Understanding that something much better is waiting for you at the end, therein lies the strength to reach that destination.
Recently, though, I gave myself twenty-one days to change my life. I’ve been unhappy and disillusioned for years with my career, my social life, my love life. Just life. I craved new challenges, new experiences, novel headaches. Yet each time an escape hatch would reveal itself, I’d find a reason to shut it instead of absconding. I stayed put. I had a decent position with great benefits and likable coworkers though both my career and salary were languishing. I was certain that if I kept shouldering more responsibilities and excelling, the right people would take notice and my career would be on the ascent again. I hadn’t met my husband yet, but my hotline did bling. There had to be a Russell Wilson in the sea of Futures. And though I lived in a city whose entertainment catered to college students and couples, there was always WalMart, right? I could be satisfied with sports bars and daiquiri shops. What else did I really need? Culture? Events that didn’t include the same people from parties when I was in college?