Bad feels good. Good feels bad. Why do I need to be good?
The darkest, ugliest most foul things are generally dressed up so beautifully. Sin is tantalizing. It can cripple me. It’s cool to curse. It’s cool to say “F The World.” Intimacy feels like bliss. Even drugs and alcohol can lift a person to the highest physical and emotional sensation. I’m human so I will have my vices. But they hurt.
I remember hearing words of wisdom from people when I was growing up. “There ain’t nothing out there.” “Keep God first in your life.” If you’re a non-believer, I respect that. But you’re welcome to open your mind to my perspective if you care to hear my story.
When I was 9 or 10, I stayed at my aunts house one night. My sister and I asked if we could watch a movie. She told us to pick any movie from a certain box where she kept her VHS collection. We flipped through a boxful of black videos with handwritten titles. Finding the one we wanted to see, we popped it in. Nothing was playing. So we kept fast forwarding the tape. Still nothing. So we pressed play and let it roll hoping the movie would begin. We sat there staring at the screen waiting for something to happen. And then it popped up. But!!! It wasn’t Beauty & The Beast or Honey I Shrunk The Kids. It was an adult film. Hahaha! I immediately covered my eyes but I was secretly intrigued. Never forgetting this day, I started asking myself questions. What were they doing? Why was my aunt so embarrassed when she realized what we were seeing? I wondered what it was all about and what made it so taboo. But I was too afraid to ask anyone about it. As I got older, I would sneak and watch the Spice channel through the blurry grey lines. I was so intrigued about it. No one ever talked to me about it, or told me what it was or what it meant. My curiosity felt like a curse because I felt ashamed to ask anyone if they were interested too. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult so I could discover the mystery behind this elusive act. I grew up in a very religious family. Contrary to what I saw outside of my household, my mom hardly ever cursed. And by hardly ever, I can remember maybe two times in my entire childhood of hearing her say a “bad word.” My mom also never smoked cigarettes, did any form of drug or have alcohol other than an occasional glass of wine. Ethically, I was taught that sex was for marriage only and to defy this meant I’d die forever whenever Jesus returned. I had a deep fear of that. But I would tell myself, that’s way too long of a time to wait. When I was 13, I’d fill my bra up with tissue and imagine being a beautiful Victoria’s Secret model in lingerie and oozing with sexual prowess.
In high school was the pivotal time between teenage thinking and becoming a young adult. My hormones were raging as they do with all teenagers. My curiosity was bursting at the seams and I wanted to know what it was that I was missing out on. But by this time, I also knew a little bit more about heartache. I knew a little bit more about teen pregnancy because my sister was young when she had her first child right around this same time. I knew about diseases and there was also the fear that Jesus would return and I would die. This was the time when I had to decide if I was going to be Jackie Onassis or Marilyn Monroe. Boys had started liking me by now. I had my bra’s. It was time to explore the world.
I’ll come back to this story. Similar things happened to me with cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, profanity & provocative dressing. I’d get a glimpse of something and find it appealing or I’d see someone I always thought was cool doing something I knew was wrong, but it would pique my interest. I’d go through a mental process of wanting to try it. Wanting to know why it was so alluring. Then I’d superimpose that thinking with my moral compass based on religion. It’s the tale as old as time. The devil on one shoulder, the angel on the other.
Once I started experimenting with the evils, no matter what they were, I temporarily felt grown, powerful & free. “Oh so this is what they were talking about.” “This is what they were hiding.” In reality, I was still a child. I don’t even think the frontal lobe of my brain had finished developing yet, but in my state of ignorance, I associated badness with cool & eventually my idea of cool became tainted and I lost control.
We’re all on a continuum. We do good and evil. We are sinners & saints. No one man or woman is without flaw. We know right from wrong but it’s subjective. And we try our best not to judge because we know we do our share of bad things. But, I have to say, the closer we are to goodness, the better it is for everyone.
To go back to my first story, I went out into the world and explored it. And in the process, I fought my religious upbringing. I hated the politics of it. I fought for my right to be bad. And after all that fighting and all that freedom, I wake up as an adult and realize, I haven’t accomplished much. In fact, as the world becomes so accepting of any and everything, I reach back for my old set of values.
It didn’t hit me until I was listening to the radio and every R&B song was saying “Yeah B!***, I don’t love these hoes!!! I just wanna ménage a trois, Give me all the big booty hoes!! Suck my d***!, Money Money, Money. Bounce that on the strip pole, I’m a God. Bow down B!***” And I literally didn’t want to hear that. It didn’t hit me until I started hearing about T-Shirts that read off slogans like “Jesus is cool, Satan is hot,” or all the symbology that stems in questionable history. It wasn’t until I started doing business with people and realizing they don’t care how I feel, or how I’m affected as long as money is coming in. It didn’t hit me until I was intimate with someone who I thought loved me and after we were together they never called again. It didn’t hit me until I smoked hookah and got so sick that I couldn’t function for a whole day afterwards. Until I got so drunk someone had to carry me to my hotel. It didn’t hit me until I was an adult with enough painful experiences to know that being good is actually not so overrated.
I’m not suggesting at all that there can’t be a healthy balance to vices. I don’t believe in living life as a non-human that doesn’t enjoy all that life has to offer. But badness in itself is an addiction. Good takes work. Good is a battle. Good is the extra mile. Good requires walking away. But the thing about being bad is the more one thing slides, another thing slides. Before I knew it, I had become accepting of things I didn’t want to be involved with at all. The skirts got too tight. The dresses got too short. The cleavage got too low. The energy became dark. The language got too dirty. The attitude got too wild. The drinking became too frequent. I’m eating way too much ice cream and cheeseburgers and pizza. I’m trying to learn how to smoke a joint the right way every chance I get & I ain’t ever getting high cause this is not me. Bad is easy. Bad is instant. Bad is easily available. Bad is right in front of your face. All you gotta do is reach out and grab it. And when bad is not right in front of your face, it’s right around the corner.
There’s forces in this world. Energy fields. They go both ways. Extremely good & extremely bad. We each gotta find our place on the continuum. Some people use religion to do this for them. Some people abstain from all vices. Some people do any and everything they feel. Some people can balance it out on their own and it works for them.
I’m not here to choose for you. I’m here to say, we are all curious about the allure of “badness.” Since we were children something on the dark side may have caught our eye. Maybe we are searching for ourselves through sex, drugs, alcohol, food, fame, power or money. These things individually are not necessarily wrong, but there really ain’t nothing out there in the realm of bad that doesn’t hurt. It’s just a matter of how this hurt affects our ability to be good.
Our world is so lopsided. We’re in a dark space. Its reflected in the music. In the television content. In our language. In our relationships. I feel we aren’t missing any bad. In fact, there’s too much. Where is the other side of the spectrum? Where is the influence on goodness and positivity and kindness and sacred tradition for the better of the world? Where has our childhood and teenage curiosity lead us? We aren’t horrible people. Badness is just beautiful. It’s alluring because it is A LURE. A trap. Remember in Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Til Dawn when Selma Hayek was this beautiful goddess grinding slowly, hypnotizing the room? What a sight to see. She was (and still is) mesmerizing. And as soon as you were pulled in, as soon as you got comfortable basking in her beauty and sexuality, she turned into a demon. This is the analogy for the evils. They turn on us.
The good things offer us internal peace, joy and contentment. They are long-lasting. They benefit the whole. They balance the world. I’m no preacher, I’m not going to slap you in the face with scriptures. But my voice, my creativity and my self expression is my pulpit. It takes a lot of hard work to be a good person with good values and a kind-hearted pure spirit, especially in these days and times. And I just want to say to anyone who reads this, don’t forget the importance of having the yang to balance out the yin. We all might be searching for a good time. Hoping to fit in. Trying to experiment. It’s a necessary part of growth. But in this life, we also NEED goodness. We need wholesomeness. We need grace and humility. We need purity. We need refinement. We can not forget about God. We can not forget about love.
Thank you for reading. Say what you feel below if you want.
Check out my latest #MondayLoveDrop called #Stay (Every Time) inspired by Amerie. It’s at the player below!