My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Soul Searching — reaching for knowledge in music, life and love

If we fail to search, to embrace, we can miss so much.

Searching … Music, Life, Love

“… Nev – er treats me sweet and gentle the way he should, I got it bad and that ain’t good … now when the weekend’s over and Monday rolls around I end up like I start out  just crying my heart out, he don’t love me like I love him…”

I was lost in the sweet crooning of Louis Armstrong’s husky confession of having love bad but it was not good. This is no indirect confession of unrequited love on my part but it’s more a response to a criticism a friend threw at me — He said I have no SOUL. When I asked him to explain he said that I knew nothing of the music of our people and he started tossing out the names of singers and their songs which indeed I knew nothing about.

Since I realized there was truth in what he said, it made no sense to get upset. Raised on the island of St. Kitts, surrounded mainly by what we called “christian” music; and calypso, which Christians really were not supposed to sing, I can’t say Sam Cooke, James Brown or even Aretha Franklin was on my horizon. I remember after my mom returned from Puerto Rico with records by Jim Reeves and Tom Jones my “christian” genre expanded to include songs like “Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone, Am I that easy to forget, I can’t stop loving you, Delilah,” and my all time Tom Jones favorite “Without Love.” Definitely not the soul my friend was talking about.

I’ve discovered it best that if I don’t know something not to pretend, but to seek opportunities to learn. As a result I was delighted when I saw this little jewel at the library, a play-a-way of the “Harlem Renaissance Remembered,” maybe not the soul he was referring to but in my mind as good a place to start as any.

After exploring for the past 3 weeks I’m completely in love with these beautiful, brilliant minds with their skilled, colored words. For when they write, speak or sing I not only hear but see their emotions, feel their pains, experience their challenges,  support their determination and feel inspired by their gifts. I became that man on the rickety stool playing that sad raggy tune like a musical fool, in Langston Hughes poem “Weary Blues.” I told Louie how beautiful I thought he was as he moaned “Black & Blue” wailing that his only sin was in the color of his skin. I took to the floor and found myself giving the rhythm every little thing I had as recommended by Ella Fitzgerald in “It don’t mean a thing,” Who were these people so skilled in their craft with the ability to give life to words and paint them with the right emotional hues? I had almost missed knowing them.

I understand we are shaped by our environment, upbringing and culture, but if we allow these things to become reasons to build barriers, walls that divide, we can miss so much. I’ve always wondered why the need for sameness, why the need to look like others or offer acceptance only when others look like us? Why do we exchange our uniqueness to become invisible – to just blend in? Why does our idea of beauty lack color?

After some soul-searching, I realize there is so much to know, to embrace, to love, so much life to live, so many things to experience. This is Dona Halliday challenging you as I challenge myself to discover what is special about the people who cross your path, celebrate them, then further beautify your world by being  your unique self.


1 Comment»

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by my6inchchallenge, my6inchchallenge. my6inchchallenge said: Soul Searching — reaching for knowledge in music, life and love: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: