[Note from the Editor: This is Part 2.5 in a series by Nylda Gallardo-Lopez aka Lady Noyz entitled “I Used to Love H.I.M.” The B-Girl Document.” To read Part 1, please click HERE. To read Part 2, please click HERE]
“…born alone, die alone no crew to keep my crown or throne…” *
My propensity for chaos makes my skin crawl.
Life becomes too stable
I had become accustomed to gutter lows or altitude choking highs
I’ve had to condition myself to accept that the in between is where I need to be;
as a mother, and role model.
Its a war goin on inside.
For most of my life I haven’t felt like i belonged in Canada.
I am too intense…too purpose-driven for a society that is largely superficial.
From my earliest memories as a child I was told about Allende’s Chile that ceased to exist that September 11th 1973, and would fatefully move my parents across the hemisphere, away from their families, home and anything familiar to them.
For a long time, I mentally existed between these two worlds.
I was perpetually wading in an ocean of questions and anxiety.
I was always searching for what I could do here that would start to chip away at my need to be part of something bigger…something meaningful…
I found that world in Hip Hop in the b-boy community.
For the most part.
“…the fiend of hip-hop has got me stuck like a crack pipe…” *
Later when that same world that had once seemed to be heaven sent became my hell, I would have to start all over…flailing around trying to fill that void and be a single mother. All I had ever done was b-girl . I had never even held a baby.
I can definitively say this would be a stage that would become the beginning of a rock bottom spiral…and transcendence all at once. One of my many Jean Grae to Phoenix moments…
Everything about my parents’ journey rang even more true for me during my pregnancy; their pain, their sacrifices, their ideals and integrity.
“…if I ain’t ill than that’s your fukin opinion, and your entitled to it…jus know I’m that CO2 mixed with that lighter fluid…” – Tona, Buttered Chicken
My innate nature is one of reckless abandon.
I start to imagine scenarios that will feed my need for that rush…
a dance class, a jam to go to, a night with no strings…
Can a sweat out at the gym ease the itch?
Calisthetics until my muscles shake like i’m in a concrete cell…
“…the mind activation, react like I’m facing time…” *
…medicate myself so that hum of my senses slows down and a slight calm washes in…
I don’t like my options.
So, I write.
Having begun this process of documenting what love has been and continues to be to me, has been HEAVY.
Heavy, and light at the same time.
Each time a memory goes down on paper, or through my fingers stroking keys, it takes me right back to those times.
“…I’m writing for my life, every muthafukin night and that’s just part of the process…” +
Full spectrum nostalgia…
taste the smokey air and cheap malt liquor…
feel the debilatating pain,
and the all encompassing love.
With as much gusto that i started writing these memoirs…there are times of even more hesitation and self doubt.
This is a foreign world; this expressing myself with words.
But, for better or worse , I am committed to this project and in true ride or die steez imma see it thru.
There will be plenty more chapters, a plethora of nameless drivers that i went over the cliff with…etc, muthafukin etc.
My initial defensiveness didn’t come from not being taken seriously at first. It came from the real crime; that I wasn’t loved and respected as a sister and comrade in the movement.
Empathy is one of my strongest qualities. I have watched how our men are devalued, oppressed and conditioned by a society that views them as criminals. This insight for me has always been a driving force in my choice in men. Similar energies gravitate to each other and I found similar wounded creatures.
Our artforms expose our pain.
“..just another day in my reformed life, my unreformed mic…” +
We aren’t always victims in this game; we consent; we teach people how to treat us.
Women, especially women of colour have less access to power, material wealth, protection, and so have historically used sex as the bartering chip to gain access. This imbalance of sexes isn’t about hip hop. It is something that has been passed down from our respective nationalistic cultures. Latin America still remains one of the most sexist and misogynist places on the globe. I have lived this truth. I can be grateful for Toronto, in this respect. I would not have been able to make the gains I have here, back home.
What has been a suprising result in all this is that when these memories come down and out to the universe; they lose their power over me. If i had known 20 years ago that gettin this shit out would release the pressure, I would’ve started this a lot earlier.
There has been talk of it. The books or the encyclopedias of what my life has been, but it didn’t happen until now for a reason. I know that if I had chosen to document my life any sooner it would have presented itself in a very different tone.
“…..im tired of swingin on these ni**as, most of the ni**as can’t even fight…” +
Grimey has always been my go to place.
I can throw down.
I do not play.
Underlying this anger and bravado is a distinctly vulnerable place that I am only recently comfortable with showing.
Getting to this stage in my life has been hard ass work, with a supremely conscious effort.
My reality was that I was running on fumes never having really processed some of the very significant events in my life.
This is a process I have only chipped away at.
Real simple, that process to me; is called growing the fuk up.
“A poet’s mission is to make words do more work than they normally do, to make them work on more than one level” – Jay-Z, Decoded
The power in our stories is monumental. Something I have been unknowingly carrying on by living by the code of my culture. An understanding that really started to make sense to me in the last decade of my life.
On the b-side of the record for me, letting my reality play out to y’all has released the weight I was feeling holding on to them.
It’s like, “yo, here! take this shit and do what you want with it, but now its ours to share.”
Maybe not my direct experience, but exactly what it is: a story.
It’s no longer a feeling.
It is no longer a chip on my shoulder.
It is no longer anything I am gonna continue to recycle.
My word is bond…
is a beautiful thing.
And that some days it gets really fukin tiring being the bigger person; being the only one that remembers that my actions affect another human being. I continue to swallow huge heaps of pride and double standards as a woman and mother. My main peace of mind being that my child knows the truth, and respects and appreciates my hustle.
My parents have also seen firsthand what I have dealt with; they have been our ride or die’s, our safety net when my limitations and mental sanity got the best of me.
I wanted to get pregnant at 18.
My son was in no way a mistake or accident.
I gave up a baby at 16 years old. I let the reality of my life and the 2 men that were the could-have-been fathers at that point, scare me into a decision that has haunted me ever since.
My shame and regret has fueled my creative pain; fed my addictive behavior; bled out my fear to be loved. My loss then evolved into a greater need to be that mother, but those skeletons never stopped screaming and those scars never healed…
“I can’t keep runnin, I just gotta keep keen and cunnin’…” Pharcyde- Runnin
I had to learn to accept that all the travelling I had been doing, battling, doing shows, was a way of running from myself. Being a mother really hindered one of my best coping mechanisms. No more being gone til November.
In all my years of studying and immersing myself in the culture, in the reality that in anything worth living or dying for, you have to know where you came from before you can productively advance.
So, I continue reliving this herstory.
“…in the midst of all my success and failure, I’m just out here struggling, I guess that’s what happens in rappin when you’re in your muthafukin phryme…” +
The original formative stage of Hip Hop was less about leaving the ghetto and more about uplifting the environment and individuals within
I have had to find new possibilities within my city, within the six that holds my life’s stories in its subway’s veins and arteries.
I have allowed myself to fall in love all over, and over again.
“…my strength, my son, the star will be my resurrection, born in correction, all the wrong shit I did, he’ll lead a right direction…
…it’s mine, its mine, its mine, its mine…who’s world is this..”*
* quotes from Nas’ “The World Is Yours”
+quotes from Royce Da 5″9 & Dj Premier album “Phryme”