5 Rings

What Inspires You? (January 13th, 2012)
          “The rings…They’re like what people get tattoos for: self-expression, but just mine aren’t permanently etched on my body….They fuel my desires to achieve success, simply based on what they represent. Each one has a story (I’ll save that for another post on another day).

It’s funny how I set that up, and now here we are, a year and a month later from when I wrote those words. I said I was going to write about them, and I don’t like not going  against my word. There have been people who have asked me about my rings: where’d I get them, what do they mean, why did you get them, etc. Well, I wanted to write this to really explain as to why I’m obsessed with these rings. I know this post will look stupid if (maybe when) I get more, but that’s not the focus here. The focus is that these all have their reasons and genesis of coming to be apart of my life. So…I just figured that I’d share. The rings have no names, so if you had that question in your head, there’s no point of asking it.

IMG_4781RingsThis ring was one of the more recent ones that I bought (all of them at the same location, by the way) and there was cool story behind it when I was in the process. If you remember Usher’s Confessions Pt.2 video, he had a ring that he spun with his other fingers, and at the time I thought that was the sickest thing ever – I’ve always wanted one since that day. That came years later when I finally got my chance, and it was pretty cool how it all came about. I was on Queen West doing my browsing, and I came across this one. The gentleman that had been assisting me said that way back in the days when Kings & Emperors were faced with a big decision, they had a spinning ring on their thumb that the used to turn in different directions based on their moods: Left being good, Right being bad. I thought that it was pretty relative to my life at the moment, and the fact that there was a bit of history behind it gave me more motivation to get it. Now, the story might have been completely false, but I wouldn’t know someone who’d lie about that, to be really honest. I don’t wear it often, but I have used it when I did need to make a decision or two, so that historical aspect did kick in. It fits well on the (left) thumb, and it’s pretty difficult to find nice rings when you have bony fingers.

IMG_4780Rings

The title of the book that this ring sits upon is entitled Personal History by Katherine Graham. I’ve never read it, it’s one of my mother’s thousands of books, and it reflects the theme of this ring. They say that those who don’t know about their history are doomed to repeat it, but I don’t think we’ll be enduring another rash of slavery anytime soon; I mean there are many forms of slavery – Vanity & Mental for two examples.

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind” – Bob Marley (Redemption Song)
“Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind” – Morpheus (The Matrix)

I never want to know just exactly what my ancestors went through during slavery, but I’ve always been fascinated as to just where I come from; where my family comes from; and the history behind my name. The design of the ring reminded me of a rope, and lynching was a big thing that many African Americans had to suffer from. I got this ring to serve as a reminder never to forget where I’ve come from, and that I carry forth a legacy that’s greater than just me. It’s about having the ability to look at the rough past and make it a brighter future not only for myself, but for the ones that will come after me, and the ones living in my current present time. It’s one of those rings that has (to me) a powerful statement that a lot of people wouldn’t understand at first glance, but I hope to use it as really a lesson for the future.

IMG_4779RingsThis ring was more for comedic relief at the time, but I’ve always loved the shape of a Spade. I never really understood the term “call a spade, a spade”, but I did some homework and got this:

            ‘To “call a spade a spade” is to speak honestly and directly about a topic, specifically topics that others may avoid speaking about due to their sensitivity or embarrassing nature.’ – Wikipedia
“To be outspoken, blunt, even to the point of rudeness; to call things by their proper names without any “beating about the bush” – Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

It’s funny how it’s defined, because I used to be the biggest liar, but I only lied to protect myself from further consequences – turned out that I would end up paying for it by being lied to in bigger ways, and that wasn’t fun. I’ve been better when it comes to honesty, and it’s funny because people have been asking me for my opinion on things from just about every topic, and I’m not really afraid to bite my tongue when something has to be said. When it comes to me writing, whether people are asking me to critique their music or when I’m reviewing music at my own pace, I have to always make sure that it’s something that I would want to read. I don’t want to read something that sugarcoats the truth just to protect a relationship – you have to keep it honest, because you have integrity to maintain. That’s important to me, and your word is all you have in this world and Tony Montana taught us that. What good is your word if it’s an untruthful one?
For the comedy purpose of it, I’ve been made fun of a lot because of the colour of my skin, and for a while (when I was younger) it used to bother me, but I’ve grown to accept the fact that I am who I am, and I embrace my colour. On an episode of The Boondocks from season 1, Uncle Ruckus & Grandad were playing checkers at the park (regular thing, if you watch the show) and Ruckus was talking to Grandad about how much he hates black people. Ironic, because he himself is black, and Grandad proceeded to say:
“Ruckus, you’re as black as the Ace of Spades, man”
It was funny, and it has always stuck with me. I actually laughed when I saw it, because that was the first line that had come to me. I wear it as a 2nd ring on a lot of occasions, and it’s often the conversation starter (if I’m not already starting the conversation by looking at someone’s rings).

IMG_4778RingsThe circle is a great shape, because it’s an infinite shape. It goes around and around forever and it reminds me of a Bulls-eye – always stay on target. The main reason why I like this ring so much is because it instills that you have an infinite amount of possibilities in life. Nothing is impossible unless you tell yourself that it is. I took a big risk when I left my retail job in 2012, but I did it because I knew that there was more to my life than just working in retail, and it had been on the 6th year, so I was pretty tired of it. There’s nothing that you can’t achieve when you put your mind to it. I got this ring because it reflected how I was feeling at the time and to always focus on the main goals.

My pride & joy and the one ring to rule them all (I’m the Lord of these rings), I call this my Power Ring.

IMG_4784RingsEveryone that I have met over the past 3 years has seen me with this ring on. It was the first ring I bought in the summer of 2009, and it’s the first ring I’ve actually ever had since I was a baby (2 gold rings). This ring has got me through so many things, and there was even a time when I had let someone (girl I used to date) have it for a month, and I just had the worst luck ever. This ring never leaves my sight, and rarely my hand. I wanted a ring, but I wanted something that was unique and something that could stand out from a lot of others that I’d seen. My best friend Xavier has a few rings, so he showed me the place where I bought this (and the others). The design of it makes it look like there are little stones inside of it, and so it really fit (by accident) that my nickname is STiXX, and the ring has stones – sticks and stones break bones, but words can’t hurt me. Initially, I didn’t think of it that way, I just looked at it as something of my possession, and I was pretty bummed out that I had lost my High school dog tag that I had received for graduation. I never took that damn thing off either, and I still don’t know how I lost it.
This ring symbolizes my everyday drive towards being a better person. There are so many different pieces in this ring that make it whole, and that’s how I pretty much view life. There are so many pieces to fill on any journey that make you whole. If one rock falls off, you don’t feel as whole, and this ring has really bonded with me over the past (going on) 4 years. Everyone needs to have a little good luck charm handy, and this one just happens to be mine among other things. I’ve always wanted something of my possession that I could have to ‘feel whole’. Not sure if I’ll take this to my grave or pass it along when I pass, sort of like how Butch (from Pulp Fiction) had that special watch that his father passed down to him from his father (and that funny yet graphic story given by Christopher Walken). The rings aren’t extravagant; I don’t need diamonds in them to make me feel more than man with success. My success will come, and these rings all provide solid means to help me get there along the way. It’s more than what most people (maybe not) would keep, but they will always be a part of me until I part from them. I’m not ready for that day yet, so I’ll definitely keep my hands on them for now.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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