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Nap or Nothing Shit,

and other Situations.

“They don’t believe me, but I don’t care/ I can see her...”
(Januarie York, SS Dream)

In my 20s, I called Indy a “dream killer.” A dear friend would often cosign my theory as she understood exactly why I spoke so harshly and unforgiving about the city we were both born and raised in.


We sought solace

/or refuge

From Indianapolis, Indiana.



Our tests exist for reasons beyond the instant gratification of measurement; survival of such a sharp stabbing attitude towards one’s own home without wavering on what it takes to make your experience humane will create your driving lane.


I wonder whether other landlocked people feel like their non-conventional dreams have a rough time reaching cruising altitude. We don't see the ocean, with its endless supply of water and horizon, signifying a vast pool of hope and possibilities. Our lake-ridden sunsets are stifled and contained by the banks we've grown accustomed to diving off, but there's only so far we can go. The waves are mere puddles created from our rock-skipping failures. Mountains don't stretch towards the sky here, metaphorically reminding us that every climb has a peak with a palatial view. All this flat land tends to feel like a square monopoly board where we peg jump around and round, collecting and returning the same recycled $200. I coined it a dream-killing experience, labeled specifically for the town I called home. That was the early 2000s. When I wanted what I hadn't yet worked for.



I ain't scared bitch
Just a whole lotta gang shit
(Rico Nasty, "Poppin")


Nap or Nothing has entered the Mass Ave group chat for at least the next 3 years and as I stood and listened to the speeches today, I wondered

“am I not supposed to like Mayor Hogsett???”

I don’t politic nearly enough to answer that for myself. But what I know is Ganggang is out here helping Black and brown entrepreneurs, artists, and engaged community members feel necessary, needed (as opposed to needY), and worth investing in. I know personally that Mali Bacon bleeds the phrase Nap or Nothing!





Other Shit to note:

My puppy stole my Nap or Nothing hat –

he took it to the backyard

and got quite disrespectful towards it.

Nonetheless, I have quite a few shirts from there now and they hold up well over the years.


Maxie is always smiling. I feel like he might have fought and pushed away a few tears as he spoke of the journey of Nap or Nothing.

It’s a beautiful thing for us,

as a community,

to not just make room for evolution,

but to FEEL (read: experience) that evolution

in real-time.

And allow that for others.


Dope shit:

I fought my tears as I laid a brown shirt, size small, across my forearm. Anitra Malone’s name was part of the other names that made up the “A” in “NAP” on this shirt. I want to tell her so badly just how much she impacted this city.

And me.

Anitra is one of the main reasons I was able to see the NAP in Indy - Because she saw me, and in her vision, I was better able to see myself. The writer. The poet. "Ole high heel, dress-wearing bitch." She invested her money that she worked so tirelessly for and ever-so-precious time on me because she believed in what I did and who I was. She gave me a front-row viewing of community and what happens when community communes! She could be studied in Asset Based Community Development classes.


Chapter: Niggas And Prosperity.


Please tell people how proud you are of them. Tell them you see them. And that you love them. Support them with your money as much as you can but support them psychologically even more.


Speaking of support –

the wifi went out during my transaction at

Nap or Nothing

and the young man had to run grab the router.

In that 15-second sprint, the screen had a big red

DECLINED

sign on it.



The small print said “cannot do manual transaction offline” (my chip wasn’t working).


A neutral look in the face of temporary adversity will create another path to the next step.





No point in life is permanent. Remembering this might keep you well.

Even the good will pass so that the ebbs and flows can continue.

Take care of your breaths, choose wisely, and celebrate, celebrate,

celebrate!!!


*cue voice overlay*

I had dreams that were growing right in front of my eyes. They required me to lessen the bitter taste on my tongue about where I live if I wanted to see these dreams actualized outside of nap time. I had choices to exercise: either change my surroundings or shut up and dance around it.

Will Indianapolis eat your dreams if you let it? Yes. But so will New York, Texas, and wherever the Buffalo roam. It's not about the city or even the people in it - when it comes to getting what you want in life, you are your only ceiling. When I wrote for Midwest Leak Magazine (S/O to LeDeanna Dixon), I had the chance to meet and learn about local artists who had done everything from winning Grammy Awards to putting whole communities on their backs.

When you are born of the corn, you have no choice but to stand tall.


It was an interview with writer/poet Tasha Jones that introduced me to the concept of "No Plan B."


Removing
the
idea
of a backup plan
makes any failures
of the first plan

eventually, lead

to success.


I had to let go of the idea that Indianapolis was some grand -

Master of Ceremonies-and-Say-So -

over my dreams and how they come to be.


Moving somewhere else wasn't going to be the big fix I assumed it would be. The work I needed to put in to get where/what I wanted would have been ten times harder for me in a foreign city. I'm not nearly extroverted enough to have applied myself as an artist without a village to fall back on. I needed MY community's arms and I received them. I pray to always remember the memory of how Nap grew me like a Hydrangea in a circular bed of rocks. The people and love of Indy taught me how to pass go and collect multiples rather than recycle the same two hundred.


it's us or bust.


Niggas and Prosperity.

Nap or Nothing shit.

A whole LOT

of

gang shit.


Black Nappaissance is on the loudspeaker.


Does this opinionated editorial mean that dreams can't die here? Am I suggesting how I felt was wrong all along? Not at all. Indy was killing my dreams but it's because I thought I needed Indianapolis to make room for me. The turning point was not something Indianapolis did - it was something I did.

I chose to operate with no Plan B, as learned from Tasha Jones.

I chose to find a way to allow my dreams to take up and hold lots of space.


"I got a ship coming to pick me up //

and I refuse to move until i have successfully loaded aboard her dock//

i will hold my luggage until my arm muscles grow so strong-

//that they burst from my skin

fall to the ground

//melt into the pier

//i will wait here,

////////for my ship

SS Dream, JYork


I had to first conquer HOME before I could bid adieu and feel confident enough to flourish in other places. I began to make the necessary room for my gifts and in return, as promised, they made room for me.


Right here, in the city of IndiaNAPolis.



Anitra Malone helped me tremendously. I don't even know if she realized how vital a role she played in my growth as a writer. When the city wasn't opening its arms to me like she thought it should, she did. She paved the road for me to learn how to put

fuck it, I'll do it

into action.


So see, the question isn't WHO can eAt Your DrEAmS?

The question is who are you gonna let stop them??????

My second negative encounter with the police was when I was 14. I was with my friends and we were being harassed by the cops paTROLLing inside the ever so popular Lafayette Square Mall. I can still see the massive amounts of people there, window shopping, walking, and laughing. Today, Lafayette Square is a ghost town, painted in colors that no matter how bright, still have a greyish top coat. If the lot was paved, it would be great for a skate meet-up. Lafayette Square is where I bought my first Nap or Nothing shirt. The last time I went was to go to the Nap or Nothing store. Unbeknownst to me, it was gone.


I was out of the fruit loop with no milk.

Make no mistake, I saw them almost immediately at one of the Black Business Bazaar events. Still, I hoped they'd end up with another store.


The journey of artists and creatives who are born in cities that don't always prioritize our thrive can feel quite like an elongated dead-end road. Many people will abandon their cars. They will jump from piers rather than continue to wait on a ship they can't see. Some will leave the road for good.


But then there are those whose blood will clot without creation; our heartbeats out of sync and stuck between record scratches when not allowed to exist in artist form. Whether naturally inclined or through trial, error, and uninterrupted relentlessness, we will always find a way around the circle, no matter the city, but especially in the one we know as 'home.'


We are Children of the Corn.

Get into the newest long-term

[Black]

tenant on Mass Ave,

disrupting the neutral brick-and-mortar with colorful shirts,

hip-hop flavor, and melanin.

Lots

and lots of Melanin.


And while you're in there, grab me a small 317 shirt!

For all the Indianapolis artists who feel like their dreams are in competition with the city, let me assure you, they are not.


They are only in competition with your drive. Wake up and turn over the key.

Congratulations Nap or nothing!!!!


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