Qu'est-ce Que J D?
Serious question: does your mom think your lifestyle choice (rap) was wonderful?

Haha I like how the “serious question” comes in the form of a re-purposed quote from SGM-30.  Nice.

Yeah my parents have been extremely supportive of me.  They put me in drum lessons when I was twelve, bought me a 4-track when I was sixteen, and were always excited to hear anything I was working on or released.  They even come to my shows when they’re in the same province (I try to steer them toward shows that don’t require total immersion in hip-hop culture or a ton of youthful stamina to appreciate, like house concerts or early events).

They never get on my case about it, but I imagine if there’s any part of my lifestyle that disappoints them it’s the day job.  Like they would love for me to be supporting myself through music as much as I would, but besides mom occasionally asking me why she doesn’t hear me on the radio more often, they certainly don’t lament it.

I don’t think they wish I was doing another kind of art, even… I made darn sure their house was rattling with rap music almost non-stop from 1989 until 2001 when I moved out, so they had plenty of opportunity to get used to it as a legitimate milieu for expression.  Heck, my first beats were made from samples I took from their vinyl collection (which I’m still plundering, haha), and the cassette copy of Run DMC’s “Raising Hell” that I used to play at full volume every morning before school in grade 5 and 6 was handed down from my dad, who bought it for himself to see if he would like it.

I’m a very fortunate person, in the parents department.

But on the topic of lifestyle choices…

The quote in the dedication of Humble & Brilliant, that says “my mom, who loves me just as much as if I were gay,” comes from the talk we had when I phoned her up to come clean about my non-monogamous lifestyle, made urgent by the fact I was in two serious long-term relationships at once and I didn’t want to keep the one they didn’t already know about secret, or have weird things around family occasions and gatherings where they know about one person I love and share my life with, but not another.

Mom’s still in Halifax, and I was living in Ottawa, so it hadn’t really come up in the year that it had been going on.  My father had been crashing on the futon in my studio for a few months (they’re still together but live 18 hours apart, it’s a long story), so I had told him already and he had been great and I expected no less from her, but it’s still a fraught conversation, you know?

She expressed a lot of concerns because those are the types of feelings that pop up, and I mean I had a really active Facebook then and it was really obvious SOMEthing was going on so she had likely been storing up a lot of concerns about my love life that got folded in when we talked about that. And I was ready with the pat answers like “well a lot of monogamous relationships fail too!” and we had what turned out to be a great talk, and what she meant to say was along the lines of “I love you no matter what, and this has just as much impact on that as if you were calling to tell me that you’re gay, which is zero impact, but also as your mother I feel concern for you out there in the world so anything that makes for a distinct area of tension against mainstream culture will be met with a flurry of questions about whether you’ll be okay.”

The sentence she said, though, and which I am eternally the worst kid ever for ribbing her about, was “I love you just as much as if you told me you were gay.”

I bring all this up to really hammer home the point that my mom and dad are willing to stand behind me on my lifestyle choices.  They let me get Kris Kross braids when I was 12!  My mom said I could get my ear pierced when I was 11 but not until school was out because she felt the principal of my elementary school had it in for me because I was fat (and she was right, holy shit I just remembered this other story… that’s for another time though).

I know that they are sad deep in their souls that I won’t be having children, though.  That’s probably the element of my lifestyle that they’re the least able to root for me in, but they never ever bother me about it.  I gleaned it from knowing them as people, from things my mom used to say when my sisters and I were in different places than we are now, and how my dad feels when his sister writes to him about her grandkids, and I’m sorry that they may be experiencing any sort of void there.

But they have never hung it on me.  They let me do what I’m doing with my life, and pretty much applaud it.

They are my biggest fans.

And I am theirs.

  1. mistersparkle said: excellent answer. reminds me of my folks.
  2. rljd posted this
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