last day of my life ("summer soft" by stevie wonder) [june 3rd, 2018]

‘sup suckers.

i’m living the last day of my life as we all know it. if you know about me and this medium (no pun intended) i’ve used to flush out what’s in my mind, you know that i’ve been at a standstill for the better part of 3 years. i’ve cried, smiled, laughed, drank, sulked, loathed, embraced, loved, and appreciated every moment of it.

my grandmother formed a little get-together at her house last night and a great part of my family were there. from little cousins i haven’t seen in years to the matriarch of my paternal side, it felt good to have that system around me. i don’t have events like that and to be honest, everyone should be around their family more often. the reason behind the event is the air force. i’ll be shipping out tuesday morning but i’m leaving monday morning, from new brunswick to cherry hill, new jersey to philadelphia to san antonio, texas for a little under 6 months. it’ll be the hardest thing i will encounter in my life but it’s a great move, i believe.

i was born in newark, new jersey and raised in the counties of essex and middlesex, respectively. i’ve been in new jersey my whole life. i remember days in rahway, scotch plains, plainfield, edison, piscataway, bridgewater, raritan, irvington, elizabeth, linden, newark, and of course my hometown, east orange. the past two or three years have been what you would call a love-hate relationship with new jersey but when i leave to go to texas, i know i’ma be homesick. so so so homesick. i never stepped out of the garden so to be in TEXAS? i’ll be sad but it’ll wear off. it’s just a big adjustment going from a chopped cheese or a bacon egg & cheese from the bodega with the bachata playing and the cheshire cat on the shelves, to… in my mind… heat. DRY HEAT. like god just breathing on your neck for 6 months. beef brisket sandwiches. a whole lot more white people. it’s gonna be a big change of scenery which is something i always wanted (and needed). my father actually told me to bring no white women home which seemed like a joke to everyone in the event but we all knew that he was DEAD SERIOUS. it’s not a hate thing. we just love being black and we love black people.

some of my friends were at the event also. my brother mello marc was there with savvy the savior and my man fredo and they were with me, enjoying the festivities. at the end of the event, the litty boyz came and that made my night to be honest. that’s the team. my best friends were around my family and it was all love. i’m actually on the way to marc’s house now. i finished packing and i’m literally just gonna enjoy this last day.

oh yeah, i’m writing a book while i’m down there. i don’t know how i’ma do it. i might have to write it with a pen. i don’t write with a pen. that just might be the most millenial thing i’ve ever said but i am writing some type of book this year. i guess this is the replacement for music until i graduate basic training. musically, i’m still in tune. i’ll never stop making music. i just gotta stay away from it so i can grow and when i come back to it, it’ll be a better situation. i’ve been listening to the new kanye west album, ‘sex and food’ by unknown mortal orchestra, pusha-t’s new album, john coltrane, radiohead, project pat and three 6 mafia, and some other things. i’ll forever be indebted to music. i’m just taking a break from making it. in terms of design, i’ll be doing that on my downtime. soon enough, i’ll be into that, literature (the book), music, and for the longest, i’ve always thought that i should get into film. with research, study and hard work, i think i can write a nice screenplay or even act in some movies. my memory is nuts and the creativity is better sometimes. i think i can do it. in due time.

so yeah. it’s june 3rd, 2018 and i’m almost there. this is the khumbu icefall phase. the khumbu icefall is this huge obstacle you have to get over when climbing everest and it’s infamous for its difficulty. i mean the whole task of climbing the tallest mountain in the world is arduous in its own right but this icefall in particular is the game boss. it’s bowser in super mario. it’s devil may cry in dante must die mode. it’s nothing to be played with. so in other words, i’ve climbed the majority of this mountain and what i’ll be witnessing this summer is the icefall, metaphorically. we all know what’s gonna happen too. i’ma overcome it and put the flag (and some other things) on the summit. it’ll be the american flag, the flag of new jersey and a donut, for j dilla.

so yeah. life is changing. my hands hurt. listen to “violent crimes” by kanye. there’s these jimmy jam and terry lewis kinda chord progressions in the song that are absolutely amazing. yeah i know he supports trump. i know. we’re all f**ked up. deal with it. besides, i wanted to hear it. he was buggin’ for that slavery comment but… it’s kanye west. i wanted to hear the album. he made “so appalled”. “heard ‘em say”. “we major”. “street lights”. “can’t tell me nothing”. i love the guy.

bye.

chamber of reflection (april 12th, 2018)

I asked my mother for a therapist. She calls me immediately, wondering why I would need one. Due to her going to therapy, I jokingly replied “I mean, you go to therapy and you seem alright so…”

We both laughed and she was fine with the idea. The thought of therapy never entered my head until about a week or so ago. I look to music as therapy about 90% of the time. The other 10% is probably reading or something. I need to clear my head and most importantly, I need to let go. I need to stop internalizing everything and when a person asks me if I’m good, I should tell the truth and not internalize it. I always kept things to myself. My parents would ask me if I wanted to talk about anything and I wouldn’t budge. Then the world got darker. Things became realer. Change would be knocking on my door and I would just stay in bed. In some cases, I’m shackled to the bed frame and in some cases, I literally got my hand on the doorknob and I just… walk away from the door.

I never was a talker. As a baby, I was damn near a mute. I would just observe everything. I would use every sense but one: the sense to talk. When I would talk, I would stutter or talk too fast, jumble my words or use the wrong words. I would think of the right words to say and as soon as my mouth opens, everything leaves my mind and I’m stuck. So whenever a talk would rise, my mom or my dad would ask for my say and I would just sound dumb, in my opinion. Almost every time I would speak up, they would say something to combat it and counter it. Knowing that, I would just shut up whenever they talked. I would just listen ‘cause at the end of the day, there’s no point in speaking my side of the story. I’m wrong. You’re right. Let’s end it so I can go back to watching TV.

Days like today are days where I wish I had the ability to talk and say what I really wanna say. I normally would say it in one of these or in a song, but I really wish I had the skill of talking. The parents in my family are frustrated at me. My father loves me more than he loves himself, but I never seen him this frustrated in his life. My stepmother is damn near through with me. After this past week or two, man… she’s through. She loves me but dawg… I can tell she’s not vibing with what I’m doing. My stepfather doesn’t see it at this phase but he has seen it before, when we were living in East Orange together and my mother has seen this version of me since she pushed me out 24 years ago. All my father asks is a simple level of responsibility, accountability, and respect for him and his wife (my stepmother). “Hit me when you get home.” “Ask her if she needs anything.” “Help her out with the kids.” Simple. I would do it for 2 or 3 days, slack on it for a while, do it again, etc. My father has been more of a person that asks for the completion in things. In the past, he was more chill. Now, he’s more focused. The screws have tightened. I feel like my father is frustrated at me because he sees that my screws have not only loosened, but they’re damn near about to fall out. He sees himself so much in me and I’m sure he has some regrets. He doesn’t want me to be like him. I mean I would love to be him ‘cause he’s my hero but I’m sure he wants me to be better than him. He knows I can do it. He knows I know I can do it. I just… lose sight and get unmotivated.

I don’t know why I do it. I just gave up on a lot of things in life. I’ve learned that the only time I’m outspoken is when it’s something I always wanted to do when it comes time to do them, the work isn’t put in. I realized that actions speak louder than words and even though I’ve seen that expression in real life, I still thought words at least screamed every once and awhile. Words do shit. Action does wonders. I feel as though, as a man, I’ve only finished one thing in my life and that’s my album.

My album, Reason, is the only thing I started and finished. I feel great about it but it’s a reminder that I’ve only finished one thing. I wished there was more things but it’s not. I say that to say this: I talk a lot, but not when it’s time to talk. When I need to let things go, I don’t. Why? I don’t know.

The year of 2018 has been the best year for the wrong reasons. It’s been a reflective year. I see my reflection in the things in my life. The fact that I’ve stated that I needed a new job closer to my house and how I’m still working at the mall 50 miles away is a perfect example of how I look. It’s been 10 months since I’ve moved. Nothing happened. I see what I’m doing from the outside in and it’s disappointing. I never been so disappointed in myself. I was raised well and my support system is through the roof. When it comes to something creative, things can and will get done, but if it’s something involving the betterment of me as a human being, I push it to the side. I realize it should be the other way around. This year has been filled with questions that are so cliché but are monumental in life. “Who are you?” “What are you doing with your life?” “What do you wanna do with your life?” “What have you done to get closer to what you wanna do?” “When are you gonna get there?” Most of those questions I answer with “I don’t know.” When you don’t know at nearly 24 years old, it makes you question yourself.

I have this bad habit of comparing myself to others. I would go on Instagram and see young black creatives or executives, ranging from 21–28 years of age, working for record labels, clothing stores, record agencies, recording studios, or established artists and musicians themselves. I often think I should’ve been where they’re at or at least close to where they are. With me, the dichotomy is massive. As a creative, it’s one thing. I’m coming along on the left-brained side of things. I can tell you what break the drums come from, who sampled it, what BPM it’s in, what record label it was on, and three other songs who sampled it in a similar way, and my mind has been that way since I was 17 years old. Creatively speaking, I know I can move mountains. As a man, which serves the other side of the dichotomy, I feel like a child. I feel like a liability. I feel like I should already have this adulthood s**t down packed when I’m learning things about myself and the world around me every day. I feel like I’m getting vilified for learning how to maintain being a good person when I should be appreciated for going to class, willing to learn, despite the troubles in that particular subject.

My paternal grandfather went to the Marines, my maternal grandfather went to the Marines and my paternal grandmother’s husband (my other grandfather) went to the Air Force. Since January of this year, the Air Force has been seared into my brain, due to the father demanding I should go, because of the benefits and it’s almost a tailored fit to my trials and tribulations. It’s now the middle of April and it’s looking like I’m going. I’m still dropping music and such, but I’m just coming to terms with it. I know my team isn’t gonna like it too much because I’ve jumping back and forth for some months now, but what else I got, man? No money. No savings. No car, still. No good career. Just time. Faster than the speed of light. My healthcare’s going out in a few years. Insurance isn’t be under my parents for my whole life. I’m so dependent on my parents, they should claim me on their taxes but they can’t because I’m too young. I’ve only been on a plane twice, Orlando & back. I just wanna see the world, make some money, and create a solid foundation for myself with no signs of stress, so when I do music and design, I have something to fall back on. It’s a new adventure but I’m tired of this version of myself. It’s so damn annoying that I can see myself getting everyone mad and I’m angered by it. I just don’t want life to end incomplete. “He had more life left.” Never that. I want my younger siblings to be like “He’s done. He’s smiling. He’s happy things ended the way they supposed to.”

I wrote this to the outro of “Little Children” by Kool & the Gang, looped and pitched down a semitone or two. It’s a beautiful sounding record. It literally depicts a playground to me. An oasis filled with little black children, frolicking by the monkey bars or the jungle gym. It sounds like the future. It sounds like the children are in the moment, happy they’re living. As much as I think about the future and how better I can be, I sometimes just have to sit back and be happy that I’m here. I have to enjoy the moment of living, whether I’m on the plane to San Antonio or not. These past 4 months have been crazy but still… I’m happy I’m alive & I’m happy I’m here. It seems like yesterday I was one of the kids by the jungle gym and it’s gonna feel like tomorrow when I’m dead and gone. That’s why I have to enjoy the present. Unwrap the day, embrace the night. Thank the Lord & hold it tight.

Peace.

sister souljah (april 12th, 2018)

‘sup. it’s been a while. about four months innit? man. i’ve been meanin’ to write a entry here but i just internalized everything. bad idea sometimes. I don’t care much about the diction this time. i got bigger fish to fry this year. i could give a damn about capitalization in this entry.

i’m at my job (yes, the damn mall) and my shift starts in a half-hour. my check is not gonna be much because i worked 3 days last week and i was down south the week before. that trip was a change of scenery and therapeutic, in a sense. i knew so much about my family and everything. it was well needed. but yeah, i’m here. i’m in the food court, listening to scarface, with my heart in my throat. it feels like it’s been there since the year started.

i still live in trenton with my peoples (i won’t disclose any familial info on here anymore) and my father isn’t letting up about this air force thing. my mom saw the last entry on here and was so moved by it, she proposed that i write a book when i leave for basic military training in a couple of weeks. i accepted. so yeah, a book is coming. it’s called ‘away’. i look at this next adventure (the air force) as a way to get away from new jersey and a way to get AWAY from my mother, my father and even myself.

let me explain.

the past 2 months have been almost near self-loathing. the slightest form of self-deprecation. lemme change the song. i can’t be playing scarface.

*changes song to “summer madness” by kool and the gang*

this song and “my life” by mary j. blige has been my life lately. “summer madness” is my alarm every morning. but yeah. every couple weeks, i would get talks from my father about just being more, doing more, living more. the past 6 years have been a blur and pretty much a wall. a big white wall. i’m just driving past this wall and there’s nothing exuberant about it. maybe a splotch of paint here or a interesting but dark scripture there, but for the most part, it’s been bland. i’m at my ends with it and i just wanna change and get away. at this point, it’s like i’m watching myself do the s**t i’m being talked to about and i’m disappointed. just a “yo man, you know damn well” kind of disappointment. i know what’s wrong but i would work towards being right in a very incomplete way, y’know? if the wall had to be painted by friday and it’s monday, i would paint half the wall by then. you would then look at me like “dude the wall’s not all the way done” and i would sulk and go “but i did half of it.”

but nyles…… i said all of it. 100%, g. not 50%. i’m glad you did 50%. that’s dope. it’s better than nothing. but dawg, i said the whole damn wall.

this year has been the best year of my life for the wrong reasons. i’m looking at my life with a sense of confusion. fright. awareness, finally. annoyance. fear. disgust. disappointment. stupidity, more than anything. i said i was gonna do this and that by this time and that time but nothing happened. idk. hopefully, the air force helps everything and gives me a better life because for lack of a better term, i’m tired.

i’m tired of getting talks. i’m tired of commuting. i’m tired of working at this job. i’m tired of feeling like a bum even though i’m not. i’m tired of having to do something to prove to my people that i’m more than just a dude dragging his feet in his life. i’m tired of having really bad nightmares. i’m tired of living with my head on a swivel. i’m tired of leaving the house hoping to the lord i don’t get talked to about anything. this is not a regular kinda tired. i’m just tired of myself. this version of myself got no updates or upgrades in years. i talked to my friend kristin about it and she asked me a question.

“when’s the last time you finished something in your life?”

it took me forever to answer. i replied with “once. my album.”

my album dropped last year. i’m proud to start something and finish it ’cause to be honest, i gave up on a lot of things in my life. painting. music production. basketball. some of these things i didn’t even start because i was scared for whatever f***in’ reason. i have regrets in my life for sure. i can say i don’t but man… i have a bunch.

i don’t wanna be thirty and still feel like this. thirty will be here before you know it, too. i’ll be twenty-four this year and six years ago i was in high school so do the math. i just want life to be better ’cause there’s no type of fervor in my body ’cause that’s just how i am. i don’t let s**t get to me. i don’t stress on things (except the thing we’re talking about here). i don’t feed much into things ’cause life is short, man. what’s the point?

this has been the longest winter ever. it’s gonna be warm this weekend but i work all weekend so there goes nothing. that’s all i got to say about myself for the time being. i gotta clock in for work. i might be back on here tonight idk.

i dropped two of my best songs recently and it was in this madness i’m in right now. the bad brings the good out sometimes. look at adele. every time she dropped a ground-breaking album, it was under heartbreak. it’s almost like god has dudes on the payroll to break her heart so we can get another adele album. i think god is just putting me through this so i can make my own music or whatever. she’s putting me through this so i can……… y’know.

throw some paint on the wall and make a mural or something. like isaid, man. it feels like the longest winter ever.

y’know? anyways. peace.

…and he fell ill when the train passed (january 31th, 2018)

A man goes through life as a postman, making roughly $200 a week. He has three kids with a fourth on the way, with a wife he loves dearly. He has dreams of being a jazz drummer, always hanging out with his two buddies, waxing poetic about travelling the country and finding happiness in the rhythm of the music. Every night, after he puts the kids to bed, he kisses his wife and heads out to the jazz lounge, a stone’s throw from his home. He lives wonderfully behind the drum set, dreaming of Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams… and many other people who lives the life he wants so bad. He and his jazz buddies believe in each other and plan to stay together to make their collective dreams come true. OH! I forgot. One buddy plays the trumpet and the other plays the double bass. They seriously accept the challenge and form a pact around it, with the hopes of never breaking it and completely fulfilling it, for real this time.

A couple weeks later, one of his buddies rings the doorbell rampantly. He opens the door to his comrade, completely focused on his character. The friend says, “Remember that night we played at the lounge?!” He replies with a nod and in turn… “Coltrane was there! Coltrane was there! He called the owner of the lounge and said he wants us to play with him in NEW YORK CITY. You got to come! You’re the best drummer we know and we got this pact. We can be one step closer to fulfilling this dream, man! Let’s go!”

The man is smiling, but behind the smile lies a form of disappointment. “That’s great”, he murmurs. The friend sees a look he’s never seen before — disappointment in the place of excitement, especially in the predicament of following his dreams. The man then says, “You guys can go ahead and play for Trane. I’m sure he’ll have Elvin Jones play drums for you guys anyway. I’m going to the military.” The friend is shocked. “You never said anything about the military! You’re a drummer! A great one at that! You can find opportunities with this, man. You can play with the greats. McCoy. Miles. Ornette. Mingus. Monk. Quincy. You got this, man. Come on, you can’t break this pact, brother.”

“I got to go”, he answers. The man had a tendency of being at half mast most of his life. He never completed the dreams he always said he wanted and even though he signed a pact with this friends, he had thoughts of never providing the team with the hard work. He wants to be the best drummer but his wife wants him to stay home and look for a better job to take care of his family versus going to the lounge every night for nickels and dimes. He realizes that he might have to put the dreams to the side to be the strength behind the family and had talks with his wife about the military. She loved the idea and wondered if he’d be happy with this change. He said no but he still felt a sign of goodness from it, being that he can take the family with him and still make a good amount of money from it. He won’t be with his friends and he won’t be drumming as much as he does now, but he has bigger things to worry about. “The Air Force is where I’m going, man. They’ll give me security, food, a good job, and a nice place for me and my family. Besides, I got some changes that need to be made for me and mines.”

“But what about the pact?!?! We talked and played for hours, working towards this! You’re just gonna leave?”

“Yeah. Sorry it’s on short notice. But I think it’d be a great idea.”

A pause was born and then the friend said “Will you be happy?”

He replied with, “Not as happy as I’ll be if I went on the road with y’all. But I got to do this. I’m not as mature as I should be. I’m making shit at this post office. I got things to do. This avenue serves all areas, man. I’ll be back playing with you guys in no time”, and he smiles.

After a moment of reflection, the friend sits on the stoop, inundated in shock, confusion and a slight sense of doubt. “Okay, man. I love you. If you think this is the best decision, I can’t do anything but support you, but we’re going to take the train to New York and play. You’ll be there in spirit.”

“I already know, man. You knock ’em dead.”

“Just come with us to the train station at least. We might not never see you again.”

“Sure. When’s the train?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Cool, see you then.”

They hugged, a couple of tears fell, they exchanged mail information and he left.

The next morning, he picked up his buddies and headed to the station. Not a word was said. Just sniffles and weeps. They realized the pact is broken, dreams may be coming true, the three may not live to see it come to fruition and the reason why the pact is broken is something that doesn’t bring total happiness for the person who’s staying. The third friend said, “You sure you don’t wanna come? We know you want to. We want you to come. We talked about this.”

Inbetween sniffles, the man expresses, “Yeah. I’m sure. I’ll be up there before you know it. It’s just something that needs to be done for me. Security and a change of scenery.”

They arrived at the station, and the train to Paradise came. The three looked at each other, like the kids they were years ago, talking about baseball cards and jazz music. They hugged and smiled and the man said “Knock ‘em dead.” They went on the train and as the train started chugging, the remaining two had their hands pressed against the windows,watching their friend fade away in front of them.

The train went on its way…

…and he fell ill when the train passed.

Two years later, the man is stationed in a colossal Air Force base in the middle of nowhere. To him it was, but it was just Texas. His family is doing great, living in a nice-sized condominium on the base. He’s working as a engineer in the Air Force, coming home with way more money than usual. Less problems arose in his brain but the void was still there. He’ll play basketball recreationally, maybe some cooking classes for therapeutical reasons, but every night at the dinner table, he’ll close his eyes and with the steak knife and salad forks, and emulate the freakiness of Max Roach with the pocketed genius of what will soon be resembled by Clyde Stubblefield & John “Jabo” Starks of the J.B.’s.

A week or two later, he decided to hit one of the big supermarkets on the base to get some stuff for home. He’ll check off the list: orange, strawberry, lemon, peanut butter, bread, pasta, water, etc.

He catches a small part of the market that houses the entertainment (CDs, DVDs, TVs, etc.) and he scours the area. He finds some vinyl and fumbles through it, like he would in his stomping grounds back home. He finds a Archie Shepp record that was fairly recent. Unknowingly, he skims through the tracklist and sees his friend’s name, listed as a trumpeter on the album, which was recorded in the infamous Rudy Van Gelder studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The album was called Fire Music. He then sees a Bobby Hutcherson album, entitled Components. He finds the same feeling in the contents of that album, seeing the other friend listed as a double bassist. He bought both albums and the food and left the store.

He did what he usually did every other night: put the kids to bed, kiss his wife, and instead of heading to the jazz lounge, he goes to the basement. The basement had a nice speaker system, some furniture, a sizable amount of vinyl and a drum set he recently bought. He put both albums on the vinyl player and soon enough, he studied the work throughout the night. He’d mimic the drumming played by Elvin Jones & Joe Chambers, loving every moment. He would do it every night, almost as if he was on the stage with his friends. After about two weeks or so, he would play both projects and know EVERY SINGLE NOTE the drummers played, with precision and discipline. The first time he did it with no mistakes, he cried the night away. He had money, family, health and more than enough of well-being…

But he wasn’t happy. He wasn’t doing what he loved to do, what he worked hard doing every day of his life.

He fell ill the same way he did when the train passed that one delightful day at the station back home. He believed in himself as a drummer but he knew that he had to go through some changes as a man. He’d just wished he went through those changes without going to the military. He missed those wondrous moments his friends witnessed. He always felt like he was in spirit but he’s not dead. He’s still here in the physical essence. He should’ve been there. He has everything you need in life — a good job, security, food, housing, good health, and some scratch in the bank account. He just was missing one invisible, yet instrumental thing in his life and in the world.

HAPPINESS.

There was times where he would smile whenever he heard his friend’s trumpet and there was times where he would scoff and cut the record off. There’s times where if he heard the evidence of a incoming train, he would bust into tears. There’s times where he would hug his wife tightly in bed, wishing he’d just went through the beautiful struggle. He still loves the way things went but he knows that there’s moments and happenings that went on in this world that he was designed and programmed to be a part of, that will never happen again.

That’s me.

I’m the one that may be going to the military, under what feels like the request of my parents, while my friends continue the beautiful struggle. I love my parents to death but I feel uneasy every time the Air Force is mentioned. I can’t do this. I’d rather go to school and find a nice paying job. I’d rather work for my career, not have it on a silver spoon, like my whole life pretty much. I know I’ve been one to talk about it and not walk the same way, but I never believed in myself the way I do now. I have friends who share the same interests and dreams and they believe in me too, even more than I do on some days. Either way, I’ll be successful. Shit, I’m already successful. I’m 23. Still alive. That’s success. This year has such a feeling to it. It’s like every day is covered with a translucent film, something I can’t see but I can feel the film covering the buildings and trains and people around me. The film symbolizes hope, resistance, resilience, imperfection, dreams, wonder, euphoria, HAPPINESS. I feel as though the plans I have now with my team will bring happiness to my doorstep within the next couple of years, only if we grind throught the grime and grit and keep our heads high.

We’re surely working on becoming a creative content company, with services in branding, podcasting, music, fashion, and entertainment. We’re working on a website, various albums, clothes, an LLC, and many other things. We’re collaborating with musicians and creatives alike, with intentions to be one as a state to not only open doors for us (New Jersey), but to break through the fucking walls. Mind you, we’re broke as shit. We don’t like our jobs much either. But with every day that comes and goes, we believe we’re gonna make it with faith, patience, work and the right directions. Most importantly, all 3 of us know that this shit is gonna take time and we’re willing to strive through it. That way, when we do become successful, we can think of the beautiful struggle over some Hennessey and just do nothing but smile and marvel at how far we’ve come.

That’s it, Mom. That’s it, Dad. Sorry I can’t say it to you. I’m trying hard to open my mouth more but you both know me. I don’t talk back and I don’t say much. But this is how I feel at the moment so I wrote it down. I don’t wanna go to the Air Force. I feel like I’ll be doing it for you both and my family when I should be doing it for me since I’M THE ONLY ONE THERE. I’m not a bum either. I’m not turning into one. I’m changing every day and I feel like I’ll be the illest designer and the illest rapper. Not just ‘cause I think I will or I feel like I will. I just believe in it. It just takes a little more work and lots of time.

In the words of a rapper from Southern California named Dom Kennedy…

“When the train stops this time, I’ma catch it.”

fertilizer (january 17th, 2018)

 

If there’s one piece of music that can explain my state of mind at this very moment, it’s “The Scientist” by Coldplay. Take away the sappy elements and just leave the words “Nobody said it was easy” there, dancing beside the piano and that’s my mind right fucking now. I’ve felt like this year constantly had a feeling to it. It didn’t feel positive or negative. It just had a feeling. Never thought I would be somewhat distraught for the first entry of a year I felt so good for but fuck it.

I just got off the phone with my father. It’s around 9:30 when he called me. I just came home around 6 hours earlier and I was out the house since 8 the past morning. I pick up the phone and it’s the usual: asks me what I’m doing and I told him I’m gonna clean the room and wash clothes and whatever the fuck. He then takes a small breath and that one pause described his mindset, the tirade he’s about to give to me, and the thoughts for the past couple of weeks for him in a nutshell. Long story short, he’s observing my moves and questions if I’m really working, if the drive’s still there, if I leave out the house to not do anything in the house, and ultimately tells me by the end of the month (or the week, rather), if nothing pops up, I’m out the house. He’s gonna find other arrangements for me. Good way to start the year off.

Even though in earlier entries I would mask the character of my father as a person who bickers and constantly tells me this or that or whatever. The image I portray is not him whatsoever. It’s just the way I feel towards him at that moment but in all honesty, I LOVE MY DAD SO MUCH. I can safely say that I wouldn’t be who I am without him. I look like him. I talk like him. My manners, my aura, my personality, even my open mindedness in terms of culture and entertainment, is because of him. I seriously don’t know where I would be without him and that’s something I’m proud of because it’s often portrayed that having no father is a common and credible thing among African-American men. I’m proud to say I have a father and I’m even more proud to say that he took care of me and he still serves as the greatest father you can ask for. I remember when he told me about the time he found out I was about to be born. He was at work and he left on the clock to see his first son transition from one plane to another. He drove through the rocky streets of Newark, potholes and all, in a citrus-colored 1965 Lincoln Zephyr. He said he drove so fast to the hospital, one of the hubcaps fell off. I can tell every day that my dad has a undying love for me. It’s infinite. It’s vast. It’s endless. We would kill for each other. I just had to expound on the love we have for each other even though words can’t even explain.

So, when he told me of his plans to find arrangements for me, he felt it was fucked up. He didn’t like it one bit. He doesn’t wanna put his first son in this type of predicament because he loves the fuck outta me but it’s truthfully a disruption for delight. Something I abuse is comfort. We, including myself, strive to be comfortable. We work every day to get the finances we need to not only be solid and firm and content, but to be comfortable. I tend to find a place and abuse the comfort because that’s what I am. I grew up comfortable. My parents worked hard to make sure me and my siblings are comfortable. But when you’re too comfortable like me, you lose sight of what needs to be done slowly and surely.

I leave the house to live life. I’m essentially a homebody. I love staying home but as a 23-year old man who’s been a hermit his whole fucking life, I use my off-days to do stuff. I use them to find whatever jobs I can find (or willing to find), get rest, see friends and family, and things like that. I don’t leave the house to prevent from doing chores. That’s stupid. I live here. I can’t get away from these chores at all. There’s no way around it. I wanna help my father with stuff around the house. The drive has risen since the year started. I’ve been setting goals for each month of the year. I’ve been thinking extensively on where I wanna be by the end of the year. This year is different in this regard but this time last year, I wasn’t with people who are striving and working towards the same things. I’m with a team now who wants to be successful and wants to be a formidable group when it comes to fashion, music, culture and entertainment. I’m not saying the homies I was with didn’t have that. I was just hanging with them yesterday. There’s just a chemistry there between the three of us friends that’s evident. We’re gonna be something and I can bet the house on it.

He also talked about the three options. The first is a full-time job, which is something I’ve been working on. Coach is thinking about it but haven’t officially talked to me. I’m taking it because I have no time at this point. The second option was school, which is something I really don’t wanna do. I was in school just around 5 years ago and since then, I give a side-eye to those institutions. So many people under mountains of debt, with degrees and still working dead-end jobs to pay the people back, let alone to get by. Besides, I didn’t like it anyway and I don’t think I will now. Thirdly, it was the thing I hate the most for whatever reason: the military. The last time I was in cahoots with the military was sometime in 2013 when I was thinking of going to the Air Force. I was in a position that sorta resembles my position now, as a young man with no route, lack of drive and ambition, and blah blah blah. The only difference is I know what I wanna do and I know I can be successful from it. Overall, the situation fell through because I didn’t think it was the right thing for a talented guy like me. I always thought I can develop the drive and get a good job and get money and stuff, but here we are, 5 years later. My dad explains that I need discipline and money, the two things the military provides, but I feel so good about my music and design that I don’t need the military. I sincerely feel I don’t.

I still feel like I’m by myself and I wanna figure this all out by myself. I’m almost stubborn about it because most of my life played out of moves I didn’t make myself. I grew up spoiled. My mom took care of college. My pops is paying for the roof over my head. I’m 23 and a half years old. I don’t wanna be a burden to anyone. I wanna learn how to go about this shit by myself because when I die, I’ma be by myself. I don’t wanna start the year off like this but this is what it is. By February, if I don’t end up with more money or somewhat of a change, I’m out the house. I can’t fucking believe it’s going like this. As good as I felt about this year, it starts off like THIS.

I love myself. I realize that there’s MILLIONS OF THINGS wrong with me but I love myself. I love my family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love how grateful I’m becoming. I have a heart. I have a great personality. People love me. I’m glad I possess the qualities of a good dude, in mind, body and sound. But these wrongs get the best of me literally all the time, almost effortlessly. I stay in a good mood and still end up doing the wrong things, from laziness to lack of ambition to procrastination. I don’t even wanna be that anymore. I did it for 20 years. It’s fun. You don’t have to do anything. But I’m 23. It’s time. It’s time to do something. I wish I can etch away the content that’s bullshit and stupid and dumb and annoying about myself and become that, but that would make me imperfect. Being imperfect is what makes you perfect and even though I wanna run into traffic for being this way, I still wanna live life and laugh at what I’m going through. I wanna get to that place so bad, where I’m thinking of the long, drastic, arduous journey. But the struggle, the resilience, the strength, the discipline, the decisions, the determination, the will, the wrongs, is what makes boys men, girls women, and children into adults. Nobody said it was easy. Everything comes from bullshit.