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.