lone star.

I was exhausted, but it was time to go home.

I had been up for far too many hours, making sure I didn’t leave anything in my hotel. I crammed a hoodie into my big (and bright) ass suitcase and zipped it closed, then called my Uber. I didn’t have the energy for this; add in that my arriving flight was really rough and I already kind of don’t like planes, flying home bothered me a lot more than I’d ever admit.

I hurried downstairs when the Lyft arrived; I went to the front, but he was in the back. Once we got that straight, he hopped out of the car and ran up to me, taking my bag. Dude was tall as hell, like 6’6-6’7, lanky and West African, as evidenced by his accent. I get in the car and he’s pretty cool, even though I really don’t want to talk to anyone at 5 am; all I wanted to was somehow go to sleep and wake up back in NYC.

Once we realized we were both from New York, he started treating me like we had been friends forever, which is kind of a custom amongst black people from the city. New Yorkers are mean as shit, but when two cross paths far from home, it’s usually all love.

We’re riding and the first thing he wants to talk to me about is girls; this happens to me A LOT and I don’t know why. He’s telling me all this wild graphic shit about his female passengers having sex with him after his shifts, meeting women back in NYC, all this other shit. Im kind of evasive because I don’t know son, I have no desire to impress him with filth recaps and I spent pretty much the entire weekend with one woman, who showed me around the city (which I’ve never been to before) and was really sweet to me in a genuine way.

Here I was, riding to the airport, coming to terms with the emotions I was going through, this surging feeling of  “I’m into this girl, this is one of the best weekends I’ve ever had,” and what that means for me, who hasn’t REALLY felt anything close to this since 2015. I was uncomfortable, but in a good way, like a different version of myself was blooming, like these simultaneous feelings of caring, appreciation and endless yearning were changing me. All of this is in my mind while he’s playing me explicit videos of some girl back in NYC; he’s fucking my vibe up while showing me shit he absolutely shouldn’t, on some weird macho bonding shit.

I get out of the car, tell him peace, get my bag and leave. I rated him way too high on the app, mostly because I was just bewildered by that whole ride and was very out of sorts. He was talking my damn ear off, as I tried to piece together what was up with this medium crush that had certainly evolved into much more over the course of three days. I head into the airport and theres this pretty black girl behind me, kind of short, sort of caramel-ish. I nod and hold the door for her and feel her holding my gaze a little. I let her go on her merry way and we laughed at some random thing that I don’t remember. I remember how strange I felt, how the only thing that I was thinking was “we absolutely have to treat women better and think about how we engage with and think of them.” The driver talking about women as if they were just notches in a belt, just sexual conquests and little else was really getting to me.

I got on the plane and couldn’t shake this feeling of finality, like something was going to end,  like I’d never see this newfound object of my affection ever again, or something far less drastic but nonetheless important, the version of myself that overthought my own happiness. The former was pretty terrifying; the latter, way overdue.

Perhaps I’ve become afraid of things going my way.

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By Robby Rav.

the wrong way.

In 2017, I was about two years deep into writing professionally and finally quit my 9-5, that I hated, to pursue writing in a more complete way. The stars aligned for me and I got an opportunity to work somewhere “real,” a place that would give me valuable experience (and solid money) to write about music. I took the job and hit the ground running.

Career-wise, I was finally moving, but internally, I was a dumpster fire. I was still struggling badly with anxiety issues, triggered by the many things I went through prior to 2017: being unemployed for two years, 3 break ups (with 2 totally destroying me), becoming sworn enemies with my best friend, the endless sting of loneliness and more. All of the pain I was suffering through had taken a toll on me; I was callous. All those nights reading rejection emails, being extremely broke, while trying to face how alone I really was, along with being in such a dark and lonely state that I questioned my desire to exist, for the lack of better wording, fucked me up.  Even in moments of joy, I felt nearly nothing. I was emotionally spent.

My inability to “feel” things was hurting me in a multitude of ways. I didn’t really want to go out because of how depressed I was and I definitely didn’t want to talk about my life. I didn’t really have money, so the simplest of things became a struggle. Once I got hired,  I struggled to fit in at work because I was the “outsider” who was only there once a week and had far less industry experience that everyone else. So my life and career are changing, but I barely have any friends I trust, in or out of music. Then, my friends I came up with, they can’t really relate to what’s happening to me, and I can’t properly articulate it to them.

I didn’t know I was doing it at the time, but I was masking my struggles by getting too deep into the mix. Once I started to get a little money, I was either drunk too many days out of the weekend, or smoking too much weed. My life was just a blur of intoxication and sex, outside of my professional life; I thought doing too much would bring my youthful exuberance back. Too many of the women in my life didn’t treat me how I wanted to be treated, in addition to some of them being situations that were alive past their expiration date. I was having sex, just so I could feel wanted, to feel like I mattered. When you’re in an emotionally desperate state and use something like sex to try to fill that void, you accept, entertain and cause too much bullshit.  I was too sad and felt too worthless to even really notice new girls who liked me, so nothing was really going right.

One particular night when I was too drunk and too high. I was on the train going home and felt a wave of paranoia wash over me. I imagined my train derailing, which inched me towards having a panic attack; I was afraid I was going to have a full breakdown on the spot. Once I managed to calm myself down, I began to feel sad again. I realized I almost always felt sad once I sobered up; weed and alcohol didn’t erase that I was broke, lacking real affection in my life and concerned about how my career would play out. Poisoning my body wasn’t doing shit for me; I had to clean it all up. I spent a lot more time sober after this, once I became conscious of how self-destructive I was being. I definitely slowed down with the girls too, because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled; I felt empty after the escapades. That life just wasn’t for me, at the time.

I got let go from that job, got another one in a month, worked there for 2 months and got my current job, the place I really wanted to be. Those final 3 months of 2017 could have gone terribly for me, but from the minute I was let go, I truly believed in myself and knew that no matter what, I was going to be ok. The time had finally come that I could look back on my life and truly believe that I could get through anything, then I did it. To be fair, I’m not 100 percent as we speak, but being aware of how I stayed afloat while facing career and personal turmoil at the same time, I knew I could accomplish anything I wanted to.

Things worked out.

By Robby Rav.