Peter and The Chicken.

You ever felt impending doom? Not the anxiety-based one that isn’t connected to anything, but I mean, real, actual, I’m-going-to-die-and-it-may-really-happen kinda shit. Being in a pandemic and you know, staying in the house and being very choosy with where I decide to take risks (I’m no gambler), gives you a lot of time to think. This COVID shit has been horrifying, and I am thankful me, my direct family and my friends have survived it, although I have lost some loved ones. But, I’m always close to dying. I’ve been there so many times in my life, that one would think it would change my outlook, maybe make me less abrasive, maybe value my days better, but no, not really. I know this life shit is fickle and fragile, and it makes me laugh to myself in confusion, every time I think about it.

Way back in late 2009/ early 2010, my college (yall know where I went) was having REAL issues with the neighborhood we were in. A lot was going on: Students were getting robbed and assaulted by local residents(and really, thats a product of a big ass school buying up your culture-filled neighborhood and pushing the people out), my friends were getting into beefs that turned very serious, one of which directly included me, someone got stabbed up in a fight right outside of my apartment window, we had become numb to hearing gunfire when we went to parties. Things were, in all reality, very fucked up. I say this after nearly being killed by campus police just 3 years earlier; this was as bad as things had ever been down there. And I really did think I was going to get killed before I graduated, because my understanding of the universe was based in “chances.”

You are going to have brushes with danger; I had been lucky over, and over, and over, and I knew that shit was gonna run out one day. You can lie to and play with everyone on this Earth; you cannot bullshit the universe. If you know in your heart of hearts, that just being out and about when things are so tense, can raise the chance of you being harmed, you are either bullshitting, the way you operate needs to change. So I laid low, but even with that me and my boy, who I love to this day, had to dip out of a party and sneak back to my apartment because someone in there wanted to shoot it up, because he saw us in there (over a money beef I inherited, just because I was present). Literally looked at us, then told the party he was gonna clap the shit up. Then we had to watch for him circling the block, after we dipped. That’s what I was doing in 2009 and 2010; trying to not die. After just barely not dying in 2006. Before I was walking around the Bronx in the dark in 20111, regularly, trying to get to my GF’s house in a hood where no one knew me but her, knowing I was pushing it every time I did this shit. Then wanting to die in 2015, while in the pits of depression. Then ACTUALLY having to rush my parents out of a house fire in 2020, while trying to also not get killed by COVID. I’m always dodging death; I never stopped.

I had been distracted enough to believe trying to get through COVID was something that was beyond me, but it wasn’t, I’m always trying to outrun some shit. The way I feel between vaccine shots (I already got my first) makes me feel the same way I did when I was running through the dark in Norfolk, hoping we weren’t being followed. The way I felt staring out of my bedroom window, not knowing someone was going to get stabbed in the middle of the giant mob. The way I felt when my homegirl hit us up hysterical, because there was a dead body in front of her college crib, on a back block. The same way I felt watching my childhood home, with smoke coming out of all its windows as the basement got reduced to cinders, hoping the house wouldn’t explode. Some foul shit is always around the corner, but I haven’t known it any other way, for a very long time. The fact that something as joyous as getting vaccinated could remind me of how close to the edge I’ve been, says a lot about how I see things. I got the first shot, I was happy for about an hour, then I got sad, thinking about how paranoid I’d be until my second, and how taxing all of this has been to live through. I also got wrapped up in how weird this whole experience has been, but I’m just…surviving. I don’t think it’s particularly brave, or valiant; I’m just alive, and I appreciate that.

I will be fine, because I know I will be. But, I know the reality of things. I know how shit can go wrong. Me understanding how things play out, and how poorly they can go, is why I think so well on my feet. That’s all I ever had; being in situations where I had to make the right choice or die, be it literally or metaphorically. People who love you can say whatever they want, you can put on whatever facade you feel like showing off, none of that shit matters. In the moment of truth, I’m going to do what I have to do, because I need to, and you better do the same. I’ve done so, many a time, and I know that a lot of things in this life are predicated on split second decisions. I take solace in that, but living in the pandemic has shortened my fuse; I’m not patient, I don’t like wasting time on bullshit anymore, I find it frustrating when someone’s head is in the clouds, I can’t stand when people don’t say what they mean. Our time is limited, and my hourglass nearly emptied one too many times to play. I can’t stand indecisiveness in big moments, and that’s partially because of jealousy; I didn’t get to bullshit in those moments, because I would have died, that innocence was stolen from me a long time ago. Thankfully, I did survive all this shit, and I get to give life another go with each new day, as I try to give more than I take.

bullshit.

Man.

Everything is crazy.

I broke up with my girlfriend about 4 weeks ago, I’ll probably never publicly explain why, just know it was fucked up. No one cheated.

While breakups are terrible, the fallout that comes with them may actually be worse.

I’ve kinda had to weather the storm, so to speak. I am definitely lonely, and I sometimes feel a vague listlessness that is just “there”. I’m doing MUCH…MUCH better now than I was at first, but I did what I had to do.

In the first two weeks, I had to clench my jaw so I wouldn’t throw up, on a daily basis. I was consistently nauseous. That is how much the shit was bothering me.

So, I dealt with that, I didn’t do any dumb shit, I didn’t diss my ex then, and I will not now. My healing regimen is solely based on seeking inner peace and making sure I’m around people who love me. I didn’t know being amongst people who put your well-being first felt like this; its been quite some time.

I’ve learned that people don’t actually know me, at all. People who have known me forever.

When some foul shit happens, they accuse me of being motivated by things that have never meant anything to me.

I was told I broke up with my girlfriend because I wanted to be single for the summer.  Not a chance.

If you think I broke up with my girlfriend because I wanted to get my meat moistened by other women and have more time to listen to Young Thug, you are a moron.

“You don’t work through things” “You don’t care about your girlfriend”. “You’re selfish”, “You’re unfair”.

There’s an underlying problem with all of this shit throwing. When you date someone for a year, there will be things you have to overcome between the two of you. I did it. I did it multiple times. I didn’t say a word publicly, because I respect her up to this very moment. To say I don’t care, or I don’t work through things, or I’m not loyal….when I’ve TRULY given all of myself, is amazing. Even worse, I’m all about justice and always have been. So “fairness” is paramount to me, even though very few things about reality are “fair”.

I’ve had to listen to these things, while I mourned my own relationship. I was even spoken to as if I enjoy breakups. Ive been dumped twice, I’ve initiated break ups twice(only two were “actual” relationships). All 4 were extremely trash, albeit this one isn’t as bad as the last one. If I could AVOID breakups, I would. And good lord, did I try to avoid this one.

I’ll never tell you what to tolerate and not tolerate in your relationships. Do know, however, that if you tolerate something you actually can’t deal with, it’s going to kill you from the inside. Then your choice becomes “do something about it” or “die”. I hope you won’t choose the latter.

I will never be that person who bends their moral and personal standards so far that they are no longer themselves, Just to keep the peace. Just to be happy. Just for “things to be ok”. My ex is a good enough person, but I can’t get down with certain shit she does, that she is not willing to change. So, I went on my way.

I knew in my heart and soul I could not deal with said transgression long term. So I made my choice. That should be fine with everyone. It’s not. Oh well.

When I say “transgression” do know I don’t mean “STOP MAKING ME SLEEP IN THE WET SPOT!!” or “HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE GONNA WATCH LOVE AND HIP HOP, OMFG!”. It was SERIOUS. You can ask anyone who dated me (no you can’t, you don’t know them), I’m really not a nitpicker, I’m going to let you live. I just want you to be safe, I want you to be happy, I want you to be alive. I don’t care about anything else, honestly. I want you to operate as your best self, even if our visions don’t align on what that means.

People are treating me “differently”….because I broke up with a woman. It’s unbelievable. It’s irritating. It’s a SUPER minority (I’m talking less than 5 people here), but it exists. I haven’t really paid attention to it recently, but the fact that they even EXIST makes my blood boil.

One of my very close friends told me “you always run, you should talk it out, you don’t love your girlfriend???”, the MINUTE I told him we split. No “are you ok?” or “whats been going on with you two”, just that, scolding. Chastizing. Then acted like I was ridiculous for requesting empathy first and disagreement later. He went on to say that “I always take the moral high ground and expect it from other people”, as if what I ask is too much or the wrong thing to do.

Took him two weeks and two separate arguments to admit he was wrong. I just stopped speaking.  We probably won’t be speaking too much going forward, because he’s done this repeatedly, and questioned my character in such bullshit ways. He told me to not break up with a previous girl and said I was being hasty, and “omg she’s so cool and so smart how could you” etc., etc and basically went to war with me over MY breakup. Never mind the fact that said girl came back in a few months and said “you were right for dumping me, I understand why.” So if she understands, why can’t you? And if I’m of such poor character, wouldn’t this be coming from someone else? It NEVER has. It’s all so crazy.

Her “mistake” that did us in, opened my eyes to other weak points in our relationship that I didn’t make enough of a stir about, that I let spin out of control. I am an enabler, in that sense. That means I wasn’t without blame for what my relationship became. But it simply was past the point of fixing. So I stepped up and handled it. Predictably, she said some totally out of line things in the aftermath, that just solidified my decision. I don’t lose sleep over those words; I don’t lose sleep over being vilified by people that don’t matter. I can only be true to myself, and I live that every day I wake up.

mortality. (love your people.)

I saw my grandmother get cremated.

I was still a child. My dear grandma Lorna. I saw it. I was about 16, maybe. It was right after her funeral ended. I don’t know how I even ended up witnessing this in the mausoleum…but I did. The shit hurt me so much that I didn’t even cry. Until this moment right now, I wasn’t even sure that what I saw was even a “thing”. Denial. Everything I just read about cremation after funerals… matched exactly what I saw. Just a casket rolling into flames. As my family talked to the mausoleum staff. Beautiful service. Beautiful woman. Terrifying imagery. She died so suddenly that I didn’t get to process she was gone; that cremation skipped my emotions to the end of the book. I feel like she’s still with me all the time, and I’m 27 years old now. I tend to find it corny when people say the deceased are “still with them”. But I get it now. I get it today.

That situation made me avoid funerals as much as I could, going forward.

One of my good friends in HS lost his mother a few years ago. I love that guy. I didn’t go to the funeral. I couldn’t. Mentally, it was not an option. I felt bad for years. Felt like I left him hanging (because I did). Cowardly shit. I should have been there at that tough time.

I saw him 2 months ago, after not seeing him since then, pretty much. It was all love, smiles, daps and hugs. I’m thankful that he didn’t take that personally. If he did, he didn’t express it to me. If he saw me and flipped on me, I’d deserve every part of it. But…he is a better man than me, clearly.

My best friend from college, my dog, my brother…he lost his mom too. Maybe 2 years ago. I knew she was sick, but the news blindsided me. He dealt with it quietly. Much love to him. Amazed at how strong he has remained since. I handled this better than the previous death I mentioned. I had to. Couldn’t fail my friend.

Most recently, my best friend from HS let me know about two weeks ahead of his mother passing. I knew the funeral would be soon. I knew I would have to go, to support, because of love, because I aim to do what’s right.

I was fucking terrified of that funeral.

I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have to go….selfishly. I just didn’t feel like I could take the trauma of a funeral. I let that go in a matter of days. I committed to going because I love him and his family. They have both been there for me at my absolute WORST. When I didn’t know what to do, he helped. When I went through an absolutely disastrous break up, he was right there with me. Broke, drunk, unappreciative; he accepted me and held me down.

So I was going. No matter what. I haven’t even been to a funeral since I was 19(my grandfather). I don’t go to church. I had no idea how funerals even play out.

But I went.

The funeral went perfectly. There was a lot of love in that room. I got to sit with my friends…so it wasn’t so bad. I went up to my man, as he stood inches from his mother’s open casket. He thanked me for something I put on this blog and said he appreciates it because I spoke from the heart. That familiar hot and teary feeling covered my eyes. I put my head down and just said “thank you, we’ll talk”. My eyes were as big as half dollars, trying to keep those tears in. I sped away to my seat. I spent the night blown away at how warm and inviting everyone was. I spoke to my boy, his girlfriend, showed his family love, then made my way back to the train and went home.

I texted my girlfriend and told her the funeral went well. She asked was my friend ok. I told her he was good…then I disappeared into the night, whisked away by the 2 train.