Jealousy, also a male trait.

 

How would you feel  if someone you were dating and really liked, had a crush on someone famous, and that person was….accessible? I don’t mean “he retweeted her once”, I mean, they’ve met, or he frequents the same clubs she does, or even lives in your city. Would you care, or would you just brush it off?

Let me just save you some time: I cared. I cared for a very long time.

From about the time I was 19, I wanted to be in the music industry. I was always into music, but I couldn’t rap, sing, make beats, or play any instruments. Thus, I always wondered where and how I would fit in. I eventually found my way.

Working towards this dream, and talking all over the internet about being in the industry, thrusts you into different circles. Now I’m amongst like minded individuals, who want to do things in entertainment, in journalism, who like being in those scenes. And some of them are hot girls. A LOT OF THEM, ARE HOT GIRLS.

One would think that if you’re dating women who are constantly amongst famous and handsome dudes as part of their careers, maybe you’d have your jealousy under control beforehand.

LOL.

 

About 4 years ago, my girlfriend and I were talking about when she interviewed A$AP Rocky. She started giggling and talking about how he dresses and my jealousy switch flipped to ON. She saw me tensing up and she said “Oh Robby, come on. He was just really nice to me. Ferg is the one who made me blush!” She laughed at me, at how ridiculous I was being over all of this. She kept teasing me then gave me a kiss, so I would stop being so jealous. I immediately thought “WOWWWWWW I gotta give up A$AP now?? This love shit is COSTLY!” This was just the beginning.

In the summer of 2014, me and my relatively new date were walking around LES, trying to get a drink or 3. We end up bumping into her friends and they all decide to go to Beauty and Essex. If you’ve never been, it’s pretty nice in there, and I had only heard of it up to that point, so why not? We get in, we talk and drink a little, everything is cool. We go in the back to the couches and sit down, and there is where things went left.

In walks Mack Wilds. You know who Mack Wilds is (or you should). He’s an actor, singer, and most relevant of all to this story, he’s from NYC. Now I knew beforehand that my date had a tremendous crush on him, but I didn’t know how deep it went.

When she saw him, I kid you not, she started reapplying her lip gloss and checking her make up and hair. She was also hyperventilating. This situation is now in the red, and I don’t know what to do. I legit remember the sweat forming on my brow, and me thinking “AM I ABOUT TO GET MY DATE STOLEN BY SON FROM THE WIRE???”. I strongly thought about just leaving her ass in there, but I didn’t feel like that was a real way to go about it. I let it play out; he didn’t come over or say anything. We eventually left, I told her bye, and I got up outta there. She apologized soon after, and we even kept dating after that, surprise! Still, that shit was harrowing. I really don’t feel threatened by other dudes, but I felt threatened as HELL that night. I also liked his album! And The Wire! And The Breaks!

There was the girl who just LOVED Jesse Boykins III. Not to trivialize her as just some girl who was obsessed with a singer; I liked her a lot, and that feeling was mutual. I’m also a fan, but her tendency to constantly bring him up started to rub me the wrong way. On one date, she just went off on this tangent about how he just moved to Brooklyn, and how she hoped they’d cross paths. I mentally checked out and let her go on…until I just decided I had enough. She tried to make it seem like she wasn’t doing too much, and I was kind of uncomfortable for the next half hour or so. Now that I think of it, I’m starting to wonder if she was trying to make me feel….jealous? If so, she succeeded. After we stopped dating (it ended poorly), I kind of avoided his music for a while, because I actually couldn’t deal with it.

But why am I like this? What was I afraid of? Is my ego set so that I couldn’t deal with losing a girl to someone famous? Maybe I didn’t really believe in myself. I think once your self esteem gets to the right place, you tend to not move so fearfully. Crushes are crushes; this doesn’t mean they’ll be acted on. I feel like a part of it can even be an inferiority complex, where you feel you can’t match up. In my experience, those girls liked me enough to not just choose someone else over me, and maybe I shouldn’t have sweated it so much.

I shouldn’t have let jealousy get to me. I never acted out, but I spent a lot of time behind the scenes, quietly upset and fearful that I’d lose out to someone who was just more….everything, than me. I think what I had trouble grasping, was that women can sometimes see you as much more than you appear; you can be more than your outward appearance, your job, your social status. If a woman really feels strongly about you, it’s not as likely that she’ll just discard you for a famous dude. I feel like that’s a lot of guys’ worst nightmare, but I’ve looked it in the eyes a few times, and I’ve come out better for it. Don’t be afraid of her celeb crush sending a tweet and sweeping her off her feet while you’re at your regular ass job; she probably really likes you and values you more than him. Just treat her right, listen, and don’t answer her questions with a question; you’ll be ok.

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loved.

I was afraid.

I inherently knew that I had to go back to my alma mater.

Not the school so much, but really, the city.

I had been through so much, this year. I knew I had to go where the love was at. Where I didn’t have to worry about arbitrary shit like “is my ex gonna be here?” and “what passive aggressive bullshit will I have to deal with today?”.

Just love. Love. That’s all I remember about Norfolk. Love. Any bullshit I had to deal with in undergrad melted away. Or I forgot about it. Or I grew past it. Past beefs no longer exist. It’s like entering another planet.

Nothing like home.

NYC is toxic. I needed a break from all that poison in the air, literally and figuratively. I can’t leave just yet, my life has really trended upward itself in the last few months. There’s a ton of opportunity; opportunities I can really take advantage of. With that said, NYC still kills you. Slowly. People will try to sell you on otherwise; they also tie their identity to living in NYC. I am not one of those people.

But I still love my city. And my borough. But when you spend a good year, year and a half, dealing with terrible experiences in it, you may need to go elsewhere for a few.

So I left.

What I was so afraid of was…….had my experiences permanently changed me? Do my friends in VA love someone who no longer exists? I am a dramatically different person from this time, last year. I physically don’t look the same (hours of gym solitude, with bouts of terrible, depression fueled eating in between), I am on another plane emotionally, and I am nowhere near as spiritually in sync as I once was. All of these things together affect your personality, what you do, what makes you smile, what pisses you off, etc. I was afraid that my friends would not recognize me, that we couldn’t hang out and laugh like we used to. The free-wheeling, carefree Robert was dormant for so long, could I bring him back? Was he even real anymore? I didn’t know. I never knew.

I was so concerned because…that’s my biggest fear. I have always been afraid of “losing myself”. I’ve watched people work their asses off to become successful, get there, and completely lose touch. I’ve witnessed people go through incredibly painful situations and never be the same after. The fact that these could become my reality, terrifies me. I have been afraid of recognition and being great at what I do (whatever that may be), forever. I never really think my bad experiences have affected me long term, but they certainly have. I’ve seen the pitfalls up close; I didn’t want to be a victim.

I knew that I was coming off of a bad stretch, and depression (and anxiety!) that existed before that only worsened over time. I was….sullen. I was not myself. Certain things going right for me, namely me getting into Cosmo and getting published on Noisey (the start of two things that have been dreams of mine, for a really long time). I felt…better.  Right before Homecoming, I started to feel regular again. But this would be a test; just how “regular” was I?

I was really regular.

Norfolk felt like 2009 again. Back when I was much happier. Back when I had weak ass struggle waves in my head. Back when everything was ok. Love at every turn. No pain. No suffering. No sadness at all. Old friends. New friends. It was great.

Everyone treated me like they always have. Some of them knew what was going on with me. They showed me a lot of concern, a lot of care, never made me feel awkward. It was therapeutic.

They didn’t have to look out for me. I haven’t stayed in touch as well as I need to. I don’t feel I’ve done enough as a friend.

But regardless of what I do (or don’t do), the love never left.

The love never left.

Lessons from the Sun.

Worst summer of my life.

Easily.

I would love to tell you that it was just 3 months of struggle and INCREDIBLE emotional anguish, but that would be false.

It was UNENDING struggle and emotional anguish. I still, somehow, got a lot out of it.

Love them while they are with you.

I knew, in my heart of hearts, that my relationship was doomed.

I knew it. I tried my hardest still, don’t think I’ve tried that hard at anything.

Didn’t work. But when I felt us very quietly and subtly hitting those dire straits, and that building dissatisfaction (it feels like nausea that does not cease), I decided to do something.

I decided to value every single good moment we had, and to feel honored to share her presence.

Good times do not last forever, so please…please…..squeeze every ounce of happiness out of them that you can.

I cherished every high and faced every low.

Until the low was too much for me. My appreciation and honesty and dedication to a journey that had no light at the end of the tunnel was not enough to keep my relationship from ending so jarringly.

But I don’t regret my relationship, or how poorly it ended, nor do I feel bad for putting effort forth and still failing.

I’m glad I did it. I learned who I am; I learned who my significant other was. I learned who my friends were.

I don’t speak to my friend of …13 years, over this shit. I loved him too. I loved my girlfriend. They simply could no longer be in my life, they were killing me.

However, I won’t die internally at your hands. No, I will not.

I loved the two of them as much as I could, until my very being gave away. Until I couldn’t.

One person simply threw my trust and good will out of the window; the other just…doesn’t support me when I needed him to.

Loving someone so much that you would happily tear your own heart to shreds, to save them from themselves. A worthwhile sacrifice.

And I’ll do it again, with someone else.

The inherent darkness of my split(s) this summer have made me appreciate the good times with everyone…because they do not last forever, and I must be at peace with that.

There is no shame in being a broke boy (or girl).

I mean really, I’ve been broke for about a year.

My brokeness SPIKED in the last 6 months or so, along with my break up, loneliness, my worsening depression, my inability to find a job, and no longer being friends with a close friend.

All at once.

So I was pretty much in an endless cycle of misery and loneliness that kinda never…stopped? The carousel is turning as we speak.

I had nothing, I felt worthless, I could not do what I want.

I still don’t have anything, really, but I don’t feel so worthless. Not so often.

Me not having money is somewhat out of my hands. I’m certainly doing what I need to do to get jobs, it’s just not coming together at the moment. So, I am slowly not beating myself up over it anymore and just trying to live.

I’ve had A LOT of money. I’ve had NOTHING. Money is cyclical, it will come back to me in due time.

I can only try to become my best self and keep applying, and keep thinking of places that I can contribute to, and roles I’d like to fill one day.

I only don’t feel so worthless, because people have shared words and time with me.

And because money isn’t everything, and it doesn’t define me, and it never has.

People will light your darkness with their honesty.

Knowing how badly I was doing this summer, I’ve had a lot of heart to hearts with a lot of people. Some who have been very close to me for quite some time now. Some who I was cool with, but not much more. Some I barely knew.

I was just seeking clarity. In that search, people have admitted to really painful things that made me feel like “I am not alone, here”. They showed me what love was, in a different light. They told me I would be ok, when I didn’t think I would. I’m still not ok, actually. Without their words, I wouldn’t even be on the road to “ok”.

I would be in the depths.

And I spent most of the last 3-4 months, in the depths.

Still, people reached out to me, texted me, hung out with me, emailed me, even though I was a total fucking burden, and surely no fun to be around. I appreciate you fine folks, for real for real. if you knew of my situation and shared a word with me, you’re good with me. I have no idea how I can repay that, but I’ll find a way, somehow.

I am just gracious for what was once part of my life, that which is no longer, that which I have now, and that which I will have later.

That is all that matters.

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.

one take rav.

I’m sitting here.

I’ve wanted to write for months.

Anyway, this lady on the news is angry that they are planning to tar down a historical mansion in Teatown. The board for the estate don’t have enough money to maintain the upkeep of the house.

I feel her pain.

But my first thought was…. “fuck all that.”

Very insensitive but ….it comes from a good place.

That mansion is an earthly thing. It is preserving the past, sure. However, the past never goes away. The past is not trapped in the earthly objects you hold so near and dear. They exists as thoughts, emotions…..memories.

I’ve been throwing shit away that years ago meant EVERYTHING to me. Memories work that way: they convince you that you haven’t changed, that you still are tied to the thing that you possess.

You are not. You are a soul. A soul in body. Doing stuff. Good stuff. Bad stuff. Shitty stuff. The soul has no need for things you can touch, fold, and look at longingly when you are by yourself.

Every time I throw something out (or give something away), I feel liberated. Which makes me think did I ever need all of this stuff? I love clothes. I give them away and never regret it. I give of myself and don’t see it so selfishly. I don’t have anything to prove anymore; I never really did. It actually kind of pisses me off that I ever felt the urge to prove my worth to others.

You can see someone’s self-worth not in what they possess, but in how they treat themselves.

I’ve treated myself like shit, many a time. But I always thought I was great. No matter what.

I don’t have shit, really. But I have EVERYTHING. My life is full of love and happiness, even when I feel miserable, even when I wish things would go my way a little more. But don’t they already go my way? Don’t I get to wake up everyday? Don’t I have family and friends who love me, even when I’m a dickhead? Don’t I have a girlfriend who looks me in the eye, sees me struggle & suffer, and still treats me like I’m a king?

I didn’t always have those things. But I always had clothes. I had more money than I knew what to do with. I had women in my life who probably weren’t out for my best interests but would definitely draw the applause of peers and adversaries alike. That’s the dream. That the 20-something black male dream. But fuck that dream. It never made me feel good. It never made me feel fulfilled. It made me feel stupid.

Those earthly, empty things made me feel whole. I was empty as fuck though. I still dedicated my life to my family and my friends and just making people smile and laugh. But I didn’t have that level of dedication to myself. So I always felt stretched thin. Having the outside world think so highly of me is moving; brings me to tears. But that gripping “man, this shit ain’t right, you gotta figure out a direction” feeling didn’t go away. I always had to “prove” something. Prove I could drink. Prove I was cool. Prove girls liked me, because they didn’t for most of my life. Prove.

Nothing felt right until I had literally nothing. I was never really into material shit, but when they no longer became a regular option, everything was different. Getting your job taken away from you and not knowing what you want to do, but knowing you have talent. Knowing that if you really didn’t give a fuck about how people viewed you, it would be put to the test. I’m surviving it, I think.

I feel full, now. I still worry too much. I still have minor issues. The difference is, my problems don’t feel so large and looming. I’ve learned how to stay in the sunlight. All i need is my loved ones and belief that I will be ok. I will be ok. Every breath I take is proof of such.

Fuck My Ex (or why I won’t).

I see them everywhere I go.

Sometimes it’s girl’s who just look like them.

Sometimes it’s….actually them.

It’s haunting either way. Some people are cool with their exes; I’m not. I swear I’ve tried; it’s never worked. I’d like to think my love is a burning, intense one. I can’t scale back, I cant turn the oven back on to the same heat as before, I can’t just cool down and be friends…it never works.

I am simply too much.

So my exes burn out. From the land of the living to ghosts in 2 blinks. They are wisps of smoke in a burning building.

They reach out to me when I wonder how they are doing, or they appear on my timeline, or at a party. They make their presence felt. I don’t know if I manifest it or what (I’ll discuss me and my spiritual ties in another post…or I won’t!), but it happens. I don’t really reach out because I don’t have the urge to. Anytime I did have the urge, they appeared, we spoke, that was that.

When my exes get in touch with me, I aim to keep it short and sweet. This is because its very rarely just a friendly conversation; It always takes a turn. A few times, I’ve steered the vehicle; most times they’ve whipped it off road. I don’t need them back. I see myself out.

This may also be why I will probably never just be “ok” with girls I seriously date still being very close to their exes. That post relationship purgatory is an opportunistic place; usually someone wants something more than a friendly chat. I also may need to trust more. Who knows.

I was never much of a rekindler. I was never good at it. The last two times I did it, I fucked it up.

I blew it the moment I opened those doors. In my life, for me, PERSONALLY, I don’t have a reason to re-stoke those fires. And when I did, shit went bad. Mainly because I refused to believe that I made the right choice the first time (I did). My other reason is because bringing girls back from the dead is a lot like breaking a vase and gluing it back together. The flowers will still look great, it might even hold water like it did before….but one day, you’re gonna get real close and know it’s a lost cause. Best of luck.

So while my exes exist, they don’t exist on my plane, really. They might be alive in a girl’s face or style of dress, in something I read, in using something I learned from them. They also are “dead”, when I wake up in the morning and go live life. They are all great women (all of them), but I respect their place. With respecting their place, comes trusting in your decision to leave them. I trust it. I didn’t always; that took growth and knocking on doors I had no business standing in front of.

And those doors lead me into a few burning apartments. The same fire that kept us warm many a night, engulfed us.

I just happened to be the one who came back from those ashes, not afraid to get engulfed again.

Hitched, Part 2.

****Read this first.*****

    Over time, I started to notice…things. Well, just one thing. Whenever there were other girls around us, she acted “off”. I remember it clearly; when we were walking to go eat on campus, a girl from one of my org’s stopped me. We exchanged small talk, regular chatter. I guess this went on a little longer than she liked: She just walked away and left me. All I got was an “I’ll meet you there”. I wanted to introduce them to each other but she hung back so far when saw her, I couldn’t even tell where she was standing in the crowded student center. To be totally clear, I had a crush on that girl that stopped me at a point. My current situation really dissolved my interest in even going down that road. Maybe she “felt” something. Either way, I started to feel that we might be in trouble.

   My 22nd birthday came up. My 21st birthday was a mess, so I promised myself I would make my next one memorable. Me and my roommates brainstormed and we decided to have a party. We had liquor, I let the people know; no way this would turn out wack. I told “her” about it and she never really sounded too thrilled. I kept bringing it up, hoping she’d see how badly I wanted her to show up. Hours before the party, she said “I’m sure there will be more than enough girls at the party, you don’t need me to come”. I was sick over this. How could someone so important to me see her presence as disposable? She was always uncomfortable with my popularity(ugh, my friends were way more well known) at school , and that comment sent it home.

    The party went down. It was a success. I nearly got into a fight, plenty of girls came and it closed with the cops trying to arrest me (A+!). Seriously, it was a good time. With that said, I had a strange little moment there. My VERY first college boo(“A”) and her best friend (“K”) came. This is no big deal, as we were cool and put the past behind us (lol oh pls). They came through fly as usual, danced, drank, enjoyed. Once A walked away, me and K were talking. She out of nowhere murmurs to me…

“If you and B didn’t date……”

    She looked me in the eye and I knew what she was trying to infer. Ive known her forever. She’s been (and still is) an attractive woman. However, I didn’t hesitate. I defused that immediately and moved on with my night. I was very serious about whatever it was me and “her” had, even when it was on the rocks. My feelings and heart were tied up and I really just wanted to put my energy towards that.

    A few days later, she texts me back again. She tells me she doesn’t wanna come chill, doesn’t want anything to do with me, all that. I’m pretty much being dumped via text, and I don’t even know what I did. I’m not taking it well but my ego prevents me from chasing down the “why” of situations like these. If you want to let me go, cool. I won’t beg you, I won’t play myself. I simply asked her what lead to this and she once again bought up my popularity and how that was too much for her. I responded back calmly, accepting things for what they were. In the ensuing days, she continues to hit me up and make me feel stupid about the whole thing. How I shouldn’t have liked her so much. How I made it all into something it wasn’t, how all of our time didn’t really mean much. It was bizarre, because I wasn’t chasing her after she dumped me. She just kept coming back to me and killing me with the same knife. Me, in my state of need for her, kept responding until I simply was too bothered by all of it.

      I was totally fucked up over this. Non of my friends knew how serious it was for me, or that we even split. My roommate asked me “whatever happened to….” and to this day, I don’t know how I didn’t get out of that conversation without embarrassing myself.  Partner this bad heartbreak with the melancholy feeling of a pending graduation, trying to enjoy myself before it’s all over, and the incredible amount of violence going on at my school (guy got killed and his body was in the street a block away; on a separate incident a kid got stabbed up in the parking lot right outside of my window), I was stressed about everything. I’ve never really admitted this, but I honestly felt like I was going to get killed my senior year. I ended up adopting some beefs because of my loyalty AND a lot of students were ending up in crazy situations with locals after parties.

       I don’t really know how I decided to stop sulking. I do know that I found solace in my coworker’s bed sheets. We worked together on campus and I kinda knew she always liked me. I was sorta on the fence but as we got to know each other I warmed up to the idea a little more. She was cute; dark skin, big smile, infectious laugh. We hung out at the office, we talked on campus, worked on projects together. As fate would have it, she happened to live in my building. I saw her in the hallway while I was washing clothes, so I texted her when I was almost done. I ended up walking into her apartment and next thing you know, our lips meet. We didn’t have sex until maybe a few weeks later. Once we started, we didn’t stop. She was in an ODU office with me, amongst very important people, and no one knew what we did behind closed doors. There was a certain forbidden air to it. This went on until about a week before I graduated, when she disappeared quietly back home to northern Virginia.

     There was also someone else, who is memorable because she was a big “first” for me. She was at my apartment for a kick back. I was doing my homework; I wanted no parts. Me being involved would’ve thrown the ratio off. Nevertheless, I’ve known her for a few years but we’ve just been cool. I noticed that she kept walking by my door and peeking in. She eventually comes in and one of the guys (who I know WELL) pulled her off of me and out of my room. He had a huge (unrequited) crush on her, and I knew this. Never one to lose his cool in this situation, when she came by again, I took her by the hand and walked her into my room. She giggled and walked in curiously.

        I’m just running my fingers over her, admiring her form. She was sort of defined , smooth light skin and had an edge to her voice. She reveals to me “I’ve always liked you and thought you were cute, why didn’t you say anything?” BULLSHIT DETECTOR WEEEE OOO WEEEEE OOOOOOOO. I could’ve just been overcome with modesty, but I still think she was lying. How did I answer? With a lie of my own. “I’ve liked you for a while too!” First and last girl I ever lied to. It was pre-sex bullshit; going through the motions to make each other comfortable with things that aren’t true. I never subscribed to that again. Regardless, she chose to link up after Spring Break (which was next week) instead of doing anything that night.

   Our night came to pass. She came at 6 am, and slid into my building silently. I didn’t sleep, I just stayed up and waited for her. She hands me this, I take ONE swig, she is in my bed. It goes down from there, as Spongebob Squarepants plays far too loudly from my bulky silver TV. The next morning, I kept the lie train going and told her I had study hall. The truth was I didn’t want her in my spot all day. I eventually felt like shit about the pointless lies and vowed to never do it again. I also considered telling dude who pulled her out of the room what happened, because I wanted him to suffer. But I didn’t. So he may be reading this and just found out. If so, yes, her. 🙂 !

    The final part of my story that connects back to Hitch is simple. He approached women and all that they have to offer as “catching up on lost time”.  In reality, he was trying to cover up the pain of finding his girl in the rain with the resident cool guy on campus. She basically left me for her ex, then a FOOTBALL PLAYER. So she hated my popularity, then went to an athlete. Yep. I finally decided to entertain girls who I knew were interested in me, because I was fucked up. I was trying to patch the holes in my boat with lust. It never worked. Those girls didn’t particularly give a shit about me; they just liked what I projected. One of those girls I mentioned actually told me in bed “You were cute on that (ORG REDACTED) poster around campus, I had to have you”. It was never about me, just like it was never about them. I wanted to feel alive, after feeling as if I was literally dead on my feet. Casual sex is fine; just know that it doesn’t heal your pain. The emotional rawness of being discarded by someone who literally illuminates your days to girls who keep your nights shrouded in darkness is a lot for any 22 year old, especially one with a lot on his plate.

  I had to mature. I had to live. I had to understand that just wanting to have sex is fine, and so is wanting to put your all into a woman who’s special to you. Even though my clear blue sky turned gray, I didn’t want to be afraid the next time the sunlight chose me. With knowledge that it all ended so badly, I thank her for it. The highs, the lows, the jagged separation. My experience taught me to value myself and to appreciate the love in every waking day. Even the cold, lonely ones.

break from queens.

SXSW.Austin. 4 AM. On the Thursday of that week , I had a bizarre argument with a friend of mine who’s been around since high school(Kwame). Since we were 15. He was the cool one that everyone knew. I was just the semi awkward kid who talked a lot of shit. Grew together and have been through plenty. Ten years.

Poof. Into thin air. Why you ask? I had managed to make him feel….ostracized by my actions. Not taking into account when he wanted to chill in Austin or what he wanted to do. We discussed beforehand I’d be with other friends AND them in Austin , but things kinda broke down somewhere along the way. Honestly , I knew a lot of people in Austin this weekend (he didn’t). I was stretched kinda thin and I also had a few things eating at me during the whole trip. Well really , one ongoing thing involving a girl that I probably won’t admit to until years from now. Mainly because it makes me feel embarrassed (it shouldn’t) and I’m not even sure whether I’m intrigued or repulsed by what our relationship has become. With all that said, my attitude should have been better.

So here we are , arguing. I’m in a nice crib in Austin with my dude, at SXW…just how we mapped it out. But look what it was becoming. An argument.  I’m not even sure I was upset. I was really more confused than anything. No one was happy and no resolution was met. We kinda went through the motions the next few days. I grew angrier at the whole situation over time (I hated that the issues weren’t aired out as they happened, as opposed to held onto until it exploded). I covered up how “off” the whole shit made me feel and tried to enjoy my last few days of SXSW. I left alone on the final morning.

What really bothered me about the whole ordeal is he accused me of putting him by the way side for my “other/new/cool” friends. That stung , mainly because I don’t have any friends from before we met that I’m still cool with. I moved from BK to the very edge of Queens as a child ; a few friendships died with that trip. They felt I dipped on them because we left a 2 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house. Things were different. I had to “start over” per se. My WORST fear since I decided I wanted to be in the music/entertainment industry was losing touch with who I once was and my humble beginnings. His accusation felt like the start of me going off the deep end.

Me and Kwame spoke about 2-3 days after I got home. Tempers flared. I expressed how I felt, angrily and moved onward. I heard him and understood where he came from too .The thing about me is …I value those close to me. But inherently , I feel as if being “alone” is part of who I am. If I have to step away for you to see what point I’m making, I will do it. For however long that needs to be.

We spoke quickly in April , due to the urging of my ex. I contacted her on Easter because I “felt” something was wrong with her. We don’t speak consistently and I don’t see the reason to…but I could feel my heart pounding through my eyes when I woke up. I KNEW something was wrong with her and I was correct. Once we discussed that and got that straight , she told me “go talk to Kwame”. So I did. It was awkward but more peaceful than before. Halfway through , I kinda felt like “Why did I do this?” I was content with not speaking. I have a tendency to eventually be “ok” without people. This is a positive AND a negative , in the same breath. I also knew that the nature of our friendship was going to be “different” after this. Don’t think I wanted to deal with it. In addition to not talking to Kwame, I wasn’t really speaking to anyone in that friend circle. Didn’t want to make it awkward for everyone.

3 months pass. Three months. I did not talk to my best friend of 10 years….for 3 months. We spoke every day , about the dumbest of shit to the most serious of things..and now nothing. No real words until July. He reached out to me and was just very honest. He understood where I was coming from , told me what had been going on in the last 3 months. Very heartfelt. Very painful. From there, we started on the road to recovery. Things seem to be mending and going well now. I couldn’t tell you if our friendship will just be A-OK again but thats my dog. I love the guy and he’s held me down and looked out in situations where most wouldn’t.

So while I’m dealing with all this , I have other unpleasant shit going on. I quit my job in Feb on a leap of faith. I simply couldn’t do it anymore. It was taking too much from me. I couldn’t think , I wasn’t creative , I wasn’t even happy anymore. It was literally taking my soul. I had a great relationship with most of my coworkers; all love. But how did I leave? In silence. I emailed HR quietly. Turned in my stuff. Waved off and and all uproar. Just daps and hugs and contact exchanging and off into the sunset.

So…….I was broke. Not immediately. But soon after. Maybe 2-3 months. I didn’t regret leaving ; I had to. That job was turning me into someone else. I’m not a miserable guy. I am moody and intense; as soon as those feelings within become mainly negative I lose myself. And I totally lost myself , at that point.

So I had no money , not on speaking terms with my best friend , I’m INCREDIBLY lonely, I can’t go anywhere, and the wound of that nearly 8 month old, self initiated break up is still fresh , because my ex intermittently pops up via retweets or IMessage. So just add everything together…misery.

Me being the person I am , I didn’t tell a lot of people how shitty and worthless I felt. I didn’t want to come off like I was yearning for sympathy; I wasn’t. Life is difficult for everyone; how you perform under duress says a lot about who you are.  For this part of my life , I was not performing well at all. I was holed up at home doing nothing , being unhappy about everything. My hair length at the moment? It’s because I was sad. My hair represented how I felt; I grew attached to it. It was something I could “control”. Ive noticed when I have more hair i feel more liberated. And that’s one thing I definitely didn’t have at all…liberation. I felt trapped; by my own circumstances and emotions, with no real solution in sight .

Sometime in July, a ray of light appears. I got hired. First music industry job…ever. First time being paid to do something I like to do…EVER. The job itself has been going well and might really be the best experience I’ve had job wise. My contract is up soon , so this ride may end soon. Even if it does , I’m more than happy with what I’ve gained from it.

I made a series of decisions as it comes to my life , because it’s just time to do that. Had to choose my own emotional well being over speaking to my ex; decided to chop it up with Kwame like old times ; actually accept invites to places because I have some money now. I decided to use my qualities to be a positive guy , regardless of what’s going on. Things had to change. I had to exile myself in order to “gain control”. I’m usually in control but everything hit me at once and I completely lost it. I’m still not 100 percent but I’m much…MUCH closer than months ago. These things take time.

I’m learning how to be myself again. Before everything was so serious and heavy. Back when I just wanted to have fun and make people smile. When crappy situations didn’t weigh on me and push me off my center so easily. I feel different. I feel….good. I will only feel better moving forward, because I chose that path. I’ve become more self aware, and things are finally starting to brighten after such a rough patch.

Thank you to everyone who stuck with me.

P.S. I blinked back tears for most of this so I’m gonna do 3 sets wide pushups in front of a dirty bodega while listening to this. Probably shirtless.

the light in the darkness.

You never know when the words will touch you. Or what those words will be.

A long time ago, I was listening to “Murder to Excellence” and heard the ensuing lines.

What up, Blood? What up, cuz? It’s all black, I love us

–  Jay – Z

“I love us.”

The line always stuck with me. As a black man, I’ve always felt passionately about my racial identity. I was a  4 year old kid on the floor; in my draws and my little Hanes white tee…thumbing through books about African kids learning Swahili.A bunch of brown faces that looked just like me and my sister and my parents. Different skin tones. Braids. Big smiles. I felt pride then and I really didn’t know what it meant. I just knew that there was something important about my people. I always had this feeling in my chest that my race was a big deal and something to hold onto tightly.

I happened to be on UnKut.Com and saw this….

 

When BDK(Big Daddy Kane) came out….I felt the same way I did when I read those books about black children. I was proud. Look at that park full of people with the same skin, ancestry and culture as me. Everyone peacefully gathered in the park , simply desiring a good time. It doesn’t even feel like 2013; everything about the scene looks like what I’d imagine the 80s to be. I’m not one of those “YO RAP WAS THE BEST BACK THEN EVEN THOUGH I WAS BARELY ALIVE” people but certain things can’t be denied. This video is beautiful. In addition to BDK still having stage presence and the same talent that won crowds over when I wasn’t even a thought yet , the energy strikes me. The energy. From us.

I love US. US.

Black people. My brothers and sisters(black women changed my life.) and uncles and aunts and friends. Not just “black” in the typical sense , ethnic people. I think we all have some aspect of black culture or ideologies within us.

 

I can’t do certain things because of the presence of this….love. I can’t really fuck with WorldStar; I feel silly and embarrassed. I think we are far too beautiful and talented and strong to have a website thats 80 percent dedicated to us making a fool of ourselves. I can’t laugh at some of those jokes pointed towards black women; they’ve been around me all of my life (and instrumental in who I became over time). I can’t dig certain TV shows because they dont accurately reflect the black experience that I know and live daily.

 

In that same breath , the love makes me smile. I see a black person doing well and striving , I commend them because I know the shit is tough. The people who really pushed the hardest for what they desire all too often go thankless. I don’t ever let myself hold back credit when its due; but if its a person of color its even MORE important to me. I LOVE to see a black man or woman touching destiny and impacting people with their gifts. It’s vital. That is the real meaning of life. It’s what I really want to do before it’s all over.

 

Luckily for me , its nowhere near over.