It’s high noon on a Sunday, my favorite day of the week. I’m standing in the kitchen with no shirt on, a bathing towel nonchalantly draped around my waist.
I’m staring at my reflection in the kitchen window as I guzzle a fiber supplement drink that I just mixed up. Water drips carelessly off my body and patters onto the linoleum floors; haphazard slippery slope ahead.
A shower cap is placed snugly atop my dome piece, allowing the leave in conditioner to do its job more effectively. I wait for my post-conditioning oils to heat up on the stove, a heady combination of Coconut/Jamaican Black Castor/Olive.
Madvillainy plays on loop in the background and I have the house to myself. I quietly ponder out loud if my life has always been this eccentric, this unorthodox. This eerily peaceful inside my once fragmented psyche; completely at ease with all my idiosyncrasies and insecurities.
What may seem like a plain bagel with no cream cheese type of scene to you is actually a small miracle to me. This moment in time is only a reality today through no shortage of heartbreak and suffering, despondency and disillusionment from my immediate past.
There was a solid 5 year block of my life that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Think of it like walking in and out of hell on a daily basis, clocking in and out like a 9 to 5. Except this clock never got punched out, no matter how many times I tried to stamp my card.
I would walk a razor thin wire every night just to get to an open mic and spill my guts onstage, my mouth somehow unbloodied despite the countless razor blades held firmly under tongue.
The therapists that the state kept referring to my case were woefully under equipped to handle such a complex broken mind, such an emotionally conflicted heart. They couldn’t help me, they didn’t have the answers to piece me back together.
At a time when all my peers were pursuing degrees and accolades, I was sobbing uncontrollably with supplicated palms turned towards the heavens. I watched helplessly as I tried to prevent my soul from sifting between my fingers like sands in an hourglass. I was hunched over on bended knee, struggling to identify individual grains of Said through the tears obstructing my vision.
It was a path I was destined to walk in solitude, until I somehow brought it all together into a functioning adult male human Afro-immigrant-contradiction adaptation machine. I would wander endless hours in the Seattle rain, needing neither umbrella nor Northface jacket while I sought that which eluded me: a sense of self.
Acquaintances would constantly try to solve all my internal issues with the occasional clichéd non sequitur hurled my way: ’emotions are like waves; this too shall pass,’ or ‘no matter where you go, there you are.’ As if regurgitated words from an uninitiated mind would be the secret to my salvation. As if surrounding myself with people could make the jarring emptiness any more bearable. In time, the darkness roiling inside of me would become my closest ally, the loneliness becoming increasingly palatable.
A lot has happened between that point and where I now stand, but one thing is for certain: all that I had sought externally, I found within the depths of my own subconscious mind. After being humbled by such a solitary path for so many years, I’ve realized that all I ever really needed was God, Family and yours truly.
I’m at my best when left to my own devices now, when I have no outside influences or distractions. I crave solitude, I thrive in the solace of my own company. I embrace its suffocating hold over me like a soulmate would. I’m just as fine in a group setting, though I will always prefer complete silence to mindless blathering from multiple directions.
At the end of the day, this life is a 1.5 hour movie. You’re the main character and everyone else plays a supporting role. The script is yours to write as you live it, but keep in mind that not everyone wants to see you smiling on that red carpet at opening night.
Nobody owes you anything, so be appreciative when they offer you something. Be grateful for both the hardships and the blessings equally. Tell the people that matter to you how much you love them and never be afraid to ask for help or to be vulnerable.
Never be afraid to love yourself the way God intended. It might not seem possible today, but you never know what tomorrow has in store for you. I know I sure as hell didn’t.