Life at 40.

Artwork by ESPO, Brooklyn Museum September 2017

Forty years old. That will come into fruition for me this coming Saturday.
It’s slowly sinking in as it approaches, and now I find myself in a state of
reflection.

I’m not the least bit sad about this milestone. I know some folks have gone
all to pieces about it, as if it’s a death sentence. But to be frank, being a young
Black person in these United States comes with certain realities and situations
that make reaching this age something to treasure and celebrate. There’s a
few people I know who hadn’t even gotten to be 21, let alone get through
their 30’s. If it’s not the speed traps one encounters in high school, then
there’s dealing with the preconceived notions that systemic racism has
embedded in the fabric of this nation represented in ways both overt and
covert. Add to that personal health situations and family crises. For me,
getting to be 40 means I survived the fucking gauntlet. I got past a couple
of the major level bosses without too much hit point damage. It’s a true
and honest blessing.

There is a tendency in these moments to feel down, like you might not
measure up to others’ achievements. Right now, I’m happy to say that’s
not the space I’m in. It’s partially due to faith, but it is primarily due to
one key point – I cut right through the heart of things and don’t get too
caught up anymore in past hurts and regrets. Even when I find that they
crop back up when I recall situations(they never really go away they just
subside), I basically work to dispel their effects. I start looking at the lives
of other family members who had a hard road to get to where they are.
I see how they get through it. The narratives of others fuel me to push
through those negative clouds. And most importantly, the body of my
own works and how it’s affected people in a good way. I have lived,
LIVED, I tell you. And I plan to do more of it.

So your next question may be, what about the party?

Well, for starters, I had intended on celebrating in another city or even
another country. But other forces within and without kind of guided me
to modify that goal. I was supposed to be in Las Vegas last week, but I
didn’t book because of conflicts with one of my clients and their work
demands. And as we all bore witness to unfortunately, a heinous individual
became a domestic terrorist and took the lives of 58 people who were
just out having a good time at a country music festival. It may be cliche,
but things do happen for a reason. I changed things up and instead made
a resolution to myself to celebrate until next October in different ways.
How so? First thing, I want to volunteer in some form or fashion each
month with different groups and charities. Another aspect is to hit up
at least one artistic event or any event that’s going to further open up
my mind and my worldview. As for the trips, I want to make short jaunts
and work up to longer trips. It doesn’t have to be to places I’ve been
before – I’m actually planning a day trip into upstate New York along
the Hudson River to take in the fall foliage. I want to write more – not
just my creative writing, but more letters and cards to my day ones and
others in my life.

I know that as you move forward in life, you lose things. I know that this
next decade could see me pass through some dark moments. Hell, my 30’s
were a roller coaster which you’ve no doubt gleaned some insight into by
reading this blog. But I clawed my way through and came to grips with a
few things that I needed to and found myself better for it. I want this
milestone of being 40 about honoring what still remains and what was
lost in a golden and timeless way.

I’m content. And dammit, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? Being
able to embrace and be content with this new stage of life? Especially if
you do it with mimosas?

Thank you for reading, walk good.

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a line through fire

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drawing a line
is like taking broken bits of your past
and pushing them together
molding like a child does hardscrabble clay
hoping you’ll finally be that vessel
to hold the waters you will need

drawing that line
is like seeing safety
through billow clouds of smoke
feeling fire lick your skin and scrape with pain
as you escape through a window aflame
fueled by combustible anger and regrets like rags in a corner

drawing a line
is like setting that fire
hoping you have enough in you
to leave the flames
and let time snuff things out
leaving what isn’t needed among the ashes

two singles means a lot.

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while out yesterday, I saw this one cat just moving through
the outdoor patio. most gave him a wide berth. I’m on the
phone, but I picked up his walk from like 30 feet away. he
looked at me, I looked at him. could tell he had some hard
times. but I didn’t recoil. he strode over near me, said “what’s
good bruh?” and I nodded, said “everything brother, maintainin’.”
he walks up to me after that, and proceeds to tell me he
just got out of Dannemora about two days ago. I listen, and
I then see the flashes of whatever he saw in there in his
face. knowing what it was, I had my hand in my pocket on
a single or two. as he finished, I said “it’s all good man.” &
gave him the singles. he looked at me briefly in shock and
gave me dap and a hug. “thank you brother, God bless you.
you don’t even know what this means, man” I just nodded
and said “All good bruh, be safe out here.” as he walked off.

two singles may not mean so much to you and me off the
bat but when it’s the razor cut that could sever you from all
you know or whatever ties to what you’re trying to hold to…
yeah.