Today is the day my brother’s body was set free. His spirit was gone on the 9th. August 11th. I was picked up from my aunt’s house. I was brought home. As I walked through the gate and locked it. I began to shake. I felt different. I felt like a piece of me was gone. As I walked toward the stairs I heard his voice call my name 3 times. Immediately I ran in the house. I knew he was gone but I didnt want to believe it. I went straight to his room and bypassed my mother in a dark living room with the smell of cigarettes in the air. I stood in the door way to see his blue suit he wore to 8th grade dance. I walked in and rubbed my hand against it. I ran into the living room full of questions. I was a 12 year old anxious for my brother. Ma, where’s Brian. Is he coming home? I rattled off without a breathe. Silence befell us and suddenly the world became darker. He’s gone. She said. For a moment I was lost. Then it hit me like concrete. He’s gone. My best friend. My brother. He was gone like that. Just Friday we were talking about all the things he was missing in the hospital we never realized the things he would miss. He was only 14. It wasn’t supposed to end like that. Nobody understands the level of devastation the loss of him caused. Nobody understood just how I viewed life after he left. I never imagined life without him and to this day I still can’t come to terms with him being gone. Ill love you forever my brother. My friend. Life just isn’t the same without you. Come visit me sometime. I need you.
Soar in love. Brian E. Carter 2.22.89-8.11.03
As the sun rose it began to peek its head into the window illuminating the things that had once been dark. Including my conscience. I woke with one eye open peering towards the open blinds. It felt like I had been sleep for years and yet my body did not want to budge from this temporary coffin. My hand traced the other side of the bed like I had lost the ability to see and was learning to feel life again through the tips of my fingers. They stop at a the tips of fingers that weren’t my own and quickly both eyes opened and as i turn to see, the suns beams shower this body in rays making him look like a god to a mortal like me. I wanted to gasp but I feared I would startle him. So I sat there staring at this man who laid there next to me sleeping as if all his worries had disappeared like ghosts on resurrection day. I sat there gathering my thoughts and composure. The wine glasses on the nightstand like they were placeholder reminders. I remember we were talking. Discussing our past lives in detail. Talking about a future uncertain. Learning each other like lessons and turning every page of our beings like a New York bestseller. This wasn’t something I expected. I never thought I’d be one of those women. But here I am. Laying next to a man with a finger decorated with forever. Though I could not recall all that happened and how we ended up in this moment, inside I wanted to do it all over again. I wanted to wake up and feel that rush everyday knowing he was lying next to me. I couldn’t help but feel this moment was meant to be. There I was, in love with a married man. As I was basking in that truth, one eye opened and then another. A sweet and sincere smile swept across his face. Good morning. Good morning I whispered back. Last night I slept with a married man and he calls me wife.
I used to believe in love. Until, I realized love didn’t believe in me. I was all for the 90s R&B type, sweep you off your feet, falling over and over again type of love. Until I was met with an unbearable truth. No matter how much I loved love enough to love, love just didn’t love me. I thought I could recover from a previous pseudo love. Take the risk and adventure of getting to know myself and embrace the possibilities of a having a chance of something real. I, in a way gave up on ever finding something which seemed so elusive. So distant. So reel-istic. Until years down the line. I found myself yearning for something more than I was accepting. More than just a warm body. More than the bare minimum. I wanted a warm heart. A warm soul. A love that was hot. And to my amazement. I found it double wrapped in illusions and false promises. I fell in love with a dream or better yet a nightmare. That took all the dreams I had of love and demolitioned it like the twin towers on 911. Nothing short of destined I came to the realization that I no longer loved love. Love is like the mesmerizing glow the burning embers of lava exude daring to burn you alive. Love was a tumor….slowly eating away at all the common cells of sense that scattered the brain. An infection eating away at sight. Turning the best eyes rosy and blind. An emotion as grandeur as an ocean slowly filling your lungs turning the freshest breath of air into chemtrails taking your breath away for the last time. A worm that swallowed all of the butterflies in its path until it leaves you’re gut empty and twisted in knots. The virus that attacks every chamber of your heart. Leaving your arteries clogged with anguish that rupture under disappointment. Draining the very life it once gave you. Love in the 21st century is something rare to acquire. Its something you drool over when watching a properly prepped chick flick. You know the perfect storyline that draws you in, the I’ve been there moments but the difference between the movie and real life is….there’s always a happy ending in the movies. In real life sadly, it rarely ever does. I used to believe in love, I used to believe in happily ever after. Truth is I do believe it exists. Just maybe not for me. I took in consideration, my downfalls and setbacks, however when you’re confronted with idea that maybe its you. You aren’t good enough for them. Possibly because you were too good for them. Or you just weren’t enough. What viewpoint do I peruse if any path I choose leads to the same destination. What’s love? I believed it was more action but you couldn’t be careless or neglect the words. It was a up down up type of ride. At times it’d be bumpy but you endured for the smoother side. A sunny day, a storm. It was the warmth in the cold and a/c when it was warm. It had the potential to elevate, excavate and eliminate in one fail swoop. Love was the glue. The truth. Love understood time didn’t stand still. So it took risks to endure, to last. My abandonment of love ironically brought me my first love. My submission to love brought me my second. Both my greatest tests of unconditional love. A action that will never cease….to do, to be whatever it is they need me to be. What is love? Love is laying across Minnie covers because she wants you to get in bed. Love is running around the yard because it’s a nice day. Going for ice cream just because we can. Love is the united excitement we feel as you take your first steps. When you climb your first set. When you beg for your first pet. Love is discipline and reward. Love is unconditional.
I hope this letter finds you in the midst of marveling over your many blessings. I hope that you’ve wrapped yourself in the laughter of your children and that you’ve embraced every moment that you 3 have together. I pray you’ve let go of the choices you made years ago and realized they are the foundation for the woman you are today. I hope you’ve forgiven yourself for everything and anything you ever felt like you did wrong. You were always your biggest critic but I hope you’re your biggest fan now. I pray you look forward to the sunrises’ now as much as you’ve looked forward to the sunsets before. If you ever get to a point where you feel like you can’t make it remember you made it to today. You’ve overcome so much and you are capable of making it through anything. If you don’t have your dream career yet. Keep looking. You never cared about money. Just doing something you love and being able to help others. It’s out there waiting for you. If you’re still searching for that one. That genuine love. Remember don’t rush anything. Don’t force anything and always be true to who you are. You’ve spent so much time being who everyone wants in the past. I hope you’ve mastered being who you need. Think about all the wrong ones you’ve wasted time on in the past. It was just preparation for what is coming for you. I hope you let go of the things you couldn’t control and the things you simply failed to. You could only do your best with what you knew at the time. You know a little bit more now and I hope your utilizing your infinite wisdom. Dear 30. I hope the only tears that seep at night are tears of gratefulness and joy. I pray you’ve woken up to the realization that you are enough. And If you haven’t, please know you are enough! No matter what happened prior to this moment, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be. A mother of 2 beautiful and intelligent kids. Old enough to understand the world and young enough to still chase it.
People don’t really change. Who we are is still lingering within no matter how many years pass or traits we bottle up or shove in closets or stash under rugs. We tailor ourselves to others vision of who we are. We temporarily change ourselves to become who we think they want us to be. Cradling the idea of perfection. What’s even more disturbing is we convince ourselves that deep down we have become these people. We may have lost and gained individuals in our lives we had no idea we would live with out. We might of changed cities, states, countries. We might of changed professions. Wardrobes, hair styles but we can never truly change who we are inside. It’s not that we can’t but with the new age of social media and the public impact the world wide web has created on the world its easier to change masks than to lose face. Most of the time. If not 10 out of 10 when there is a complete shift in dynamics regarding personality and characteristics, it’s because of a life altering event. Something that yanks. Pulls. Crushes that person with such determination and detriment they have no choice but to give in and become someone or something else. Sickness, life and death have a way of enlightening us even if it’s short lived. Humans are creatures of habit. We habitually personify those things of which we’ve been taught from birth by parents whether absent or present. Peers, whether they’ve led us to the light or dark. From situations that have either brought pain or joy. All circumstances that had their part in molding and forming the person that stares deep into that mirror today asking what happened. The answer is nothing. Nothing happened. You’ve altered many things in life but nothing has altered you. In a way its not so much your fault. Society has set us up to where we have become complacent. In a personal study, looking back at my first social presence. I was a jokester, blunt, a hopeless romantic, lonely, a dreamer and seemingly forever searching for something real. In over 12 years that has not changed. With Facebook it’s even easier to see how much you have not changed. See your memories. Memories that sometimes you don’t need to see to remember. It struck me like a bolt of lightening that jolted my existence and begged me to question what exactly have I been doing when I just happened to post the same exact quote I posted 6 years prior almost to the hour. What the fuck am I doing?! Was my precise reaction to my own lack of self awareness. Is this really my life? Continuously repeating the same events as if I was stuck in a horror flick called Deja vu. Have I not learned anything? Truth, I did learn but what skills or practices did I implement before moving on? If I’m going through the same motions and feelings then the answer was simply not enough of them. I should of kept going but I removed some people changed locations and believed that would make the difference. The difference was with me. Because even though I let some people go, I met twice as many who were just the same as the others I left behind. I moved but ended up having the same issues at my new residences. No matter what I was in a continuous loop of the same shit. Not that I liked being there but because I liked the complacency of self and I thought chopping and screwing the things around me would bring that desired, longed for change. But it never did. I needed a miracle. Really, I just needed to look a little deeper within for a bit longer than what I thought was enough and realize the change I wished to see started solely in me. I needed to rip me apart and stitch me back together with all the lessons I learned from choices I made. I wanted to be a different me without me becoming different. But that’s not possible, especially when it’s the objective.
A lot of people think that to not know is a gain and a lot feel to know is a gain. But the question still bears to be asked. Is it better to know or to be completely unaware. I ask myself repeatedly. If I would’ve known some of things I do now would that have made a difference. Would I have done something different? It’s an instance of would you wanna know if you were gonna die or not. Would you wanna know if your idea was worth a million or not. Would you want to know if they’re the one or not. I’ve asked these questions over and over, many different ways and many different scenarios. The answer is always the same from me no matter what. Yes I would’ve wanted to know yes I would love to know. Simply because it gives me the option to choose. Without knowing, I don’t have a choice. Without knowing you take my right to know away. Wouldn’t you want to know? Or are you one of the many that accepts being pacified because it’s easier to simply not know rather than knowing and being afraid or uncertain or anxiously ready for what’s next. I don’t like to live on the edge. Life has a enough ways of sitting you flush against the cliff taunting you with visions of freedom. To know that people lie to you allows you to take words with a grain of salt instead of putting your trust in what’s said and always being let down, when it comes to those people you expect to be let down and plan accordingly. You either lay down with grace or walk away with your esteem. Who in their right mind would want to be in the dark about anything we are able to know. Capable of knowing. Would you still walk through a field knowing it’s full of venomous snakes? Probably not. Would you still save up knowing you’re about to die in 2 days? Probably not. Would you still sleep with someone knowing they have a disease? I’d hope not. Would you still marry someone that you knew would disrespect and cheat on you? Hell, not I. Accept a job that would be shut down due in less than a week. No. If you would then so be it. But I wouldn’t. I couldn’t and I shan’t.
I don’t like being in the dark. I don’t like having to find my own light. Or navigate my way through to the truth. I don’t want to guess. I want to know. So yes, it matters to me. It may not matter to many because they feel it allows them to delve into life a lil more. Be in tuned a little more. But to me, it matters.
Have you ever felt like something was missing?
Like the things you have are not even half of what you desire?
Have you ever longed for more, like your heart was a bottomless pit and nothing was filling the void?
Whether you said it aloud or silently nodded in agreement, you are not much different than most. It’s a natural human desire. The answers to those questions are what separates us. The theme however sounds with the same melody, happyness.
No matter who you are, you just want to be happy. What happyness means to you is going to mean something completely different to some one else. Being happy to some is having tons of money or lots of friends. For some, it’s having love and a family. To others, it’s about having fame. Then there are some who find happyness by engrossing themselves in hobbies they love and others find happyness in their careers. To you it may be being healthy, to me its doing what I’m passionate about and at the same time providing a comfortable life for my kids.
No matter the rhyme, the reason is everyone is longing to feel fulfilled. To feel like their life has meaning and purpose. A reason to keep going.
If you haven’t seen the powerful real life story of that pursuit, here’s a line that has resonated with me, “Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do something.” What I like to add, is even yourself. If you have a vision, a dream, a goal. Go for it. Chase after it with every fiber of your being. Breathe it like its the only thing keeping you alive. The first step in achieving what you want, is believing you can have it. Was you believe you deserve it and believe you can have it, nothing will stop you from achieving it. Thoughts are portals. Thoughts are vibrations. What you sow, so shall you reap. That’s why the mantra positive thoughts bread positive results holds true. It’s not about who you know, it’s about what you know. It’s not about what they think, it’s about how you think. If you send out your desires into the universe, the universe will materialize those desires for you. The second step is to be grateful for them as if you’ve already had them. Happyness, no matter how much or how little you have is about the mindset you have towards it. There are people who slept in cars for years and were thankful to not be in the rain, who now have mansions and 6 cars. There are also people who have had mansions and cars galore and are living day to day, barely getting by.
Start a vision board of all the things you want to achieve or acquire in the next year. Words, pictures, emotions. Something that accentuates and describes the things you want. Work out a timeline when you want these things accomplished. Next wake up everyday saying what it is your grateful for. If you want a Lamborghini but your driving a 99 Civic. Thank the universe for that Civic. If you want to own your own company but your working at Wendys thank the Universe for that last burger you flipped. Start saving your money up towards that goal. You want a good relationship thank the universe for the bad one you just got of. Thank the universe for the opportunity to prepare yourself for that perfect mate. See everything you have now as a gateway to what you want, wish and ultimately long for. As your showing gratitude for those things, the universe has no choice but to give it back to you in abundance and more than likely beyond your wildest dreams. But you have to know what you want, be thankful for what you have and work towards what you want. Pursuing happyness is no small feat but in the end, whether your kicked up by a pool or sitting in your brand new office working on a project. You will stop for a moment and realize everything you went through to get you to that point and you will be grateful for it. Don’t stop pursuing happyness, your soul will thank you for it.
The answer, no matter the circumstances, situation or people, the answer is and will always be NO!
The definition of meddle is to interfere in something that is none of your concern. Truth is however, it’s easier said than done. Alot of times people look at situations and begin to reason why its their business in the first place. With society these days and the inherent lack of privacy, it’s so easy to push your opinions and beliefs on to someone else’s life. Regardless, if it has no direct effect on you, then it is none of your concern. As a Virgo, as most Virgos do we have an urge to save people and heal the world. Virgos have the hardest time not meddling out of pure concern, however, that’s usually the demise and downfall of a Virgo. I’ve had to have outer body experiences at times just to bring myself back to reality. Not my monkeys, not my show.
You cannot live your life always in the midst of someone else’s. Some times those people have to fight their own demons, push through their own struggle and walk to their own blessings without holding your hand. Most of the time, you think you are helping others when you are merely hindering them or even just prolonging the inevitable outcome. Majority of the time, your putting yourself in the line of fire, figuratively and unfortunately sometimes literally. There’s been people killed in the midst of breaking up fights. There’s been people blamed for helping people get out of a abusive relationships. Not that these things aren’t heroic but I don’t think these people intended to be the victim in these cases. I know the world would be a better place if people just stepped in. But sometimes the world could be better if folks just stepped out. Bombing foreign countries, because they are killing themselves, no, the United States meddled, it was none of our concern, yet we bombed them in hopes of…..what? All we did was kill more people. In the words of all the villains and monsters in every Scooby doo episode, “I would’ve got a way with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”
Don’t try to control what the universe is already taking care of.
Let me just start off by saying, I should’ve never listened to my mother. Before you say, “parents know best” or the Christian “honor thy mother and father” hear me out.
From birth we have no choice but to trust our primary caregiver(s). I was no different. I had to rely on my mother for everything, bathing, eating, how I was going to wear my hair, what clothes I was going to wear, what pageants I could win, what hobbies and instruments Id play, what church i was going to attend. Anything and everything I needed and wanted was decided by her. Even as I grew old enough to make my own decisions she still decided for me. I didn’t have to go shopping with her cause she still chose my clothes, what bras id wear, what pads I’d use for my menstrual. What perms id burn my scalp with and ultimately what dreams I’d chase.
Growing up I wanted to do two things, model and act. As I grew older and was bombarded by schemes and fake agencies, I kept the vision but pushed the dream further back to the horizon. It began to become hazy. I began to lose hope. By the time I was 16, I was graduating highschool and unlike most kids unaware of what they wanted out this life I knew with conviction i wanted to shake the fear and run after my dreams. Truth is my brother died at 14 when I was 12 and as my bestfriend and confidante I realized he was no longer here to mimic, to idolize, to follow and that it was my chance to break free. I opened up, I poured out my heart’s desire to go to New York. You see at the time New York was the “IT” place for performing arts, along with California but I knew the west coast was a little too far for comfort and that id be better of choosing somewhere on the east. To no avail, my dreams were once again shot down, not because I applied to the school I wanted and was rejected but because my mother ripped down my goal. I was shooting free throws and they had no where to go. So I listened. “Take up Graphic Design, they make alot of money and you can move to Atlanta where family can check on you.” You see, she believed because I taught myself design at an early age that was most suitable and the location even more suitable because her sister lived there. Truth is I enjoyed designing but hated being chained to a computer for hours at a time. Simply put, Graphic Design just wasn’t my dream. But, I listened, merely because the home I lived in had become like a cage of sorts and I was a blackbird trying to be free. So I listened. I packed up my things in June of 2007, at 16 and moved to Atlanta. I started school at the Art Institute of Atlanta and despised every single moment of it. Moreover, I was still alone and I was still caged. Confined to her idea of who I was supposed to be. After all, she raised me for 16 years and had just about decided every aspect of my life and being. That Aunt, I rarely saw. It could have became, if I didn’t have the sense to grow from it, my greatest downward spiral. So much happened in those 7 years that it could be a J.K Rowling novel. However, the one thing that remained the same was my dream.
Langston Hughes has a poem where he poses the question, what happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
When I read ‘Harlem’ I see me in the tip of every word, running towards every line like I was in 80’s horror movie. What happened to my dream deferred…it sits on the window ledge of pessimism, reaching out for optimism hesitant to move just an inch closer out of fear that it will fall off the edge and shatter like hearts made of glass. It dreams in color but sees in black and white. It sits idly while being passed by and silently screams, I’m here! It’s just the chatter of a mother, the world and it’s sins keeps the dreamer believing it’s just beyond her reach.
I am 26 now and a mother of 2 and my mother still believes she knows what’s best for me. I still am that girl with her dreams on a shelf, waiting for her to realize her potential. In a way I’ve realized my potential and I’d rather chase after dreams like butterflies and enjoy the freedom of chase than be caged like a blackbird, forgetting she’s always had wings.