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[Blog] Breaking Up With Friends

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My best friend in middle school was bullied for being ugly. And maybe she was. But I couldn’t notice. All I could see was how much she understood my sardonic sense of humor and that was enough to make us inseparable. That was the last friendship I had where I laughed from my belly, sat in comfortable silence and didn’t have to get ‘cute’ just to go over to her house. Because back then, I didn’t care whether someone was attractive or ugly, rich or poor, smart or dumb; if they gave me their heart, I gave them mine. But somewhere along the lines, society taught me to stop being drawn to others for who they were and instead… what they were.

If envied something about a person, I wanted to be near them, and therefore, I began befriending people for the most superficial reasons. Because they were thin and tall and beautiful. Because they were “poppin” amongst the NYC scene. Because they were privileged and could spend frivolously. Because they were extroverted and wouldn’t hesitate to hop on the nearest table and dance. It was as if I subconsciously believed that surrounding myself with all the characteristics I wanted to have, but didn’t, would somehow make those things rub off on me. And sometimes it worked… but for the most part, these “friendships” made me feel insubordinate, awful and downright oppressed. Except I didn’t know that they were causing me such inner turmoil because certainly, a friend is someone to help you through your sadness, and never the source of it. Right?

So I continued these friendships that didn’t operate on the basis of reciprocity. With people who were too self absorbed to bare. Who always seemed to be in some unspoken competition with me. Who’s basic morals and principles just didn’t align with mine. And eventually, with each invite, I started coming up with any and every excuse to avoid my “bffs”. And finally, last week, I was confronted about it…

“Why are you so flaky?”, a friend demanded to know.

I fell silent. I sincerely didn’t have an answer. But the question alone provoked my own curiosity. And just like that, the answer dawned on me. How had something so obvious escaped me for such a long time?

“Being around you just doesn’t make me feel good.” I responded quite frankly.

I immediately felt relief. Acknowledging and accepting that being around certain people just doesn’t make me feel good liberated me. Alas, I can begin to heal and connect with individuals who’s energy (not looks) appeal to me. I can start to cultivate real genuine friendships. Which, unbeknownst to me, is something I’ve been longing for.

[Blog] I Wish I Were A Rapper

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I wish I were a rapper.

And not just because I envy the way music resonates with it’s audience in comparison to others mediums of art. (Oh, how I regret that I will never experience a room full of people reciting and relating to words that I wrote.) What I envy most about musicians, particularly in hip hop, is the allowance to be as honest as you so please. I’m sure you’ve all seen it. Everyone in the club singing along to ‘How Many Drinks Does It Take Til You Leave With Me?’ as if the lyrics alone aren’t date rapey. Because let’s face it, being birthed addicted to drugs, the product of a prostitute and pimp, in and out of abusive foster homes sounds like perseverance when you say it with cadence and add a catchy hook. But in a blog entry, those things just look like a pity party.

Sugarcoating my life so that others don’t feel any discomfort has become too exhausting to bare. Not only does it stifle my creativity, but there’s also something that feels inauthentic about watering down experiences that had such a vital influence over my essence. And that’s not to pretend my life has been entirely full of hardship because we all know I was raised with the help of a a woman who made my childhood damned near magical, but omitting the adversity, which helped shape me, feels like I’m exuding a facade.

Everyone’s all like ‘your struggles shouldn’t define you’… but don’t they? How can my resilience and strength shine without acknowledging the odds I had to fight? I may have a long way to go but I’ve also come a long way and continuing to sweep the obstacles I overcame to get this far under the rug invalidates me. Because those things made me, me.

And personally, I am not the slightest bit ashamed of them. I’m proud of them. In fact, there’s not much that I enjoy more than the look of disbelief on a persons face as this poised and innocent faced intellect speaks from first hand experience about rape and drugs and homelessness and child abuse and domestic violence. Talking about those things doesn’t make me uncomfortable, it makes others uncomfortable.

With that said…. mix tape dropping in 2014. I’m only half way joking. Send me beats.

 

featured photo by Ravie B.