Sunday, January 15, 2017

The 24 Hour Existential Crisis

The last 24 hours have been a total mind fuck. It started yesterday, when I was feeling kind of right, so I headed on out to Little 5 Points, an artsy little area of Atlanta. Like always with me, I ran into plenty of people I knew and I enjoyed the scene. While there, I ran into "Martin" a beautiful spirit I'd gone to high school with. Martin and I were previously extremely tight, and I was kind of sad that we'd lost touch. Then, a few years back, in the middle of Little 5, we'd reconnected.

But seeing him this time was different. He looked tired. His hair was bushy. His hands were beyond worked, they looked haggard. They were thick and calloused and filled with sores. He smiled at me as we chatted and his teeth were rotting. He made me a beautiful necklace that I'm still wearing as I write this. While I was happy to see him, I was sad for him. I kept looking at his hard and calloused hands. What happened to my friend? What happened in his life? I offered to buy him food because I thought he was homeless. He wasn't. He'd just looked it. I thought back on that one night in the car with him. He confided to me that one night when he was 5-years-old, some monster broke into his home and raped his mother as he watched. He was so small and had to watch his mother be violated in front of him. I could see him falling back into that moment and I had to shout his name to remind him that he was safe with me and to leave that mental space.

As we chatted, I thought back on that. I knew it was that. I didn't want to bring it up, but I knew that was it. It altered his path. Who knows what and how he'd be if he hadn't seen that? But who am I to judge? Maybe he'd have been in this place anyway. I dunno.

Later that night, I goofed off on Facebook and discovered something weird. I did a bit of digging and discovered that my old friend from Georgia Perimeter College, Nivia had died of cancer a few weeks prior. Mind blown. I couldn't believe it. I saw her a few years back and she seemed to be doing well. She was married and smiled. She'd put on some weight since our GPC days. Nivia went through some real struggles in her childhood, but she was always so strong, you'd never know what her battles were. We'd exchanged numbers and promised to stay in touch, but we never did. I hated myself. I cried for what happened to her. It didn't help to see her pictures. She'd had a shape similar to that of Jill Scott, but her last pics were so bony and fragile. I couldn't stand it. I couldn't believe that in about 6 ,months, a woman my age got stage 4 pancreatic cancer and died.

I took to Google for answers. What caused this mess? I knew the answer. Cancer just happens. And it took her from the world. And I never stayed in touch. I even looked in my phone and discovered that her number was there. And I hadn't seen her in years. I ached. A part of me still does. At that moment, I promised myself that I'd dedicate myself to being as healthy and active as I could and living my life to the fullest, just that much more. Just as Nivia did.

I'd been having these thoughts a lot, but it really started to hit hard then. What the hell are we doing here? People are so wrapped up in Trump and other futile shit, that we're completely missing the mark. People worship Facebook and Instagram, but can't hold a fucking conversation with the person sitting across from them. Why aren't we doing more to address inequity in society? I felt the room spinning. What is and was happening? I called the person that I need to talk to the most, my bestie, Daisy. She let me talk, which was all I needed. She admitted that while she understood some of what I was saying, some of it was honestly quite over her head. It reminded me of the Matrix movie where there was the pill that kept you blind to reality (the blue pill), versus the pill that showed you reality (red pill). I felt like somehow that red pill was slipped to me. And everyone was asleep to what was really happening. I felt trapped. I wanted so much to just leave. Just flee. And if I didn't have a child, I probably would have at that time.

Moving forward this morning, I woke up to the news that Eddie Long died. As a resident of Decatur growing up, Eddie Long had a huge impact on my neighborhood and high school. But still, anyone that knows me knows how I feel about people that abuse children, especially a cat that abused the faith of his followers to do it. So I'm trying to remain respectful in how I address his passing, but I'll say it like this- I won't lose a wink of sleep over his passing.

So yeah, that summed up that 24-hour period for me. So much to take in in such a short period. Existential. So much. Rest in peace, Nivia. Thank you for the friendship and I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Thank you for the lessons and thank you for being a beacon of light for people like me.

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