I've been trying to find a way to get back into writing on a regular basis. I'm not sure how this is it, but I know this is it. I have a lot of thoughts on music and life and weed that have been met with great reception when I share them. I wanna continue to share that stuff, but I want it to be relevant to me and my life and where I'm at. I'm not just a struggling artist anymore. I'm a moderately accomplished artist with a record label/lifestyle collective. And I have a good job that I enjoy doing, and it pays me enough that I don't have to worry about making money from music. But, I'm still not who I wanna be. Some time recently I stumbled on this question that has the power to strip any person bare, and reveal them: "What's the difference between who you are, and who you want to be?"
What follows below is my answer to that question as posed to myself. It was predicated by some conversations I have been having with my girlfriend, but it's about much more than boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. This is written to the whole world, and everyone in it just as much as it's written to the only woman for me. It's about being alive, and living by your own terms in this crazy world. I know there are a lot of you out there going through it just like me, so I hope that this piece of writing will resonate with yall, and make some of the struggles dissipate. I also know there are a lot of yall who need to make that leap and take a chance on yourself, and I hope this will help yall find the strength. We can all make it if we try (hard enough) and we're patient. So people hold on, because I promise it gets better.
My life can be broken down into 3 chapters this far. 2 defined by negatives, and one defined by positives. I am just now entering the 4th chapter. It will be positive, and it will be the basis for the rest of my time on earth.
From the time I was born until I was 18/19 my life was all about fear. I grew up in circumstances well-beyond my comprehension, and it made me very distrusting of the world. Normal to me was: being taken hostage in my home, being under police protection from Griselda Blanco because she might have had me killed, always facing the door at a restaurant in case danger came walking in, always looking over my shoulder, basically never being safe. It poisoned my being, and it's only in the last 2 or 3 years that I've really begun to understand it. I am always anticipating that someone might try to kill me, or rob me, or something else along those lines. Because from my experiences as a youth, those are real threats that are always only one miscalculation away. I think in order to get past that I need someone in my life who I can trust to always be the opposite of killing and robbing. I need someone in my life who is always loving me, and always ready to help me flourish, and looking out for me. Even if it means sometimes sacrificing themselves. I need your help with that. Aside from my parents and sisters I have never experienced that. I know it's a lot to ask, but I also know that I can offer it in return.
The second chapter of my life was 19-25. It was positive. That was when fear stopped being the biggest thing I felt, and I realized how happy I could be, and how fun life could be. That was the period when I made a lot of the friends who are still cornerstones in my life today. I discovered myself and became a great artist. I achieved things that made me feel distinguished, and I opened myself up to the universe completely. I still hold much of those experiences at my core, and they define me. But I made a very difficult decision at the peak of those times. I saw that they would not last indefinitely as they were. I knew I was having fun, but I knew that fun would end eventually if I tried to live out my days in Orlando where I went to college, and discovered so much about myself and the world. So I decided that I would have to find those times again, in a manner more demanding and intentional that wasn't limited to a place and a time (Orlando 2000-2005). In accepting that challenge, I knew that once I could reconnect with that fun and unbridled joy, it would be eternal. I consciously dedicated myself to my values and beliefs, and set off on a quest to find a place in life where I could live by those values. I need help from you because now that I have found that place in my life it's very lonely.
It's not good to own my circumstances and be the man who I am without having great people around me to share it all. I have a lot of fun on my own with no one else, but the nature of fun is to be shared. My friends who I originally found such joy with are spread out around the country, so it cannot be them. Making new friends is tough. But really, I don't need a gang of new friends, and I don't need to be around all my old friends all day. I just need you, because you are everything and everyone to me. I need you to be my companion, my lover, my friend, my collaborator, my comrade, and my keeper. I need you to be my queen alongside me, and show me how to be the best person I can be. Because I don't always know what to do. And sometimes the way I react to the world is not in keeping with my values and who I truly am. I don't want to be aggressive and confrontational. I want to be ready for anything, and always prepared to do what it takes to survive, but I don't want to live like a savage. I need help with that.
The third chapter of my life was from 25-32. It was all about struggle, and being so close to my goals I could reach out and touch them, but never achieving them. I dealt with a lot of betrayal by folks I thought I could trust, I came to a point where I felt even my family abandoned me, I was homeless, I got hit by a car and it ruined my back for the rest of my life, and it goes on and on. The point is not to lament my struggles, but just to give some indication of how expansive and desolate it was. I was clinging to a single tattered shred of a ray of hope for 3 years, I was barely hanging on. I came very close to going down a dark dark path of robbing and killing others to survive. It was right in front of me, but somehow I found the strength to choose love. I will never forget riding the muni in SF and realizing how much money I could make stealing women's wedding rings, looking at the woman across from me and seeing a solution to my suffering by force. In a few moments I had figured out how to go about it, and I asked myself if I should. It took me a few days to convince myself I shouldn't. It was very dark times.
In particular from 2010 on, I went through hell several times over. I learned what it means not only to be alone--because I have always been fairly solitary--but to be alone when you really need people. I learned what it means to suffer through pain that can be alleviated by the simple embrace of a loving human, but to never be embraced. It made me strong but it broke me in a way that I will never be able to change. The same way that I cannot undo knowing what it's like to have my life threatened, I cannot undo knowing how strong I have become and what I am capable of enduring, and what I am capable of inflicting on those who threaten me. I can go through anything alone, but I don't want to. I can reduce anyone who might harm me to a pile of dust, but I don't want to. I don't want to depend on anyone, but I also don't want to turn my back on the world. I am struggling to find a balance between being strong enough to handle the circumstances of my life, and being gentle enough to contain that strength. I still have a lot of hurt and pain to wash away, and I cannot do it alone. Even if I were to scrub my skin to the bone. So I need your help with this too. I need you to help me be tender enough to not crush every flower I touch in the garden that is my life. I need you to help me see when I am blinded by my strength, because I don't want my past to be my future.
Ultimately, I am a loving and caring person. And I only want to live by those principles and make the world a better place through my daily actions. I try very hard so that every time I have an interaction with someone--no matter who they are, and regardless of whether or not I think I will ever see them again--they can walk away from me with something positive. But at my core, I am still untrusting, I am still skeptical, I am still a sensitive little boy who fears for his life, and the savage man who grew strong to protect him. I can accept both of those people, I know they are part of me, but I know there is more to me and those two people do not define me. I am just trying to get to be more of me, and discover what version of me it is who rises from those two past selves. And I need help with that. I need love. I need support. I need someone who is willing to accept and cherish the person I am, and hold me in the highest regard. I need someone who is strong enough to stand beside me when it's rough, and strong enough to lift me up when I am down.
I am not typical, or ordinary. I don't think that you can compare me to anyone else you have ever known, or anyone else you will ever know. Especially men. I made a conscious and explicit decision to be more in touch with my feminine qualities because I believe that is the truest nature of a man. A man is not someone without emotions. A man is someone with emotions he understands, and the strength to not let those emotions control him. The only way to ensure that my emotions don't control me is to embrace them, and own them. Am I sensitive, sometimes to a fault? Yes, but I love that about myself. That is not a problem with me, that is a problem with the rest of the world. Most of the world is not sensitive enough, and it prevents people from ever truly feeling happy and connected and fulfilled, and most importantly a lack of sensitivity ensures that people will never truly know themselves. Without my capacity to be sensitive and perceptive I would have far less to offer the world, because that is what allows me to put others first, and understand what people need, and give to others. I have always been like this and it will never change. No matter how much the world, fake friends, and terrible ex-girlfriends have tried to snuff that out of me, I grew strong enough to protect it.
Being sensitive is a strength, and I hope that you will see that. Without a capacity to be sensitive to one another we would have no hope for love, because it is the basis for everything a relationship --whether intimate or not--depends on. I hope that you can find a way to let me all the way in. I hope that you can find a way to accept me for the beautiful person I am, for the whole person I am even if you don't like all of it. I have come a long way on my own, and i am going to keep going, but the rest of this journey is not for me alone. It is for me and a partner. I truly hope that partner can be you.