July – August – September
As September comes to an end, I sit here in my room thinking that I should’ve been writing this on a tour bus or from a plane somewhere during the night… I thought I’d be sitting in my little cabin typing away quietly as my team sleeps to the sound of tires turning. Or being the only one up during a flight as I take a moment to stare out the window at the tiny lights shining brightly below & then turn to my team sleeping beside me in their seats. Yes, if you haven’t noticed I can be dramatic sometimes but really I’m just a big dreamer. Instead, I’m using this small burst of inspiration that came to me while editing my show to write this piece because I remembered I promised myself to post it on time.
The third quarter began as the others did, I thought nothing drastic would change other than creating memories & getting a hold of my new routine confidently. As we all know life comes at us the way it wants & it had other plans, new lessons, & overall fucked me up for a bit. So like I said, nothing new.
It’s crazy that in all the years I’ve been alive I still have to remind myself to live in the moment. I know I preach that to others all the time, but being the mama-bear that I am it’s in me to tell others that & make sure that they’re enjoying themselves. I’m so used to putting others in front of me figuratively & literally that I needed reminders all summer to do it.
As we celebrated a birthday for a friend I was doing my best to remain professional (because technically, I was kinda-sorta working but I wasn’t) & was told, “Have a drink.” I responded with, “Nah, I don’t want y’all to look at me differently.” To which I was told, “Yeah, you’ll always be looked at as a professional but remember that you’re our friend too & we invite you to hang out, to have a good time. Enjoy yourself for once.” Being that it came from a very close friend, I knew he had a point. It was an inner conflict that I had at every event I attended. Knowing I was around good people I enjoyed myself that night & for the next few months to come on certain occasions.
I’m starting to tell myself that not everything is about work, even though it feels like that more than most of the time. As I enjoyed myself with individuals who I’ve grown to love as family, I realized that I need to cherish these epic moments more. Not only are these moments that won’t happen again, but these are moments that I need to cherish as we all grow older, become more successful, & realize that eventually, we won’t have as much time for each other anymore. It hurts to think about, honestly. It makes me sad a lot & that thought alone can ruin the moment as I try to soak up everyone’s smiles, the laughter, remember the jokes, & make the love I have for everyone last just a moment longer.
When it comes to change I’m not afraid of the people I surround myself with changing, it happens as people grow & learn through life. I’m more afraid of us losing more time together. That change is scary. The memories won’t change, but our time here can be cut short. Hence, learning to cherish the ones around me & living in the moment, & something happened in July that will make sure I never forget it.
During the month of July, I was hit with an unexpected loss that shook my world. As I was out celebrating a birthday, a friend of mine had taken his last breath. It fucked me up. I never experienced an unexpected death like that ever. I heard about things in school, from friends, from other family members & such but it was never someone who I knew directly. This, on the other hand, made me look at everything differently. When I heard TSwish was gone I kept replaying our last convos in my head as I called my best friend Kali to check on him & see if what I was told was true…
“Did I ever tell him how much I appreciated him?”
“Did you ever say thank you for all he’s done?”
“When was the last time you saw him?”
“Did I say to bye to him the last time we were at the same place?”
There were those thoughts & more running through my head. I thought of his children, his family, his friends. We had many mutual friends that were much closer to him than I was & I didn’t know who to check on first. As I tried to process what had happened my mind was in a weird fog for days. I felt so numb. The whole situation was unbelievable. I couldn’t grasp what had happened, or why. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so sad when there were others who were much closer to him. Then, I felt bad for feeling bad & that made me feel worse for not feeling as bad & it was a horrible carousel of bad emotions.
I didn’t know who to turn to & so I did my best to deal with it myself. I did receive some advice & although it was from a good place, I couldn’t comprehend it well.
“Let yourself feel & heal.”
“Chin up, this shit happens every day.”
“You’ll be fine. You didn’t see him every day.”
My friends were taught to be strong & wanted so much for me to be like them. Growing up so differently than everyone else who was going through or has gone through a similar loss, I felt so weak. My family didn’t know what to do & still don’t understand fully why thinking of him makes me sad. So I did my best to deal with it all on my own. Whether it was talking to myself, to his spirit, to the universe, or having a good cry, I’ve been dealing with it the best way I knew how.
It hurts my spirit to know that this loss is what made me realize even more that shit don’t stop for nothing or nobody. As I type this I can’t believe he’s not here & it’s hard to believe that a few months have gone by already. I wanted so desperately for the time to stop so I can go through all these emotions & not suppress it during work or around family. I wanted (& still want) the world to stop just for an extra second so I can hug the ones I love a little longer, I wanted to fully heal, & all in all, do better in cherishing who I care about.
As the days went on I tried to not put on a mask & just deal with what was in front of me. It was odd how quickly my emotions would bounce back & forth from happy to sad. As birthdays passed & accomplishments were made, it was all just another reminder to keep going. Time doesn’t stop for those of us that are still here & yes, it sucks but there’s nothing I can do about it besides remember him & continue to remember him. It happens often when someone likes a photo of us, posts about him on social media, or inquires about my interview with him. It’s bittersweet I guess, more bitter most of the time but I can’t dwell on that. It’s not good for me.
Along with that, there are other things going on…
As I continue to build my brand, I’ve come to realize that I have some sort of power or say-so when it comes to certain things. I don’t even like saying it like that though because it sounds so cringe. I never wished to have that ‘power’, nor was it ever something I thought about when coming into this field but it’s an observation that I’ve made over the years. It also doesn’t help when people bring it to my attention & no matter what I always deny it or brush it off. I prefer to think of it as having a good reputation or good ear over anything though.
I don’t like to brag about the places I find myself in because let’s face it, it’s corny as fuck & things can change at any time. I also don’t beg to come around either, I actually don’t come around unless I’m personally invited. I hate to intrude on someone’s creative space & be a part of the distraction, but if I’m asked to be there I’ll gladly show up when I can. I like to think that I’m asked to come around because of the passion I have for these creatives, the fact that I show support as much as I can, & overall just caring about their careers. Yes, I know I’ve gained that trust because of the services I provide as a ‘personality,’ or whatever you’d call it, whether it be from blogging, being looked to for opinions (hence, where the ‘power‘ comes in), my show, or the people I know. So when things are asked of me in regards to the next career move, a new sound, or anything of the sort I’m in awe. Then the reality sets in, am I being used?
I’ve been around certain groups of people long enough to realize they’re intentions because of the love, support, & actions that are all recuperated. I’m also well aware that in this world it’s a lot of ‘who you know’ to make moves, I don’t like that things are that way but it is what it is. *shrugs* Since I was a nobody in the beginning, just a blogger or mediocre photographer trying to get some coverage, I didn’t take too much time to think if people were using me. Things are different now as I’ve progressed, & although I’m grateful for the new invites, the new rooms I’m able to step into, & the ones who mention me in rooms I haven’t been in yet, so it’s kinda scary to be walking on eggshells with new people.
The entitlement that others feel they have upon me is exhausting as well & then the lesson of standing up for myself comes in. I have to learn to say no to others for my sake because at the end of the day what I put out is a representation of my brand & myself because it’s my cosign. Not saying that my cosign means so much but still. It’s not even really the strength to say no, it’s more so facing the backlash of telling someone no. People easily hold grudges & are revengeful, it can ruin friendship & then it makes me think ‘If this person takes it the wrong way, were we really friends?’ Then that’s another mind fuck & more than most of the time we don’t know how to separate feelings from the business. I’m just venting now, so we’re going to move onto the next thing before I get too carried away…
I also feel in many ways that I can’t be myself when it comes to certain thoughts or the way I express myself, which is another inner conflict I’m constantly battling. I figure I made it this far being me, being true to myself, why would that change? Well, the more eyes that are on me is a huge blessing & a slight curse. Again, something that I knew coming into this but I also thought my confidence & foundation within this game would be a lot stronger than it is now. Living & learning throughout 2019 & life I guess.
I guess the third quarter (& most of the year) is really teaching me how to sort through emotions. How to become a better me without losing myself, or letting anything mold me. Unless you know me closely, have gone or are going through similar things, this all might seem like it’s ‘nothing to write about.’ With that, I’m going to finish with the reminder that this is more so for me, not for you & if you can relate then I wish you the best on your journey. As my birthday comes around along with my favorite holidays I plan on finishing the year strong, accomplishing more goals, & hopefully getting a hold of myself for the new year. We shall see what happens.
Rest in Peace TSwish.