#MNR: SUICIDE DIARIES
“Life moves fast when you’re doing what you want. I guess I don’t know what I want. [I] hope you’re doing what you want...what we want.”
“Sometimes I look in the mirror and ask myself, ‘am I really scared of passing away?’ If it’s today I hope I hear a – cry out from heaven so loud it can water down a demon with a Holy Ghost ‘til it drowns in the blood of Jesus.”
neurotic - noun
a person who tends to be emotionally unstable or unusually anxious
I remember the times when I over thought everything, and I mean everything. I questioned everything. I was eternally incredulous. I was eternally cynical. My outlook on life was dire at best. My personal outlook was even worse. The cause of my “tick” is far from a mystery. I don’t have daddy issues, but my issues began with daddy. I’ll spare the details; just know that it was juvenile hell. Fast forward to early fall 1994, the time period that I found out that Mary Warren, my maternal grandmother, nurturer, first educator and hero, had Alzheimer’s. That led to years of questioning everything – literally everything. How could the most amazing and benevolent person that I’ve ever known have an illness that promised to rob her of all the special memories she’d amassed over time? The toughest of tough days was college graduation; she was unable to attend. In TGI Friday’s at the post-graduation meal I cried the most since I was 5 and my mom told me that her paternal grandmother Beatrice James, my great grandmother, transcended. I went from experiencing one of the most amazing natural highs to sheer sorrow in about an hour. The one person with whom I most wanted to share my achievement was unable to attend. What was even worse was the reality that, even if she were there, she wouldn’t have been able to remember what happened. Years later, her death triggered emotional descent. I wasn’t much for religion by then, though I was raised in the church. Losing faith in the Lord is catastrophic. Losing faith in self could possibly be worse. I couldn’t land the proverbial “promised” career job, though in retrospect, 9.11.2001 played its own role in that situation. But instead of digging deep, galvanizing and doubling down on resilience, I lost all confidence in myself. I took all types of “underachiever” jobs for pay. I began to make my foray into the streets. I know, I know. Who the fuck cares, Monday? Get to the MF point.
Truthfully, there were plenty of other issues and heartbreaks that contributed to my near demise, but the enduring motif is that I have always overthought every damn thing. When you’re a neurotic, every thought is magnified and then ruminated incessantly. If I felt that you crossed me in any way, [in my mind] I’d immediately go from being cool to wanting to damn near you, or at least never speak to you again...in my head. Half the time, the perceived issue was simply a misunderstanding, usually on my end. I can think of plenty of times that I was prepared to sever all ties (or a head) from a friend or [dare I say] family member, only to have the matter amicably resolved in a relatively short time. I’ve come to realize that I couldn’t help myself; that’s how I was wired. I’m person enough to admit that I was in dire need of some re-wiring. I spoke earnestly with the Lord. I prayed for him to work on my shortcomings. I spoke at length with a dear friend who is also a psychologist. I had loved ones who encouraged me to remain calm in these types of situations. I’m thankful to say that I’m not the human I was a decade ago. I do all that I can to protect my peace and to remain positive through it all; my faith has plenty to do with that. I’d be a half-truth-teller if I didn’t admit that I still want to kill the entire world from time to time. The difference is that it’s only a fleeting thought. I remain calm and employ a certain measure of patience. My strategy is what Stevie (if you have to ask, ‘Stevie who?’, see me in my office after class) said in his thinly veiled tribute to Robert Nesta Marley, “...is to let all our worries, like the breeze through our fingers, slip away.” Believe it or not, it works wonders. In the words of so many brilliant ghetto scholars, “IT’S NOT THAT SERIOUS.” I had to discern.
Positivity is literally a culture – it is a way of life. I’m not the type to preach at the next human or have expectations that are derived from a selfish nature. I’m only speaking on how I went from a perennial Negative Nathan to an eternal glass half-full, smooth operator. I was prepared to end my own existence on two occasions. If I had completed the objective the first time, 100 Blocks Stories would have never seen the light of day. I would have literally killed my lifelong dream before it came to be...abortion. That would have also meant that Shareon would have had to bury her firstborn second. What I failed to realize during those dark hours was that I have so much to live for.
Now, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t speak from a perspective birthed from the dark side. Candidly, the thought of death is something that I don’t shy away from. My thoughts are now far removed from those of [CENSORED]. I’m a reinvigorated believer, and according to the Good Book, that’s the one thing that is unforgivable in the eyes of God. But I’ve experienced so much death in half a lifetime. Weary thoughts have been stuck in my atmosphere, sort of like smog in Mexico City. Each day, they threaten to deplete me a bit more, until eventually there is nothing left. Lately, I have had visions of being 18 years late to the 27 Club. Maybe I check out without trying to check out. Fuck it. Many a night amidst a by myself meeting, I like to get extra low, sit back and let certain thoughts enter. At times, I have visions of making CNN. You know, going out in a true blaze of glory. Fuck it. Let’s go out like that. But I wouldn’t make the global news for any nefarious reason. It would most definitely be for the cause. Pick one. Fuck it. Don’t matter, so long as it’s for the benefit of my BLACK people. They gon remember me (Meek voice)!!!
And then there’s the grey somewhere near the center of it all...
Approximately 90% of the time, I begin my day feeling two ways: blessed and like I’m unfuckwitable. I’ll take my beautiful mind and razor-sharp tongue over whatever you bring to the table. I have supreme confidence in my skill set, fortified by my faith in God. I was raised by people with good sense. They instilled self-love and pride for my-skinned folk. If my back is against the wall, I know exactly who to call when I need a favor – in any situation. At my best, I’m Parker Lewis.
You definitely have to be my age to get that reference and its nuance.
As we near the end of this blog, the best I can tell you is that the mind is fragile. Stephanie Mills said it best: I’ve been up, and I’ve been down. I don’t have a prepared inspirational speech for you. Just take everything a day at a time. If you insist on dwelling on what you don’t have, count your blessings first. Then formulate a plan to go out and get it. Have faith in God and yourself. We gon make it, I swear my nigga.
IN TOTALLY UNRELATED NEWS BUT NEWS I’VE DEEMED PERTINENT BECAUSE THIS IS MY SHIT
Paz a mis primos de la tienda Gardenia Deli. The trio makes the best made-to-order “quick” food in all of Chelsea. The guys (the main grill man is a bit taciturn but he’s valid) always greet patrons with genuine smiles and light banter each morning. Primo means that you’re a regular and that you’re familial...cousins. They don’t have any idea how much of a blessing they are to my coworkers, me and all who enter. Thank you, guys. You are loved and appreciated. I got word that them people were all up in the spot and that it shut down for the day. I don’t know what the fuck happened, but I pray y’all are back open and thriving tomorrow. And not just because of the food, but because I rock with y’all. Salud. I told y’all I was going to give y’all a shoutout. If you’re in proximity to the Garden (that’s Madison Square, not Olive), fall through Gardenia Deli, located at 404 8th Avenue near the corner of 30th street. They are open 24 hours a day, but mis primos leave around normal quitting time.
Aye yo CEO, take us the fuck outta here.
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