Better Days, The Forever Story
Updated: Feb 14
I had dreams of a normal life.
What does normal even look like?
Long before I held dreams of becoming a rapper/producer, before I became a spoken word artist, before I was a comedian at the hollywood improv in 2008.
Part of the reason why I quit comedy was because of emotionally immaturity. I made fun of my father’s mannerisms on stage. Instead of composing something he can laugh at too, I belittled him. He didn’t talk to me for a few days. Even with that he was hardcore on me setting eyes on my goals and becoming the best at whatever I decide to do.
In my mind, as a six year old my only goal was enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or orange juice and breakfast with Dad. Some of the best days I had ever. May sound simple, because it was and it was everything. Whether he cooked the food (which was my favorite) or went out to the silver spoon in Inglewood, Roscoe’s in South Central, or the Dennys off Inglewood Ave on the border of Hawthorne and Inglewood.
I always teased him that one day I'ma buy him the senior citizens meal. Getting him that meal was actually a huge goal of mine.
Also to beat him in a boxing game on playstation 1. The soundtrack on that game captivated my attention with “Dear Mama” by Tupac off an album that later became my favorite tupac album, “Me Against The World.”
We watched the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes, all the will smith movies, all the Jackie Chan movies together. Spent so much time together despite holding down a job full of racist co-workers and management that time whom spit in his face starting from the ungodly hours of 3:30 am to get to work at 4:30am. Get off at 3pm to pick me up from school to go to Malibu Castle. Play the arcade games, mini-golf then hit the neighborhood Mom and pop diner, Brolly Hut. My father, Stevie Siders, became a figure in the neighborhood community. The reputation of a positive male role model.
He always said: “I put up with the shit at work because I have a family to feed. Never let anyone mess with your money. Do whatever, but don’t touch the money.”
Again, my pops set the tone and bestowed the gift of endurance and motivation with each soul he came in contact with.
My father never caught a break.
His determination while admirable, noble, its not the greatest. My father never took care of his health. That has translated into years of cigarettes and drinking addiction, which led to a heart attack. While quitting cold turkey those unhealthy habit converted into binge eating or eating unhealthy foods with no exercise all the time. High blood pressure led to him fainting a lot. Sometimes unresponsive. Getting heart transplant surgery. Sometimes these complications came from the medicine provided.
Few days ago, as my father is laid up in the hospital, my family received a phone call from one of his doctors saying he had a seizure and diagnosed with pneumonia along with the stroke that has his leftside of his body paralyzed. He wasn’t responding to anyone. Lost his memory. Eyes damn near out his sockets with his mouth wide open. They gave him an oxygen mask because his breathing was getting worse.
Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from my mother saying, “Okay. The doctor is giving us two options. Would you want your Dad to stay like this?” In all honesty I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant it just didn’t feel good and gave me anxiety. The whole day I was triggered by other personal matters to where I call a suicide hotline. My urges of wanting to leave was coming back. Wild enough, those urges occurred right before I left for touring last year.
An hour later after calling the hotline, mom came home and informed everyone that my father passed away.
I have never seen my mother in tears like this. 50 years of being together. Gone. Blink of an eye, in one week. They been together since they was 15 years old. They had plans to go on a special cruise for their anniversary.
I expressed to some close love ones that I feel that I hid my identity from my father. Again, I say this all the time, I am not all that vulnerable. Only in my artistry. That’s where I feel I can be vulnerable. My Dad knew about my first album when it first came out. I deliberately asked that my him and my mother do not listen, because I didn’t want them to worry about me. I been through a lot and the last thing my sick father needs to hear is stories of enduring sexual assault, surviving life or death situations, negative self-talk etc. As I been working on this next project, I had a dreams of actually playing him the project. Conceptually something more uplifting and get him on his feet. Dad kinda knew about my sexuality, but not exactly. I was never up front. He googled my name and one of my nude modeling photos showed up. When questioned I exited the room. He always wanted to come to a show. See his baby boy perform spoken word. Perform a rap. Read one of my books. I hid all of it. I was too scared of being vulnerable. It’s only been recently where let him in on what’s going in my life. Admittedly, I held a grudge. Ever since I was younger my parents held the habit of dismissing me and my troubles after talking about it for a few minutes. Telling me to let it go. I understand the way of thinking though. They didn’t have the luxury of being with their emotions. When things occurred, the immediate thought is “how we going get through this?”
I wanted to create the perfect story. Pops got it out the mud for me to build castles for future family generations. Him and my mother shared stories of how when they got out of South Central moving to Inglewood to build. Small apartment. No TV. No couch. No bed. Just an air mattress, empty fridge and carpet of roaches. They figured it out. From there they moved around LA. Rented a half house to purchasing a full one. Owned their dreams cars and all. I been on the move so much.
In and out of the house. Working. When I was out of town performing couple years back my grandmother, his mother passed away. My biggest fear was leaving to Portland this Wednesday and something happening.
His birthday was just a couple weeks ago. January 27th. My uncle gave him a build a bear where grandma's voice was built in. You can hear her speak when you squeeze the bear's hand.
I wanted to him to see the art when I got that stadium packed. When I got that mansion. The songs on the radio. The dream cars. I put my measurement of worth in things that can be easily stripped away. Within my artistry the goals is to be more than that. The product of that is longevity, impact, and legacy. I want our story to be felt, and I want to leave behind a blueprint. The legacy of Chris Siders to be one of overcoming. Forever changing and accepting what it means to be human.
Lately, the past week from 5-6 different people I been told to protect my heart. Last Wednesday a friend in the middle of the bar said, “… when I look at you I can’t help but ask if Chris is okay. I want better days for you.”
I want better days for everyone, and myself too.
Rest in Peace, Stevie Siders. We love you.