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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders

Crown, Mr Morale & The Big Steppers

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

It’s funny how when God forces you to sit down and take inventory.

Life is not all about working. I grew up with that type of thinking. My father started working in the grocery store business at 16 while in high school. After he graduated he worked his way up the latter and retired at age 52, during my sophomore year of college. Same year he got colon cancer.

The number one killer of black men is stress. We don’t know how to take care of ourselves. The idea that’s been passed down is that we must take care of everything. We have to put everyone’s needs before our own or get pigeon-hold as a “fuck nigga” or self-fish.

Being back in Monterey this trip (6/18-6/20 weekend to perform in Salinas) brought back memories of people pleasing, due to some of the ridiculousness I been hearing about in the activism world out here.

Last year during an week of Juneteenth events provided by a group form called the coalition. They made an event making people perform slave labor at a farm owned by white people. Community members shut that bullshit down. For SOME reason they came back with another event called “Harriet Tubman Memorial Hike” in the name “immersive education.” As much I want to call these people out, I gotta choose my battles. I was just talking to a good friend this morning about choosing battles. I have a poem going at these people, calling out by name, but what is that going to do exactly except possibly cause more tension?

The poem may see the light of day at some point for its intended audience, Monterey County. Just getting caught between taking care of yourself and morals is tough.

I was a kid that was thrown into “immersive education” when my college professor asked the entire class to lineup lightest to darkest. Yes this was my freshman year at CSUMB. I’m the only black kid in class surrounded by white people. What the hell is that going to do? I can’t choose this community before myself again. As my OG always told me, if you done something before and it didn’t work, develop a new skill. The skill I been honing in along with choosing battles is choosing who to be around.

The stresses with utilizing your voice is immense. My brother called me the other day saying he’s proud of me using it making contributions to the world, and he wants what I have regarding that. I want what he has. He got his own spot. A beautiful partner. Kittens. Stable housing out of California. This whole year, from work I been feeling a bit burnout from performing a ton. I love it still definitely. Everything that doesn’t contribute to the business of performing and creation of poems is a stressor and as a result part of my drive is lost. Going to San Diego last week kicked me back into gear a bit. For the first time in YEARS, I am working on 4 new poems at the same time. One of which is a topic I never had the words for, and honestly purposely avoided for years.

Vulnerability is an on-going skill I’m sharpening. The more situations I get in the more I truly realize I got a long ass road to travel down.

Couple weeks back, I had a conversation with someone about sex. Since I don’t have those conversations often my body froze. I get insecure and I overthink what’s going on. I felt that I had to immediately defend myself and give a reason why for my lack of. Even though my activism in college was centered around sex positivity by way of feminism-allyship, being open regarding what exactly what was done in the act of is taboo for me. I kinda get a little jealous that people can be so open with that. I’m sure my trauma surrounding being survivor has something to do with it.

Photo by Tiger Lily

However, I never was the best at picking up social cues because my focus in college ( and life in general) was putting myself in a position to work all the time to get to where I want/need to go.

Its weird. I do everything but the main thing that actually sharpens life skills: constant exposure to conversations. I perform. I write. I do nude modeling. I start the conversation, but never jump in them. For some reason, I get deathly terrified of situations that requires knowledge of social cues. Don’t wanna hurt anyone. Now I’m practicing being more present in situations recently discovering my attachment style and wrapping my head around that.

Last month, i met an great friend that would call me every morning just to say I love you, only after a week of knowing each other. My initial reaction was “what does this person want from me?” I have this thing of pushing people away and at the same time having an intense desire to be near. Scared I’m not enough even though things are seemingly going good. This with other recent mental illness discoveries I get a bit down on myself like what the fuck is wrong with me?

Another one of my friends is going through the same thing, and she said that it’s an unworthiness issue.

How many more things I gotta go through just to be okay again?

Purchase tickets to my spoken word event- The Power Of You. Sunday, June 26th 7pm at Junior High in Glendale.

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