“Grief is change you can’t control.” - Kyle Ray
Photo by Citrus Fruit Snaps
During my first acoustic set ever with Friday At The Fox's Den I broke down.
Amidst, dealing with the loss of my father and cousin I also experienced a bit of heartache in the romantic sense. The set was comprised of love songs for a project I been working on since December.
Scrolling through my phone yesterday, I saw a screenshot of my old covid test. September 9, 2020. Positive. Days later to end up in the hospital and my older brother sending me a video of him and his daughter sending me encouraging words.
Then losing the battle to die and come back.
Talking to my mother from the other-side of a glass-wall via phone. One hour a day.
Came home a week later Dad frustrated. Angry. One of three times I saw him cry to be exact.
When the unknown looms or occurs a panic manifests. Responses becomes reactions. Reactions sometimes becomes regrets.
I’ve never done well with change. Change scares me. What keeps me going is also acknowledging staying stagnant scares me. In a constant state of being in the middle is exhausting. I fight to change everyday. Rather it's against myself. My behaviors. The circumstances. I also yearn for a sense of stillness. Normalcy. I been the odd human out my entire life. If it wasn’t my dark-skin complexion, it was because I was big. If it wasn’t for silence, it was awkwardness and not knowing how to communicate. Navigating is a mission. Someone special even made space for my emotions and I failed to fully say or convey my emotions. I felt horrible in the moment.
A fear that’s coming about is being incapable of feeling. I also felt the day I stop writing or rapping, the oppressive powers that be, won. I feel the same way regarding being numb. If I become Numb, I’m no longer human or honoring myself. Then if I’m not human what am I?
My first fourth of July without Dad is coming. He loved doing BBQ for the family. Getting everyone together. I remember 2012, my cousin had a heart-attack on the 4th and passed away. That summer I lost several people heading into my sophomore year of college.
Recently realizing I definitely don’t handle grief well too. In a constant state of grief lately, the perspective is I haven’t dealt with a lot. My hustle/grind mode has been in existence since my freshman year of college. Just going all the time. I didn’t grieve the lost of friends. Transitioning spaces. The last bit of innocence I was clinging to. All of that was put into being a music director for my college radio station, directing and acting in plays, performing at every open mic event to eventually opening for well-known acts. Writing everyday. Staying by myself nearly everyday.
A friend of mine, Kei, expressed that she sees I’m smiling a lot, but behind it is a lot of melancholy. She took this picture of me and another friend of mine, Fuzzy laughing, having fun and getting hyped to Madima & The Switch’s set last night at The Mint. She said it made her happy. It was a moment in time of happiness. I chose not to be by myself. Step outside of me. I had to choose my entire life. God granted me that power. I kept myself in certain emotional spaces. I may not be able to control the outcome, but I get to choose how I navigate.
I remember my sophomore year, I literally walked into my friend’s dorm to visit and play video games and I laid on my back staring at the ceiling. Didn’t say a word for 30 minutes. Got up and left randomly. My friends approached me later expressing concern.
Over a decade later, staying by myself is not talking to people. I would go to events and stay by myself. Even around people I know.
I mean why forfeit comfortability for something that can potentially hurt you? As an artist, that’s job. If you decide to make this into a career. You forfeit your control even more. Changes happen randomly in this career. When my old music group? ShadowsOfSociety broke up in August 2021, my responses was reactionary. Those reactions became regrets later. Things beyond my control. January 2023 I made a conscious decision to reach out. I made a choice not knowing the outcome.
In this career, you forfeit your emotions, your stories, to an audience of people that may hate you for doing so. You will get hurt. It’s your choice at the end of the day to pay attention to them or not. There’s no right or wrong. It’s just is.
After my CamperSnaps Session performance with my crew, I got home at midnight, and could only sleep for two hours. Stayed up the rest of the night. The level of intensity behind those stories hit me hard. They were raw. I forfeited control, and I would be lying if I said I’m not nervous about the set coming out this Thursday July 6th. I don’t want my response to something to become a reaction. Later transform into a regret. I can’t regret a feeling or healthy expression. Can’t shame ourselves for healthy expression.
When does self-awareness transform into action. When exactly is that appropriate? Sometimes readiness doesn’t exactly equate to patience. Sometimes it’s just toxic eagerness.