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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders


Someone, a stranger to be exact told me “people come to Humboldt to face themselves. If it becomes too much to handle they’ll end up leaving.” Another local told me it’s the “redwood curtain.” The sacred area of protection. In terms of energies/influence nothing comes in and stays. The culture always remains, typically.

It’s no secret I got demons in my face. My first day there in all honesty I was like nah fuck this I want to go back home, due to immense guilt, and anger. As the week continued, I didn’t want to leave.

So many lessons to bring back home. Ideas and ways of living to amend and challenge. Facing myself allowed me to be less fearful in stepping into my own light. Before embarking on this last tour stop a close friend disclosed how much he believed in me and my work. He said, “the moment I saw you at Sonder Mic, I felt you got something. You are going to change things. You can change families. Mine included.” I thought about the families and children in Monterey that literally grew up with my work. Theres been a few parents that approached me saying “my son remembers you performing when they was 3, 4, 5 years old now they are 13 years old.” When I was in Monterey this past April, I went club hopping and ran into people that remember me from my early come up days performing at open mic nights on campus and the east village cafe. That is mind blowing. Now I just got hired to perform for CSU Monterey Bay’s Black Graduation May 19th with The Fire Choir. 7 years after graduating. Definitely a full circle moment.

While in Reno, after my first performance a young woman approached me and said, “ I know you have issues with self-beauty and viewing yourself in a negative light but I encourage you to challenge that you are beautiful.” She proceeds to give me a blue folder that contains a portrait drawing of me. Damn near brought me to tears. I don’t know her at all. Never met. I still don’t have the words for it. I don’t how to respond to that.

In the 5th grade I read two books called “The Skin I’m In” and “MONSTER” all about how the world views black people with a darker skin complexion. My fears regarding the world stemmed from how I look. My language. My expressions. I monitor. Something inside my entire time on the road let those fears go little by little. Chris Siders from Westside of South Central is blossoming. Standing on my morals and let myself shine through. The entire month of April there’s been these sparks of Abundance and the act of clinging onto them. As if it's just an idea, however its reality. To this a great friend and frequent collaborator, Thandi shared something extremely significant, “you can’t die in creative mode.”

A harsh truth is that change starts with self. My fears with change made me stay still. Nothing changes unless you do. You have to challenge and push beyond what’s laid in front of you. It's extremely unfair, because there’s so much against us systematically. We are still responsible for building foundation and securing it for future generations. Something I realized being on my own and in nature. After a long day of rest I sincerely felt ease and happiness almost sad to say that it felt foreign. Nevertheless a great feeling.

I declare war on myself to obtain a resolution. In that figuring out ways to deliver those messages of hope without sacrificing me. End of March I lost myself a little. Going back on my personal principals of not drinking. After my DJ set at Paper Tiger I made the decision to do. I haven't since. Even though I wasn't drunk or anything that fact it was done was disappointing.

This warfare while in a space of silence and isolation was violent on many levels. Knowing your flaws, and understanding the impact of a choice. I hurt many people based on the impact of my choices. I have to live with that internally. Everyday we are granted access to improve and try again. Not trying again is the problem.

At one of the venues I was hired for, the manager had committed of violence towards women. I didn’t know until a few locals told me. Already in a space of intense anger I wanted to throw hands. It triggered me because just a week before I left LA at 11:30pm-midnight I saw the man that S.A. my friend years back. She saved my life one night. We was all friends. She told me in confidence and expressed I can do whatever I want with the information. My fears since been if I do something will I put her in danger knowing how violent this guy can be? It hurts. In the moment of seeing him I wanted to throw down, but I asked some friends I was with to get out that parking lot immediately.

Decision making. On my train ride to Berkeley, had a conversation with a hip hop producing legend. Made hits with some of the greats. I asked him how he strikes a balance with mental health and business? Explaining my situation. He said that he was faced with a situation on his come up where someone deliberately killed his auntie and his baby cousin. Came home found them dead. Baby cousin had a bag over her face. He saw the murderer. Everyone knows. At that point he had a decision to make, get revenge or put in work.

Now where would he be if he got revenge?

In this new chapter I cannot dim myself for others. This acceptance will piss people off. Burn bridges. Accountability towards self. It's not going to look pretty, but who said growth looks extravagant? Doing the right things for me, may come across the wrong thing for others. That being said prioritizing self from this point onward is imperative. I must continue to be with myself more and remove anyone or anything that disturbs that.

I acknowledge somewhere along the way from college till now, I lost that boldness. I still don’t know what happened, and that requires further digging or rest to get answers.

After going to a zoo with Thandi and Zen in Humboldt, we went to the forest and accidentally lost the keys to the car. One hour before my second feature performance. Searching for the keys, we all somehow got separated. Alone in the forest, I had an intense conversation with my father. I asked him how did he survived the days he wanted to give up? How did he process the death of his mother? How do you choose love from a place of anger? I remember he told me “losing your mother is different kind of pain.” My Dad grew up without a father figure he trust. He wanted to give me that. In processing that thought, I do believe in superheroes and if not already I will become one someday just like him.

My wishes of doing more regarding my Dad stems from honestly being more open. I had a great conversation with a friend after performing in Long Beach. He said once he amended to relationship between him and his mother, things started to fall in place in other areas with his life. I love my Dad, with that being said, and granted maybe it was indeed just me, wasn’t the most approachable at certain times in my life. His anxiety and rigid ways of thinking and expressing how he feels scared me into believing he won’t understand me. I made the choice to not push the line of my own fears and cultivate a stronger relationship with my Dad. While I was in Oakland I gave a poetry workshop where I do my typically thing of injecting conversation surrounding emotional intelligence. Folks that attended they never really had the discussion of connecting emotionally to they work in those types of settings. Just really interesting to see the timing of everything.

However, I will say that is my biggest regret, not connecting with my Dad to the fullest extent. This has shown up in many areas of my life where I will half-ass a truth in the sense of stating how I feel about something, but not to the fullest extent. For example, if engaged in a conflict I would say “hey that hurt me.” Instead saying “hey that hurt me, here’s how it impacted me..” I toss and turn over unsaid conversations and expression often. The word closure came up a lot. Maybe those sparks of abundance, finally gaining the courage to talk to my Dad openly, resting and feeling happiness was the closure coming into play? I don’t know.

These last few days through release, I allowed myself to receive love from others and myself. I felt every single emotion one can experience in the span of one week. Anger, grief, sadness, anxiety, empathy, self-love, giving love, receiving love (in all forms) happiness, contentment, relaxation etc.

Quite the journey.

A friend of mine I performed with back in the day from Santa Cruz was at Humboldt. They performed a poem and in it they said:

Poets distance themselves from self to get closer to you.

That got me thinking.

I will no longer do that.


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