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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders


Me and someone that means so much to me recently had a conversation about success, being content, our lives and how far we came.

Reflecting outside of that conversation, I’m a bit terrified regarding the success I’m gaining. Those expectations people may place on me, the potential dangers that may come about, the additional internal work I’ll have to dissect moving forward to keep from negatively affecting others versus empowering. That’s what this is all about. Positive contribution. I tell all my friends, if I can do anything in the world at all, I just want to eat reeses, watch youtube/Netflix/Hulu and make music all day.

The world doesn’t work like that. There’s consequences to every action. For example, just like I know if I were to eat a reeses now I may get addicted again or my stomach may hurt due to me cutting off sugar for the past year and a half.

Recently, I got a job teaching spoken word at Fairfax High School. In January, I’ll be teaching at LA High in addition to Fairfax High. Coming into the space I forgot this is high school. Some students maturity levels are all over the place, due to understanding the world around them, hormones etc. I was brought in the middle of a class section to give an introductory lesson or give a taste of what poetry is about, what I plan to do, the curriculum etc. In the beginning of class we got in a circle and did a gratitude circle activity where we ask students to say their name, say what went well for them that week and an additional question. Sitting in this circle my heart-broke. A lot of students was talking about self-harm and not wanting to be here. They feel alone. As I was teaching, a social worker that was in my class had to get up and leave because there was a self-harm attempt in the classroom next to ours. She left to assist.

So far the sessions have been going good. I am focused on teaching the students about emotional intelligence first before diving into poetry. Poetry is all about tapping into your emotions to bring forth ideas or stories. Identifying what those emotional are essential. One of the biggest hurdles is getting them to understand that to be emotional or open/vulnerable is not a weakness and can be utilized as a strength.

This past week, I asked my students to say one thing they love about themselves. I said, I love my emotional sensitivity. Over 50-60 percent don't know what part of themselves they love. I encouraged them to think about over this thanksgiving break; to think about one thing about themselves that they love unconditionally. It strange I'm telling them to do that even though there are several things I am not fully 100 percent comfortable with myself. Amongst those things I struggle with letting myself feel that love 100 percent. I am working on it.

This curriculum I created called "Power Of You" is in alignment of what I plan to do for poets in the LA area. For them recognize and acknowledge the power they hold within themselves through the stories they tell. The art they create and provide opportunities. The pressure is up high, because these are 13-14 year old kids. I don’t want to mess up. I want to be there for them anyway I can. There’s no other option other than to be successful at what I’m doing. A mess up can be fatal. The work teacher do especially at the high school is such an important and dangerous role to be in.

The day before my introductory lesson, I curated a beautiful spoken word show featuring 6 poets in collaboration with Sweet Serenade ( we will back in February. Poets get ready.) further carrying out my personal mission. That night was a reminder: I can’t run. What I’m meant to do, is what I’m meant to do. An old friend from college came through and informed me he really needed the night because his life been in turmoil. In the middle of that conversation he says, “yo bro you remember that night you saved my life? That was 5 years ago. The anniversary was this very day. I never forgot.” That fucked me up. Didn’t have any words for that.

That same night, my big sister called me a real-life hero and said I’m her hero in this crowded room of people. Also the event was the first time her and my Uncle heard my poetry. I purposely avoid sharing with my family. I don’t want them to worry.

Back to the initial conversation about success, there was a point where they expressed that they fear for my safety talking about how cruel the world can be. I gotta live. There’s no other way around it. I see it on my father’s face every-time I tell them, I’m performing in certain areas in state or out of state. My mom freaked out when I booked something in Maine, because I been traveling by myself. In the very blog I written on here, that loneliness consumed me to where I held ideations and wanting to disappear.

Allowing my trauma to win, and consume essentially is going to stun my growth. I feel that a lot of what I’m learning and gaining now is what I should’ve gotten years ago.

I fear falling to the hero complex of trying to save everyone again and neglecting myself and my needs. Part of the reason why I moved on from Monterey County as an activist. I neglected myself.

There’s something an old friend told me in 2018, i’ll never forget. She said: “Joy is the biggest revolution one can have.” Meaning with all the chaos around you, you have managed to find joy. Whether its moments of laughter, connection and other joyful/positive means.

With every horrendous situation I been in the past year, there are moments I cherish and I cling to.

I want my people to find peace and joy in this chaotic mess of world, but does it absolutely have to be through me? I manage to connect friends to multiple communities the past couple months to help out in finding resources, support and they used the term hero in association with me. Now it’s like again I can’t fuck up.

That with trying to kick down the door for my folks to win or advance further, keep my glass full, not fall victim to my vices, my depression. It's a lot. People still hitting my phone asking for favors constantly. Someone recently said I have the “it” factor to my craft (nothing wrong with them expressing this.) My mind is just everywhere. This past month, I had days where I feel stuck. I can’t run from it. "It" being the responsibility and a gift from God. A blessing that people trust me.

Video edited by Mauri of VineTree

We are still accepting applications for artists to be interviewed at the Museum Of Contemporary Art. Go here to apply:

I am genuinely happy. Stressed as hell, but happy. There is a lot to celebrate with my DJ residency at MOCA (every third Thursday of the Month), being apart of “With My Tribe” showcase, more shows around the nation, the globe.

I am truly, truly grateful for what and who I have around me. Just gotta get out my own damn way. I have to fight.

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