The Book Of Soul, Control System
“Tears are renewing.” My grandmother stated trying to get me to calm down at 11am Friday morning.
“Your family needs you. Your mom. Your sister. I know you’re sad. It might be time for you take everything on.”
The man of the house conversation was presented to me ever since I was 13 years old. My father had an heart-attack, due to his cigarettes and alcohol addictions, while the house hold was very loving, at times it was very self-destructive. I’m exhausted from those conversations had at 19 when he had colon cancer/kidney failure. A couple times after college. Few times during the pandemic. Once earlier this year.
My parents came from a generation where there was no choice, but to endure. In return, I was bestowed the gift of endurance and a strong work ethic.
1965, my father moved out of Alabama, at 5 years due to the Ku Klux Klan terrorizing the family. In South Central LA, my grandmother Dorothy Siders, raised 5 kids by herself. At 16 years old, my dad got a job as a grocery clerk at a super market. He built himself up from there. His dreams of becoming a cartoonist, and becoming a chef was put on hold for his dream of providing and having a family. Me and my sister was not in the picture yet. However, bills was. Shortly after graduating high school, my dad got a new car and moved out of South Central to Inglewood with my mom. They had one table. No couch. No bed frame. Just a mattress and carpet on the floor. Roaches all around. They made it work. As my father climbed the latter, my mother went to school at CSU Long Beach. I don’t know how they did it especially with the stories I know. I don’t know my father kept his spirit alive dealing with financial stresses, constant police harassment, racist co-workers, racist customers spitting on him- calling him a nigger. One evening he got into a fight with a man at his job. Came home bloody.
One thing he always said to me growing up was: “I got a family to feed and take care of.”
1989, my sister was born and 4 years later I was born. Growing up he done the best he could. He spent time with everyone when his job hours didn’t conflict. Playing games at Malibu castle. Mini golfing. We would shoot on each other often. I would tease him about the shape of his head, he would tease about how I’m not of age for anything yet.
See him for the first time in the hospital yesterday. Horrific. There’s a huge scar on the top of his head where doctors performed surgery to remove a blood clot that caused the stroke. His eyes was everywhere. Looked like a zombie. He wasn’t responding to anyone. Cant speak. I only saw him for 10 seconds before breaking down and leaving. I couldn’t bare to be in that room. Seeing him like that. Almost as if the man I grew up with, learned so much from is gone. Reminded me too much of that heart attack he had when I was 13. Looked like he was on his death bed. Unresponsive. Eyes to the ceiling.
4:45am in West Hollywood I was crashing at a friend’s house. We had a deep dialogue about the intersectionality of being black, dark skinned and queer effect our dating lives. How important it is that our partners understand our backgrounds, our stories and how we navigate the world when everything is against us. My sister called me crying saying dad had an accident. I immediately uber home. In the uber my anxiety was on 1,000. I already had some horrible events occurring in life early on in the week. In addition to a family member reaching out and telling me I’m “not family oriented.” That hurt. Along with other personal issues, I felt alone. Confused. Scared. Isolated and heartbroken in the Uber ride. Texted a group chat full of community members to keep me grounded. That helped. From the house, my sister took me to the hospital.
Now its 5:30 in the morning. My mother is in tears and my mother rarely cries. So rare I can’t remember the last time she was in tears. She told me after all this life is going to be completely different. I felt myself losing control of my body and emotions and wanting to scream. I called some love ones to come by the hospital. Jackie, Todd, Sean and Megan showed up.
My grandmother continues to hammer in the “man of the house” notion. To me it implies that my dad is no longer going to be here anymore. I hate that idea. I don’t want to think that way. I feel extremely guilty about this whole situation. Every-time I leave the house and tell my dad I’m going somewhere he has this look on his face, almost saying “spend more time with me please. Help me please.” As of late, I haven’t had much time for anything. With all the things I got going on in life professionally and personally I haven’t been home lately. Sometimes days at a time. Ever since I lost over 160 pounds, he asked me to my assist him with losing weight. I haven’t gotten to it. Sometimes I think if I set things aside to help him with with weight loss maybe none of this would happen. His body would’ve been strong and he wouldn’t have hit his head on the dresser drawer which lead to him being hospitalized.
I’m struggling to find inspiration to live life.
As much as I love my family, they invalidate my feelings far too often. Then I get stuck with my feelings in a relentless search for an outlet or expression. I feel like a constant fuck up all the time as if I can’t do anything right. Like how you going to tell me its okay to cry then in same breath tell me I need to let go of the other things that’s bothering me at this very moment? All of it hurts. All of it I’m feeling, deeply. Loved ones problems, i feel them deeply.
One of my brothers called me, and told me how his sister got pregnant by his best friend. That best friend got arrested for a car crash that killed two people including an infant. He’s likely going to prison for life. So my brother is going to help take care of the child as a uncle-father.
I just got fired from my third job. Now I got to figure out money essentially with all the different expenses I have for my career. Giving up is not on the table. It never has. As say this I find it strange, I have this idea of not wanting to be around anymore, however, in the same token state that I’m not willing to give up my career. I probably put too much of my worth in my career, which is something I alluded to in the previous blog and my name ringing off in people’s mouths. My team has been growing bigger by the week. I have a potential music director for performances. Another person that can mix and master singles and projects. Another person that can assist with booking.
The day before, my father got admitted to the hospital some people I haven’t heard from in awhile hit me up. Same thing with people hitting me up when announcing a tour asking for opener slots weeks prior. Then when pops got admitted, an huge out-pour people showed so much love and support.
Someone who has my heart told me: “Take the love in, Chris. I want you to believe you’re worthy of all of it, because you are.”
I get terrified. In my past, love leaves quickly as it shows up. I saw it happen in Monterey in real time as an activist and performer. In the hospital with covid in 2020, a friend of mine Denesha made me a gift where people made get well notes, while I love it. Honestly, I found it difficult to accept it, that people do care. How I operate in life is I just go. My philosophy is that people will catch on to whatever I’m doing eventually, which is working. In that push there’s a major sense of self-neglect. Neglect that I project onto others. In my head, everyone is neglecting me or has it out to hurt me which is why I shy away from people often. I dissociate often.
I want to open my heart up more. I really do. Doing everything I can to fight back. Tell people I love them more often. Tell people I miss them. Show that I appreciate their presence in my life. Even if we don’t get along, or I feel some type of way regarding a situation. That is a truth. I do appreciate, and love everyone here with me now. I may not show it because I’m scared of being taken advantage of. Being with my best friend, Megan over the weekend rehearsing for her show really helped. It put me in better spirits.
I’m not sure what life is going to look like moving forward. Moms asked me if I’m still going to Switzerland to perform. My response was I still need to go. Just like I still need to travel and perform. I can’t cancel.
Again all this shit, with losing my brother, my grandmother, my grandfather, friends, time cannot be for nothing. When we speak of nothing being the same in our lifetime typically it's spoke of in a more positive light. Never thought the change would come like this.
Nowadays it feels like daydreaming of a calm seems too far fetched.