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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders

The Good Fight, Belong To The World

I definitely teared up leaving Monterey for Portland. It was a brand new experience, finally getting the hell out of California. Probably don’t mean much to others, but off the mere fact I’m doing this independently is amazing to me.

Based on the view from the sky looking down on Portland, it looked like Portland is nothing, but nature with a few buildings here and there. Very green. As soon as I landed it started to rain. Then when I got out of the airport waiting on my lyft ride it stopped raining and it was sunny. Riding through the city kinda almost gave me this calm yet melancholy feeling. A good majority of trees I passed by during my lyft ride didn’t hold any leaves. Gloomy clouds were on the move constantly. Local poets, Stephen and Julia, welcomed me into their home with open arms and let me crash in their guest bedroom. Since Julia was still at work the time I got to the house, me and Stephen went on a walk to a local sandwich shop to get some food. Stephen explained that Portland is split up in a few different sections and that we are in the southeast corridor. I’m not sure it’s because where we was at, but I noticed there was not one McDonalds, Jack in the box, Carl’s Jr food chain at all. That’s super dope to see all the local businesses thriving like that especially during this pandemic.

Afterwards, me and Stephen got back to the house chat a bit about music and poetry. Julia arrived shortly then we headed to downtown. Downtown Portland is so beautiful. Filled with a ton of lights, life even the bus system looks super cool with different colored lights in them. Pulling up to a parking garage across the street from the Literary Arts venue I performed at, it starts to hail and downpour rain at the same time. This is first time experiencing hail EVER. I was super unprepared, wearing only a jacket holding no umbrella. Oddly enough, Stephen told me I would like I’m from out of town if brought out a umbrella.

Any-who, we checked out a local yet massive bookstore called Powell’s books. I was so close to buying a book of love poems by a local poet, Courtney Peppernell, but I had to save money. After getting lost in words for an hour we headed to the venue. It was super packed. The vibe was loving & warm. Everyone was respectful of one another. Simply amazing. They given me the honor to feature for their first in-person Slamlandia in two years since the pandemic started. Extremely grateful to kick things off for them. Even though I’m scheduled to come back to Portland September 15th, I may end up coming back sooner to perform at their Portland Slam.

Stephen, Julia and myself got some food from some local food trucks then headed home. We all crashed a bit early, because I had to get up at 4am to get to my 6am flight at the airport.

Since touching down in Los Angeles, the feeling of running away crept up on me again. Its something here in this city, that makes me uneasy. Maybe it’s my personal lack of trust for people? Wanting to be away from everyone, everything and start fresh? A deep thought that comes about is I don’t deserve the individuals in my life. Enduring a great deal of gaslighting recently is making me fall back on all my relationships. I hate this feeling. I really do. It’s mentally paralyzing. I constantly go back and forth between reaching out to people and preserving my energy.

During an conversation I had with my OG, Pat, a gem he dropped on me is that if you enter a triggering situation and don’t react the same way that is a sign you are healing. It’s not getting to you like it did before. A couple days before, a friend brought up the name of the person that falsely accused me of sexual harassment. Every-time I arrive in Monterey I get paranoid and on edge that i’m going to run into this person that shifted my perspective and world view. I let the situation get to me in a negative way. It didn’t get to me tgat much now, but it’s still troublesome.

I might just be over-working myself. I had a feature show tonight at Little Vibe Friday in LA. The crowd was amazing, love to hosts and audience members! There’s an up and coming artist that goes by The Messiah who was featured. He told me the first time he went to an open mic & performing was last November at Little Vibe. That night in November I happened to be the feature performer. He expressed that he learned a lot from that performance, and inspire him to keep writing and keep performing. Last night, it was his first time being a featured performer and he KILLED it. He did such an amazing job. The crowd loved him. He brought out his parents to watch him. Definitely a touching moment. I wanna help him out in his career.

Today, I got a show in Long Beach. Sunday, I gotta go to my 9-5 day job. After that on Monday, fly out to Reno to perform. While touring is an exciting thing to do and visit places you never been, talking to people and making new connections it can be draining. Not because of the people to clarify. It’s just always being on the move. With this grind culture in Los Angeles it’s kinda easy to just ignore yourself when you’re tired. Maybe I wanna get out because leaving the environment I see how I truly feel? Small victories get over looked and problems get magnified. For example, unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to cancel my performance with the University of Connecticut April 23rd. I had my eye on performing for the college since 2019, so it was kind a huge blow for me. A bit disappointed, but I got work to do. I know I’ll perform there someday.

I do acknowledge it may just be the circumstances of where I’m at in life financially & emotionally that brings this paralyzing feeling. About 95 percent of the money I made through performing and selling merch went right back into my music business & bills. I still struggle with success.

Before I left Monterey, on the second to last day there, I had a group interview for this book publishing company that’s interested in my work. I got a message from them on the bus ride to San Jose, right after I got some distressing news on some personal matters.

I ended up doing the interview via zoom through my phone on the outside patio of Starbucks in Downtown Monterey around 11am in the morning, since I just got done hanging out with a new friend. I didn’t have my professional clothes on. I wasn’t thinking at all. I felt mad unprofessional. They asked questions about our story, how we got into poetry, and asked us to perform two poems each. Being outside of Starbucks there was a ton traffic commotion, people laughing and doing the most. I just performed to the best of my ability. Shortly after the interview, I messaged them back apologizing for the noise and unprofessionalism. As that’s one of very few pet peeves I have, when people are unprofessional of how they conduct business. I never heard from them until I landed in Portland welcoming me into their company with open arms.

Expect a new book from me next year.

With this I’m going to help curate a poetry slam in Downtown LA at the world famous The Lume art museum.

All these great things going, and I’m EXTREMELY grateful, but I don’t know why I feel so down.

"I just feel like running away, but everybody want me to stay."

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