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  • Writer's pictureChris Siders


Updated: Dec 8, 2022

“You’re still good person Chris.” A statement I struggle accepting.

Even with all these recent accomplishments, I don’t feel whole. Things don’t feel real.

I have a lot to be happy about, but I’m more stressed than ever. Sometimes, I get scared about this energy reading I got months ago. They said I’ll have a total three relationships. In the midst of all that, it was said I’ll suffer a stroke. I constantly worry about bending over backwards for people, but I don’t think about how my actions can make people feel they must bend over backwards for me.

It kills me every-time I leave the house and my dad is suffering from his illness. I remember days when I stayed in the house and was scared to go out, because how the cruel the world can be towards people that look like me. At least I can help my dad around the house. He used to fall frequently, and faint on the floor. Some of the most terrifying days of my life. There were a few times he didn’t respond to me screaming his name at the top of my lungs frantically calling the paramedics. One time he fainted, fell and hit his hard on the wall. The dent is still there. A year later in the summer he had to get heart surgery. That summer my entire life changed. I started to get in the groove of finding community and attempt to enjoy life in a different frequency.

Lately, he’s been asking me to help him lose weight. However, with me holding down three jobs, my career, my mental health issues, friends/relationships etc. I don’t know where I can find time. Earlier today coming home from work, the tone in his voice sounded as if he feels no one cares about him. He wanted to know if someone can go with him to the doctors office. I work two jobs tomorrow. My new job as an admissions coordinator for CLI poetry press and my house management job all within just a couple hours apart. In addition to this, the non-profit that hired me to teach at Fairfax High and LA High now wants me to teach at several more high schools throughout LA. Its a blessing. Also It’s difficult to find time for me. I realized through talking to some friends that these patterns, aren’t coincidental there is a reason. Understanding the power within me to amend just like I flex the power to manifest. There’s so much more to power than just the strength to do certain things. For example, superheroes have different powers other than the ability to lift houses or punch boulders. There’s invisibility, reading minds, flying etc. The human power to cultivate, nurture, care, empathize, co-exist are all just as equally important. I must say that’s probably the biggest take away this year.

I managed to nurture some of the most genuine life-long relationships with people I can learn and build with. However, the ability to live with or co-exist with decisions is by far the biggest obstacle. I can just never trust myself fully. It’s always the thought of “I’m a fuck up”, “I’m a bad person” then personifying the thought. Telling myself, “I guess I am like this, so fuck it I’ma be this.” After sometime I get out of that mode.

I feel like a big ass disappointment to people at times. Depression is really getting to me. I been slipping on my career with getting these performances, content together. I can barely trust people that are checking up on me. I been catching people stalking my social media through multiple accounts. I told someone recently this is my life. I look over my shoulder every time I step out the door. Before I make a social media post, even one that is considered harmless or some goofy meme. I Iive life on the defensive as everyone and anyone can switch up and become your worst enemy. I hate living this way, but I have to protect myself. My friend Lara, got me to start saying I love you more to folks, but now I feel myself retracting some of those statements. It’s this thing of always feeling like I’m too much. Questioning if the person I’m saying it towards deserves it, or am I getting attached too early. I know a lot of those individuals are probably feeling weird about me as if I am untrustworthy, and if you are reading this, I sincerely apologize. Life has been a lot.

I did a couple performances lately where I didn’t feel grounded per say. It was just the type of stories I was sharing with the crowd it didn’t feel right. The set itself was about black men deserving to cry. A combination of rap (mainly rap) and spoken word performance set. In word, I talked about problems I faced as a black man and how difficult it is to gain access to emotions without being demonized by the world around us. The stories I told was about my battle with anti-depressant addiction in college, surviving my first drive-by at 12 years old, getting shot at and my spirituality.

There’s a part of one of my favorite songs ever by Robert Glasper called Black Superhero. At the end of the song, he has Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah a jazz musician share a few words on what it means to be black and have your power stripped away from you. It brings me to tears every single time I listen to the song. Here’s a few words:

when you speak about the superhero-ness of our communities

Every ghetto, every block, every street corner

Really, all of those men are God, they're just living in a reality that tears them down

And makes them feels as though they're not what they actually are

'Cause they know it when they look in the mirror.” Skip to 4:20 to listen.

I didn’t see anyone that look like me regarding race so I felt out of place. It wasn’t anything wrong with the space itself. The voices in my head that was playing was: “Oh look at this poor little black boy that went through these horrific conditions” versus the intent to educate and stir discussion about these conditions. That was the first time in a very long time (aside from earlier this summer) where I shut down completely and shut myself out from everyone due to being extremely vulnerable. The issue of wanting to be vulnerable and shying away made it difficult to properly cultivate relationships with people. For example, I’ll do a set or a performance somewhere and I head straight to my seat. I don’t go out of my way much to talk to people.

This overwhelming sadness. My baby sister moved to LA then left abruptly. I haven’t had the chance to reach out to her due to financial/emotional/relationship woes I’m enduring currently. Again, my father. A lot of times I don’t know what goes on in my sister and my mother’s heads. I haven’t seen my brother Jamal in person since our brother Evan passed away. Not a day passes by when I don’t think about him. I got close friends talking self-harm and they not wanting to be here anymore. My students at Fairfax talk about not not wanting to be here. I struggle with not wanting to be here a lot. What keeps me grounded is thinking about what I’m doing this for. The answer is: My family. All the deaths and people I lost over the past two years, none of this shit can’t be for nothing. I sacrificed too much to give up. There are days and people I love dearly I can’t get back. I have days I want my old friends back, and days I don’t. My Monterey people I want to visit. Some new Monterey friends that’s actually moving on after December that I probably won’t be able to ever see again.

The idea of progression requires frequently evolving, and shedding. Shifting. Love shifts with that progression.

Where there is love, there is grief.

Grief is temporary. Unfortunately, so is love at a point. We risk it and endure the pain because it’s worth it to feel and experience. No one deserves to live a life without some form of love or understanding for self and the stories we carry.

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