The Thing About Living



"I been hoping, you've been hopeless,

help me, please Heaven, notice me,

I'm out of focus."

-JID


I Do Not Own This Art.

I remember being about fourteen years old and thinking about taking my own life for the second time. The first was when my Mom pulled my brother and I out of a charter school. It was in the middle of the year, and you would have thought that my young heart would have been jumping for joy at the thought of "no school ."But my poor little heart almost gave out. I loved school, I loved learning, and the idea of not going was almost too much to bear. The second time was due to a family photoshoot in somebody's church's basement. Which would have been great if I had my hair done and maybe a new outfit. But that was not the case.



Instead, I threw on my 8th-grade dinner dance dress and tried my best to do something to my unruly hair. When the photos came back, they were even worst than what I had imagined in my head. At fourteen years old, recently kicked out of my Dad’s house. I questioned my existence and wanted to end it all. Laying in my bed one night and crying in the darkness, I confessed to my cousin Ant. I still had no idea how I would "do the deed ."But that night, I told him I loved him and that he shouldn’t think that it was his fault if something happened to me. Instead of laughing or telling me to go to bed. He climbed into the bed, took me in his arms, and asked me what was going on.


In the darkness, I whispered the sorrows of my fourteen-year-old heart to him. When I was finished, crying and sniffling. He wiped my tears and said one thing, “You know, if you die now, the photo they will use on the news is the one from the photoshoot- because it’s the most recent one.” Mortified, I was silent for a moment before we both fell into a fit of laughter. I went from crying my heart out to laughing. But that night, I went to sleep, determined to live long enough to wipe the photo out of existence. I graduated high school, college, got a big fancy job, and didn’t think the thought again. Until last summer.


I'm sure I was crying about my failed relationship, job, family, or a combination of all three. Usually, I am pretty upbeat, but I couldn't find my groove. Last summer, I felt this darkness surrounding me and a heaviness in my heart. Every morning I woke up and I couldn’t help but think: “Will it ever get any better? What am I doing all this for?" I found myself annoyed and tired of my hopeless optimism—one minute crying on the bathroom floor. Then the next, trying to excite myself to some gospel. The cycle was exhausting and too much. I would go days without a phone call or a text message-- and I couldn’t help but think: Is this my new normal? The loneliness was too much to bear. But in my dark moments, what saved me, wasn't Honestly Sis or even my manuscript. It was Cudi. I realized that if no one in the world needed me, he did, and that was enough for me to keep pushing on.


Now it may seem silly that a joke about a bad photo of me appearing on the news saved my life. But it was my reality. Plus, isn’t any reason to live better than none? We live in a time where we can live well into our hundreds, where human life expectancy is probably the longest that it’s ever been. Yet we have people volunteering to check up out of here at an astronomical pace. We have all seen the stories where a public figure commits suicide, and we all wonder why. Everyone has a think-piece, a post about "check on your strong friends," and then it all goes away. Studies have shown that humanity feels quite alone despite being so connected via social media.



"On the Record" is a documentary that tells the MeToo hip-hop story of Drew Dixon. It spoke about how Drew got her beginning, her glory days, her confidence, and the barriers she broke. Then, this man took all of that away from her in a single night. After having it happen twice, she walked away from her dream. To live a life in the suburbs for nearly twenty years. For some strange reason, watching this documentary made me feel not alone. It made me realize that my life betrayal and downfalls had nothing to do with my appearance. There was seriously a time when I thought that I was too fat and too black to be loved. But somehow, watching this documentary freed me. It showed that no matter how beautiful you are on the outside, how much hair you have, we all will have obstacles to face in our life.


Watching the documentary made me realize that I didn't deserve any of the mistreatment that happened to me, and either did Drew. But this is a struggle women, especially black women, have to confront and overcome at some point in their lives. This pain (slavery) was embedded into our blood long before we took our first breath. Because of this, the universe will constantly present us with obstacles to overcome. Not to harm us or make us feel worst- but so that our soul can evolve. Now, I'm not saying rape is some fucked upright of passage for women. But what I am saying is that every woman, every human alive, will have to overcome something. Whether it's low self-esteem, speaking your truth, or being a people pleaser. There will be a time in your life when you will have to overcome. It is a requirement to this thing called life. That afternoon after realizing that I had Cudi to live for, I prayed to God in the darkness for one more thing.


I asked for him to show me that I was not alone. Wiping my tears, I came out of the bathroom, and Cudi instantly comforted me. He then tells me in his way that he wants to go outside. We went on a walk and turned on one of our favorite blocks, and there were “black and white” feathers everywhere. Like it looked like someone dumped the feathers on the street. To this day, I wish I had taken a picture of it! Damn near in tears, I take out my phone and look on Pinterest. The spiritual meaning of the feathers is “change is coming.” I took it as a clear sign that God had my back. A change was coming. But, God didn't stop there.


The next day, I found a healer in the Detroit area promoting a dinner. Me being me, I signed up for it. Luckily, I got selected to attend, and one Friday night in August, I went. I felt a vibe the moment I walked into the house. But when it was time for the actual healing session, there was no doubt that God had led me there! The first song that played was "Closer," and I immediately broke down in the best way possible. After our session, over dinner, she gave us information from our Spirit Guides. She told me that my guides were very proud of me and wanted me to be happy. That night I left on a high and felt confident in my path. And guess what? Even after all that magical, spiritual stuff, I still have my moments of doubt. Because it's natural and simply a part of life.


Lately, I have been super into the Amazing Race. What I love about the show is that they take people from every ethnicity, age, and send them on the race around the world. There are some physical challenges, mental ones. But what I love the most is that it is literally anyone's game. One season, this group didn't win a single leg of the race, until the very end and they won the whole thing. What Amazing Race shows me is that as long as you’re in the game, you have a chance to win the game. You don't have to be the strongest or fastest. You just have to be the one with the most resilience. To me, the Amazing Race is a lot like life.


Some of us will come out the gate swinging and wining right away. While others take a slow and steady approach. The key in life, just like the Amazing Race, is not to give up. As long as you have breath in your body, blood in your veins, then you have a 99.9% chance of winning the race called life. I know that in a dark period of your life, the last thing you want to hear is to keep pushing on and not to give up. But it's really all you can do. I want you to understand that committing suicide is deciding in your heart that life will not and cannot get better. Which is the furthest from the truth! When you have hit rock bottom, there is only one place you can go- up.


Make feeling good your number one priority by doing the things you love. Take control of your life by embracing the tiny joys of your day. Like reading a book, cooking a meal, or even listening to music. Do things that make you feel good. Next, give yourself something to look forward to that has nothing to do with anyone else! That could be taking your first solo vacation, finally going to that restaurant you always wanted to try or signing up for a class. Do something just for you.


Whatever you do, don't give up! The next time you are low and thinking about taking your life, please don’t! Call the prevention hotline, Talkspace, or even send me an email. The world needs you here whether you know it or not!


So Please Keep Living, Am


Journal Prompt:

Is your life a reflection of the real you?

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