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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When You Were Young

Twenty One
"21"

The Giants have won the Superbowl, a black man is running for president and I'm turning twenty one is what i thought when i woke up this morning. Normally, I don't make a big fuss for my birthday. For those of you who know me, as much as I like to cause a ruckus in the streets, I'm not big on celebrating myself. I'm not going to lie, I think highly of myself, but I think highly of others as well. I think highly of the capability of individuals because I know that there resides a little good in us all. I try my hardest not to judge, and I try my damnest not to budge when I know receding will hurt my sense of self.

Who are you? Seriously, who are you?

I came to an awe filled conclusion the other night: I am going to die. Not today, not tomorrow, but that's how this story ends. And as terrible as it sounds it's true. I almost broke down and cried and I had the most sublime feeling. I am alone in this world. I am inside of my body, and I interact with others, and allow the voices of outside into my head. But I can't control anything that happens around me. I am stuck in this body. And all that is given to me is a gift whether I "earned" it or not. And because I will always be inside of this body, I will always be alone. I see what I see, and if you agree, you agree and if not than we no longer share the same point of reference. Then what? Ever hear something that no one else hear, and the people you're with try to make you think you're crazy. Only to have a larger sound follow it moments later, that makes everyone believe you heard the first one. So should I question what I see because you don't see it. Physically and meta-physically; I can't see myself, and you can, but I wouldn't question if I was in a room if you told me you couldn't see me. I'm not supposed to see what you see, if I was I'd be you. Looking back on twenty one years of life this is what I see:

My mother's stories of walking around the lake in North Bergen, with me in the stroller, listening to the motown sounds: Ain't no mountain high, Stop in the name of Love, ABC 123, Buttercup, and Baby give me one more chance. She told me before grandfather, for whom I am named, died he would bounce me up and down on his knee and play records for me all day.

My father's embarrassing stories, of how i used to jump from my crib to my bed. He would leave the room and wonder how I got in his Queen size bed. And how one day, when he was a little saucy, he dove across the room, over the bed, and caught me in mid-air.
My brother's stories of how he taught me how to ride a two wheel bike when i was three, and one day i didn't take my nap and rode into a stationary garbage. My mom said my head was cut badly and she was afraid I'd have a scar for my whole life. It scarred in the shape of a heart.

My cousin's stories of my wild antics. My bad habit of grabbing people's balls to protect myself in my pre-adolescent stage, and my tendency to jump off of high places, and dare others to do the same. They called me crazy, I bought in. Summers in brooklyn, like summers in love, with life, and its wonders and its possibilities. My friend's stories of our school drama. Water gun fights in the hallway, tag after school in the school, cap wars during class, cutting classes and getting passes. Making out in the bathroom, doing worst backstage, falling out's in the locker room. The parties we threw, and the parties we crashed: clap once if you feel me.

My ex's will probably tell a story of a bi-polar mad man. Light-hearted and care free in his public life, and dark and brooding in the solitude of his own company. They'll tell of romantic gestures, intense trysts, biting words. Falling in love, but mostly falling.

I see me.

At times frail. At times drowned in sin. At times filled with an ambition that I must admit was oft a fool's pride. But what of it? What of my loves, and my passions? Late night IM convos, early morning phone calls, mid-day facebook wall posts... I don't matter. In the grand and small scheme of things, I don't matter. I want to matter so bad. But you see I truly believe that the paradox is that nothing matter's. Not until a person gives it purpose. Our care as people makes things matter. And I love my people.

What is maturity? Is it an age where things click and you automatically do the right thing? Is it a child's birth, or a mortgage payment? I dunno but Twenty-one means more to me than a new found ability to get served alcohol in a bar. It means more to me than an age black males seldom make it to without serious incarceration or death. It means I am alive, I am growing. When I was 9 I would sit in my bed and mope out the lyrics of the Toys R' Us theme: I don't want to grow up... But I'm not Peter Pan or Michael Jackson. A good friend of mine told me that they couldn't see me twenty-one. Well they'll get their chance.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Falling in love, but mostly falling...boy if u only knew how true that statement has been in my life...literally one of my biggest struggles. being a Pisces and a black woman AND too damn grown for my age makes me see the world in a way different from almost everyone i know but i know you always got me...or at least pretended to and after reading this i think i know why...some might see this blog as a bit depressing talking about being alone and not really mattering( so think i just made that up but u kno wut i meant) but what i see is someone actually saying what a lot of us are feeling and even more of us are running from. its like drunks saying they drink for fun...all u wanna say is na homie u r an alcoholic...but wut u do say is...oh i feel u. none of us want to admit our downward spiral when it happens or our desire to be young again...as if we arent young. i find myself stressing to my fellow 20 somethings...statistically you got a good 60 years left probably more like 70 or 80 if you play your cards right...if these years are your best years u got a butt load of misery in store and a mind stunted in its youth. one thing i gotta say about growing up is every year i learn that i did not do not know nearly as much as i thought i did and secretly i think that is a beautiful thing.