There’s something that happens when someone dies that makes you want to stand still. The logical response to a too early death is to go out and do all that you can because tomorrow is not promised and all that really matters is that you live like today is your last and like you’re not afraid because there’s nothing to really be afraid of at all of this can be gone tomorrow and everything like that
But when my friend died, I was just stunned. It was a little over a year ago and I still don’t know how I feel about it. Every time I come home, every time I catch the L bus, am by Olney Terminal, Vernon Road, the 18 or when I got off the bus a little early last week cause some middle aged man was staring at me rather creepily and I unknowingly got off at his block and was less alive for a couple minutes. I have this theory I don’t have many tears left. There have been a couple times this year where I’ve cried hard but not nearly as many times as I could if I was able to cry, maybe the way I need to, every time the tears are coming.
It doesn’t help when a stranger dies. I mean someone you know, but you don’t know the way everyone else knows them. And you have no memories to share with other people to smile and laugh. All I have is confusion about the person I don’t really know how to classify. And, whether I should’ve been more open. Or if I was justified. Or what I’m really scared to believe, which is that we were both just scared and young… and what I’m convinced on believing, that it was my fault for always being so distant with men. But, really and I don’t mean to excuse it, I’m just a product of my environment.
I try hard, everyday, to believe that there’s more for me than what I’ve seen my mother, grandmother, even little sister, friends and everything go through. black women. And I didn’t realize until I got to college that I have to make an effort to believe that I have to work at believing in love, in people sometimes being worth trusting, in opening my heart and being vulnerable. It always just seemed like this thing that lucky and stupid people get to do.
Now, I’m reminded everyday that I’m alone. And I like it. That it’s safe. And when I’m alone I don’t have to answer to anybody. Whether I’m alone in a room in my house and hoping no one calls me to do anything or I don’t have to hear anyone breathe or cough or if I’m just walking down the street in Center City going wherever I feel like going at any moment. I don’t have to die a little, risking learning something new from someone and them leaving, or never really being there the way I’d like. And I don’t have to wonder if this time I should talk a little more or jump a little higher, because when I’m alone the answer is always yes. And it’s for me and no one else, and if it’s what I want how could it ever be a risk? How could I ever be hurt? How could I ever waste years, have to analyze it later, carry it with me?
I don’t know what it’s like to feel like you can’t live without somebody. All I knew for sure growing up is that things end. Or as I was convinced, were never really there. I saw beautiful (to the core) women left and disregarded and I figured it was my fate. I know now things are a little more complex than that. That these women aren’t perfect and play a role in their relationships as well but I’m still convinced they deserve love. I still believe I deserve love.
I still don’t know how to handle the meantime. Because even when you find someone that stirs up so much inside of you, you’re still individuals right? You still both have dreams, you have to live without each other for at least a couple hours out of the day, you have to still live and seek and do. I should be doing the living and seeking and doing, but I feel so full and I don’t know of what.
When I found out that people really die at 20, someone in my life—however confusing that relationship might have been and still is, such that I didn’t know if I deserved to cry when I found out that he died—could die, this new thing happened where I couldn’t understand why I should do anything other than what I really want or need in the moment or really what I can do to stay leveled, to stay okay, to not be extreme, to not lose control or to not be obsessed with perfection or what other people want. At a point in my life where I was already confused about why any of what I had or was doing mattered, because I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t thriving and I didn’t have all the answers everyone else seemed to have, I found out that maybe I would never get a chance to matter. Maybe I’ll be stopped midbook, mid journey, mideffort, midfoundation for enough love to cut my bullshit and fear infinitesimal and swept away. I didn’t understand what matters in life.
I know that I won’t meet or find anyone or anything new if I don’t leave my room or what I’ve always known and I’ve been trying. I’ve been trying to do the things that I always wanted to do, to be the person I’ve always wanted to be but it takes longer than I imagined. And it should right? You can’t live your whole life and make your whole impact in the amount of years you’re at now cause that’s how you die, right? because of all the life in your years? because you’ve done all you were supposed to… and you don’t even know what you’re supposed to do. you have no warnings. you don’t know if you went to this show or caught this bus or got this job, chose this school over the other where you’d be. if it’d be better. if there’s such a thing as better.
I don’t know how to get all of that out of my head.
I’m sure it’s there so I’ll cut out all of my bullshit and fear, and extra time taking and excuses.
I cut through it better now after he’s dead
but all the unknown, and wishing I knew what steps to take to get to happiness
knowing what I need to do to get things done and not being able to move or focus or
understand why I have to or knowing why and it still not being enough to stop me from what
I’d rather be doing
wondering why everyone is so normal and I’m not and not knowing where that’s gonna take me but still trying to trust it
*pretending to be normal
I just wanna move
to have that jolt that starts it all up
and not so many starts and stops
and so much uncomfortability about what to do with the love that is around me that I don’t know how to feel
because I know what it looks like
and I know it’s not enough
not even for them
and I don’t know how to give better
or how to not feel so ugly about not knowing how to receive
or having so many lists of overdue things
and to do things
and being so bad at crossing them off
or how bad it feels in the meantime, when you don’t even know you’re on your way to checking ‘em off.
I’m sure I’ll have something happy to say in a couple of days.