Untitled (I live for the applause)

First of all let me say that the cold in Chicago is real. Everything that you’ve ever heard about the harsh winds and frigid temperatures is absolutely true, times three. I woke up this morning at 3:00am because I was done sleeping I suppose, but also because it was freezing. Fourteen degrees isn’t cute, and as a matter of fact I no longer like any numbers below forty. For fun, I converted the Degrees to Celsius and that made it ten degrees below zero. Waaaay more dramatic, right? At any rate, let me crank up the heat and get started.

In the past week I’ve made friends with one of my twitter/instagram/facebook followers. Very sweet kid, and sort of reminds me of myself. (Radiant heating beneath our hardwood floors would make life more bearable). Right now his struggle is on finding himself, and discovering what it is that he has to offer the world. He doesn’t feel like he has anything valuable to contribute to the world and doesn’t see a point in existing on an earthly plane any longer. He doesn’t believe that he has value or worth and that he somehow creates a burden, or spreads a poison to the life and people that surround him. I’ve been able to be sympathetic as well as empathetic.

Five years ago I was at an extremely low point, and made an attempt to take my own life. I had ingested every single pill that I had in my possession. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, Tylenol with codeine, vicodin, and a complete bottle of ibuprofen. I felt like this should be a sufficient amount of pills to shut it all down. I felt like everything I had to give I had already given, and at that point was just unnecessarily occupying space. To feel completely empty and alone is a very crippling state of being. I was existing just to take medication, and to go to the doctors. I had no idea how to begin to live again, and probably wouldn’t have exerted any effort even if the idea was dropped off at my doorstep.

In true DJ fashion, the scene played out like an episode of a soap opera. My mother rushed to my side, the paramedics were on the scene, as well as a good friend of mine. I remember flashing lights, I remember being carried from my bedroom to the ambulance, I also remember thinking “These bitches better not cut my damn shorts because I’m going to want to wear them again if I survive!” Everything after that was a complete blur. I vaguely remember my best friend and her mom at my bedside in the emergency room praying life over me. I remember hearing a nurse say, “Wow, his nails look better than mine!” and because I have a tendency to be catty I wanted to tell her that I can tell her where I’d gotten them done but couldn’t guarantee hers would look as good as mine because my nails are naturally beautiful. I never got the words out.

If you’ve ever ingested something poisonous or know of anyone who has, then you likely also know that they make you drink a large cup full of charcoal. Now this stuff didn’t have much of a taste but was like drinking a warm foamy black milkshake. I finished the cup and fell asleep. The next day I woke up in yet another ambulance and was being taken to a psychiatric hospital. I tried to convince them that I wasn’t crazy and that I was perfectly fine to go home. They looked at me with eyes that said, “sit your crazy ass down!” so I did. Once I made it to the restroom to get changed I was super upset because the charcoal turned my lips black. I was so annoyed that no one wiped my black, dry, cracked lips. I mean where is that cute?

Over the next few days under lockdown and constant surveillance I had a chance to read, to think, to rest, and to pray. My parents would visit every day for the allotted hour and my best friends came as well. For some reason, it began to seem like the world was slowing down. It felt peaceful. It felt brand new. I was amazed by the trees that I could see out of my window. There were also wild turkeys outside the window. Well I’m assuming I’m correct in calling them “wild” because they weren’t on leashes. Who knows?

Anyway after 72 hours it was finally time to leave and my step dad came to pick me up. I was totally over that place because I couldn’t shave, and they stole my bottle of baby oil that I asked my mom to bring because I was ashy. It was brand new. Ugh. After leaving, I got to go to the hospital to see my big sister and the new baby she and my brother-in-law just had a few days prior. Seeing my new niece I really began to realize how amazing and beautiful life was (and is). I had nearly denied myself the chance to meet this beautiful child. I selfishly made a decision based on a temporary circumstance that could have permanently removed me from everything and everyone I loved.

I realized that I never wanted to die, but I did want the pain, and confusion I was feeling to stop. I did want a clearer understanding of what I felt like I was put here to do. I’ve always been great at everything I’ve tried, but once I mastered it, I was over it, and needed something else to conquer. It was the same way with all of my personal relationships. This didn’t feel normal to me. Because that didn’t feel normal, I didn’t feel normal. I felt defective and emotionally insatiable. No matter how much of anything that I consumed, I always needed more. The one thing I really needed more of was love for me. Not the kind of love that gets facials, and buys clothes, shoes, and jewelry, but the kind of love that allows me to rest and make mistakes.

So what I’ve been trying to tell my new friend is that all is not lost, and that fundamentally he’s right where he needs to be. You plan for the life you’d like to have and then the plan gets modified along the way as you discover your true self. Ends are sometimes beginnings and mistakes are often lessons. There are no tragedies other than wearing white pumps with black stockings. Change is constant and if you didn’t give life to yourself, then you sure as hell can’t take it away.

Sorry this was so long and my apologies if it seemed random and unfocused. I’m cold, hungry, sleepy, and I can’t stand Iyanla Vanzant. If you’re still twerking, stop. And if you own a white belt…I just can’t do you right now.

Until next time…

-DJHurley

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