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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Reality is really just a concept!

Although I’m quite young, tender, spry, and amazingly in touch with what’s going on today, I still feel like the era in which I was raised and grew up in is so far removed from present day. There seems to be so many people that have lost their way, or never had it, but now we know it because their lives are plastered all over social media, the internet and television. The air of mystery no longer exists and it’s been replaced by an explosion of faux reality. People living leased lifestyles so that people that don’t know them will think they’ve arrived and are somehow more blessed than they are. In order to pull this off you have to make everyone else feel like their faith isn’t as strong, and their talents aren’t as bankable, so their blessings aren’t as great.

We’re now living in the day and age of self-centeredness, self-seeking, and self-interest. So much energy is devoted to creating illusions and fighting for a spotlight that’s already dimmed because everyone else is sharing it that we don’t know how to interact with one another. Everyone wants to feel relevant and necessary and don’t realize the price of this alleged fame. Celebrities are now being seen as real people and real people are now becoming celebrities. I don’t know how everyone else feels but it’s confusing, weird, and a little unfortunate.

I recall the days where real and actual talent was the only thing that counted. People weren’t given chances just because they looked a particular part. In all honesty, I could record an album and become a huge commercial success with my horrible off-key voice, with great and creative engineering. Ok my voice isn’t horrible but I’m no Brian McKnight. Google it, it’s a thing. Or better yet, he’s a real person. He’s been irrelevant since the late nineties but he’s very much a real, living and breathing human being.

Anyway, when did scandal, drama, drugs, and sleeping around did a celebrity make? Ok midway through that Marilyn Monroe popped into my head but I was already fully vested in making the statement so that’s something else we’ll just have to deal with. Apparently we’re also going to have to deal with this new method of creating stardom and quicksand riches. Ok I’m so on a roll tonight because I JUST made that up for you guys on the spot. Quicksand riches are the immediate and fleeting finances of these new celebrities. They’re not able to hold onto they money because it’s so new to them that they have to spend it all so you know that they have it. How many children can you give a five dollar bill to that won’t want to run out and immediately spend it? 9 times out of 10 they’ll believe that fiver will buy them something much greater than five dollars. The reality of how much five dollars really is doesn’t register because you don’t get an understanding of monetary value until later in life. Or do you? Perhaps not. In fact, what ends up happening is that people are extended lines of credit so that they can spend more than they have. I don’t believe this is credits intended purpose, but definitely the way it’s used. Those kids never grow up, they merely grow older.

I guess I said all of this to say we really do need to reconnect with not only other people, but with ourselves and with God because we don’t need our children to grow up with a poor understanding of how life works and how much work they have to put in to receive a fruitful return. Don’t be influenced by what you see, but rather by what you know to be true. Mirrors break and smoke dissipates eventually. At the end of the day, what’s left is all that’s real.

This post totally didn’t go in the direction I had initially intended but I didn’t want to fight to keep it going in any particular direction because I want this blog to be as honest an organic as possible. Sometimes you just have to let things become what they want to be, and love them anyway.

Until next time…
DJHurley