About two weeks ago, I went to go see a family therapist, the first of my weekly sessions. I teared up a little bit talking about the hardships I went through as a teenager and not having any say about the direction of where I wanted my life to go. In retrospective, I would say my teenage years were far from the usual glory most people experience; deep down inside I was the unhappiest teenager probably in the world.
I entered high school with trauma from middle school bullying and deal with it even more up until I probably turned nineteen. I never knew why kids act the way they do. You don’t like someone. Fine. But you really have to go out your way to be as sour and grimey as possible to somebody? 🤔 I was criticized and harassed for everything about me. If it wasn’t fat-shaming, then it was I “sound white, or I’m an oreo” or “You don’t sound like a black guy.” If it wasn’t then it was because I was viewed as slow or I wasn’t perpetuating stereotypes of a boy; or a black boy for that matter. For someone of my creed to be sassy, reserved, awkward and [low-key] quirky who is an observer of life is content with myself now it was looked down upon amongst the guys which I guess why there was always a chasm between other [straight] boys and me. It made it difficult for me to mentally recover from it after high school ended and I had to deal with these naysayers less and less. At 21, I’m still trying to piece back together with my self-esteem.
It’s funny how politician Maxine Waters has said in some congressional meeting: “I’m reclaiming my time.” I say this because that is what I would honestly call the current chapter of my life. I’ve tried to look up on Google what that phrase meant, but I think it’s better than the receiver (it did go viral) interrupt the meaning themselves. For me, I believe in reclaiming my time is better using my time for important agendas and concerns and throwing all away from the bullshit. I believe this is my time (my moment) now, being able to do the things and be around the type of people I haven’t been able to in the past due to *drum roll* ….. lack of control.
I hated the two high schools that I was forced to attend and being compelled to co-exist with people I would never go out of my way to befriend had we not had to spend 7 hours of the day together for four years. Even throughout high school, I was encouraged by staff members and some students to seek careers that were outside my genuine interest. When I was senior, I was talked into going to community college instead of a four-year college where I knew I could succeed (and live independently away from my family who aggravates me on the regular). But no one believed in me. I told a staff member of a vocation services who regularly come to see students in their senior year that I wanted to hopefully buy my mom a house one day (I think I said in my 40s). I could feel the shade and wtf vibes coming from her. I went to an alternative school [for special education/troubled students], and many students either choose to go trade school or community college. Very few went to 4-year college let alone one that was away from home. But I knew deep in my heart, my direction was going to different. However, at the time my necessary wasn’t occurring.
I went to community college for a semester, and I withdrew because my heart wasn’t in it. I sunk into a deep depression. Jealously played an even bigger part. I would see on my social media (Snapchat, Instagram & Facebook) my former classmates from my first school and childhood friends, going to the colleges of their dream across the region or country for that matter. They looked like they were having the time of their lives on their posts: having artists like Trey Songz and Big Sean perform at their school, living in dormitories, meeting new people and exploring the local area. I wanted that even if it meant spending thousands of dollars in student loans to make it happen.
2015 was when I finally rebelled and convinced my mom to let me restart my college career at Newbury College in Massachusetts. I also did what I think what was best for me and take six-months off from school because I just grew tired of people. Some people told her “it was a bad idea” and “he stopped community college and now he wants to go away?” I mean I don’t know, Tamar Braxton’s first album went nowhere, and she considers her her 2013’s Love & War, album her debut because of how much it was an actual representation of herself and not at the expense of someone’s dominance. I made the deans list my first semester at Newbury while many of my classmates failed out or were put on academic probation. Which proves the notion, it’s all about the effort and not always about the preparation. I was focused. I still am, but now I’m focused on my destiny.
My therapist said I was being controlled most of my life and now the tables turned. Among walking out my session, he said: “You are the controller of your destiny.” I then immediately thought about Janet Jackson’s Control era. After the dismal sales of her second album Dream Street, she broke away from her parents’ reign (and management) and would go on to find her own musical sound that created albums like Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, and The Velvet Rope. I wasn’t around in the 1980s obviously, but I imagine people thought she was never going to escape her brother Michael’s shadow but the gag is she did and paved her own journey to success. It’s not where you started but where you end up.