I’m not even gunna bullshit y’all. I’ve been dealing with depression for the past two months and I’ve recently been coming out of it.
I had an epiphany this past week during my visit back home to New York. I always knew that although I’m eloquent and can hold interesting conversations, I can’t seem to express my emotions. Especially not in my time of need or darkest hour. Instead I just disappear. I put on a face, I post funny shit online and that’s that. Everything is fine.
But I’ve had to face a series of uncomfortable truths about myself in these past weeks. I had to battle the pressure of my need to be perfect. Like it’s literally the definition of my name. Natsai means “towards perfection” I shit you not.
Let me just set the tone of this piece with a smooth Kanye can go fuck himself. We have a real genius in the building, totes forgot what that even looked like. Thanks for the refresher Donald! Confidence is being comfortable in your skin and speaking truth to power not just being an arrogant asshole oh yeeeeah…
So this past week I’ve witnessed the final descent of an artist who once inspired me to tell stories. There I was, thirteen years old sitting in the back of my brother’s car minding my business when I heard beats. My neck reacted with that bop & swerve combo blackfolk do when the beat is too clean. I was like, “who is thisssss?” as I swallowed my annoyance at my brother because he kept switching through tracks.
But what sold me were the skits. I went from hearing amazing songs with funny lyrics to a hilarious skit of “Broke Phi Broke” frat brothers stepping in pride. And the cycle just continued. A bop, a laugh – repeat. I couldn’t wait for my brother to pick me up again, so I went out and bought my first album: The College Dropout.
That old familiar pain re-emerging from the crevices of your DNA?
It was once so easy to believe what others told me to be true about America growing up. That this was a space of opportunity. I was the outcome of a dream believed by someone who was allowed the opportunity to prosper. I was borne into a dream many believed she was probably crazy to believe in. The naive little girl from Trenchtown just wanted to be a doctor. She believed in a vision of herself that had nothing to do with me at all. I just happened upon the life my mother manifested when she was a mere child.
I came from a family that migrated to this land and did well in the face of adversity. With that as my daily reminder, I believed the myth that America was fair enough. I believed it was up to the individual to decide to do and be better. Cuz if we don’t, we’d perish and fade away into the pages of time written by those who would suggest we loved our own suffering. I knew that if I could believe, then I could achieve. I sang the songs they told me to sing believing the status quo felt the same:
This land is your land, this land is my land From the California to the New York island From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters This land was made for you and me
I know I’m a good writer but I feel like I’m going to be the cause of my own demise. This medium takes discipline, something I don’t have. As soon as I think that I’ve finally gained stride and conquered my habit of being inconsistent here I am again. Weeks and months without any body of writing. I fear failure so much that I might just create a self fulfilling prophecy. Don’t choke, a part of me tells myself, the part of me that’s saved my life too many times to count. I never officially give up but God am I tired of being at square one over and over again. I should have been further then where I am by now. I should have multiple scripts and manuscripts and short stories and essays by now. It’s all backed up in my mind.
When on Earth will I move forward without stopping? What more must I lose? I’ve lost the job I thought would be the foundational mortar for my career. I’ve lost the home I thought I’d always return too when the world grew too cold. I’ve lost the relationship that everyone considers to be the greatest of all; the one between mother and child. I’m living on my final few hundred dollars as I make the best of my brother’s charity on his couch.
I’m so full of doubt.
All I have is my writing. It’s all I have now. Even with that I still find myself being…reluctant. Despite the confirmations I’ve received from prominent writers here I am, seemingly choking. Will I ever gain the tunnel vision necessary to conceive these illustrious tales that pollute my imagination? Everybody says success requires 10% talent and 90% hard work. If those are the odds then my God I’m fucked.
Same God, I’m trying. What I can say that I like about myself is that even when I go idle I cannot bear it for too long, not until the point of no return. I want to rip my skin open with my blunt fingers and offer my flesh raised high to the stars as my offering, my sacrifice, anything it takes to rid me of this doubt. I feel its roots deeply planted somewhere within my chest and the cosmos of my soul. I want to tear myself apart and rid myself of the poison within me. The lies I tell myself are crimes against my own spirit. I want to see it die before me. I believe it will, it has too. I recognize my blessings and know that it’s all up to me. Doubt won’t win, the world is depending on my visions. My people are waiting. The true battle of Heaven and Hell is happening within me and my God I swear it – I will come out shining.
**REAL TALK DISCLAIMER: The following article is strictly a think-piece. Any attempts from intolerant trolls to disparage the following analysis as hate speech or otherwise will not be entertained. This space is for critical thinking and uncomfortable topics will be indulged.
I’ve been witnessing a major split of reactions amongst the liberal-minded over the death of Fidel Castro.
On one side I’m seeing celebrations because to them a totalitarian* dictator has finally died (peacefully in his home at age 90), and their argument is that he was evil because many Cubans died, were exiled, and were denied basic freedoms under his regime. Other tamer arguments are that he was a poor leader because his economy fluctuated from ruin to stabilization.