There I sat in a skyblue pencil skirt paired with a yellow top I once wore to dress up like that Arthur meme. Starry eyed. Enamored by the opportunity I have each time I visit my uncle and am able to witness what friendship looks like. In real time. A friend might be one of the rarest things to come across in earth. It requires an intentional effort. A real decision to be there for one another unbound by space and time. I sat there listening for hours to my uncle, one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever known. And for hours my father laughed and corroborated these stories. We discussed many things and I continued to bounce my eyes from my uncle to my father and back again. Effortless. This relationship is deeply rooted. The synchronization of their spirits is one like I’ve never seen before. I can never help but to be in awe.
The main topic of discussion was nutrients. Nutrients are needed in order to sustain growth and a good quality of life. They are natural and can be found in foods. Many foods of which seem hard to find at your local supermarket these days; nonetheless, necessary. My uncle showed us the early springing fruit in his garden that he has tendered and gardened with love over many seasons. He talked us through each fruit and it’s story. Alternating between Twi and English but we still all laughed in the same language. This conversation was vastly informative; I learned so much about how to improve my own health and make better healthy choices in order to live a happier and healthier lifestyle. The stories that were woven in to give context and background to nutrient rich fruits like the goji berry, allowed my imagination to soar. I was blown away by the amount of information that was transported to me with such ease and humor. This moment I began to hold onto like it was my birthday, hoping it’d never end.
We came back inside to talk more. And as I was sitting at my uncle’s table drinking coffee spiked with vanilla and caramel creamer, I began to wonder about life’s nutrients. The metaphorical value of nutrients. What aspects of this life are required to sustain growth and a good quality of life? What do we need? Who do we need? In my 24 years of life I’ve learned that I don’t need a lot to be happy. In fact I’m the unhealthiest when I use things in the exterior to fill my insides. To increase or enhance my mood. But as the naturalista that I truly am, I love and respect nature. I believe in nature. When I am out in nature for a walk or just to breathe in air, to greet the sunrise or admire the moon, I’ve found my spirits are higher. So now I’m determined to intake more of life’s nutrients in order to be happier. I’m elevating to a new level that does not require engaging in toxic relationships, or relying on drugs or alcohol as a requirement for happy. Happiness comes from within. And it comes from what you put in. I’m most happy when I’m doing things that I love, unworried about things that may be out of my control. Completely submerged in the present but still keeping my dreams surrounding a better future. I’ve learned that I tend to isolate but that in life we do need each other. We need people to laugh, cry, dance, play, sing, study, share and Be with. We do. No man is an island. There is a reason and a value for every person who enters and even exits your life. What makes the difference between the people who pass through and those who stay is the love. Love is a decision. A constant. And in any friendship you have to consistently make the decision to choose one another. Much like my father and my uncle. They have chosen to keep in contact. They know each other so well that they know what works for them. I want that. I have been wanting and working and building and failing and trying to rebuild again and again to eventually have friendships like that.
Which leads me to one of the most important relationships with the richest source of nutrients that I know: God. Aligning myself with God in a way that I spend time in an organic and genuine way with Him is crucial to my health. I feel better internally and externally. It is difficult to do almost anything without hope and having a relationship with God gives me that. My father and Uncle each have a strong faith and relationship with God. Independently and yet also together. They pray for one another and also with. They have devoted themselves to living the work of the Gospel and that is why it’s not surprising that they have been able to align themselves with one another in a way that is heartfelt and real. They are like-minded and like hearted individuals. Since I was a small child, I was exposed to a friendship between my uncle and father where they would do anything for each other. It engrained in me a true respect for a friend. And now I know friendship in all of its rarity is a requirement for happy in this life. This is why I am constantly striving to be a better friend and am able to recognize how blessed I am to be able to call even one person-Friend. We all need more of life’s nutrients and we may need more of some than others but constantly evaluate your level of happy. And be sure to recharge on all of the good things so that mind, body and spirit you are able to stay healthy and keep happy.
All of these chems
Blue blood pumping
infiltrating my system
A doctor twisting my intuition
How can I go on like this?
Life is locked inside these bottles
Inside these tablets
Inside of these capsules that are sweltering
With the illusion of happy
These bottles they twist and we still pop too
Because the desperation is real
we dangle on the edge of sanity the moment we wake from soiled sheets
Sheets we swam in to escape our forced Goodmornings but that we still cling to our
almost lovers or their absence thereof
Fearful of these never ending nights
And we don’t protest this cycle
Cause we settle for whatever chems they decide is best
Cant seem to find, but we know it’s the nutrients that were missing
For now, we bury the costs
And still wonder,
What will we have left?
I’m so happy that you chose You. And I’ve been thinking all day… There is nothing to feel ashamed about but I hear you. And I empathize with you. See we literally all go through things in life. This is why the spirt of a person, their peace of mind, their mental health is so important. Only you know you. And you have to make your mental health a priority. After all what do we exist in this life for? To be troubled or to be happy? To find joy. Find peace. to self-actualize. Cudi literally, just by way of being who he is and being brave enough to seek help, inspired and actually motivated so many people to share their own individual stories about their mental health on so many different platforms of social media today. I’m just so moved. It takes great courage and bravery to speak up about something so real & personal , but I’m so glad that he did because it welcomed so many others to do the same. I can’t wait until we live in a world where these conversations are welcomed and regular. Where we are having these conversations frequently and creating the time and space into our society in a way that shows how much we value one another and mental health.
Blessings to cudi.
Hoping he heals and finds his happy again. And I hope others are motivated to be just as brave and seek help. That might look like a lot of different ways as people generally have different needs. But I’d encourage everyone to take some time to be conscious of their mental health this week and beyond. Just be mindful and honest about how you’re doing. How you feel. Acknowledge those feelings and adopt some healthy coping mechanisms.
If you’re musically inclined and believe in the power of music as a healing agent (like I do)…Some songs old and new that have been helpful in my mindfulness about how I’m feeling and also that have lifted me up even while writing this include:
Sky Might Fall| Cudi
Eternal Sunshine| Jhene
Finish Line/Drown| Chance
I Gotta Find Peace of Mind|Lauryn Hill
Novacane| Frank Ocean
Cranes in the Sky| Solange
It’s like crack,
Harlem shaking through your bones
It always brings you back to
Burnt glass dicks and a powdered nose
This is what life through sore eyes has become
A thick ball of pain and suppression caught right in the throat
Sunken brown eyes, blood shot red on disguising the truth
The vapors, the capsules and inhalation redefining your youth
You quit like a thousand times
Rehabbing from bad habits
Hoping the color returns to your face
But condemn yourself when you can’t
And return to the trap houses, where many a night you’ve slept on cold floors,
These have become the safe houses of your reality
Blanketed in the comfort of familiarity
So you slip again
Ain’t got a friend
But in drugs you feel closer to the God you feel within so you pray
Pray He just takes you away
Until another hit lights your soul on fire
Feels so good, what could be so bad about wanting to get higher?
This vicious cycle rips away chunks of your existence with fatal shark-sized bites
How could something so wrong feel so right?
Feel so light…
Take your spirit on flight
But imprison the beautiful temple where the power within you lives to break free of such a life
It was sharp and alive,
Not like the kind I’ve long been used to.
It was the kind that consumes
With dark gloomy clouds raining down well into my June
I got used to this feeling
This feeling of being used
It becomes so great sometimes you have to question if you’re still ‘you’
It’s the kind you can’t shake off
with pins and needles everywhere
You just feel lost
It’s the kind you can only see through half smiles
It affects you through invisible, unspeakable ways
The eyes are the window to your soul but your smile is the shield behind which you can hide
It’s that reminder that so long as the sun is out, even though you may feel cold and afraid,
You have to smile
And imagine that things are alright
You’re grateful for your life but that stinging never quite fades away.
Through darkness and in light it stands by
See this was different.
It was unwelcomed and persistent
It was like exhaling and never breathing again
It made you wish you couldn’t feel a thing
It’s when walking through thunderstorms is easier than blending in with a sunny day
This pain was different…
It seemed like nothing would be the same, I was forced to surrender my flame
I’d muted all emotion
And my eyes adjusted to the night
Because when this darkness came
It became my only friend
Smothered me with black, heavy chains
that held me down and drowned me in rain
And some nights I’d howl to the moon
I envied how no matter how dark the night, it still shined through
But one night,
I saw God in that moon
And my heart flickered.