I don't know who you are. But when I first found you, I fell in love (with you but also everything you had created). You meant the world to me. You allowed me to exert myself when I couldn't do so in other areas. That sports was not the only place where I could pound my chest passionately and roar thunderously. Instead I chose to roar silently, driven by the small but brilliant fire that was you. You taught me that by being patient and committed, I could push an idea far beyond anything I could ever imagine. You were the light that smashed through my thin window of low expectations and self pity. You took my old self, threw it against the wall, and shattered my world. And for once, I could see. I wasn't sure what to do at first. It was almost as if I took you on as a challenge. It was more of my ego saying that I could attempt to conquer you. But slowly I grew to discover. It was all the little things that you gave me. Peace. Confidence. Escape. Joy. Sorrow. Love. To give and receive. And Freedom. You gave me life.
But somewhere along the way, I fell. And I fell deep. You had always warned me about these pitfalls. The pitfalls of expectations. Responsibility. Maturity. Pressure. And for a while, I did listen. It's funny isn't it? Randomness can happen (so randomly). I hate to admit it. But what had been bothering me the most was the constant voice from within. Pestering me. Creating self doubt.
When I visited Cornell University in my senior year, I never would have expected to study here for the next 4 years. But I loved it. Everything about it. It was home. When I was accepted, expectations grew, people started talking, and I fell through that crack. The crack that I used to always laugh at for being so small, now grew insurmountably wide. And just like that I fell. Life can really change in an instant. I fell deep. Free falling into the abyss.
At first I screamed. For a long, long time. I was scared. I cried. All the people around me, the ones I had always known, trusted, and loved, they telling me, questioning me, and pitying me for choosing to study ART? at a school like CORNELL?
"such a waste of an admission"
I fell. All the way to the bottom. And there were times when I thought I had finally started climbing back up. But it was aways, always just a dream. A slight interruption of hope from my daily depression, wishing that I could quickly turn everything back in my favour. There were so many times, when I just wished everything could go back the way it was. That I had never applied to Cornell. Never came. And never fell through that crack. I became depressed. Stopped enjoying art. Stopped thinking. Doing. Writing. Art. I thought you had left me. I grew resentful. Constantly fidgeting. Impatient. Always asking and demanding when I had put in nothing to deserve anything at all.
"Because what is the point of doing art, when you're just going to be a poor artist Tony?"
"Can you be certain that in 7-8 years, the time it takes me to become a doctor, you will be a famous artist?"
"Follow your dreams and you will never have to work another day in your life, because they ain't hiring! LOL!"
Really though. What is the point? Isn't it much better to study business, engineering, and pre-med so you can get a normal job? No really, I want to know what you think. But wait, I don't. I don't give a care in the world about what you think. Who is the disrespectful one here? Really. Not everyone can be you. I almost forgot that you ain't me. Thank god, I ain't you. And you can thank god that you ain't me too.
For the longest time, I just wanted to be what everyone else was. But that doesn't even exist. Because we are all different and have our own paths. This crack that art had warned me about, in the end it was inevitable. I was bound to fall through it. Because this oh so small crack that became oh so big, it's called life. And from all this crack and all the other eventual pitfalls along the way comes growth. And I am proud to say that although it took me a while, I have finally climbed out. All I had to do was follow the light. And I went straight up.
It's easy to cry when we are scared. It's easy to smile when it's hard. I've learned that "no matter the wreckage" (shout out to my friend Sarah Kay's book recent book) we all can make it through this thing called life. For me, my running mate will be art. And I hoe you find yours too, whoever and wherever they are.
So to conclude this long soliloquy, I couldn't think of a better way to drop the mic than to quote my favourite rapper, Logic.
So when people that never knew me they tell me that I changed
That my music is different and my vision's rearranged?
I just stop, and do my best to refrain
From having conversations with people that ain't in my lane
Will I die? Will I live?
Give the world everything I have to give
This is feelings on the page, know my wisdom, not my age
Understand that I'm a man not defined by his wage
Even though it's in the millions that shit don't define my brilliance
Open your mind and maybe you can see the billions
Our people that separated, but all equal
To know the ending one must understand the prequel