My penchants and ability to talk shit is second to very few. I say that with no exaggeration or hyperbole. There is always a witty comeback and these days, it seems like-excuse me, apparent-that affinity and gift of gab is rubbing off on my daughter. I would that in my lifetime, the only person who fully was my equal is my good friend form college, O.
O and I met in 2005. We were both a part of the drama ministry on campus. I knew he was from Connecticut, so right before Christmas break, it was just put on my heart to ask O if he wanted a ride home. We just clicked. We both had different majors and before the ride had decided on our own that we were changing our majors to psychology during the second semester of our junior years.
Because we changed our majors at the same time, were in a club together, and he lived right across the parking lot from me in the same complex, O and I spent a lot of time around each other. If-and a big emphasis on if-we were going to study, we might as well together. When there was nothing else to do during our downtime, O would come to my place, play video games, and talk shit while my boys and I worked on music. Eventually, O became one of the rapping homies and we were really around each other all of the time. Eventually, our girlfriends became really good friends as well. Years later, Timile once told me that she and O’s girlfriend were going to break up with both of us at the same time and “Leave them to be there for each other.” Cold world; but it’s funny to me.
While talking shit was what we did best and mostly, our being around each other all of the time meant we’d seen each other through some pretty real times. Arguments with girlfriends, breakups, getting back together, family shit, having children, and all of that. In 2006, my car broke down and we were about to be stuck in Atlanta for Christmas. We both just said “fuck it,” spent our last dollars, and got on the Greyhound and shared my iPod to listen to music on the way home. Once the dust would settle, there would always be a joke poking fun at how we handled tense situations. No matter what happened, we were always able to laugh at life.
I haven’t seen O in about seven years. Nonetheless, we check in with each other every once in a blue. A couple of weeks ago, he sent me a link on Facebook and out of nowhere, I thought about an assignment we once had. It was about the discourse analysis-the study of text and talk-and black identity. We all talked about our personal journeys/experiences for an hour and then the rest of the group would ask questions. After spilling my guts about my life for fifty-five minutes, O asked me questions like with a serious face “So, how would your life experiences help you deal with meeting someone who smelled like doo doo and potato chips?”
We had to write thirty page papers about this. For some reason, I think O read mine and I read his. I remember glancing over his analysis of me and he mentioned that I have a mentality that he called a bench warmer. It was a reference to my once creative outlet of writing my experience in high school in which I sat on the bench of the football team and basically let the four years pass me by because I just wasn’t into it. He all but said that this mentality is how I see myself. Nine years later, I look back and see that he was right.
I am reluctant of the spotlight. Whenever it is, I will more than happily find a way to take it off of myself. I was comfortable with being in a rap group because I didn’t like stepping out on my own. I love my guys and all of the music we made. However, I was in a class all by myself and I always knew that. Nonetheless, I preferred being in a crew and got much more satisfaction letting the listeners say I’m that guy.
I like to let my work speak for itself rather than embrace the spotlight, and for lack of a better expression, go for mine. Looking back, that was probably the major difference between O and I, he was never afraid to go for his…I wasn’t afraid, so to speak; I just didn’t want to. You can look at my Instagram and see this. I mostly post pictures of my daughter and very seldom will one find a picture of me by myself. If you looked in my phone, you will see no selfies or any pictures of me solo.
I can say with all of the humility in the world that I am very talented in the things that I do and not stepping out into the proverbial spotlight is what has held me back. This blog started with me telling tales of raising my daughter. However, things didn’t take off until I started telling my story. That helped me develop my voice as a writer; but the posts that do exceedingly well are when I speak with transparency. It’s something that I am still struggling with because I still would much rather let people say my words are good as opposed to Chad is good with words.
I look at my relationships post-Timile and what I tend to attract are people who are seeking attention because I don’t mind playing the back and letting them have it. It is one of my God-given gifts to draw attention effortlessly and people gravitate towards me. However, I don’t fully use that to my advantage. I can’t be using this gift to the best of my ability if I don’t utilize it. I’ll chalk that up to the artist in me who has crippling self-doubt. But I’m publicly throwing it out there, now. So I’m holding myself accountable to do better. We all should.
O…We live ninety minutes away from each other. There is little to no reason we shouldn’t get up sometime soon.