Wednesday, July 1, 2009
michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 5)
my eyes feel so heavy now... not in a tired way (even though i am getting sleepy now), but in a post-crying sort of way... my eyes feel strained, and sort of dry.
i woke up to the sound of lumbia throwing up today... i immediately thought, 'oh please, not you too!!! please don't die...' i flashed back to my tortoiseshell companion holly, who after many sessions of vomiting (and eventual not eating), it was discovered she had pulmonary carcinoma, a rare form of cancer in cats. i stood there and watched holly take her last breath. she had lost half her body weight and had a huge tumor seemingly the size of a fruit inside of her... she was so strong, despite the massive amount of pain i could imagine she was in. it was one of the most devastating feelings i have ever felt in my life. she was my companion for seven years. i immediately felt lumbia's torso to see if she had any major lumps throughout her body. i then went to clean up after her. she vomited about four times, at least... all i kept thinking was 'please don't die, lumbia... i don't know if i could take that right now...'
the interesting thing about cats is how perceptive they are... it makes me wonder if lumbia senses what is going on with me, more than i think she does...
i had a conversation with someone yesterday, where she was telling me how she felt she was able to speak and connect with me in some way, despite how i am feeling. a number of weeks before his transcendence, i went through a major depressive period, where i was unable to communicate with anyone. in this period i went through one of many suicidal thoughts. i have been battling this since the age of 14. i have also made several attempts throughout my life, consciously and subconsciously.
in this conversation i told her that if i were to still be in this depressive state; with all that is now going on she may not have been standing there talking to me today. she asked if there was any way anyone could have reached out to me. i told her i didn't know... all i knew was that i was in a space where i didn't necessarily care.
today was a day where i learned many lessons... i spent time with my friend tiffany, who is a therapist, as well as one who practises buddhism. we haven't sat down to a chat for at least a year. but, i did know a lot of things were going to come up, as she is a therapist. she told me she was worried about me, not in the way everyone else is in light of this whole event. she said she was worried that i've been isolating myself, as i always do; and that in writing this book i have not formed any substantial relationships with anyone in this time, except for with him. this isn't necessarily true, but i know what she is saying.
before she started saying all this to me, she told me how she was doing (she is doing a lot better than the last time i really hung out with her), and then she wanted to know how i was doing. i told her i've only been thinking about one thing. she understood that, then took my hand; i began to cry. i didn't realize i wasn't breathing, until she told me to breathe. when a breath came out, the tears would not stop.
throughout the evening we discussed her perceptions of me (all of them which are true). she said nothing i didn't know. as a matter of fact, she said stuff that quite a few people have told me. she told me that his 'death' also represents something in me dying, because how i perceive him is how i perceive myself. (yes, this is true, i have acknowledged this already). i told her that i didn't know if i was going to finish the book, and that i was asking him for guidance in terms of what to do. i told her that i wanted to honor him. she asked if i was writing the book for him, or me. i told her both of us. she then told me something to the effect of, his physically not being here is an opportunity for me to begin again. he is not here for me to hide behind his shadow... i have to emerge and speak about my own experiences. i told her this was the point of the book, to come to terms with my own experiences. she told me that i could finish writing it, and never publish it. (this is certainly true, but i also want people to see the side which connects him to all of us as well)... i have accepted/come to terms with the fact that people tell me about myself. there is nothing new being said about me... the interesting this was that on this day i was not really crying for myself and everything she told me, but i was crying for myself in relation to him... there were certain triggers in me, that even though she was talking about me i instantly connected with him.
this moment with tiffany got me thinking... in all my conversations with him since he physically left, i felt all of my calls were unanswered. i resigned it to his great need for sleep after 45 years of no rest... but perhaps this was one of his ways of speaking to me. this most likely will not be the ONLY way, but it may have been one. perhaps this was a lesson he was trying to teach me in the first place: through his pain comes my realization that i have the ability to heal. his spiritual manifestation could be telling me, through tiffany, that he appreciates all that is being done between myself and him, in terms of letting the world know of his humanity. but now he is in no more pain, and i don't need to worrry about him. it would make him happy if i used what i learned from this moment and do what it is he set out to do- try to find modes of universal healing through his art. he never had room to heal himself, but that does not mean that i don't.
if this is true what he is saying to me, i thank tiffany for helping me begin to get there... everything has its purpose, its reason... he was brought to me for a reason. i truly believe that. and i will always honor and love him; for he was (and is) my life's teacher.
it was after this moment with tiffany that i encountered another incident- which was NOT so peaceful... but it left me feeling another mode of self-realization/education... i was reading an article on his father joseph, in relation to the BET awards fiasco (i refuse to watch any footage of this surfacing on the internet). the article discussed how his mode of grieving was innapropriate, as he looked like he was partying and promoting his next project. i am not one to judge; i also don't know if that is the only way he knows how to grieve at this point... in terms of how I am feeling, i cram to understand (in the words of mc lyte) how someone has physically lost a son- a son who was known and admired on every corner of this earth- and smile and discuss your son's popular culture legacy in terms of records and sales...
a friend of mine was reading this same article... in light of his recognizing my feelings and any sort of grieving i am experiencing (he also shed a tear during this period) it threw me off for him to begin this debate about why the focus on celebrities is not important. i was not in a space for this, but i welcomed the sentiment, to explain that everything is relative, and that this fascination is reflective of our collective consciousness of how we view ourselves- and how we are viewed to the rest of the world. he became offended that i would use 'we' , as he does not feel included in a 'collective' culture i am speaking of... he emphasizes the individual's ability to escape these cultures. i explained that this was a priviledged position to take, as he was fortunate enough to be able to process things in this way. some people do not leave their block for their whole lives, so it may not be possible to fathom there being another life outside of that collective. he was insitent that it was easier than i thought it was.
another example i gave was a black person travelling to a city where there are no other black people. this person is consistently bombarded with statements of, 'i hate black people'. why? because the perception of black people is the same one seen on the television. there is no framework of looking at people as people. this is why the individual and the collective are so intertwined. they are not mutually exclusive.
he said not a word during my saying all of this, and he said not a word to me after the conversation was over... i found this to be curious, since he mentioned not too long ago that one of the things he liked about me was in our disagreements (which we have; our life's philosophies are so different), i do not hold grudges. i feel there is no reason to, as everything we speak is based on our experiences and perceptions.
this was another lesson to me- how do i view myself in the world, with respect to all that's been going on these past few days. where am i? how do i feel about myself? where do i fit in? what are others thinking of me? what exactly is it i am contributing? have i been wrong all along?
is the pain i am feeling warranted? should i just 'get over him' immediately? how do i do that? WHY should i do that?
have these two years been all for naught? did i need him to learn what i did? why am i even crying for someone i didn't know physically, for 5, 6 days straight? what is wrong with me? is there anything wrong with me at all?
in all my 'realizations' i am extremely confused and angry.
all i know is that he is my teacher, and i will never forget that.
i thank you, i love you (please remember this), and i still continue to ask for guidance...