If you own a telecommunication device and are one of the several million people that occasionally log onto many of the social media websites available to the public, then you’ve more than likely had the privilege of viewing one your “friends” addressing their “haters” or sending subliminal messages to their secret admirers stating one the following: “We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people who do not care” and “Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings & emotions…” One of my favorites is, “There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t jump puddles for you.” When you look at the quote on its surface, it speaks to the fact that as people, we tend to make sacrifices for those who wouldn’t forfeit their desires to satisfy our needs. You reread the quote several times over, replaying incidents in your mind where you felt unloved, underappreciated and/or casted aside after making concessions for others who outwardly careless about your feelings, wants or needs. Some can disregard those actions and feel like their assistance is a blessing to others. Commonly these sentiments lead to severing relationships, alienation and resentment. Even when the situation is addressed and seemingly resolved, the bond that was once shared is never the same. In your heart you know it’s over, but you cling to the wreckage of an affiliation ravaged by distain; your self-worth couldn’t withstand the waves battering against the haul of your soul.
I reflect often times on the madness that’s called friendship. How we expect loyalty from others, and demand that people pledge allegiance to an invisible oath drafted by morals that those same individuals don’t adhere to. Like you, irrational decision making was also my calling card. As an only child and through my formative years, clamoring for acceptance was a norm. I wouldn’t realize this character flaw until I too had to learn the hard way that a rock only skips no more than three times when tossed across a body of water before submerging until its eventual doom.
“This is a gang; and I’m in it!” During my tenure in college, that was one of my favorite songs. The track was performed by Compton’s Most Wanted off the album “Music To Driveby”. The track blared through the subwoofers as I would often times travel from Tallahassee to Monticello, Florida to clear my head and spend time alone. I could relate to the song in so many facets, and it remains a staple in my iTouch. It expressed the camaraderie that a group a friends shared; getting into mischief, partying, and other foolery. I felt my group of friends, although not deemed the “coolest”, were the realist people one could ever be around. You could always be yourself and express your thoughts without repercussions. There was no “hate”, because although we all lead different lives, we were all equals despite our socioeconomic status. So when one of my friends was shot during a failed robbery attempt, there was no question in my mind what had to be done. After the initial shock, I called up an individual who was known to resolve such matters, and off we went into the Saturday night air looking for the assailants who committed such a heinous act. As we passed by possible locations where the alleged perpetrators could possibly be or reside, I began to feel the pit growing in my stomach as to what could take place as an encounter grew near. I had been here before, so the emptiness wasn’t necessarily fear. I had felt the pain of false devotion before; left in a club holding cell defending someone who never threw a punch in defense of themselves. Projectiles whizzing across landscapes and altercations at an assortment of locations all in an attempt to earn an unheralded badge of honor which held no value. And when I thought of the occasions that I was either the instigator or the defendant, there was only one that warranted my “friends” to rush to my aid. And as these thoughts penetrated the fiber of my every being, I could only think, would these same individuals be willing to throw away their careers, college degrees, families and lives if it were me? I could name two, maybe three, but not definitively all. I won’t lie to you and say there was a Tre’ from Boyz N’ Da Hood moment where I told the driver of the vehicle to take me (us) back to where my car was located, but I came to the realization that everyone isn’t willing to do what you’d do for the sake of friendship, love and loyalty.
And as the years have passed, the lesson increases with its importance. Throwing rocks at the “chain gang”, looking at a period of incarceration, possible death, financial hardship and loves lost, all as a result of going the extra the mile for those that wouldn’t travel two feet to accommodate you. It’s saddening in a sense that the appreciation and admiration you have for others isn’t often reciprocated. I would never tell anyone to stop being good natured and not help your fellow man (woman) in their time of need. However, be mindful that the generosity you display may not be countered in return. And in your reluctance to assist someone, if the person dependent on your kindness begins to become agitated because you’ve now had an epiphany, tell them, “Keep calm and don’t be mad when I pull a YOU on YOU!” “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)
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