Hell Isn’t So Bad When You Have Music [Part 1 – Isaiah Rashad]

The sweet symphony of uncontrollable sobs can be so soothing when all you’ve known is the sound of silent suffering. When the effort of existing becomes unbearable, and the white noise surrounds you (and no, i’m not talking about Disclosure), you come to realise hell isn’t so bad when you have music. Damn I miss my headphones. I actually have to listen to my own thoughts now. 

It’s dark down here. “Well of course it is dark, the lights are off in your room, duh.” That’s what the voice in my head is telling me. The other, more quiet voice rebuts. “No. That’s not what I meant. My mind is dark. Or maybe blank? I don’t know.” Silence. 

It’s excruciating. 

“Now everybody tellin’ me a lie. Lordy give me something for my soul. See I don’t wanna think of suicide. So please don’t take the lock key off my door.” 

It begins. The lyrics living in my head have awaken. They bounce across my skull, jumping from ear to ear as though my mind is a playground. The devil’s playground. And it was theirs. Theirs to control. Theirs to destroy. 

They had become so comfortable here. They knew things about me I didn’t. They knew my deepest thoughts, my deepest fears, my insecurities.  

“See you can’t handle pressure on your own, so why you carry boulders by yourself?” Who told you I shouldered all my burdens? How did you know I was crumbling under the pressure? Like crabs in a barrel, my own thoughts pull me down – deeper into hell I go. 

The lyrics speak to me. They tell me things I would never tell myself. I know “I just need some guidance in my steps”. I know “i’m not the only one alone”. I know “i’m not the only one who felt”. But can I heal? Black boys aren’t supposed to cry…or so I was told. Black boys weren’t taught to cry…a myth I was sold.

Is it wrong “I’m praying that I make it to twenty-five”? I’ve lost friends. Friends who didn’t see another year, another week. Friends who should have seen tomorrow but tomorrow never came. 

Call the doctors. Call whoever you want. I know I’ve been having problems with myself. I know love doesn’t live here anymore. Before you take me away, just tell me this: where does this “love” everyone talks about reside? 

You claim to love me but you don’t know my issues as a child. So what if I’ve been losing more than just my mind? So what if I don’t want to be like any of you no more? I am coping my own way. And if I’m doomed to die young, my only wish is to receive an answer from our Heavenly Father. I want to ask Him, why are you so far away?

I am grateful Isaiah Rashad spoke to me in my moments of darkness. Days when I chose not to listen to myself, you were there.  Music was there. There to support me when I let myself down. 

It’s true, I guess. Hell isn’t so bad when you have music. 

— To better understand this, listen to Isaiah Rashad – Heavenly Father. —

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Fly to the heavens

heavenly grace, 

grant her great peace, 

please I pray 

her wings continue flapping 

to the sound of my heartbeat

so she can reach your gates.

O Lord accept my angel

in your open arms.

Arm her with love stronger

than mine.

Symmetry and Confusion

What is life but a cigarette butt 

and a withering rose…

like ashes blowing away in the wind,

dust to dust, 

we return to what we once were. 

The circle ends where it begins, 

and so the beginning of the end 

is a never ending cycle 

of existing and being. 

Death is life 

and life is death, 

the laws of equivalent exchange 

can never be changed nor manipulated. 

Stop searching for answers to questions you haven’t yet understood. You ask what is life but do you know what to live means? Do you know who you are? 

Flames to Love

Nine lives,

Nine nights,

Nine funerals,

for kings who 

never woke to

see tomorrow.

Dust to dust,

ashes to ashes,

from the flames

rises a Phoenix,

reborn to burn 

our sins, 

and set our dreams

alight. Spreading

like wild fire,

the scorching flames 

of unconditional love

flickers again in us all.

Cyanide & Happiness

Broken wings

with the ruffled feathers,

freedom seems so far away.

But don’t you cry,

don’t you cry,

eternity is

but a second away.

Your wings will soon spread,

and flap in the wind

when life is nothing more.

So wait my child,

Please be patient,

eternity is

but a long way away.

And After Death pt.2 [An open letter to Alexander ‘King’ Paul]

I hate hospitals. I mean, I’m grateful to all the doctors and nurses for all their hard work; still, I hate hospitals. I spent the better part of my childhood making hospital visits. I think I’ve seen nearly all of my family members on a hospital bed, not to mention the amount of times I’ve had to go to the hospital regarding my own health problems. So, when I had to visit you in hospital, I would always try to put on a smile. If not for you, at least for me. To comfort myself. To remind myself better days would come. How selfish of me.

I still recall the moment I was told you had collapsed, were hospitalized and in a coma. Two days after my birthday, it was 10pm. My thoughts were racing. I felt sick. Nauseous. I couldn’t bring myself to sit down, yet my legs wouldn’t let me remain standing. In shock, I made my way home. I wanted to visit you that same evening…I don’t know what stopped me. Maybe because I knew I wouldn’t be allowed in at such a late time. Maybe because I knew I would be of no help then. Maybe I was just making excuses…nothing should have stopped me from visiting you that evening.

We had seen enough deaths in 2016. Purple rain had left a taste of nostalgia on our tongues as we mourned the passing of the legend Prince. But you were a King, and that’s what made your death even harder to bear. You survived the troubling times in South London, yet this challenge was far greater than any of us could have imagined. But you were right. Only you could have handled such a pain. You were always right. “Mortality salience” become our motto once you woke from your coma. To live a full life despite the “woes of the wavey”. You carried your cross and us on your shoulders. Always uplifting us, always reminding us who we are, always showing us who we could be. Continue reading

A Change Won’t Come

Brittle bones waver in the wind,

as man’s red fire crackles within,

wondering souls silently creep,

whilst the ghost of autumn’s past

continues to weep. 

Fear no man, commit no sins,

the Lord forgives, or so we think.

Crystal tears as another man falls, 

forever failing to stand up tall.

Hushed flames hold us hostage, 

take us home, it’s time for justice.

Still we’ll suffocate on salient crosses,

The world never cared about our voices.

Erasure

Dysfunctional dystopian family

Caressing the cheek of death 

Laughing vividly at the jokes

Made by Satan’s pawn,

And Satan’s spawn

Galavants joyfully in the mess

Made by the children of yesterday,

For the future never existed,

Only the present and the past 

Since the start of time. 

Series I: The Woman, The Bisexual, & The Mental

Wearing a dark-blue and white checked flannel shirt with blue jeans, suede boots and her shoulder-length curly hair bouncing as she sat down for our interview, Joanne’s bubbly attitude is mildly infectious. In a cheerful start to the conversation, she begins by expanding on how her day was, fidgeting and swinging on her chair.

Possibly nervous, or out of habit, Joanne kept her replies quite brief, brushing over some topics. So when I asked what she had been (self-) diagnosed with, I was unsure of how much she would reveal to me.  She began: “depression and a few other things that maybe spun out of depression, so as a result of that self-harm and stuff around that really” was her abrupt reply to my question. I probed further.

“I would say my worst experience with depression was probably February. When I knew I felt ok it was probably mid-September…I felt like it wasn’t as much of a burden waking up every day. I kind of knew that I had enough to approach each day whereas before I didn’t feel that way, or less so perhaps.” Continue reading

Series I: The Woman, The Black, & The Mental

Compassionate, considerate and creative, Debbie has one of the most genuine souls I have encountered. She emits a gentle warmth, a beautiful dark-orange air being the best description of her aura. Maybe not as uplifting as the morning sunrise, but calming and soothing like the sunset. Full of emotion, which has at times proved detrimental, Debbie has grown considerably over the years whilst keeping many of her distinct characteristics, showing that she has and will always remain true to her foundations. Admirably, she has been able to adapt to the battles she has been thrown into. Dodging destructive friendships, weathering the storm of a heart-break, and emerging victorious from her war with depression, anxiety and self-harm, her past has made her strong enough to deal with her future.

It’s been two years since Debbie last self-harmed. Although she still has bouts of depression, her experience over the years means she is now able to accommodate for moments of extended melancholia, coping with it in ways she feels most comfortable. Most recently she has been slowly slipping back into depression after returning from an exciting journey in what was once known as the land of the flowers, off the Gulf of Mexico. Not being able to pinpoint why she has been feeling down, she has decided to just let it pass, speaking only to her boyfriend about how she feels.  Continue reading