The revelation shocked me: the poet on my Facebook timeline, who posts the most about battling toxic masculinity, is the major cause of mine. I abhor violence and know full well that it solves nothing…
Correction: In certain situations, violence can be a solution; the catch-these-hands-22 though, is that it always creates more problems. And this creates a dilemma: How does a non-violent person deal with someone who not only makes them have thoughts of violence, but someone who won’t stop messing with you until you mess them up?
The only thing that helped me fall asleep last night was a quasi-mantra:
ANGER IS ONE LETTER AWAY FROM DANGER.
REMEMBER, IN STAR WARS, ANGER IS THE GATEWAY DRUG TO THE DARKSIDE.
This was me attempting to practice what I preach to one of my sons, the one who seems to have inherited my temper. I won’t mention his name because he’s currently in the midst of the college application process and I don’t want an admissions officer to get the wrong idea. Higher institutions of learning, much like white supremacy America, hate an angry black man (despite the fact that the neverending systematic hate given to him can result in nothing but anger, but I digress…)
A well-known poet on Facebook took something from me. I want it back. I want to stop dreaming about showing up at one of this poet’s shows and waiting outside until this poet comes outside. I want my sixteen dollars and thirty-three cents.
That time spent in court-appointed anger management class wasn’t all for naught. I did learn something. The facilitator taught us that anger is a secondary emotion. If you’re angry, there’s an underlying issue. So what’s the issue underneath the $16.33? Why can’t I let go of this anger stemming from this poet taking my online payment and six months later STILL not giving me the “Collector’s Edition” book and cd I ordered or refunding my $tolen money?
After much introspection, I’ve come to the realization that this poet is triggering my traumatic childhood–a period in time where people were taking things from me and I couldn’t do anything about it. I feel more and more, as time passes and this poet gallivants about town with my $16.33, that this poet is a bully who thinks I won’t do anything. This poet is a Donald Trump in blackface, one who thinks bullying and impunity go hand-in-hand. With each passing day, it becomes harder for me to tell where this poet ends and the bully who took my comic books begins.
I thought I left that 1980s ghetto Brooklyn shit back in the ghetto, a place where you could get your snotbox bust for far less than $16.33, however, here I am like Michael Corleone in Godfather III: Every time I think I’m out, they pull me right back in! This poet pulls me in places I don’t want to be, places rife with toxicity and negative energy. I fight, I fight, I fight, I really do fight not to be taken there, often telling myself: it’s just $16.33; let it go.
But I can’t. Friends have told me I’m being petty. But what is this poet being? Dishonorable? Devoid of integrity? Deceitful? A misappropriating funds scam “artist”? Are these all not a microcosm of what most of this country is up in arms about concerning the state of affairs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Yet, I’m petty for wanting my $16.33, so I can get back to being in a safe head space? I guess the “P” in PTSD stands for “Petty.” And when I think of all-time “Heartbreakers,” bullies taking shit from me is damn near at the top.
At some point in life we all vow to never get our heart broken again. I will protect the sanctity of my vow. This poet will not walk all over me just because I walk with a cane. I will not allow my physical disability to be taken advantage of. I just don’t know how I will do it. How can I get my money back without resorting to ig’nant negro behavior? This poet wants me to come out of my character, but the James Baldwin in me says, I am not your ig’nant negro.
(But don’t push me.)
Can I have my $16.33, please?
Watching the movie Friday is always a pleasing experience, full of medicinal laughter. But it feels different now, more serious and contemplative, especially the part where Big Worm tells Smokey, When you play with my money, it’s like you’re playing with my emotions. I want this poet to stop playing with me. Just do the right thing and refund my money.
Give me my $16.33, so I can buy a chopped cheese sandwich from Ack at the corner store and use the change to go on a shopping spree at Dollar Tree.
[Lost-Track-of-How Many-Days-UPDATE: As of 5/26/2019, order still hasn’t shipped.]