Little kids . . .
Bless them. Bless their little lives and their little smiles. Let them run. Let them play. Bless their thoughtful little lives and bless their lessons to take turns and share. Learn from them. Don’t scold them. Don’t change them either. Let them be this way, young and innocent. Beautiful as ever.
Let them laugh. Let them pretend. Let them dream because a day will come when pretending and playing is frowned upon. Playtime will be over before they know it. And yet, they don’t even know it. Time moves very quickly. So, let them be as they are because a time will come and their childhood will be over. And that’s it. It’s adult time. So again, I say bless them. Bless them for exactly what they are, just kids.
I remember the sun going down in my crazy little town. I remember meeting up with the connection before going anywhere. But more, I remember the need and the desire. I remember the dare to prove myself and to press the edge between here and the afterlife. I walked the edge the same as walking along the spine of a razor blade. In fact, I probably had a blade in one of my pockets. I had a shaky hand. I had the inevitable aches and pains. I had this need to push through and burst the bubble and yet, in my rush to be whatever it was; in fairness, I was just a guppy. I was a kid, — I was too young to be around the beast. But yet, the beast does not discriminate. He takes on all comers. He always makes a deal and the interest is always running. Trust me.
Nevertheless, I was too small. I was too new to the world, and yet, I swore I had everything all figured out. I had no prospects of a future. Why would I? And before I go on, I’ll explain. Nothing seemed to work easily. Safe to say, I assumed this was just life. Suffice to say that I believed everyone has a position. Some are destined for stardom. Some are destined for greatness. Some are destined to live fast and some are destined to find themselves in the penitentiary, locked up in juvenile hall, or to die young. I assumed I would be either or in the system of the latter.
As I saw it, there were different divisions of people. There were good looking people. There were the popular ones and the person that could walk into the room and for whichever reason, all eyes would turn to them. And to them, this was effortless. To me, this was painful. This was a struggle just to get a hello. Yet, to the desirable ones, they didn’t even have to try.
As I saw it, there were different tiers in the social echelon. I saw this almost like the Indian caste system —for example, there are the Brahmins which are the priests and teachers and the Kshatriyas who are the warriors and rulers. Next are the Vaishya or the tradespeople, the farmers and merchants. Next are the Shudras, the manual laborers and finally there are the Dalit, — they are the lowest members of the system, the untouchable, the undesirable, the latrine cleaners, the street sweepers and those left to clean the waste or more aptly, they are the outcasts.
I knew this system all too well. I saw this with my own eyes. I saw the celebrated ones. I watched the town heroes. I knew the pretty ones and I knew the warriors and the so-called leaders in our specific caste. We all grew up together. We all came from the same crazy town and yet, somehow, the introduction of status changed our interaction. We went from playing together in the same classroom to hating each other and incorporating ourselves in different groups and congregating in different sections and walking in different hallways at school.
Although I pretended, I was never a warrior. Despite my attempts to rebel and claim that I was nothing like anyone else and in my rage to defy and prove my individuality, the truth is I followed the line the same as everyone else. I wanted to be pure. I really did. I wanted to “Fit in” as they say. I wanted to be good. I wanted to get straight A’s and be part of things, but yet, since nothing seemed to work for me, I found myself on the outskirts of school property, blazing, drinking, smoking, getting high and daring the edge.
I had scars that became my rite of passage. My circle of influence was imperfect and thus, so was my circle of friends. Everything I did was a statement. I bled. I hated. I screamed and I drooled. Eventually, I learned to find a greater escape. I found ways to offset the norm. I placed myself in the value of tiny packages and white-lines or flashes of tiny white boulders smoked off in a glass pipe. I found ways that somehow validated my need for craziness to counteract my feelings of uselessness. I remember the drug deals. I remember the sense of importance, to be needed, wanted, or better yet, to be wanted even if only for a controlled substance. More often, I just wanted to be regarded and not feel the invisible sadness that comes with unpopularity.
In truth, I never thought I had anything. I never believed I could be anything better than the lowly member of this so-called caste system. As I saw it, this was me. This was the best I could possibly be, which was nothing more than one of my little town’s refusals. I was one of the lost ones. I was part of a group that began to dwindle and die at a young age, and yet, I made it out somehow. I was never quite sure why or how. Some are spared. Some suffer. Some die. I don’t know why this is.
Every so often, I see a reminder of my youth. I see a name or come across a face (somehow) and I see them. I see their lives. I’ve seen some of the best from my youth, nodding-off on the corner near 8th Avenue by the methadone clinic. I’ve seen those who dared to try a new path. And they were on point, for a while too. They were out of the life. They were renewed and fresh and yet somehow, they went back to their old default settings, which was designed by the abusive needle marks in their arms.
I’m no priest nor teacher. I’m not the warrior or ruler nor am I a merchant or a tradesman. I’ve proven that I am not the lowly nor am I the Dalit, the waste or the undesirable. No, I am none of these. In fact, I am me and I can say this now loud and proudly.
Little kids. Bless them. Bless them as the reminders of where I came from. Bless them as reminders that all too often, we are in a rush to get ahead without ever realizing how truly amazing it is to be where we’re at.
Let them laugh. Let them breathe. Let them dream. Let them pretend and let nothing stand in their way. Let them realize that this is supposed to be the time of their life.
Let them grow and let them understand that this life is only coming once. Let them love without interruption. Let them understand that imperfections are perfect because life is never flawless.
But them, they are perfect; their laugh, their life, and their ability to learn, dream, pretend and be is the most flawless thing I have ever seen.
Bless these kids.
Let them see us. Let them know about the fears we had. Let them know it’s okay to be the way they are and to think the way they think. Take away their fears. Take away their insecurities and build their strengths. Nurture their abilities because hell, I know kids that died before their teen years because no one ever told them they’re absolutely perfect just the way they are.
I am not a fan of this hashtag society. So instead, I will send my message plainly and clearly. The rest of the world can take their hard-to-read hashtags and shove them up their ass.
I am grown and decades away from the scars, which I can still feel, remember and see painfully clearly. I still have the old habit of wiping my fingerprints off things that I touch. I still have the old dreams of pincushion arms and white packages that killed my youth. I still have the remnants of a life that destroyed the world of so many good people.
I suppose this is a plea. I suppose this is me pleading with anyone and everyone that will listen. Bless these kids. Bless their beautiful little lives. Let them grow. Let them know there is a much better path. And don’t brag. Don’t boast. Don’t detail the crazy events because this only becomes like a low grade or soft version of pornography. In other words, it’s a tease. The stories are tempting. Stick to the truth of the matter. Stick with the heart. Let them know about the pains instead of the glorified scars. Let them know. Please, it’s hard for me to hear another story about a kid gone way too soon. Lost because they believed the lies the needles tell.
Please help . . . .