For as long as I can remember, I have always been more or less aware of the unnatural state of the life we live, of the wicked way the world works, of the way the whole system runs. I was afflicted by the hatred and violence I would see on the news that my dad would watch every day, by the corruption and poverty, the incessant and unnecessary pain and suffering of so many, by the hypocrisy of the world. I would hear horrible stories of gruesome deaths taking place in my home country, gang members dismembering business owners for not being able to pay a monthly sum. I couldn’t imagine people living in such conditions of fear in the country I had been born in. Except it wasn’t only in Central America that this was going on. I often watched videos of another powerful, international gang, the police, attack people on video as well, tackling and killing unarmed civilians, and I was absorbing all this hatred and internalizing it subconsciously. I would show these videos to my mother, who always advised me not to let hatred affect me, that nothing good comes from witnessing injustice. I just kept making offensive remarks about the police officers, about how they should be severely punished, and that there should be no police at all, since all the officers are just as corrupt as any of us regular people without a badge. I was filled with a stupid, self-righteous hatred at all the injustice, I was becoming an extremist, not acknowledging that there are good and bad people in every profession. I knew that hip-hop was the perfect venue to express my hatred, hip-hop having been long associated with protesting and fighting the system, and also the police and the government, for a cause. Meanwhile as my hatred grew, I also absorbed lyrics which casually discussed guns and drugs on a daily basis, thinking I could just vibe along to the rhythm and the rhymes scheme, not internalizing what was being said. I was naïve and didn’t know at that age that our soul is always listening, paying attention behind the scenes. I hadn’t yet learned about the unconscious mind and how it registers everything and applies it in our daily life. Not surprisingly to my current self, I normalized these behaviors and overall lifestyle in my mind, and I started doing the same things that I listened to, since they naturally arose anyway when I entered high school. I’m not saying that I did anything I did directly influenced by music, but once certain ideas about life are normalized in a young person’s mind, it’s more likely that they will succumb to such behavior, especially when it presents itself as a great temptation. My group of friends consisted of a gang of crazy kids who were involved in fights, drugs and problems with police. Many came from broken homes and have parents who are in and out of jail, or came from families with serious financial problems, or substance abuse problems. I was raised in a different way than them, at least at home. My parents always taught me morals, which endure to this day, and those morals have kept me from going over the limit many times if I’m honest with myself and with you all. Maybe my friends’ decisions to live these kinds of lives were not influenced so much by music or the media, but by the people in their own lives who they saw as role models, as well as their peers, and who resembled those characters in their favorite songs. In my case, my parents could never have imagined that I would do some of the things I did, especially at such a young age, so they trusted I wasn’t doing anything wrong. They had done everything they could to prevent my brothers and I from being in the company of anyone they believed was living life wrong, who would influence us down the wrong path. Kids in Honduras don’t start getting fucked up with their friends at 13 or 14, leaving home, getting in street fights and getting arrested, unless they are already entering into the gang life, one which they will never escape from. My parents were used to a very conservative culture where children grow with their parents and family is always close together. This prevents any unprecedented danger since the family moves as a pack, and values are mutually agreed upon and enforced. My eyes were open to a whole new life, to what I thought was unlimited freedom. I spent the summer after the eighth grade getting extremely intoxicated on various substances and partying in many different places, with many different people, while my parents thought I was at the mall all day, or swimming, or at the beach. Not to say I wasn’t doing those things, or that I wasn’t at those places a lot of the times, but definitely not under the conditions they imagined, that’s for sure. Life was just too exciting to pass up, a daily adventure; drugs, booze, girls, friends. This brought along everything that usually comes with excessive drinking and too much partying with too many people; fights, lost items, broken items, police problems, and all kinds of other problems. Except to me they weren’t problems, because I simply didn’t care. I lived my life as a young adolescent based solely on pleasure, chasing thrills on the daily. My parents were the ones who suffered in the background, and this I couldn’t see, as I was clearly blinded by the thick veil of ignorance I had decided to cover my eyes with. What was my parents’ suffering at home, in such a distant place, when I was here now, in the moment, drugged up, tripping, feeling like I was part of a crew, part of the fun we were having, part of an unstoppable force, the unfiltered energy of youth? I realized that my music was shifting, it was no longer so much about solutions, the lyrics I was writing had ceased to be about finding a solution to the world’s problems. My rebel energy was being incorrectly applied, it was becoming confused and intertwined with this reckless and restless energy which surrounded me. I thought that we were going against the system, and my music was defiant, as if this was the life that truly free individuals were meant to live. I was so, so blind. I couldn’t see that my friends and I were simply victims of the system, rebellious kids full of anger and rage and the desire to let it out, full of dissatisfaction, drowning in alcohol and drugs, avoiding any real self-reflection. I felt like I was on top of the world, and it was only much later when I realized I had been living in a very low state for much too long.
To be continued tomorrow, on Day 19.
~ Rebel Spirit