Journal Entry – March 18, 2019
Well shit. Here we are. It’s Monday afternoon and my mental health is at a really really low point. My birthday's in less than 2 weeks (and now that I think about it, that is probably the cause of my current stress). My birthday has never the best time for me and I always find myself struggling a lot. I've never been a "god I'm getting old!" type, but it's more that every birthday has been a constant reminder of what I haven't achieved or... letting go of what I thought my life would look like by x age that just hasn't come to fruition -- which truly hurts. I also don't know how to convey that to the people around me without sounding ungrateful either, so I just hold on to it -- until the day passes.. the year passes... and I do this thing all over again next March.
But this is different. This is 29.
The very last year of my 20s and more than anything, I keep reiterating to myself that I do NOT want my 30s to feel or look at all like my 20s. I've spent so much time worrying -- about my career, about making people happy, about figuring out wtf my purpose is -- trying to love myself, angry at my circumstances, completely unsure and I don't want that at all for myself. It's heavy and it hurts so much that I don't know how to change it.
That's my biggest fear right now: every single part of my life feels performative. I constantly feel like I have to be "on" and in the moments that I have to myself, I have nothing.
I am nothing.
And then March 31st, 2019 came.
And I turned 29; relatively anti-climatically I might add – despite the palpable emotions of the journal post above (words that are still hard to re-read and even harder to share). I celebrated this trip around the sun with a small get together with my family and a SoulCycle session on the day of. It was a quiet, peaceful, rainy day and in hindsight I wouldn’t have preferred entering another year any other way. Then there was a shift at around 6pm though, when I logged on to Twitter and a glaring headline from TMZ popped up:
Now, I won’t lie and say I was extremely into his music, but I will say having lived in Los Angeles during his rise in the industry, I understood what his music and presence meant to South LA.
“Pure Insanity” I tweeted passively, but my mind started racing as I watched the bits of information slowly roll out on the timeline.
Three people shot. One of them six times, including one to the head. There was a video of a bloody man appearing lifeless as he was picked up and wheeled into an ambulance. The man was Nipsey. About an hour after the initial news, another headline replaced it:
“BREAKING: 33-Year-Old Rapper Nipsey Hussle has been pronounced dead at the hospital after being shot outside his clothing company in South Los Angeles”
“What a horrible coincidence,” I thought. “On the exact same day I’m entering a new year and phase in life, Nipsey lost his. Wild.”
I immediately felt my heart break, for not only his beautiful girlfriend Lauren London and their children, but for the idea that someone so entrenched in the development of their community could instantly lose their life in that very location.
As the weeks have passed those feelings of grief and dread have only grown with each story that is shared about his legacy; a thoughtful and passionate leader, entrepreneur, activist, artist, father, brother, partner, friend and son with boundless impact. A man who had discovered his purpose early and pursued it fiercely. It’s devastating to me and I’ve cried every single time I let my mind drift to the thought of his death.
It feels absolutely bizarre to be completely engrossed in grieving someone that you’ve never met, but lately I’ve asked myself – what exactly am I grieving?
More and more I feel that my grief over his pre-mature death is just as related to sadness as it is to the guilt I feel for not fully expressing my own appreciation for the simple gift of life less than a month before. Yes, I am genuinely hurt by the loss of someone so great, but I am also inspired by the powerful influence that his presence created throughout the world in just 33 short years.
Beyond that though, I am tremendously inspired to create, find and expound on my own purpose in his honor as I introspectively ponder the questions, “how would I want to be remembered and what work am I doing to get there?” because as I’m coming to realize, and as Nipsey already knew, the answers to those questions are the only keys to ending those alleviating those feelings of “nothingness.”
In reflecting on his life, I find that his legacy makes me want to read more, learn more, influence more, be more.
During one of the many interviews I’ve watched since his death, he made a beautiful statement on purpose that I never want to forget:
"Define who you are and what you are, and be clear on that. Meditate on that and then, live and die by that. You gotta go hard, you gotta believe in yourself. You gotta have a sense of humor to know that the bullshit is gonna happen, you can't be too serious about it or too emotional and fake when the bullshit happens. Believe and have an overwhelming confidence. Be your own biggest fan, your own biggest believer, and put it on your back and carry the weight."
A message that he lived by.
A message that he died by.
A legacy that he left for us all to carry in our unique way; which is exactly what I plan to do.