Kelvin B. Johnson

Dear younger Kelvin,

This is going to hit you hard. Tough love is still love.

Getting through to someone who masks their emotions with humour is difficult. Many will never see your pain. Plenty more will never believe your story. Your humour is a great coping mechanism as it makes others feel good and in turn distracts you from what you avoid and suppress. The only way past some things is by going through them. Feel the pain and let it out. It'll save you so much time. Nowadays, you enjoy having people around you but who do you make laugh when you’re all alone? You know you’re not happy and riddled with many questions. You will one day learn to love your own space so much that you take on a new name, antisocial.

Now, that you’re more comfortable, let’s have a real conversation about the afflictions that trouble you. You are not your father’s mistake. One day, like many fathers who leave their kids from young you will grow to be his biggest regret. I know you have no recollection of him. Don’t let that phase you when other people speak about their dads. Your holes will become scars that heal. Those wounds will help build connections with another person’s pain. Feeling doesn’t make you weak…it simply makes you human. You will grow up feeling isolated teaching yourself so many things and even be considered as smart (imagine that, you little shit). Let go of the pain and understand that your father simply wasn’t ready. Being responsible for someone’s life is not an easy task. I know from time-to-time this hole desires to be filled by frivolous pursuits (frivolous means silly by the way – your smart days are still ahead of you) but stand strong and just be you. Take your time. Enjoy the silence and get to know yourself. Live your younger years to the fullest. Your mind is an interesting place to play. You don’t need to be around people. The sooner you love your space the sooner meaningful, true, loving relationships and connections will form.

On the subject of relationships, boy... You learn some lessons. You make some amazing friends and have long-lasting, honest (at times a bit too honest) relationships. You try to cut some friends off (yes, you’re still evil deep down inside, don’t worry) but they are resilient souls and you grow to understand and value the power of fighting for your friendships and what you love.

As you can see, in your older age/ripe age you get soft. You don’t stay tough and emotionless forever or in your words, you become a little bitch. Now, as for the ladies, you grow up having it tough for a while. You’re not a natural with the girls at all but eventually, you find your feet and figure out how to swim. You marry a beautiful soul. Yes, YOU of all people get married! I know you said that you wouldn’t, right? But she was a new kind of special and her kisses do not turn into scars (well, not yet anyway lol). You had to marry her and like I said earlier people consider you to be smart. Well done.

Let’s get back to the next couple of years with the girls. There’s a rough patch you go through Your brand of man isn’t in fashion but be patient. Right now, it’s the era of the light-skinned boys and they shut down the streets boy! Girls are looking for that wavy hair so you go buy that Dax, durag and wave brush and go hard with the brushing. Eventually, Morris Chesnut and Taye Diggs do bring it back for us represent hard and your stocks in the street market rocket. By now, you would have learnt to swim and thank Jesus of Nazareth because it’s a tsunami for you.

Before I leave you to it. I want you to do something for me. Start writing from an earlier age. You become quite good and who’s knows how much further you can go. I know it’s not cool right now but looking back now, your clothes aren’t either (I just had to). Do it in private if you need to, just write. You’ll thank me for this one day. Also, embrace your ability to listen to people without trying to fix them. Sometimes people just want to be heard. Remember two ears and one mouth.

“Write for your life, because one day you’ll be scared of having a day job”

Contributed by Kevin B. Johnson


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