This week marks the second anniversary of another call that changed my life forever.
In November 2016, I was notified of the death of my only sibling, my younger sister, Lisa. The exact reason for her death remains a mystery, her autopsy report confirms this fact. Nonetheless, what is not debatable, certainly no mystery is the grim reality that misery and loss surround us all.
The truth is, our finale, no matter who we are nor how we live– will result in the same end, an identical result– death. To most, the fear of one’s eventual doom may overwhelm– but so what? There’s not a damn thing one can do to avoid the inescapable, so why bother? A more terrifying focus of one’s energy may be better spent facing the reality of never having been alive.
What was that excuse again?
Not enough money? Not enough time? Don’t wish to miss this week’s episode of a favorite show? Whatever it is that might occupy one’s livelihood, understand– each and every trade-off has consequences. Also, understand, if one trades everything to be a vagabond, a world traveler, a rover of great curiosity to explore and chase a dream, well it too comes with a unique price.
A lifetime of choices, decisions, and actions that one hope will ultimately lead to somewhere wonderful, fantastic… and perfect– but, face it, pal, there is no “perfect” life. There is no one right way to live. No matter what one does, at some point, there will be a realization, a moment of regret, a strong desire to have a “do over.”
I get it & come to know
When facing death, looking the end right in the eye, most folks will not think to themselves, “Damn, I wish I’d have spent more time in the office, worked harder, and enjoyed life less than I did.” Nope. What matters in the end, is to have been more available, to not have lived a life traveling one definitive road, to have been more impulsive, while at the same time, not overly impulsive. So, please, remember– perspective.
In full disclosure
There is a distinct difference between me, Darrell Roberts, the human and the writer.
Me the human
The “real” Darrell is guarded, low-key, and protective of my relationships, my experiences, my shared secrets, and the day to day life operations of my world. As I see it, if someone wishes to “know” the real me– take the energy, the time, and interest.
Those brave or intrigued enough to do so will likely learn a whole lot about the life and times of a simply complicated person and his beautifully ugly tragic feel-good life story. However, most people, at least in this day and age, are more interested in doing other things. As a result, they don’t worry about the likes of me, I can respect such a choice, no problem.
Me the writer
First, as a writer, few people believe you are any different than all the other wannabe-jamokes trying to be a success in something you definitely suck at. Blah blah blah, words– who gives a f*ck? Get a “real” job, you lazy dick. Or something along those lines, it’s easy to see that look on their face. Certainly, to an extent, they are correct– many people overestimate their uniqueness, their talents, and ability to do something they are not cut out to accomplish. I get it.
Yet, here’s the thing, one either has something to say and is constantly gifted by a muse to write something uniquely different, wonderful, and provide a gift to the world or they do not. Those that do not, they flame out, they end up moving on to doing something else.
After writing over 200 published works in the past year and a half, the challenge of one-upping your previous works is one that seems improbable, impossible, but also a test to find out and prove your endless divinity to produce a work that is even better than before, this time will be your “best.” That best… well, it never comes, so the process continues onward.
Over time, some may give into the easy pressure of popularity– just write some easy, oversimplified, popular motivational words, tales– that although welcomed and lauded, are really just empty bullshit. These writers do not feel it, they just write what they know will play well as a means to make money or to stoke their ego.
That’s not me.
My muse is a struggle, there are stories to tell, there are those that need my assistance, need to hear my words, they need my help. To me, what defines a writer is not money, not fan followings, it is not being told how great you are, it’s all about making at least one reader feel something they did not feel before. Whether that “something” is anger, happiness, sadness, or inspiration– well, that’s not ultimately my decision, but at the same time, it is.
More times than not, my creativity or muse is enough to tell a story effectively, as there is just enough, a glimpse, of my inner being injected into my words to create a remarkable written product. It’s a struggle within me to battle and conquer the fear of bleeding on the page. Some writings, such as this one, require a guarded, low-key fellow to expose his true self– to be vulnerable, to be a possible subject of ridicule, and perhaps, whether fair or not, to face judgments, and prejudices.
As a writer, sometimes there is no choice, one must be authentic, truly an open book, to be effective, to reach the ultimate goal, especially when trying to help others. Why would anyone take advice or feel inspired by someone that lacks the guts to be honest and truthful?
To the would-be writers, if one thinks superior cleverness wordology aided by deception tactics will dupe readers into buying fake authenticity, good luck– because that BS ain’t gonna happen. The master reader sees right through a phony, they also can spot the exceptional, the original, the genuine writers.
A true story
Recently, in a relatively impulsive moment, yours truly would decide to take a visit to one of my favorite places that remains determined to kill me– upstate New York. For whatever reason, from Syracuse and areas northward have to ALWAYS go out of the way to fuck with me, it’s just how it is. Odd enough, upon my arrival into Syracuse, the overcast skies gave way to the sun making a for perfect New York day.
A short drive later, I would be meeting my daughter for a few days of Popz/Queen time.
The time spent together was wonderful, meaningful, and worth the risk of once again facing the ‘Cuse curse. A few non-intrusive highlights include me and my baby watching some of my favorite and still morally relevant episodes of The Twilight Zone.
Inside a common dollar story, we would even encounter a really pissed off lady yelling at an old dude attempting to operate the cash register. “Faster you old jerk, I’m late for work, scrub,” Ms. Pissy yelled.
Proud me would talk the fiery dame down, even getting her to lighten up a little bit. Odd enough, the angry woman was my kinda bitch (if you know what I mean). As I told Ms. Pissy, “If I was from this town, I think we’d be friends.”
The fortunate days shared with my daughter were needed and appreciated. However, due to previous commitments, on the day of my departure, I had to fly out at Zero-way too early in the AM dark thirty. Therefore, I chose to take a brief evening nap, then enjoyed a few hours final hours of my Queen’s company. When she went to bed, I chose to remain awake, packed up my stuff, and then sat thinking a bit before hitting the road back to the Syracuse airport.
During the stillness of the final night of my visit, an overwhelming sadness would course through me. I was already beginning to miss my daughter. Still, even worse, the years past of rarely being able to see her all came crashing down. My chest tightened, anxiety grew as it became difficult to breathe, the moment was a sad reminder of regret, remorse, and wishing to have a “do over.” Recognizing the emotional significance, I pulled out my pen, paper and wrote my daughter a letter. This letter would await her when she awoke, after my departure.
With her permission, I will share that letter. Honestly, per our conversation, I felt my baby girl would be more disappointed if I did not share the note from her popz.
Ladies and Gentleman, again with her permission:
A Popz message to a Queen
My Queen. You are & will always be my Queen, the love of my life, the greatest love of my life. Thank you for your time, it was great seeing you, being around you.
It makes me sad to leave. It makes me sad to have missed so many days of your life. For that, I will always be sad, always be sorry. It was never anything I wanted, every day hurt, made me sad. I would give anything to have done everything different. You are a fantastic young lady & I am proud to be your popz.
Unfortunately, time only moves forward, as such, I wish for you to know– I would do anything for you, I love, I adore, & I cherish each & every day I’m lucky enough to be your popz. You are a beautiful spirit living in an ugly world; please do not let the world get you down, always keep being you– the beautiful spirit, the most wonderful Queen.
Andrea, I hope you find the happiness you want & deserve in this life. Never give up on yourself or your dreams. I love you most of all, my Queen.
Forever & proud to be your popz,
I love my Queen– Popz
The moral of the story is– nobody is perfect, not you, not me, none of us.
We all make mistakes, have regrets, and deal with our remorse, pains, and struggles in various and likely different ways. What matters most is not the past, it’s the now, it’s tomorrow, the following tomorrow, and the days after each of us are lucky enough to have until our grand finale. This moment, RIGHT NOW, is within our control. Sure, there will likely always be barriers and outside influences, but each of us should choose our own attitude and personal desired destiny.
So, as Thanksgiving approaches, do yourself a favor– take the time to forgive someone that may have wronged you in the past. Even if the offender is not sorry, or if you cannot or choose not to contact the forgiven-to-be– still pardon them inside your mind, heart. Do it not for them, but for yourself.
Nothing is guaranteed, take the time to tell those that matter most how you feel about them, while you still can. After all, life is short, the days are numbered, the passing of each day is one step closer to the end.
Thank you for your time.
Popz loves his Queen.
A DR plea:
Attention one & all. Tis the season to feel good about yourself.
Please consider doing me a solid & helping out one of my favorite people, a lifelong friend, and a wonderful human being. Obviously, I understand some might not be able to make a monetary donation, but every little bit helps. As such, you can still spread the word, far & wide, just by spending a few minutes out of your day to treat someone the way you’d like to be treated. Thank you for both your time & consideration.