I had a life taken away from me
By Leroy Bean
“Looking at my phone with a blank stare
as it mirrors my sentiments
With a blank note pad
Just blinking at me
Waiting for the right words to be thought
To be said
To be written down
But the music it plays
Drowned out in the background
Like my thoughts
Not quite able to make them out
But I feel them
Growing outside the boundaries of my mind
Forcing ocean storms from my eyes
Stone petrified for long moments at a time
But the scary thing is
You can't hear someone else's thoughts
And society doesn't value expression enough
And the idea
is solitary confinement
Surrounded by walls of your demons
thoughts of escaping suffering
An idea that can barely be expressed
Just a feeling
And we underestimate feeling too much
With the strength it can give you
And the weakness it can infect you with
But with enough
It can become the cure to someone's day
We miss yours already
I remember your smile
Your goofy laugh
Your innocence when we played as kids
my reach extended past the limits of time
To reclaim the memories
To experience the feeling again
I just seen you
I had faith
Between our eye contact
There was a connection
It told me something
I felt something
A glimpse of those memories again
The world of oblivion we lived in
Ignorant to the demons that could tear us down
They were just monsters under the bed
Under our consciousness
Some of us become aware the hard way
We get scared
Cornered by our fears
Distracted from people who love us
Standing in the peripheral
We are here for you
Speak to me
Cry and flood away your trauma
Please continue to check in on the people you say you love and care for
Dive deep into introspective conversation
Don't be afraid of the darkness in the abyss when you get there
You are life
You are love
I hope you still feel
That we love you.”
I’ve always been the type of person to think a lot; always confined to my own mind. Being a male, I locked my emotions and fears and feelings and unhappiness all up there with me. It drove me crazy. At the age of 22, for the FIRST time in my life I had somewhat of a “heart to heart” with my dad about how our disfunctional relationship has been affecting my life and the life of his other two sons. The conversation wasn’t really equally open on both ends. I realized I couldn’t force my Dad to change his mindset, but I could fix mine. It’s been over a year since I started chipping away at this wall of masculinity. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to struggled with in my life so far. To realize that I had an unhealthy relationship with MYSELF and I had to start over. To realize that I had been living in a prison this entire time, but only I could let myself out. To realize that I had been crippling myself rather than making myself stronger. I was suffering...
This poem is about my first close encounter with DEATH since the beginning of the destruction of my masculinity control system. He was a childhood friend of mine. Our Mom’s were friends, so we were really close. We had lost touch over the last few years; felt like forever. One random day a few months ago, I stopped in Third Perk Coffeehouse and I happened to see his dad across the street. He comes to talk, tells me how he has been, and that is son is on his way over. I was excited, I hadn’t seen him in years! When I saw him I was happy. I couldn’t wait to link back up when we had more time, to talk to him - and share what I’ve learned - and hear what he’s learned - and discuss music - and share my poetry with him - and find out what new talents he has developed!
So many more things I wanted our friendship to experience, but I guess there was only time for that one.
I gave him my number because my phone was dead at the time. I heard he had been through some things, so I really wanted him to hit me up. I’m big on sharing wisdom and communicating. Maybe some of my experiences could help him.
About a month goes by, I wake up to a phone call from my mom, telling me that he had committed suicide the night before. The disbelief that fell over me was overwhelming. All I could do was cry...and wonder why.
Why couldn’t he express what he was going through to get help? What was holding him back?
After hours of asking myself unhealthy questions, I decided to write this poem about how I genuinely felt. I had a week before the funeral to find a way to process these new emotions I now have the ability to, sadly, only recognize. I found that it was easy to distract myself and have fun and feel better. But there were these moments... between breaths, where the world seemed to slow down and the background noise was low and distorted... I would drift off into a montage of thought about him and memories that we shared, hopeing he really found something more peaceful, his family and realizing that, per usual, I can’t open my mouth and say any of this. Just stuck in my mind. The farthest I got was, “...I had a friend commit suicide.”
Then remained silent long enough for the recipient of my awkward sorrow to feel uncomfortable and say “I’m sorry to hear that.” because I didn’t give them enough communication to adequately give me the response I needed.
The day of the funeral arrived. I’m happy with the connections and impact he made while here in our reality. Stuck in my mind, not really able to speak much. His mother asked me to do a poem, luckily I had started writing this poem before she had even asked. I thought I would let that speak for itself and for me. Still, I was incomplete. Until the end of the funeral when I released everything haunting my body thru tears, in my mother’s arms, and comforted by my women. An intimate embrace that felt so healing. Something a lot of men have never experienced, including myself until now. Vulnerability seems to be more haunting than the thing that makes you feel vulnerable in the first place.
It wasn’t until a few days after the funeral where I sat down with my woman and fully expressed myself and talked about the descriptions of my emotions and thoughts
with another human being. It felt freeing! After 23 years, it only took me a week and some change to express some serious mental trauma. I’m doing better but the effects of masculinity still has its holds on me. But we must acknowledge our fears and trauma and demons, in order to get passed them.
I Had a Life Taken From Me
Leroy is a author, spoken word artist and member of Underdog Academy.
Author of The Love and Theory of Womanology, "book and CD available on amazon."
host of Underdog Academy's Broken English 101 podcast available at: soundcloud.com/be101ua
instagram: @hxc24_ & @underdogacademy
facebook: Leroy Da'Vaughn Bean & Underdog Academy
and also at uapoetry.com