Once in a brown moon...
An enlightening journey of self discovery through public ranting
“Can someone please turn off my mind?
My thoughts are racing all the time
There is no reason or no rhyme
I'm trapped inside myself"
As usual, we bantered away about the randomest topics. We complained our way through friends' relationship dramas, the stresses of the uni life and dumb things family decided to do. It was pretty chill and I was enjoying the good company. He cracked some jokes about being dark and twisted on the inside and I found myself rolling my eyes. He reminded me of one of my closest friends, J. She’d spit some seemingly harmless jokes about death and the squad would sit around encouraging her dark humour. He then slipped in how it was funny that his friends were worried about him. Again, I thought nothing of this and brushed it aside. J and I would always kid that if the general public heard her humour, they’d send her off to counselling. As he continued, I kept laughing his comments off until he said something that stabbed right through me. He casually mentioned how his friends were worried he was going to commit suicide.
I stopped dead in my tracks. He continued on some long winded story about how they tried to get him help. I found myself saying the hmms at all the right places to get him to keep talking but my mind couldn’t process any of it. The world suicide kept ringing in my head. I couldn't laugh anymore and I was choking on my words. I had to leave to go to uni and all I could utter in response was “fam look after yourself.” He responded with a weak smile and went back in. He’d said something so significant to me and I had responded in the most pathetic way, as though he had just caught a cold.
As I walked towards the bus stop I was panicking. It wasn't right for me to just walk away like that. I also felt like I wasn’t close enough to him to offer any meaningful support. I desperately wanted to rewind time and tell him about all the ways I appreciated him. As I stared at my phone screen, I noticed my hands were shaking. I proceeded to send him a heartfelt this world loves you message. It felt weird to be so sappy but I couldn't care less about how it would come off. I felt terrible that I’d waited for him to talk about something so dire before I felt the need to appreciate him. It was all I could do but I took comfort in knowing his friends noticed and were there for him.
That was when I started thinking about J again. She’d been down at the dumps more times than I could count. She was sadder than the average but did that count as depression? She had periods of despair and she hated herself for letting it get the better of her. When it hit, she would grow more tired. She wouldn’t be able to get herself out of bed, feeling like the world was going to suffocate her anyway. She would smile if off though, crack her death jokes and we would all ignore that she was barely keeping afloat. She had confided in me numerous times but I never took her wholly seriously. I would listen to her but deep down I relied on my belief that she would eventually be okay. Today was the first time I considered otherwise. What if one day she decided to give up? What if the next time it hit she didn’t spring back up? She was the same as him. Both were extremely intelligent, funny and thought provoking people who were good at hiding their feelings. The more I kept thinking about the parallels, the more freaked out I got for the both of them.
I found her as soon as I got to uni and started to bawl my eyes out. She hugged me and tried to calm me down but I was guilt ridden. I’d ignored all of her warning signs and I wasn’t there for her as much as I should have been. As she held me, I told her about how I was consumed with a fear that I might lose her. She called me an idiot and kept reassuring me that she’d be okay. She laughed a little and joked how seeing me cry was good for her. It reminded her that her friends loved every one bit of her. I was trembling all over when I asked her if she had ever considered taking her own life. She kept telling me she wasn’t stupid. Yes, she was struggling with her lows for years now but she knew that doing something drastic would break her mum. Her reason to live was out of love for her precious mum and that made me cry even more. I just felt like an absolute idiot. I was supposed to be look after her when she needed me yet I was just standing there tears streaming inconsolably. I'm sorry J that once again I made it about myself. It was a complete role reversal and J had to put on a brave face and be the strong one for me.
The shock of it hurt then, the gravity of it still hurts now. The knowledge that two of the most amazing human beings around me were struggling with such dark emotions killed me. J was the most dynamic person I’d met during school. We related on such a spiritual level due to our brown heritage. She was also the proud mum who always cheered me on as I tried to forge my own path. The person I keep referring to as “he,” is someone I had only met a year ago. He constantly broadened my mind, making me question my internal biases and beliefs. He even injected some culture into me, introducing me to the surprisingly insightful world of rap. Both of them are truly beautiful human beings and I am sure that everyone around them can attest to that.
I just want both of you to know that you have had such profound influences on my life and I have so much to thank you for. Keep reaching out to those that love you and please look after yourself fam.
“Life can bring much pain
There are many ways to deal with this pain
(Intro K.O.D album 2018)
Why a brown moon?
Simple, our world is coloured by racial perceptions. My experience of life is inherently coupled to my heritage. So yes, when I stare out into the distant darkness of space, I don't see a white moon. Instead, I see a brown one.