journal entry #11: ralph tresvant didn't say it best.

i fancy myself a writer but i’m an awful communicator. sometimes i get so overwhelmed by my thoughts that i shut down. i often think about the times that i held back my words out of fear. i was afraid that they would reject my feelings or my words were simply inadequate. i think that may be my problem. i’m hella afraid to disappoint the people i love and truly care about. my biggest fear is failure. my fear of commitment is a distant second as far as my phobias are concerned. maybe i’m just too sensitive.

ever since i was a shorty, i’ve been pretty sensitive. when you’re young, sensitivity shows itself in different ways. i was a crybaby. in k-4 rueben told tamara that i liked her. i remember crying and saying “as a friend. i like her as a friend,” then burying my face in the nap position. anger is another way sensitivity shows itself, especially in a young man. i cried every time i lost anything competitive. i was a very competitive kid that didn’t take losing well. one day i threw a temper tantrum and my mom came in my room and just looked at me. why was i so expressive? why did i care so much about shit that truly didn’t matter?

it took a while for me to change my was. in 4th grade, i was getting made fun of and i snapped. i pushed my desk into another kid’s desk as hard as i could. ms. bell, my teacher at the time, called me to her desk and told me that i couldn’t be sensitive all the time. she said i can’t always react that way when someone says something that i don’t like. her advice took a while to stick. i cut my hand by squeezing a wine glass and breaking off the base of the glass cutting the side of my hand. it was dumb. 

over time i became less angry and less expressive. i’ve always had opinions but i rarely expressed my own feelings. i tried to numb that part of myself. when i was about 13, my friend cierra lost her mother. i’d known cierra damn near my entire life and when her mother passed, i couldn’t handle it. it hurt in a way that was surprising because we weren’t family. cierra and i weren’t best friends but i felt her lost. she confronted me about it and i didn’t have much of a response. something similar happened when i was 14. my friend austin, lost his sister on christmas eve. i’ll never forget christmas was on a sunday. austin and his sister asia grew up in the same church as me but i’d known them so long that it was deeper than that. i remember going into church on christmas morning, feeling a heaviness that 14-year olds rarely feel. my brother went to her funeral but i couldn’t.

by the time i reached college, life was so good that there weren’t deep seated emotions to express. life was moving so fast my first two years at howard. i wasn’t doing well in my classes. it wasn’t about the material. it was about my overall lack of effort. my major was economics but i had little to no desire to be an economist. i didn’t want to “work”. i wanted to create. my final semester at howard was a depressing one. i lived in hyattville, about a 15 minute shuttle ride from campus. it was hard to talk to my family because they always wanted to know how i was doing. i couldn’t tell them that i was failing classes. i remember ignoring phone calls because i was wasting my parent’s money and my grandmother’s prayers. after years of bottling my emotions, i remember crying in my shower. i was butt naked, sobbing. sometimes i laugh about that moment because of the song that evoked the tears. i was listening to “the ride” by drake and the weeknd. the day you cry in the shower listening to drake is the day that things have gone too far. i left howard before my senior year.

my poor communication ruined some relationships. i’ve struggled to tell women that i loved them. its weird because once they’re gone i have no problem admitting it. these days i’m working on my communication. i don’t bottle my feelings up anymore, i just write. i’m a sensitive guy and that’s ok. i just wish that ralph tresvant never made that song.

Kelvin Hicks