To the 22-year old self of me,
Let me start off by saying something that you sing to yourself every day.
Come on and walk with me, Lord
Come on and walk with me, Lord
These are words that you sing in your head whenever you are thinking deeply about your life, Travon.
23 may not be anything to a lot of people but 23 is a significant number to you,
Especially when you’ve been through so much shit that you can only look at your past as a lesson learned.
You are not afraid to tell your story anymore.
You are not afraid to let people shut your thoughts down of courage and power.
You will not stand to see your people continue to stop yourself from winning.
23 is all about taking control.
The first 22 years of your life had questions that you couldn’t answer.
But, now …
And you will stick to what you know what’s best for Travon.
You are a victim of depression,
A victim of rape,
A victim of racism,
A victim of bullying,
A victim of robbery,
A victim of being a hero,
A victim of ADHD.
You are a victim of being a black man trying to make it in this world.
Historically, you were challenged. Day in and day out. Travon, you were listening, walking, writing, talking, creating, and studying.
You did whatever you could to survive the first 22 years of your life.
It wasn’t easy. To some thought, if it wasn’t for God or common sense, you would be dead.
You fought battles that no other person around you has fought.
You bathe every negativity out of your body but for some reason, it comes back from time to time to place dirt onto your skin.
Sometimes, you would laugh while walking alone thinking about some of the actions that you did in the past.
And I am here to tell you, Travon, the 23-year old you, that it’s okay. Continue to not be afraid.
There are many things that you are ashamed of that you have done in your life.
I know it’s not easy for you to tell people this, but you did it to protect yourself.
In the past, you’d hurt people.
Sometimes, people had hurt you.
Again, do not be ashamed of this. You’re only human.
You used to be ashamed of your natural beauty.
Your homosexuality and epicene,
Your beliefs of spirituality,
Your vocal speech,
And the deepest secret of all,
To heal yourself from your regrets, sometimes you would take alternative routes to heal your wounds.
Copulation, indo, grog, yoga, meditation, singing, dancing, writing, painting, talking to a friend, reading a book about black history, looking into the stars at night, screaming on top of your lungs when no one is around, cursing everyone out around you, cursing strangers out that you felt was a threat to you, violently touching your mother because you were angry at her for not recognizing your good and for her putting her hands on you, running into the dark woods of the night and spent the night alone feeling the breeze of the midnight winds, walking 14 miles in 93-degree weather from home to Downtown Atlanta for 6 hours straight, go to church to praise the Lord when you were confused about your own spirituality, listening to a catalog of Solange’s records and steal from your kind as a child.
Some of it was good.
Some of it was bad.
But, there was a purpose.
All of your life, you tried to prove to people that you are different.
You’re still going to do that at the age of 23. I know this for sure because you sometimes don’t stick to what you say in setting a goal for yourself.
But, people know already that you are and there’s no need to prove it.
You are a great human being.
Sometimes, you don’t think that because whenever something happens to you, you compare yourself to hell.
You are smart.
You are beautiful.
You are kind.
You are creative.
You are mature.
You are strong.
You are Travon.
Depression for the past 11 years haunted you.
You weren't happy and it took you a long time to understand why.
You went to rehab twice in your life to seek the answers.
The second time that you went back, you found out that the answer was sitting inside of you the whole time.
Somehow, you found it just by looking at yourself in the mirror for an entire hour.
You shocked you.
You surprised yourself.
Then you cried your eyes out because the whole time, the answer was within you.
You never seem to ask for help with love ones and friends.
Mostly, you would keep stuff to yourself from someone misjudging you.
You had once lock yourself in your room and not come out for days because you were ashamed of something that happened to you.
As much as you disliked your mother at the time, you wanted to let her know that her baby was sexually abused.
You wanted to tell your brother.
You wanted to tell your father.
You wanted to tell your aunt.
You wanted to tell your grandmother.
You wanted to tell your best friends and close friends.
You wanted to tell your associate.
But, not one word was spoken.
It haunted you. You cried at night. You attempted to even kill yourself, not in a way that anyone would kill themselves but tried to convince a person that you will not speak of to pull the trigger because you gave up on life.
You kept continuously blaming yourself for trying to save the 4-year old little girl that got hit by a car on December 22, 2015.
You keep beating yourself up for it.
But you are a hero.
God blessed you with $5,000 after winning a fashion contest and you’d instead had other plans of using the money by paying the little girl’s entire funeral.
You are a hero.
That little girl is looking at you in the sky and smiling at you because she is watching her hero be somebody every, single day.
She knows that you think about her every day. But she wanted you to heal from her death and focus on your life.
You got held at gunpoint 4 times in your life.
Never did you ever think you would be a victim of this but it happened.
But, you are still alive but you let every experience haunt you deep inside.
You developed PTSD and your anxiety became higher.
You have had 34 panic attacks in your life.
The only reason why you know how many there were because every time you have panic attacks, you would write the feelings and causes of each one of them into your phone and/or laptop.
Luckily, you only had one at 22, July 27th to be exact.
The same day your ex-boyfriend died 3 years ago of that date.
Through all that you go through, you have a gifted heart.
You can never leave friendships to go because you are afraid that you won’t have anyone when you need them.
Love is one of the most important feelings of your life.
As a child, you thought that love came from toys because you used to imagine building a city full of love.
As a teenager, love kept finding you but you didn’t find love because love wasn’t the same love that you’d imagined when you was a child.
As an adult, love is beautiful to you. You embrace love because it’s who you are.
Don’t be afraid to continue to love the way that you do.
In the end, take control. Be careful, but take control.
You got this. Your loved ones got your back.
You are more beautiful than you were 23 years ago.
I am proud to be you, Travon
The 23-year old you.