October 1 was the day I was born. There are many stories that began this way. An innocent young child welcomed to a cruel world. The world that I entered in 1979 was still waning a hangover from the riots of the ’60s, and the noteworthy Black Power Movement. Shortly thereafter, when my feet began to get wet, Similac still on my breath, came the ’80s crack epidemic. I guess you can call this, out with the old, and in with the new. If everything happens for a reason maybe this is why from even a young age there lived something in me which drew me to both hustling and revolutionary thought. I wanted to be a mixture of George Jackson and Akbar Prey, Huey P. Newton and John Gotti. When the ’90s hit so did the wave of Bloods and Crips along the East Koast. A wave which brushed ashore and pulled me right in. I did not want to fight the current and so I swam or should I say drowned. 1993, ’94, ’95. The years passed. I was out in the lonely sea though joined by many of the ’90s youth. We were all just about willing to drown to belong. This was what this cold world taught us.
Educated on nothing and so I took George, Akbar, Huey, John, and ran with the name Massacre when it was given to me. Dreams of something was all I could muster, though what this something was I had yet to figure out. I went from childhood football superstardom to a rap star imitation, to a gangbanger all over night. I couldn’t see myself being a doctor, a lawyer or anything other than what lived within my small community. Once gangbanging took hold of my life, October 1 brought about an even greater reason to celebrate. I was out in the wilderness surviving. Every year in which the first of October made it around, I wouldn’t celebrate the fact that this was the day I was born, I would celebrate the fact that I had survived to see another one. The good die young was not just some catchphrase. It was real.
Understanding that death awaited me, October 1, 2002 seemed like something different to me. Though in a physical sense I was alive, there were parts of me that seemed dead, numb. Maybe it was intuition telling me I didn’t have long. Then it happened. Police, one after the other, guns drawn, yelling, screaming, kill in their eyes, injustice at the barrel of their guns. I was arrested. On a day I was to be celebrating I was being led away from my home in handcuffs. This was my birthday. Happy it wasn’t. The following year October 1, 2003, I was once again shackled and chained and smuggled into one of New Jerseys most notorious prisons “Trenton”. Supermax, holed up until 2007. Yeah, you guessed it, the first of October. On this day instead of being released from prison, I was simply released from State custody to Federal custody.
What was it about my birthday? I didn’t know, but it appeared to me that each birthday the circumstance surrounding my world only grew worse. How to fix it? I didn’t know. How could I transform my birthday from a moment of sorrow to one of celebration? Being housed in the Feds and so far from my family and friends, I found this even more difficult. I decided that each birthday I would celebrate nothing. I would simply move forward with life and let the chips fall where they may. I justified this by saying I don’t want to see myself get old, when in fact it was all a defense mechanism to block me from the pain that October 1 has brought me since ’79.
From 2007 until today, I’ve had thoughts bounce around in my mind on exactly how to recreate this sort of Doom’s Day of October 1. Today it hit me. Well actually long before today I realized the sacrifice I needed to make. This particular sacrifice I know would not be one where many smile, find joy, and choose to celebrate with me, but one where I may be met with frowns, mean stares, and maybe even hateful words. Understanding that as long as I went on with each birthday I was not living longer, instead I was dying faster probably wont resonate. But this is something I have to do.
Back when I felt the rigamortis setting in I now know it was because the life I was living was only a life filled with certain death. And though we will all one day meet our maker the course that we take along the way determines just how we shall go. When I die all I ask is that my tombstone read, “A MAN OF CONSTANT GROWTH.” See, if we are not progressing then we are dying. The state of stagnation in which we are victims will make but all birthdays nothing more than days in which we were born simply to die. The meaning and purpose of our lives, our seeing the next birthday will only be found in our moving forward.
Today October 1, 2016 I have chosen to move forward. To celebrate my birthday for the first time. To see what else of this world I can conquer. This decision is by no other way than my evolved level of consciousness and the realization that one who does the same thing over and over expectant of different results is insane. I don’t have anything negative about those who continue to travel the life we’ve always knew. I don’t look down on anyone, for I will always be me. To those of you who have steadfast stood by my side through it all, and awarded me with your blood, sweat, and tears, this is but a passing of the torch.
Massacre is gone. Tewhan has decided for the first time to celebrate his birthday the right way . . . walking off into the sunset.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!