Written by Monte J. Wolfe
any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.
It’s 1992, you’re a 17 year old senior in high school, and shit is confusing as fuck for you right now. You’ve been through a lot, and because you are who you are, you’ve automatically assumed that it was all your fault. THAT IS A LIE. Most of what you have adopted in the way of fear, disappointment, lack & sadness has been passed down to you. One thing you’ll come to understand over the course of the next 25 years is that change is an enigmatic force which can seem cruel, confusing, and downright unfair. Those who passed on a lot of that “stuff” to you are beautifully flawed creatures themselves, who did the best they could do with what they had. One day you will understand and accept that fact. This will allow you to put everything into perspective & use this information in a way that is healing not only for you (and your parents), but for every single person you come in contact with. Then, you will know what it truly means to forgive which will make you even more compassionate than you already are...by nature of the two loving people you come from.
So as you’re the taking next steps in your walk of young adulthood and dealing with a lot of inner turmoil around your weight, self worth, and sexuality...know that you have everything you need. Your parents both equipped you with a wellspring of gifts, talents, and wisdom, all of which you are going to need and will eventually use to heal yourself, and leave an indelible mark upon this world.
Remember the music. It is your foundation. The soul music you were raised on is going to shape and inform every step of your journey as you move forward. Music will always serve as the catalyst for your artistry. It’s going to help you understand yourself and all of humankind in ways that you cannot even begin to imagine right now. Music is your direct line to the God of your understanding, and it will always be your first line of defense. Your vibration is low right now but that’s ok, because it’s going to change. There’s a song you listen a lot lately that you’ve privately decided is your suicide song. There’s a very specific reason why you’ve been drawn to this composition. It’s hauntingly beautiful and before it’s all said and done, the meaning of that song is going to transform into something more beautiful and sacred than you’ll ever know. This song is going to remain with you as you experience some of the darkest, hardest moments of your life, but I promise you that what’s on the other side is healing, light & love - because all of that is what you are.
As you move forward, it’s gonna be a challenging walk, filled with bumps, bruises, scars, tears, hiccups, and awakenings. You are magical, powerful, and beautiful...even if you can’t see it right now. You are an alchemist. You are resilient. Fear is just an illusion. It’s gonna seem insurmountable at times, but it’s transient...like most of everything in life, EXCEPT LOVE.
There’s an amazing way that life’s gonna allow you to be on all sides of experiences. People you love are going to leave you, and let you down. Some will hurt you. Sometimes you’re gonna hurt people (albeit unintentionally). Others who are broken will say or do things to try and hurt you. Don’t let that change who you are. You’re gonna go through periods of doubt; questioning yourself, and everything about life. But it’s in questioning everything that you’ll gradually gather all the [broken] & [beautiful] pieces of yourself in order to create ME; the 42 year old man who is lovingly reaching out to you….to remind you that you are enough.
You’re gonna go through a puzzling maze of human encounters. Each will be a gift, because they all will assist you in becoming clear about who you are, and who you are not. You’re going to experience a lot as it pertains to race, gender, identity, class, religion/spirituality and much more...all of which is going to shape and inform the man you will become. The walk you’re about to take in this skin as a black gay man who is also an artist, is going to be complex, but amazing.
It’s gonna be like the first time you flew on an airplane and experienced turbulence. You were on an am flight, the sky was overcast; dark, and cloudy. Cutting through the clouds, you were so afraid and terrified that you were convinced it was the end of your life. But just as that thought came, it passed and you made it to the other side. Up above, the sun was shining and the rest of the flight was smooth sailing. That transition from darkness to light was haunting & beautiful. Remember that day? Don’t forget it. You’re gonna need that memory to navigate your way through life. It’s going to shake you to your core and make you wonder if you can survive it all.
Spoiler alert: YOU CAN, AND YOU WILL. Please, REMEMBER THAT.
Monte J. Wolfe is a trained actor, singer, songwriter, playwright, director and producer who graduated from Howard University in 1999 with a BFA in Theatre Arts Administration. He is the Founder, Artistic, and Managing Director of Brave Soul Collective, an arts, education, and outreach organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS, and issues affecting the lives of LGBTQ people, through the performing and healing arts. He currently resides in Washington, DC where he has lived and worked professionally since 1995.