Dear 10-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker,
Remember that girl you fell in love with that first day of 5th grade? She’s long gone, loving others, tending to girls that aren’t babies anymore, and feeding addictions. You were so shy around her, yet you called her “goddess” when others asked. You should have stayed that way for a few years. Shy, i mean. But confidence came with age, and you were due for growth, I suppose.
You should have kept popping the bras on the girls whose breasts were budding, making them insecure. They should have stayed that way. Tiffany’s still around being the same ol’ Tiffany you sat behind in Ms. Payne’s class. The years weren’t bad, just slow. You were the beginning of consciousness. The awakening of something that 29-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker still hasn’t figured out. Something beautiful, though, and though it may never get figured out, it’s great to look at. Like a Magic Eye. You would stare for hours, upset you couldn’t quite figure out what you were looking at, not knowing the years to follow would be much like that. Thank you for that conditioning.
Your heart will be broken. It’s cool. You need that. You need those who will love you then feel indifferent toward you equally. I wish I could have prepared you for that, but it’s probably best I couldn’t. Had you known what to expect and who to look out for, you would have become an engineer or some wrong-brained science freak, staring at numbers all day. Two women stand out more than the others. The first will love you hard, and she probably shouldn’t, but you love her equally. She will introduce you to a grown up kind of love and a son. This is heartbreak number one. The second will know long you’ve dreamed about her, but she won’t know you think about her everyday unless you tell her. You won’t be able to do that. That girl you fell in love with on the first day of 5th grade really messed you up, and your communication with women.
You learned the art of building friendships and being able to wear masks to slightly blend in, but still stand out among those who wouldn’t have the option of becoming anything they wanted, and those who go above and beyond the average person’s dream of becoming a doctor or lawyer. The people started loving you.
29-year old you.
Dear 29-year-old Darnell Lamont Walker,
You just got a call from your mother telling you your grandmother isn’t eating, and her health isn’t improving. You’re going to be okay. Don’t drink over this, please. You woke up to two rejection letters waiting for you and the pain in your back is still there. If the sky wasn’t clear and the sun wasn’t out, there would be cause to write a note letting the people know you were headed to kiss the river.
Smile. Of the few things you’ve learned and shared about life, you know that it is going to be what it is unapologetically, and brighter days are coming. You share that, so you must live it, too.
I know your dreams aren’t happening the way they should, but you’re happy. You want to be a television writer. You want to be an educator. You want to be a nomad, traveling the world, falling in love with everyone you meet, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes, sitting outside of a cafe in Copenhagen talking about the ills of America. This, though, is the life you’ve built.
You’ve surrounded yourself with people who complain little about their life because they realize they were the lone architects, and what they’ve built is beautiful. You love people who make you feel like your success is minimum, and those are your friends.
You’re waiting on ABC to send you news that you’re hired or rejected now. The educator dream is just about done. There are five more rejection letter coming soon probably, and that’s cool. It’s what happens when you step foot off the path. You said 31 would be the age when you made that drastic life transition.
So, Copenhagen first? When you return stateside, LA again? Fall in love with the night life, and make better use of your day life.
This third book of yours is going to be insane. Release it and run. Stop answering calls, emails, texts, tweets and facebook messages the day you send it to your exes. It’s probably the smart thing to do. They’ll be hurt, shocked and embarrassed, and you, being you, won’t give a shit.
Listen (well…read), and I’m only going to write this once: You are probably one of the most talented people I know. Use those gifts, and be happy-er (i know it’s happier). You’re in your last few months of reckless abandon (sort of). You have writings the world needs to see, words the world needs to hear, and people who need to feel your face and heart a few times before you disappear on some plane one morning.
You did not become your father’s child. Remember when that was enough? It isn’t anymore. When one goal is complete, there needs to be one waiting right behind it. Let’s see what this fall from 20’s has in store. Idi Amin and Adolf must have known such fright and confusion. I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.
In hopes that I made sense,
Darnell Lamont Walker