The (Personal) Art of Growth

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Hello, Jolla here.

I’d like to try and propose a toast to growth. Well, all I can say is...fuck growth. Fuck growth, the shit is trash. Growth is uncomfortable & irritating, like an itchy pair of long johns, and I don’t like being uncomfortable, dog. Why is growth a thing that’s seemingly required of some but not others? Why do they get to continue to blissfully live life flaw?

Oh, that’s just me that feels this way?


I love growth, but it can still go to Hell. Growth is beautiful. Uncomfortable. Necessary. Growth is enduring more. Growth is letting go. Growth is love. Now we’re getting personal.

All “Love Jones” submissions aside, sometimes growth is the very thing we find ourselves ducking from, because it means work, discomfort, and exposure into unknown territory. For recovering control freaks like myself, that unknown territory can look and feel like a death sentence. I’d tell myself “I don’t want to die”, though my dedication in being the opposition to my own self-improvement is a cruel irony for a man trying to make life count. That’s another life story; this is a story about growth. Allow me to share.

Honestly, it gets hazy when trying to remember a time before my dad died. Aside from the army and two particular exes, I couldn’t tell one much about many specific times. A lot of basketball here, a bit of internet there. Everywhere, a lot of friends. My circles formed a square. Hiding in plain sight was my drug of choice, I was socially aware.

My dad passed from a heart attack in 2010, and suddenly life seemed like a different world of challenges. It became harder to garner much care for Mayan calendars and the latest, greatest media-manufactured doom; my world seemed to cease existence the moment my dad’s relationship with the world ended. I use ‘seemed’ because during that period in time, I was reaching to break by the minutes and second hand, laying down on the clock in hopes of bringing time screeching to a sudden halt. Another second was all that I silently beckoned for, for what seems like an eternity. The ending to his story was never enough for the longest time.

Growth, though, we’re talking about growth. Sometimes, it is found on the chase, and sometimes it is knowing the difference of what growth isn’t. I took on trying to be my father’s son, a chip off the ol’ relatable one. He had a way of being a sinner’s favorite saint, one who, for you, had just enough time in his day. I saw worth in going through life in such a way. In an ironic twist, being one of the only interests that we would share, the crossroads of such a life forces one to pull out the scales for all parties to make things fair.

A contrast & compare, if you will.

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I know that it seems that I’ve failed to mention the twist, but I don’t really know how to address chasing ghosts that my dreams no longer allow me to meet. I tried to keep a tight cap on what hours that I sleep and how this all ties in to becoming okay with “being human”. My father tucked his entire life away from me, so that he could try & be everything that I would need. It was an unfair fight. A single father who grew up without one, raising a son whose dreams would overshoot his realities in more ways than one. A basketball-literature-hip hop-wrestling-comic book-Seinfeld-anime loving black boy who felt he couldn’t find proper footing in this world. Always too much or not enough.

As a parent now, I can only imagine trying to figure out how to make room for an understanding of the then-reality of the world, too. Trying to do so in a manner that doesn’t strip a childhood away completely, all without a manual. At a loss for words and being unable to explain that is more than understandable. But my soul was still craving answers or an end to the endless questions.

Growth continued to come knocking again, its list of demands that required an honest perspective coupled with a reflective openness, that to this day, is a constant struggle. There are times when I don’t want to answer the door anymore; when not responding to life’s urgencies feels like the best thing that I can do...for me. It all belongs to the process as much as the moments that scream out to me that it’s time to get back up; there’s more work to be done and I’ve rested long enough. I had to further explore the lives above the baseboards of a house long-abandoned, much less talked about, and came to the conclusion that not all mysteries were meant to be explained at the end. It leaves the door open for sequels never imagined. Past that, the lesson isn’t lost on me that no two stories are written by the same pen. That’s part of my aim: being locked in before the last time that I close my eyes, shooting towards being more human, open, and kind to self than my father was allowed to be. Resolving to be okay with life if those goals are never reached. This is my (re)introduction to performing live. I’ve been behind the scenes, in the process of crafting a story of defiance in dye: Technicolor tales of human sacrifice, presented to save a life.


Me. All-purpose entity. Father/Lover/Veteran. I let my sarcasm soak in sarcasm overnight to get the taste right, & administer love with the intent to transform open wounds into beauty marks. I don't believe there's a such thing as "too big of a heart." If it is, we're going to find out together.

When Jolla isn't busy writing and publishing books of thought provoking poetry and prose, he can be found selectively sprinkling his words on Twitter and giving us a smidgen of his life on Instagram


Me. All-purpose entity. Father/Lover/Veteran. I let my sarcasm soak in sarcasm overnight to get the taste right, & administer love with the intent to transform open wounds into beauty marks. I don't believe there's such a thing as "too big of a heart." If it is, we're going to find out together.