My uncle took me to the train station one evening and waited with me for the train's arrival. There were a group of women waiting as well that he seemed to be focused on. Suddenly he asked me to come closer. He had a strong look of concern on his face so I obliged. He spoke firmly, "When you get on the train, I don't want you in the same car as them." "Why?" I asked. "Because she is a crack dealer," he answered in a serious voice. I was shocked and even felt a little anxiety. I looked over at the women trying to figure out how he knew. My eyes traveled down to the woman squatting in her super low-rise jeans...CRAAACK!
Hee hee hee! Okay but really I am not talking about that kind of crack and really I am not talking about the kind that Whitney said was "Whack"...but lets use it as an metaphor for experiences we don't need to have. I think it is safe to say that most of us who have seen the effects that Crack cocaine has on people would never touch the stuff. It isn't something you need to negotiate or think over. It truly is common sense, crack is clearly whack. People on crack look horrible and their lives look completely undesirable and inside you say that there is no "high" worth that kind of outcome. So it is pretty easy to say no to crack on the streets but how about the rest of the "crack" in your life?
The "crack" I am talking about are those glaring red flags and blaring warning signals that come up for you that you ignore, those alleys you have already been down, the people you have already tumbled with, or those disasters you have already witnessed. All the signs are there but you put the blinders on because you must know for yourself. It is like a pregnant crackhead inviting you over to her "mansion" for dinner and you never seeing that she is pregnant and a CRACKHEAD! Your friends can see it and try to remind you of the reality of pregnant crackheads but you never figure it out. You have tunnel vision and are refusing to see the full environment; you must have YOUR experience. You walk right into the crack house and ignore the filth and take what she serves you, CRACK. You experience euphoria like never before and are immediately hooked. You smoke searching to feel as good as you did the first time but that never happens. Eventually you reach rock bottom and barely recognize yourself. You reach out for help and you get it. You put the pipe down and then go through the pain of detox. And even though you recover, the smell of crack still stays with you like a lust-filled temptation and it is with your will that you never pick up the pipe again. Don't get me wrong, some of the most wise and amazing people I have met have been formerly crack-addicted and so in some way I see the value of the experience. But is it really necessary to experience crack? Can't you use some wisdom and discernment to just say no?
When I was young my mother who worked in an inner-city school took me to parent teacher night. One of the students parents was addicted to crack. That night my mother had me study her and showed me how crack had affected her body, mind, and spirit. A year or two later, during summer school, the same student came to my mother to seek refuge. I happened to be there that day and I watched her eat a small can of sauerkraut because it was the only thing the drug dealers who raided her home earlier that day left in the cupboards. I learned quickly that it was not a favorable substance. Life shows us many lessons just like the one I had, about a myriad of experiences. Can't we agree that we don't have to experience everything or at least learn from the experience enough not to repeat it?
We often have patterns that we repeat, paths that we walk over and over again, until we learn the lesson. Along this journey, there are situations and people that represent the "crack", the powerful substance that is attempting to pull you back into the loop. I am proposing that instead of dating him, working there, or smoking the "crack", you use discernment and wisdom to just say no. Know that even though it may have been awhile since you last touched the pipe, crack is still crack and it is whack. Everyone's "crack" is different. What is crack for me might be your ambrosia. Know yourself, it is up to you to step back and become the observer to be able to see the crack. In the great words of Johnny Cochran, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Don't waste your time building a case to judge because all that really means is that you are still smoking that crack. Detect the crack and then step the hell back.
So I ask you, can you detect the "crack" in your life?
Here is a small sample of my crack...
a guy who takes bathroom pictures of himself = crack
institutions and hierarchical systems = straight crack rock
modern hip hop = a big fat bag
certain body odors = garbage rock
a victim mentality = cookie
smokers = base
a particular use of language = roca (espanol)
certain writing styles = hard rock
conditional love = Devil's dandruff
Life is a dream and if you can recognize the signs and symbols put forth for you, you will be well on your way to a crack-free existence.