Shameless

I remember the last time we spoke. 

The last words we said to each other. 

Luckily they were words of encouragement. 

Luckily they were words from a loving place. 

Luckily, you passed in peace. 

The older I get the more I realize how fast life catches up to you. I notice just how flimsy a breath of air is. These past few weeks have been hard for me. The rainy season always brings up hidden emotions, but this year was a particularly hard one.

 

With this blog, I’ve unearthed memories of very distant past. I’ve re-hashed emotional states I thought I had repressed for good. I’m glad I’ve had an opportunity to tackle these emotions head on.

 

In case your wondering who I’m talking about in the first paragraph, it’s a number of people.

It’s my grandfather. 
It’s my roommate.
It’s my sister. 
Its my life. 

My grandfather passed away 3 years ago. He was the closest thing I ever had to a father figure. He attempted to teach me right from wrong. Showed me the meaning of being a man and caring for your family. He loved me unconditionally.

 

He died on Father’s Day. I remember the phone call. I remember walking back from gambling. I remember, I simply broke down. I remember my best friend had to carry me home. I couldn’t hold myself up. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even see straight. The subsequent weeks were a blur. Being in and out of consciousness. I ingested so much drugs and alcohol that I though I legitimately might die.

It wasn’t until MUCH after his funeral did the gray clouds clear away…

 

The clouds returned on Oct 5, 2016. Im returning home (late). The door is locked. That’s a little out of the ordinary. We don’t lock the bottom lock though. Our keys didn’t work in the bottom lock. Why is the handle LOCKED.?!?! The nighbor comes outside.

 

“Are you looking for ______.

Yes I live here.

The paramedics just left with ______.

What do you mean? 

What happened?

Why? 

Who was where?

I’m not sure but I’m sure we will have answers”

 

The next morning I was woken up to a phone call. Your “boyfriend” let me know the tragic news. Your parents had already been by the house. The door was unlocked. I was numb. For a week straight I blacked out. I smoked so much meth, it started to hurt to blink. I had so much mindless sex, I couldn’t remember my own name. It wasn’t until I sat in your bed that I cried. It wasn’t until I met the radio family that it hit me. It wasn’t until I remembered your voice saying your infamous line:

Life’s too serious to be taken seriously…

 

Rewind many years ago. Rewind back to my childhood. Rewind back to the memories we shared. Those memories masquerade as only dreams. I’m positive we had good times, but we were so young. We lost our connection too soon. We never had the chance to be kids together. We couldn’t even fight. We couldn’t even talk together. My dearest sister we almost celebrated our first Christmas together. We’ve spoken thru my sleep. We’ve seen each other’s smile thru the grace of GOD. We have protected each other this entire time.

The gray clouds never seemed to roll in with us…

 

Life is filled with loss. I’ve lost a lot of my life due to unforeseen circumstances. I’ve given up a lot of my life due to addictions, and sadness. These things continue to push me in a better direction. These people I lost continue to aid me in a positive lifestyle. With each passing a new piece of the puzzle clicks into place.

 

I thank y’all. Without y’all I’d be lost still. Without y’all there is no telling where I would be.

RIP: Grandpa Mike, DJ Justice, Kyla

PLUR Regards,
Tyler Hurt
_sunflowerkid_
#SunflowerItUp
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock

Little

Every time I think about you; I cry.

Every time we talk; I cry.

Every time someone mentions your name; I cry.

I cry a lot. You may not see the tears, you may not believe me, but I’m telling you I love you.

You were my world. I loved you more than myself. I may not have shown it. I could have done a better job of letting you in, but I didn’t know how to do that. It was supposed to be “us against the world”. You broke my heart before we could put up a fight.

 

As children we fought ALOT. We were so close in age. Stubborn as mules, strong as an ox, and wise beyond our years. We handled our childhood differently. You held on to “DADDY”, I hid behind “MOMMY”. I wish I could take back the nasty words I said. I swear we had some good times, but they usually ended abruptly in a fight over something petty.

 

I still remember the day your broke my heart into a million pieces. I never thought you would break me. I never thought you would stab me like that.

 

About a year before I officially left the house, we had a heartfelt moment. I had been getting kicked out every other week. HER boyfriend at the time, had more control than any of the ones in the past. She was mentally destroyed. We both lashed out in different ways.

 

I stayed silent, ignored everything and everyone.

You fought back, refusing to embrace him.

 

But we had a moment together. A moment I will never forgot. I had asked you one thing. One favor. One microscopic request. I asked you NOT to smoke weed with the two younger ones. I didn’t want you to influence their decisions, didn’t want you to force their hand. I needed you to be a better example.

 

You failed miserably. Not even 6 months after I left you came to me. Told me you had been kicked out, told me the reason why. I didn’t get mad, I didn’t scream or shout, I simply opened the door and said you have to get out. What you don’t know is that I cried. I got on the phone and sobbed. You had broken my heart. Our relationship was never the same.

 

I’m sorry for the part I played in our downfall. I’m sorry I never reached out to you to make sure you were okay. I’m sorry for the things I said. I’m sorry for not being the big brother you needed. I’m truly sorry for all the wrong I’ve done.

 

I love all my siblings, but we had a different bond.

PLUR Regards,
Tyler Hurt
_sunflowerkid_
#SunflowerItUp
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock

Lee #2

I am honored to have worked with the very talented Lee Vandergrift. I was able to work with him on his From Behind. He currently has two projects in the works: The Beard Envy Project, which the photography aspect of it is completed and is being published into a coffee table book and the From Behind project, photographing men’s bums.This will also be made into a coffee table book. He reflects the fun-loving, vibrant Florida lifestyle into all of his work. Born & raised in Central Florida Lee decided to cultivate his passion for the arts by attending the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota. He majored in Illustration with a minor in Photography. His IG page is filled with pictures of his work, his partner, Tim, & their two adorable fur babies, Gus & Sophia. As always links are below. Thanks as always.!

 

RJ-2971-beardenvyprojectSTEV-8391JS-8638-leevandergriftfrombehindDP-0514-leevandergriftfrombehindCG-2523-leevandergriftfrombehind

If you would like to be featured on this blog use the Contact Me tab above; it has all my direct contact info. Im willing to work with any kind of artist, this is to show case your work. 🙂

#SunflowerItUp

Contact Lee via his website or his personal IG page:

Website: www.leevandergrift.com

IG: @leeartguy

 

It’s Not About You, It’s About Me. 

I was woken up in the middle of the night. You told me were picking up my mother. What I didn’t know is that was the beginning of the end…
It was a rainy and stormy night. I was 8. I had no business overseeing the household. I WAS 8! It wasn’t only a few hours. Your return wasn’t until the afternoon. When you finally I returned. I was so proud of myself. So proud I had been “the big man” of the house. 
Did you know your sons got so scared we cuddled in the living room? 

Did you know that I cried at 7am not knowing what to do?

Did you know that the power had shut off and I become so panicked that I ran around making sure EVERY door was locked and window closed? 

Did you know that was my first (definitely not my last) panic attack? 

Did you know I used my inhaler 20 times that night? 
You didn’t know; I know that now. Worst of all, I don’t think you even cared to know. Not like I would have told you anyway. I was too proud. 
I had finally made it thru. I had seen the sun start to come out. I heard the keys jingling in the door. I knew you’d returned. I wanted to be the best son you had, but there was always something new, something different, something unpredictable that made being your ‘best son’ impossible.
There was always a distance. I clinched to my mother’s coattails for dear life. I wanted you to recognize and stop telling me to “man up.” I had done so much for you, and yet always felt dissatisfied with myself. I wasn’t “man” enough for you. 
You tried to lump us together. We weren’t individuals -nothing special or unique about us – we were simply “the boys.” When one DID perform, we all got it. When one DIDN’T perform, we all got it. We either succeed as a team, or failed as a team. Failure never seemed like a good option. 
When the teachers asked what happened, we would lie. It was easy. There were 4 boys. We were rough-housing. We were playing, but never did we think about saying our daddy beat us. 
Spanking is necessary in a child, but not to the point of him passing out from pain. Punishment must be swift, but not so hard it leaves a bruise for days. No one was allowed to step in; otherwise… 
Later on, into my teenage years, I heard you screaming. I heard you slamming doors. I had asked, “is everything going to be okay?” That just made you more mad. You raised your fist. I didn’t back away. I started standing up to you. That wasn’t the response you wanted. You wanted me to remain scared, to stay frightened, to hide in the shadows. 
You attempted to “beat me down.” I wouldn’t leave. Although I moved states, I refused to give up. The reoccurring nightmares came flooding in. At first, I thought they were simple nightmares. You couldn’t possibly be “THAT” guy. Eventually I learned the truth. 
I learned how badly you beat her. 

I learned about my blood. 

I learned of all the women you cheated with. 

I learned when you were lying. 

I learned which stuff was “borrowed.”
It only added more fuel to the fire. I respected you less and less. Until, there was no more respect left. 
You’ve had many names…
Daddy, dad, father, the man who raised me, weekend warrior, to your first name. 
Now, I don’t speak to you at all. I wouldn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t know how to look at you. I’m truly disgusted. How you can possibly think that the things you’ve done can be forgiven is beyond my imagination. 
I don’t forgive your actions, but I do forgive your soul. I will let you rest in peace when that day arrives. I will continue to keep my distance. Most importantly, I forgive myself. I gave you a strength you shouldn’t have had. 
Just in case you’re reading this (which you probably won’t), this has NOTHING to do with the fact that your not my biological father. I had a full respect for you as my father until I learned the truth of what you did to my mother, until I witnessed the brutally you unleashed on my brothers, until I remembered you don’t deserve anymore energy in my life. 
PLUR Regards,

Tyler Hurt

_sunflowerkid_

#SunflowerItUp 
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock

Renewed 

Rain, rain, please never go away. Rain, rain, I need you to stay. 

Rain, rain, you can come every day. 

Rain rain…
I absolutely LOVE the rain. It’s starting to be rainy wether season in Orlando. It rains at least once a day. Well, it did last year. This year, not as much, but every time it does, I notice. I can tell before it’s about to rain. It’s like there is a magic in the air. The scent is heavy. The pressure is on. The clouds start to move mysteriously. 
I’ve had the best and the worst days in the rain. 
I had my first kiss on a rainy day. 

My sister died on a rainy day. 

I went to my first party on a rainy day. 

My mother was beaten on a rainy day. 

I fell in love on a rainy day. 

I was told I have HIV on a rainy day. 

I started my road to recovery on a rainy day. 

I relapsed on a rainy day. 
So many stories, what feels like so little time. I could go over every one of those instances and make this post read on forever. I wouldn’t do that though. 
However, I would like to focus on one topic in particular. 
My mother. 
Every time it rains, I can’t help but think about her. Her smile, her laugh, her hair, the way she combs my hair when I’m sick, the way she loves unconditionally, the way she has accepted her flaws. The list is endless. 
My mother and I have a very interesting relationship. She is more friend then mother. If you hear us speaking to each other you would gasp. 
All she knew was how to be a friend. All she knew was she didn’t want to repeat what her mother did to her. All she knew was to be the victim. And for a while she truly was… 
I feel bad for her. She is the strongest women I’ve ever met, and yet she is the weakest. She has a fragile heart, but it’s surrounded by a thick piece of armor. She didn’t create it out of sheer luck. She made it out of neccessity. That’s her story to tell though. Where I come into play is the short clips of her life I saw. 
The beatings…

The club…

The friends turned enemies…

The lovers turned fathers…

The randoms turned boyfriends…

The unsteadiness of the life she created for herself, for us, for me. 
I grew up in a household with 3 other boys. She tells me all the time “we had good times, you just refuse to acknowledge them.” It’s not as simple as not acknowledging them. I can’t remember them. I can’t seem to sift through the bad times long enough to get to them. 
Things got “better” after you had the guts to tell him no. Things got “better” after you put your foot down and couldn’t handle it. Things got “better” after you let BOTH of them go. Things were “better” except he was mentally destroying you. Life TRULY got better once I aged out. 
It was systematically set up that way. We couldn’t have a relationship before now. I wouldn’t let you live it down. I wouldn’t let you forget. I wouldn’t let myself forgive. I had to make you out to be this horrible person. I had to do it, because “they” seemed to make things better. 
As an adult we’ve had conversations. We’ve had those long, tearful talks. We continue down a good path. I no longer blame you. I no longer make you out to be the martyer. I no longer hold you accountable. 
I’m sorry mother.
I’m sorry for:
The things you went thru 

The things I held onto

The things you hold onto

The things I held you accountable for 

The things you had no control over
I forgive you, I forgive myself, and I let it go. I love you to infinity and beyond. 

PLUR Regards,

Tyler Hurt

_sunflowerkid_

#SunflowerItUp 
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock

Take Note

For a while now I’ve had this tossing and turning feeling in my gut. It’s kept me up at night. I avoid certain areas because of it. I keep my headphones in while on the bus because of it. I connect with people better electronically than IRL because of it.  
This world scares me. The weird part is I can’t exactly pinpoint when, how, or why I’m so frightened. I tell the world of social media I’m a loving, caring, charismatic person. Most of that statement is absolutely true, but when you get right down to it, how loving am I really? 
When I ride the bus to and from work, my headphones buffer me from the world… when I get off the bus, my mace keeps the world at bay… if someone interrupts my music, I’m quick to dismiss them… if someone catches me in a brief headphoneless moment to use my phone, I get INCREDIBLY nervous. 
I’m always in fear of someone robbing me. I want to believe that society is inherently good, but then the questions that come into play have a lot to do with:
society vs self. 

Nature vs nurture. 

Community vs character. 

Tradition vs non-tradition. 

Right vs wrong. 
Throughout my childhood I moved around more times than I have fingers. Sometimes in the middle of the ghetto, sometimes to mostly upper class areas, but always moving. I continually had to learn to adapt. I got good at changing myself to fit in. I had become a bit of an expert at morphing who I was to adapt to the status quo. 
And that was especially true in school; I had friends from MANY different backgrounds. I was never a part of any particular “clique”. I hung out with the theater kids, the geeks, the pretty people, the druggies, the hipsters, the fake ID people, the leaders. I continued to adapt to these groups, all the while figuring out who I was, taking bits and pieces from each group to form my own personal identity. 
Once I moved out, I felt confident that I could survive. But then…that’s the ONLY thing I did. I simply survived. Lived from paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes incurring debt just to eat, to shop, to party. 
What really baffles me though is I’m not the only one like this. We now live in a society where it’s scary to be different. You’re ostracized for speaking out. For being different. For refusing to conform. It’s hard talking to the homeless person on the bus. 
What if they are crazy?

What if they steal from you? 

What if they smell bad?

So many what ifs, but WHAT IF…
We changed our mindset. We changed our view of the world. We talk the talk and walk the walk. We put our money where our mouths are. What if instead we ask:
What if they are kind-hearted with a dark past and an interesting story to tell?

What if they simply need a friend?

What if they simply need a shower?
So many what ifs, and what’s your response going to be? It’s up to us – up to you, up to ME – to change the way we think, to be present in our lives, to give without expecting anything back. 
PLUR Regards,

Tyler Hurt

_sunflowerkid_

#SunflowerItUp 
Edited by: Heather LaBarge, Exalted Peacock

Jealousy 

So a few weeks ago I took a break from social media. I did it for a number of reasons. I did it to gain a sense of control. I did it to return back to my own life. I did it because I felt myself sinking into it…
Sinking into an uncontrollable void. Forgoing life for a virtual reality. Social media became my friend, my enemy, my lover, my life. I allowed it to over take my life. It sucked my down into a world I DID NOT want to be apart of. Before I “logged off” I talked about how I compare my life to the life of others. I talked about how that made me feel like less of a person. I talked about how I need to gain a sense of independence.
But, when I announced that I was logging off, one thing that I DIDN’T talk about was the overwhelming sense of jealousy I was feeling while scrolling thru my social media. I never once talked about how jealousy rages inside me when I’m too into social media. 
I am a very jealous person. I get jealous over my friend’s promotion. I get jealous over random strangers on vacation. I get jealous when someone else is flirting with someone I’m talking to. 
One thing “logging off” helped me recognize is the fact that I am very jealous. The first step to solving any problem is admitting you have a problem. 
*Raises hand high in the air*
I HAVE A PROBLEM. 
I am a jealous, catty, mostly lazy person. 
I’ve recognized the issues. Now what? 

Now I “work on them?” 

NowI change them? 
But what if…

What if I do nothing about them?

What if I simply accept them?

What if I understand them?
How about now…. I own them.
Jealousy is a part of my life. Personally, being jealous has helped me grow. It has helped me achieve more than what I previously had. I accept the fact I’m catty and it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t change who I am as a person. It is simply a part of me. Neither negative nor positive. Just a simple fact. Lastly, FUCK yea I’m lazy. When I’m not working either of my jobs, when I’m not writing, when I’m not trying to push my blog, when I’m not trying to put together a modeling portfolio, when I’m not being an advocate for HIV+ youth, when I’m not maintaining relationships, when I’m not busy… I’m LAZY A.F. 
If any of those things bother you, then I guess this is the wrong blog for you. I guess I am the wrong individual for you. My goal is to be 100% me. I write to tell myself about myself. I write to connect myself with other like-minded individuals. I write to be unapologetic. 
Stay true to you, and never change. Comment below with a one line description of your personality. Let’s connect. 🙂 
PLUR Regards,

Tyler Hurt

@_sunflowerkid_

#SunflowerItUp