Everyday seems to be a waste of time. All I crave is good times and a purpose. Something worth doing in the world well after the big checks come. How did I get here? Back to the Future. To a land that still uses cash over credit. A broke player in the globalization game. A rough black face in a porcelain doll shop. Trying to fit in, trying not to lose myself.
What happened between then and now? If I went back into the past and told myself I would be doing the things I’m doing now, my former self wouldn’t believe any of it. My former self wouldn’t have took a risk and flown halfway around the world. Something must have happened. A big change. Or maybe a bunch of tiny ones. Gradually over time; opening me, informing me, Enlightening me. Though among all those small changes, there is one which I could consider the fulcrum of my Enlightened journey. The tipping point. Where things started to make sense, somewhat.
Summer of 2010. I had just finished my first year as a film major at Temple University. I went in there thinking I was the shit like every film major secretly thinks. But I couldn’t deal with the pretentious environment. My limited background in film made me feel even more unintelligent around my peers. I didn’t have the mental strength to deal.
I knew a change had to be made. I picked up a book around May/June-ish for my yearly summer reading. I was Russell Simmons’ Do You, an old Christmas present from my parents. I think they got it thinking it was a business manual. But Russell Simmons was probably the first person to ever tell me that I could do whatever I wanted to do in Life. My parents may have said it, but they always added a disclaimer.
“Yeah Malcolm, you can be whatever you wanna be but actuarial science is where the money’s at. And medicine and law, too. This economy is failing. Choose wisely.”
Shit like that. An attempt to discourage me from taking risks so that I’d choose the most rational path (in their minds) to the money:
“Hey Mom, I want to be a producer.”
“A producer, what’s that?”
“You know, the guy who makes the beat for a rapper or singer.”
“Okay…I don’t know how you would even make money doing that.”
That was in middle school. Years later, I spent half my senior year of high school trying to convince them that I should major in Film. In addition to Mr. Simmons, I also came across a YouTube video around that same time that summer. Entitled, Will Smith Wisdom, it was a 10-minute compilation of Will Smith interviews and movie clips. I never felt more inspired on that day than I have in my entire Life. I felt like I could do anything that I wanted to do. I felt more than human. For the first time, I could care less about what people thought of me. I was truly present and aware of my potential. After watching that video, I definitely thought I’d be making bigger moves at age 23. Everyone thinks this Japan thing is a big move. Honestly, I was just trying to return to my other comfort zone.
It’s hard to explain any enlightenment without describing a Journey of sorts. Why were Will and Russell the ones who lit up my path? Our lives are filled with simultaneous beginnings and endings, kinda like the first verse on “Nas is Like.” Yet if I told the story I wonder who would care to listen. I feel so different from everyone because I decided to take a fourteen hour flight into the future. But I’m just like the rest, still living a life of quiet desperation. I just want to get out, but I’m afraid to leave the cubicle. If I am remembered for something, I hope this will be it. Something worthy of the Enterprise’s computer banks. But I have to say in futility, this is only the beginning of my quest for immortality.
This Journey won’t have cliffhanger suspenseful climaxes, out of this world occurrences, or intense action scenes. This is more like one of those indie film, Lost in Translation joints. The FlyLo Los Angeles EP. A Millet on canvas. Things just happen and that’s it. Time is the Great Equalizer among it all. So if you’re expecting a Hollywood interpretation of real life, please take your eyes elsewhere. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. This is it: The Enlightenment of Eric Christopher Malcolm Burton (or How I Became Quasar).