Perspective (verse 2) – the meaning behind my most personal record

Written by Wil


Me and my mother ain’t close, we’ve never been

My mom and I had really grown apart as I got older. We argued a lot once I turned 15 or so. I became very independent and didn’t really respect her authority. She used to kick me out and I’d go stay with my grandfather for a few days then go back home. One day, when I was about 17 or 18, she kicked me out and I vowed to never go back home. I didn’t go to a relative’s house. I just stayed in the streets. I slept in parks, I slept at friend’s houses – sometimes under their beds or in closets. No exaggeration either. Nobody in my family knew where I was for about 8 months. 

That was a very critical moment in my life. I had sold drugs for a little while before that – nothing big, just small stuff. I had recently stopped, though. But I had no job, no money, and only a bookbag full of clothes (and the remote to the stereo that I had bought my mom – I took it with me out of spite). I was approached about getting back into drugs. I strongly considered it, seeing as how I had no food, no money. But I decided that if I went in that direction, besides the risk of being caught or hurt, I didn’t think I’d ever actually be able to get out of it. I decided to take my lumps now and suffer in the short-term so I could try and find long-term stability. It wasn’t an easy choice, as those first few months were terrible. I’d steal fruit from the fruit stands, beg for change so I could buy those 25 cent packs of cookies. every other thursday, when my boy danny got paid, he’d buy us chinese food and we’d eat like it was a fucking feast. he’d stay broke with me. tough times, but built a hell of a lot of character.

she’s trying to make up for lost time, it’s evident

A close friend of mine, Alex, was murdered for his necklace. I had the same necklace (had – I had pawned it after I was kicked out, but we bought it at the same time). My mom was very shaken up by the news, and she was close to him. We were the same age, so she had visions of me being in trouble, I guess. She reached out to my uncle, who was a detective, to find me – which he did. He asked me to call my mom. She begged me to come back and see her.

Our meeting – the first in almost a year – was very emotional. We got closer after that. I felt everything was her fault and all her attempts to be more a part of my life was from her guilt. It wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized that she just wanted to be a part of her son’s life. I obviously had the wrong perspective at the time.

used to tell her friends I’d grow up to be president
but still bragged when I became a Long Island resident
I know it’s not the White House, but it’s my house
her proudest moment was when Jenny became my spouse

She always had such high hopes for me. I can’t count the number of times she said I’d be president one day. I also didn’t realize how important that was in my upbringing and how much I had missed it when she was out of my life.

She was very proud that I had a career, married an incredible girl and had my own house. She’d brag to everybody. She would’ve loved my son more than anything in the world. I’m grateful that she got to know and love my wife. Seeing them together was great.

“I do.”. And then she cried on my shoulder

This is one of my worst memories. It’s what I feel guiltiest about. For my wedding, I needed to pick a song for us to dance to. I told the DJ I didn’t care what song he picked, just pick something short. I said I didn’t want to be involved in the decision because I didn’t care.

My mom got up to give a speech. It was amazingly moving. She spoke about how proud she was of me, and how I was all that mattered in her life. She said “I’m never going to set this world on fire. I never wanted to. But you will.”. That was so powerful to me.

Throughout the speech, she kept referring to me by saying “my child”. She was a terrific writer. I definitely get that talent from her. She started and ended the speech with “my child”. So when she was finished, the DJ began to play the song for us to dance to. And what did he play? “My Child”.

My mom’s face lit up. She whispered to me “how did you know?” She looked at me in amazement. I told her that we were just on the same page. But I knew, deep inside, that I had nothing to do with the song. I didn’t pick it. The DJ just made a nice, last second choice. She was so proud, so happy. She hugged me and cried on my shoulder. She squeezed me. I felt so guilty. She had put so much time and thought into that speech, and I couldn’t even pick a song.

I didn’t dwell on it much until after she died. Now, I watch the video of her speech, and I hear the song come on, I see how happy she was, and I watch her rest her head on my shoulder – and I know that she now knows the truth. She’s in heaven and she knows. That kills me. It’s one of the hardest things I live with.

Used to wish that I’d settle down, and I did, now that I’m older
I got issues with trust
I used to do it too much
But now I can’t trust nobody enough
Only my wife and a couple of friends
I would’ve bet my soul I’d finish off with a troublesome end

As I said earlier, we had a troubled relationship. The fact that I have a career and a stable, successful life is amazing. It’s also a testament to the unbelievable job that she did raising me. I should’ve been a bum. But somehow, I’m doing pretty well.

It was a little bit crazy
That the woman who raised me
And swore she’d live her life for her baby
Once told me that she’d rather die than lose her hair
Now my aunt’s going through chemo and praying she makes it through the year
That was the day that I lost respect
Even contemplated writing her off, but check (it)
That was her ignorance talkin’
And even now, she’s still smoking her cigarettes, coughin’
While she’s digging her coffin

This was very difficult for me. Before she found out she had cancer, my mom thought that she was losing her hair. She thought it was thinning out. She tried all sorts of stuff. Even wore wigs for a while. Her hair looked fine, but she swore it was thinning and falling out. I kept saying she was crazy.

She told me that she’d rather die before she’d go bald. That hurt me really deep. I ddin’t understand why it hurt, at first. I realize now it’s because I felt that I didn’t mean enough to her to make her want to live. It seemed so superficial.

And then, we found out my aunt – her sister – had cancer. My aunt’s attitude was that she’d do ANYTHING to beat this cancer. Beat this cancer so she could be alive for her children and her family. I respected her for that, admired her. I thought she was what a person should be, and that my mom was the opposite. I had lost so much respect for my mom around that time that we barely spoke. My aunt is fighting for her life to be there for her children, yet my mom said she’d die rather than lose her hair. That stuck with me for a long time. She was smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day. I knew she wouldn’t live forever, but she wasn’t even taking any steps to help herself. I took it very personal.

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