Stream of Consciousness: I Got Roaches | JustDaMessenger
Song Suggestion: Ari Lennox - New Apartment
“I can’t wait until I get my own place!” - Naive, adolescent version of Derick.
There was nothing like getting my own apartment. With no t.v., dishes, or even bed to lay my head, it still felt like home; even if temporary. With no roommate, I couldn’t wait to lounge around, butt-naked; drink Yuengling, allow my miniature me to hang free as my ears are soothed by the soft sounds of Jhené Aiko, and my nostrils are filled by the potent aroma of the “Wet Dreamsicle” candle from Manifest Vibes. For the first time, I felt I had some autonomy to dictate the aesthetics of my living space. In the moment, it was such a liberating feeling. Aside from a few loose cabinet screws and wall blemishes, that I was sure to document, so that it wouldn’t impact my safety deposit, I was beyond content with my first apartment.
“Back in the day, when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore”
One day, while chilling, just as bare as the day I was born, I was startled by the sight of what I initially thought was a deception to my eyes:
A GOT D*MN, BIG *SS, MOTHERF*CKIN’, ROACH!!!
Don’t get it twisted, I wasn’t scared. The circumstance just caught me off guard. After the initial shock, the nostalgia of my youthful days as a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was triggered. A re-enactment of Stomp the Yard commenced, as I tried to put my foot through the floor in an attempt to kill the roach. Though successful in my mission, I was far from satisfied. This wasn’t my first rodeo. Having been in this situation before, I knew that where there was one, there were likely to be more.
That is exactly why I was so torn between being disappointed and pissed off. I never imagined my first apartment having roaches, especially if I wasn’t the one responsible for them being there. I recognized that certain areas are more prone to pests, no fault of the resident. Yet, I feel that as a young adult, certain things are just downright unacceptable and embarrassing. Imagine if I invited a young lady over and a big *ss roach hit the electric slide across her forehead. It would have been humiliating.
I felt as if I had elevated far past having roaches in my crib. Keeping it a stack, growing up, we had roaches. Nothing was worse than the little baby ones that would crawl in my clothes and book bag. A lot of mornings, my siblings and I had to shake it like a salt shaker before venturing off to school. My soft voice, holey shoes, and awkwardness already made me a primary target for the hatefulness that children can exude. The last thing I needed was a roach squirming out of my pocket, making me the laughing stock of the, supposedly, “bully free zone” classroom. It goes without saying, I was all too familiar with sharing space with God’s most repulsive creation.
“Oh, you think the darkness is your ally, but you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it [...] The shadows betray you, because they belong to me.” - Bane, Dark Knight Rises (Originally by the roaches that used to tiptoe around the kitchen at night time.)
There have been several occasions where my late-night cravings led me to the sanctuary of snacks. Upon the flick of the switch, dozens of little abominations would scurry around the floor, desperately seeking shelter from the light. The roaches of our life manifest in the darkest areas of our life: in the crevices of the counter tops, behind appliances, within the crack of the crown molding, and just about every other place where they can take refuge in the shadows. Needless to say, roaches desire for us to be in the darkness. As a matter of fact, that is where they thrive.
Thankfully, we all have a light within us. That light isn’t meant to be contained. On the contrary, it is our obligation to allow that light to shine as bright as possible. The moment our illumination is initiated, those roaches will scatter. If you’re anything like me, then chances are, you tried to squash as many as you could before they were all out of sight. The reality is, you can work up a sweat all you want, but that doesn’t mean the roaches are gone. They’re just waiting for you to turn off the lights again.
(Here’s where I name drop Raid to see if I can secure a bag. I never thought my rise to fame would be marketing for the annihilation of roaches, but in the words of my dear childhood friend who eventually turned into my, “cousin”: “Get it how you live.” I need somebody to tell SC Johnson - are they a family company? - to look out for a brother during these troubling times.)
While you may be able to count your, “A-Town stomps” toward your fit bit step count, you’ll never get them all, and will more than likely need stronger ammo.
Side note: Did you know that they now make Raid aerosol with essential oils; labeled as the “fastest plant-based roach killer on the market.” I don’t know what that means lol. All I know is, it sounds fancier than the, “odor free” product that used to stink up the house when we would empty the clip on the roaches as they tried to hide; which was part of the issue.
Yes, it appears to be more efficient than playing wack-a-roach with our foot, but oftentimes, they would evacuate to a place that we couldn’t reach. More troubling than that, while certain hide-out locations seemed obvious, many times, the critters would congregate in spaces that we weren’t even cognizant of. So, while we could Combat (just in case Raid doesn’t work out) the intruders on your own, outside help is needed to truly e-raid-icate the issue.
There comes a time when a matter may be too big for you to manage on your own. Many times, people like me are reluctant to seek outside help. My experience taught me that seeking help comes along with possessing a willingness to be vulnerable. It requires one to confess flaws, imperfections, ignorance/lack of knowledge, and/or the inability to control a circumstance. Who really wants to broadcast the fact that they have roaches? Attached to sharing with others is the fear of them having leverage to expose that information outside of the boundaries that you wanted it confined to.
Yet, I’ve grown to learn to disassociate that fear with the act of seeking support and counsel from people who are committed to aiding in raiding my roaches. Those, my friends, are what I refer to as “THE EXTERMINATORS.” Shout-out to my dad for always being willing to be on the front lines of fighting those little heathens; we all have our ride or dies who are willing to pull up with their own cans and start airing out the place. However, in this case, I am referring to professionals, who are invested in fighting infestations.
If it isn’t ourselves, then we all know at least one scary friend who, as soon as a bug crawls out, starts screaming hysterically, flipping furniture, while jumping around like a baboon. It’s safe to say that they aren’t the ones designed to help you with your roaches. We all need exterminators in our lives; individuals that are equipped with the tools necessary to analyze and effectively target our problems. Exterminators possess the lens and professional background to help identify gaps in our understanding of the situation. They are able to look in places that you’ve never even considered. These are individuals that, as they work, we can learn from, building skills that enable us to be much more prepared to manage situations in the future.
That’s where I observed the difference between using the aerosol versus using bait. The spray kills the single roach on impact. BOOM! One hit and the roach is dead instantly. However, there was another approach that yielded more impactful results. The exterminator laid out bait for the bastards. The note that he left explained that the spray may immediately kill the one or two roaches, while simply repelling the others. However, when roaches take the bait, more often than not, they take it back to their homies to break bread in their hideout. As a result, the bait is distributed among the collective, slowly but surely knocking them off one by one. In the long run, the bait was more tactical than feeling accomplished because you wasted an entire can of spray on one roach. In all, there may be alternative ways to handle the roaches. Find the exterminators who can help you identify the best approach to efficiently eliminating your pest problem.
Borders and Barriers
Often, you could find me in my 8 a.m. college courses completely slumped over, or in a zombie-like state after having consumed more than the suggested dose of 5-hour energy. It was no secret that much content didn’t have the opportunity to go in one ear and out the other, considering that it didn’t go through my ear in the first place. I missed a lot of other information, yet, a phrase that stuck with me throughout the years came from one of my social work professors. She told the class, “your goal is to work yourself out of a job.” On the opposite end, our aim should be to avoid creating a dependency on exterminators.
Rather, the focus should be on using the support of the exterminator to reach a point of progress that we’re able to sustain in their absence. That magnifies the difference between teaching and telling. When you're educated on a matter, you transition to a point where you no longer observe, but you're in a position to be able to apply the information that you’ve attained.
That’s important to note given that even the best of products have term limits. Most labels read, “lasts up to 6 months.” After an extended period of being roach free, you better believe, they’ll be ready to infiltrate again. Arguably the most important part of this process is sustainable prevention. It’s essential to schedule routine treatment, which should consist of creating a border of repellent around the home.
The roaches are out. Keep them out.
At this point, I think it is apparent that this post goes beyond roaches. For each of us, these roaches represent different problems in our personal journeys. We owe it to ourselves to place intention behind addressing these problems, bringing us a step closer to self-actualization. Until then, the infestations will grow, inevitably becoming visible in other areas of our lives. If you don’t actively work to manage it, whether you’re at work, school, or any other public setting, it’ll come wiggling out of your clothing, exposing what you desired to keep private. In the same, it’ll have an immediate impact on those who attempt to visit your home. Do yourself a favor by lacing up your stomping boots, identifying your exterminators, targeting the root of the problem, and setting up barriers to prevent future pest problems.
Looking to continue to support JustDaMessenger?
The following is a list of things that you can do to support:
1. Follow on Instagram: @JustDaMessenger
2. Subscribe to Youtube channel
3. Purchase Book and Merch