Modern Day Friends: My conversation with DragonflyJonez and Lajethro Jenkins

This is a story of friendship.

Well that’s what the idea of all this started as. Then I came to the realization that it all was so much more. These men aren’t just two charismatic online personalities that get a long well on social meadia. They have evolved to brothers in real life.

Tyler (dragonflyjonez) and John (Lajethro Jenkins) connected via Twitter years ago when both had less than 1,000 followers. It is something we commonly see and participate in on the internet. Somehow something comes across our screen that we laugh at or think is interesting and we engage. Sometimes the back and fourth banter turns into a follow. Sometimes it leads to a shout-out and the occasional retweet.

This is a rarity of light in a sometimes dark online world. The two who once you speak to them for more than a minute, you can notice the genuine chemistry. Have evolved those early interactions into a podcast, a support system, business opportunities. admiration and brotherly love that goes beyond just discussing sports and Game of Thrones.

There was no one talking over one another. They answered all my questions honestly and open. Everything about this was human in the most mesmerizing of ways. I give to you Modern Day Friends: My conversation with DragonflyJonez and Lajethro Jenkins

DragonflyJonez: It’s a shitty day man!

YoungLionBlog: It is a shitty day! I wrote an email about how I was finishing up the questions and working on this really helped me get through the night.

Lajethro Jenkins: Not even going to lie to you, it was hard to sleep last night. I woke up dummy eary with shit on my head. I felt physically sick bro.

DJ: I just kept going to Twitter. It was like a lot was being said, but nothing was being said. I was hoping to see something. Like you can’t make sense of this shit but I was hoping to see something to kind of help me deal with this shit. And it’s just…

YLB: I’m so numb to it even when it first happened I was like he going to be alright. It can’t be Nip. That’s not how the world works.

LJ: Damn, we think about what we want a man to be coming from where he came from and we want him to be Nip. We want him to be all out with it, tatted all the way to the muthafucking chin, being himself, talking the way he spoke. He invested his time, energy and money. He could’ve easily flipped it and been on some other shit and made more money than being invested in the hood. He did that because he really believed in the hood. This what we wanted for him to be and niggas still killed him. It’s just like so what do we want now? People saying government shit. I don’t believe that but if it was, it was still black hands that did the work. So what do we want people to be, what do we want people to do?

YLB: It’s like if rappers or celebrities of color get rich quick and leave the hood, we fault them for that. If they stay and don’t move to a suburb they can end up like Nip did yesterday in front of his own store.

LJ: The thing is Nipssey was like respected. He wasn’t just in the hood hanging around. He was invested, trying to build the hood up. He wasn’t just fucking around with his homies and shit know what I mean. Which nothing is wrong with that. Schoolboy (Q) always talks about it. He always goes and picks his homies up cause he already knows what time it is. Nipssey was invested.

DFJ: He was circulating the black dollar back into the black community.

LJ: That’s what we supposed to do right? What else do you want from this man? What else did he have to do for you to spare his life? It’s like damn dawg, fuck that shit.

YLB: He was black as possible but never their idea of what a rich black man had to be.

LJ: He was black as fuck, all out with it. He would sit down with anybody and have an intelligent conversation. He said at one point after he dropped the album that he had stopped smoking weed. When he sat down for interviews he didn’t want people second guessing his mind or for him to be taken advantage of. He wasn’t preaching. He was like listen this is whats best for me. You do whats best for you. He stood on his word and that’s what fucked me up

YLB:I didn’t know him personally but it was like losing someone I knew. It was like when I lose a friend or older brother type.

LJ: That is what the people are saying. This one hit different and it does. Anyone losing their life is tragic. But the way he existed he went by the blueprint.

DFJ: That’s what hits the hardest. After you strip everything away at the core. We lost somebody who cared about and loved black people. Somebody who loved black people and was the voice of the voiceless. Who was a bright light in what can be a very dark place in the Crenshaw district.

YLB: And he was just starting. He has been around awhile but the plateaus he was about to reach next.

LJ: They took that shit from that man. Took that shit from us. I feel like the community lost as a whole. You know what I mean? It’s sad when people die, it just sad the way he died.

YLB: They took away a living statue. A monument that was alive still

LJ: We creating our own martyrs? We catch it from so many places. And we killing our own people trying to make it better for us.

The thing about life is somehow some way it continues to go on. No matter how hurt or how happy you are the world keeps spinning in motion. Eventually so did our conversation.

YLB: Whats your first memory?

DFJ: My first vivid memory was my first day at Kindegarten. What tripped me out was it was my first day at Kindegerten and I remember like seeing all these kids crying casue their parents were leaving them. I was happy as fuck. I was like “Yo I get to be around kids” Why are yall crying? This shit about to be fun as hell. That’s one of the first times when I realized I don’t understand a lot of the shit other people did. I literally made my first friend ever in my life that day. We were both like “Why is everyone crying, we about to have fun?’ Me and my man Brandon. We were best friends until we were 16. He passed away in a car accident. That was my first vivid memory.

YLB: What about you John Boy

LJ: John Boy! I love that Tyler got everybody calling me John Boy. Honestly my first memory was like Christmas. I feel like I was opening presents at Christmas. I don’t have a straight up movie. I think Tyler (DragonFlyJonez) had a come to jesus moment.

YLB: Yea it registered with him. He was like oh I’m human, human.

LJ: I think the oldest vivid memory. Is having allergies. Waking up and I couldn’t open my eyes because of the crust in my eyes. I remember being like oh shit I can’t open my eyes.

YLB: What’s something you admire about John boi aka Lajethro?

DFJ: I’ve said it for years. He is one of the most insightful, brilliant minds I’ve ever come across. John just sees shit different. I’ve always told him that. He just got a different perspective on shit. It’s a perspective that always makes sense. Like wow it was right there but I didn’t see that shit, but you just pointed it out and that makes complete fucking sense. He is a master at that.

YLB: What’s something you admire about DragonflyJonez?

LJ: I aint never said this ever bro, but I honestly look at Ty like a big brother dawg. When I was doing that Insufficent Funds podcast I told my lady. I was like I feel kind of uncomfortable doing it because we talking about real shit and I don’t have my safety net which is Tyler (DragonflyJonez). I feel like when I say things and sometimes people don’t understand it. Tyler puts it into words that way I want to say it. You know what I mean? So I feel like Tyler kind of makes me feel less crazy. I always felt like I was misunderstood.

YLB: He’s your comfort blanket.

LJ: Right, right! What’s the dude from Peanuts?

DFJ: Gawd damn Linus!

Via iamcrisp

LJ: Also how he said I’m smart. I was talking to my lady about this. I don’t know why I just be talking to her a lot honestly. I told her you were the smartest person I know and you the funniest person I know. So you could say things from an aspect and make them hit in ways that nobody else makes them hit. Theres a reason you got a hundred and thirty thousand something followers that muthafuckin follow your ass on Twitter. It’s because your brain hella different. Listen bro he just a special dude. You know what I’m saying? I admire how he moves. Tyler has made a great living for himself, but he’s done it his way. Tyler has turned shit down cause it didn’t fit him. What he talks about he stands on that shit. And theres like four mothafuckas in the world that do that. People say they don’t want fame. He really don’t want it. He has turned down things that would benefit anyone and give them fame. He’s turned them down because it wasn’t for Tyler. I admire the fuck out of that bro. He’s created his own existence. That’s what I aspire to do in my life as well.

DFJ: Like I’ve told you since you made the move to L.A.. Really just been steady progressing since you said fuck this shit and moved to Atlanta. You talked about the safety net and shit. You abandoned the safety net. You hopped out there because you realized the office shit wasn’t for you. You said “ Well I gotta give this shit a try. I can live with trying and not coming up rather than faking that shit” So that definitely inspired me. That you were willing to just step out there and it’s paying off for you like a motherfuck. I’m just so happy to see that.

LJ (in a notably and sarcastically joking high pitched voice): Appreciate that bro. I love you Tyler. Honestly I teared up for a second.

YLB As far as social media goes followers tend to relate to you both because you unique authenticity I feel. How does it feel being a brand? Like the overarching idea that you are someone who is marketable and others find you influencing?

DFJ: Shit, dawg. Well you know I always joke about being a brand. Like I’ll put hashtag brand or some shit when I used that word. I don’t know if I necessarily look at myself as a brand. I definitely realize how unique my voice is though. I understand that. I get that. I don’t know if I view myself as a brand because the shit I’m doing isn’t necessarily to cash out. You know what I mean? I’m just speaking my shit, talking my shit and giving my views. You feel me?

LJ: I think its interesting we can be this honest and this open and people connect to it. Like Tyler said I don’t put shit out and think “This one gone hit. I’m going to drop this one”. I don’t really think to push myself in that way. I am really just existing in a way and being who I am. I think that is what we are both doing and people fuck with it. Honestly bro, people hit us up and like “Thank you, you got me through this shit” and the words people tell us and hit us up with. Like you wanting to interview us. All this shit man. Thank you my nigga. Thank ya’ll. Especially when I was at the job that I was doing and I didn’t really fuck with it and us doing this now. The type of engagement we got and people interacting with us. It made me feel like I was doing something right. You know what I mean?

YLB: Yea I feel that cause even in this moment what Ive created just with my words is growing. Right now I get about 10,000 readers a month and sometimes the responses I am getting are crazy to me. I don’t show my face or anything because all of it is weird to me at times. I had a guy in France tell me he is using one of my poems as his wedding vows. I had people message me and tell me my words helped them not commit suicide. You know how crazy that is? For someone to say I read your words about relating to you and it caused me not to want to hurt myself. Having that affect is crazy. A person they don’t even know.

LJ: That’s what trips me out. Like damn by me just being me, it helps others. That is why I’m like I don’t even have to cash out over shit. Of course a nigga would like a bag, lets be honest.

YLB: And it be a bag for being yourself

LJ: Right. That’s the goal. That’s the goal. That’s what hurts about Nipsey.

DFJ: And that’s what hurts about Nipsey.

YLB: A lot of your following and audience you gained through your thoughts. Whats something you keep private or close to your heart?

DFJ: You know I pretty much keep my personal life pretty damn personal. I’ll give you the raw outline of shit. Ya know, I’ll let you know I am married to a woman that I love. That’s about as far as I’ll take it on a lot of shit. Like I definetly open up to John ( Lajeththro Jenkins) about a lot of shit in my personal life but I don’t do that for all a hundred thirty something thousand mothafuckas that follow me.

LJ: Lets see…(takes a sigh). Probably my struggles man. I try to talk about them some but I got a conflict with that. I ain’t trying to put everything out there, but I try to be more open with it. A lot of times when you going through things for me it’s kind of hard to open up too much about that because honestly I don’t want to burden others. I’m trying to work on that cause I feel your friends do really want to be there for you. I don’t be trying to put that out publically when I’m really, really struggling with something. I’m in my head.

YLB: Yeah I identify with that heavy because I was raised by all women for the most part until the streets got ahold of me. I had the strong male mindset early on. My mom raised me how she felt right cause she was trying to raise a man.

LJ: Yea my mom is always there if I ask for help she will always give it, but I never ask her for shit. Cause I’ll struggle before I ask for help. Know what I mean? If I’m being straight up honest with you

DFJ: I’m the same way. I’m definitely with you on the whole shit where I don’t want to burden anybody with my troubles either. And it’s kind of like a double edged sword because I’m not really good at consoling people when they come with their shit. Like I am genuinely concerned about my friends. I love the shit out of my friends. I let them know whatever you need from me I’m here and I mean that shit. I’m not just saying that. Just tell me how I can help you. I’m not good at consoling because when people console they say the shit that they want to hear. I’m the type of person that when I am going through some shit I need to be left alone. So I don’t know what the fuck I’m supposed to say during. So that’s where the whole double edge sword comes from. I am with you in that.

LJ: There was one time we was on a podcast and we was recording and my cousin had been murdered. Tyler was on the podcast. We cut it short, obviously. My dad had texted me saying that shit. I got off the phone and Tyler hit me up and said “ I don’t know what to say. I’m not good at this shit, but just know I’m there for you”. That’s really all I needed. You better than you think my g.

DFJ: I appreciate that bro. That’s what I stuggle with. I feel like I’m not a Dr. Phil ass nigga and I don’t feel I have the answers sometimes.

YLB: Pople try to make someone elses pain their pain. That’s the worse thing you can do. You can be there for somebody but don’t try and outdo them. Be with them right now in this moment. That’s empathy. That’s caring.

DFJ: Very True

LJ: Right, right

YLB: Dragonflyjonez what’s the most Virginia thing about you?

DFJ: Let me see. The most Virginia thing about me is I don’t know if you know who the president John Tyler was. He is one of those 1800’s presidents no one gives a fuck about, but this motherfucka had like 18 kids. My family is from the county where he was from. So it’s very possible that he owned my relatives. Let me give you a little back story on my name. My first name is Tyler that’s my mom’s maiden name. So that’s why she named me that. We’ve done geneology and shit. So it’s very possible that John Tyler a president owned my family and probably maybe raped my ancestors. Might have some presidential white surpremacy blood in my viens. It’s not something I’m really proud of but its something very Virginia about it

YLB: You the Virginia 23 and me. Alright John Boy. Lajethro what’s the most St. Louis thing about you?

LJ: Everything about me my nigga. Shit, everything. The way I breathe dawg is St. Louis. For real I feel like St. Louis made me a man. My whole family, both sides is from there. I feel like St. Louis made me who I am. I would not be me if I was not from st. Louis. There’s certain things. I like uh my favorite chips are St. Louis chips

DFJ: Them gawd damn Red Hot Riplets.

LJ: Yea Red Hot Riplets. My favorite Friday meal is spaghetti and catfish. Know what I mean? How I exist bro. How I move. St. Louis can get kind of heavy. If you look at the statistics it’s top three most dangerous cities to live in, in the nation the last 15 years or whatever. So you have to move a certain way and live a certain way. That has helped me deal with a lot of shit in my life and also have the courage to look at shit a different way. To make the move I made. The shit I’ve seen and the shit my people been through. What do I have to lose?

YLB: Yeah that’s real and beautiful. You both come from a culture of roasting and telling jokes. How good does it feel to roast shitty humans on the internet? To just flame a shitty person that comes into your mentions.

DFJ (Instantly laughing): You know I kind of had a resolution this year that I wasn’t going to argue with motherfuckas on Twitter. That shit lasted like 3 days. Okay but heres the thing. I’m never shitty to anyone who doesn’t deserve that shit bro. I feel like sometimes you got to clown a motherfucka. I feel like that’s an act of human service, because if you clown the shit out of a motherfucka maybe he’ll learn not to just hop out here reckless talking to mothafuckas any which way they want out here on the internet. They can see how bad it can go sometimes. So you clowning a motherfucka might save someone with a thinner skin who might not be as quick with the jokes. So like I said I look at that shit as a service, like paying it forward.

LJ: That’s a great way to look at it. I enjoy this shit bro; it’s recreational. I see a nigga jump in my shit and I be ready to get it. I do a little dance in the crib and be like let’s go. I don’t take none of that shit personal man. I’m a weird dude to where l feel love when I’m flaming. You know what I mean?

YLB: Oh I love it

LJ: Let’s be funny dawg. You say something about me and its funny nigga I will repeat your shit. Fuck that shit nigga. That shit was funny let everyone laugh at it. I don’t give a fuck… I’m still me regardless. I enjoy it. So if I’m dropping some shit off it feels good because it’s fun to do. I don’t take it personally cause this nigga don’t know me and I don’t know that mothafucka. Feel me? Whatever they say can’t affect me too much and whatever I say I hope doesn’t affect them. Like Tyler said I hope they do realize you can come up in these mentions and talk all the shit you want but you might catch it bro. If I see it I might flame you one time off the strength, but that’s all it is. It’s all fun to me. Niggas get on my nerves when they say stupid shit. If you just come in and you got a little hot take. Okay, I got something for you too.

YLB: I tell my friends all the time all feelings are vaild but jokes gotta fly

LJ: right, right, right. Then I go eat my little salmon and do some bad bitch shit. Because its Baddie Time. Put my little face mask on. You know what I mean? Fun. That’s all it is, it ain’t nothing.

YLB: Dragonflyjonez if you had to pick a superhero for Lajethro to be who would you choose and why?

DFJ: Let me mothafuckin’ see. I feel like Superman is the regular ass standard. So I’m going to go with some left field shit and say Ant-Man because this mothafucka is adaptable to all types of shit. Any type of situation and he is going to thrive. I know you probably like “ Ant-Man, he weak as fuck”. No nigga Ant-Man is actually is a crazy superhero.

YLB: I’m with you Ant-Man going to give Thanos that work

DFJ: Ant-Man is absolutely going to give Thanos some work in a couple of weeks watch.

LJ: I don’t know really know a lot of Superheroes.

YLB: That’s why I’m not asking you. I got a different one for you. I did my research

LJ: Oh there you go!

DFJ: Look at good journalism.

YLB: Lajethro, Dragonflyjonez is starting an alcohol company. What kind of alcohol/liquor would it be and what’s the name of it?

LJ: Damn, oh shit. What type of alcohol would it be? It be a honey jack company. I would go with whiskey. Whiskey the cool chill nigga shit. Tyler had a phase where he would smoke tobacco through a pipe, drinking brown and have one cube in that motherfucka. I don’t know if niggas hip to that shit. What would the name be? … hmm.. I can’t put your last name out there. Dragonflys wide world of liquor. I’ll go with that.

YLB: I’m big on manifesting and putting things in the universe You do the podcast together. What’s something you else you two think you could do really well together?

DFJ: Shiiiiiiiit. Bro just about any fucking thing. The thing about Me and John is where genuine fucking friends. We’re not people who paired up to do a podcast because the internet said we should. We’re friends who genuinely enjoying fucking with eachother. We genuinely enjoy engaging with eachother. So dawg any environment you put us in you’re going to get that authenticity.

LJ: I feel you. I feel like we did a podcast because our actual conversations we had on our own we thought were really funny. So when people were like you should do a podcast. We were like “okay” because we do have funny personal conversations that people never get to hear. Or insightful. I learn a lot from Tyler, I learn a whole lot. We did a podcast and our first conversation our first interaction I learned a ton. So it was like damn let’s make this shit public I guess, fuck it. We were already friends do it in private. So we could do anything. We’ve done some like screen test and shit right? And I always be nervous. We sat down and I was like this just me talking to my nigga. I told Tyler I’d be nervous when we doing the podcast and everything else if it wasn’t with him. That’s like my genuine, genuine friend that I shoot the shit with. I don’t ever want to have to try and create or fake that with anyone else. What I do want to manifest is us being our selves, making a bag someway and being able to say fuck these other niggas. We can interact with the people that fuck with us and we can all benefit together. That’s honestly the goal. I’m out here doing my thing right now and I’m very thankful. My goal is still the same and been the same. Making money with my friends and us all being successful together. That’s my goal and that’s what I think we going to do. We getting there. We getting close.

YLB: Whats something kid you would be excited about that adult you does

DFJ: Hmm well shit, I make money at home in my superhero pajama pants. That’s what I’m doing right now. I think that’s pretty fucking cool. That I literally just roll out of bed and that’s how I got to work. I work from the crib which is fun as fuck. The thing about working is you have 8 hour shifts and you really do 2 hours of total working. I do what I need to do and I’m just chilling the rest of the day. I’m taking Spider-Man PS4 breaks. Might hit the joint here and there. You know what I’m saying? So yea I got a pretty good set up going on right now. I technically getting paid to play Spiderman. Which 9 year old me would find pretty cool.

LJ: Honestly I’ve said man. I’m the exact adult I wanted to be bro. I trip off that. The kid me is who I try to satisfy more than anybody. I feel like the kid me did their part. The teenage me did their part. The 20 year version of me was fucking up. The 30 year old me is doing my part now. This is the person I wanted to be. I would love to go back to the kid me and be like “You’ll be cool, you’ll be fine” I always have a lot of anxiety about the future. I’ve always had that. I feel like the kid me would be really proud to see who I am and who I’ve become. I still play video games. I still watch cartoons. I’m going to work and wearing Supreme and t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. I pretty much created and existence where I can be me a majority of the time and the things I like I can participate in. I think the kid me would be happy with who I become. That’s what I continue to work on.

DFJ: Not even the kid me. If I could go back to 26 year old me and be like “Bro stop stressing. You’re going to get there” a decade or so ago that shit would be cool.

YLB: What’s something it’s hard for you to be vulnerable about?

DFJ: I feel like saying my feelings is too broad and that’s not even it. I’m pretty open with the shit I feel about. Um something hard for me to be vulnerable about. Damn, that’s a good one.

LJ: Yea nigga you really doing this shit. Got us thinking.

YLB: I try, I try.

DFJ: I’m still thinking man.

LJ: I’ll go, give you some time. I think it’s hard to be vulnerable about my fears bro. It’s hard for me to tell people I’m scared. You know I deal with a lot of anxiety. I’m much better now because I go to counseling. But I use to eat that shit. No one use to know the basic shit because of anxiety and real shit. Tyler was talking about going back to your 20’s. In my 20’s nigga I was like what the fuck am I going to do. People asking me what I was going to be and I wanted to be like “ I don’t know nigga I’m scared as fuck” you know what I mean? I’m trying to figure it out. I would just not pick up the phone because I didn’t want to talk to people about what the future held because it made me anxious. Instead of saying “I don’t know; I’m kind of scared. I hope to figure this out. I’m just taking it day by day.” I would not pick up the phone. My fears in general bro. I don’t talk about that shit much man.

DFJ: I’d say that I’m not too vulnerable about my progression or my life path. You know I am in a really great fucking spot but I don’t know if this is where I want to be at 10 years, 15 years from now exactly what I want to be. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do. I like what I do but I don’t necessarily love what I do. So that’s definitely something that wears on me a bit there.

YLB: When’s the last time you were genuinely happy?

LJ: Wow, damn.

DFJ: Genuinely happy? It was probably Saturday for me. Me and the homie got together smoked, had some beers and watched basketball together. It’s just little moments like that. That’s the shit that makes me genuinely happy.

LJ: In general I’m a very happy person. I’m just a silly as nigga. So even when I’m a little sad. I can get myself out of it. I love me. I be making myself laugh. But like genuinely happy…

YLB: Yea a moment when you was just taken aback by it all.

LJ: Every time my mom says she’s proud of me. She has been really open about it lately. Like when she says “Yo, John”. Like yesterday she texted me she was like. I’m going to read the mothafucka, fuck it. The shit sitting here. She text me:

“ Thanks for being such a delightful and lovely son. Thanks for being such a loving big brother. And most importantly you are a lovely man.”

DFJ: Aww man

YLB: Yea that will do it

LJ: I was like damn. That’s the thing too. I talk about me wanting to satisfy myself. I want to make my mom proud of me. I feel like anything I do in my life is because of my mom and her sacrifices. Having my mom saying she was proud of me and the man that I’ve become. Can’t nobody else tell me shit because nobody means as much to me as she does.

DFJ: Niggas don’t deserve mamas.

YLB: Especially the great ones.

LJ: The great ones! My mom is just so solid. She ain’t perfect but I’ve always felt love. She’s just so solid and I’m surprised when people say their moms aren’t that way. In my mind that’s just how moms work.

YLB: You don’t have to be perfect to be a great parent.

LJ: Exactly! When people talk about their parents and their situations. I couldn’t imagine my mom not loving me. My mom squared off with some kids she thought was going to jump me. Like 3 of them and my mom like 5’3, 5’4. She love me no matter what. She down for any situation over her loved ones and her siblings. I strive to be like her if I’m being a thousand. If I’m being a hundred dawg. My hero grew up in my household. I saw her come from nothing. I saw her work hard and strive man. So when I’m trying to be somebody. When I’m looking for motivation I get the from my mom.

DFJ: Going off the text message he got from his mom. Bro whenever I text my mom she always sends me a text that basically lets me know the conversation has been concluded. Some shit like “ It was nice texting you. Talk to you later”.

YLB: Like a proper goodbye?

DFJ: Yea and she’s the only person in my life who does that. It’s just so fucking thoughtful. She’s so considerate and she doesn’t have to be that considerate. And that shit there always just fucking hits me in stomach and my fucking heart. After a text conversation she’s like okay that was nice.

YLB: What’s your love language?

DFJ: Bro I took that test and my love language like so lopsided on words of affirmation. It was like 90 percent of that shit. That’s all a nigga need. Just let me know you appreciate the shit out of me and what I do. That’s really all I need. I don’t need gifts or none of that shit. Just let a motherfucka know he is appreciated.

LJ: Mines the same. Words of affirmation. Gifts I’m usually grateful but I’m like I could’ve got that myself. I’m very particular about shit. So I don’t necessarily want it but I do appreciate the fuck out of it though. So I keep shit that I don’t want because of the thought behind it. It does make me feel appreciated if you do something for me but if you tell me you appreciate me… honestly man like with my family she always say I love you. Like my sister saying “ I love you”. Those words from people I care about. Them expressing that shit. Letting me know they appreciate and love me. That’s all I give a fuck about. You can keep everything else. It gets to a point where I feel comfortable monetarily and I still have long a way to go. I appreciate even more how far I’ve come. Leaving St. Louis and not having the people I knew had my back and not having having them around. It was scary. Even in Atlanta, it was scary. It made me think like damn I didn’t have the means I wanted at the time and I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be but I had all the support. I had all the love and I did not appreciate it as much as I should have. So I def don’t take that shit for granted now.

YLB: Do you consider yourself as self-aware as you want to be?

DFJ: I definitely think I’ve taken a lot of strides in that area. I still realize there are times when I have blind spots on certain shit. I don’t mind being called out on my shit because if I’m fucking up I genuinely don’t know I’m fucking up. Those days of wilding out just to wild out have been long gone for me. So yeah I think I’m pretty self ware person but part of being self-aware is realizing you still have a lot more work to do. Some work that may never be finished.

LJ: I feel like I’m no where near what I want to be. I learn shit all the time. Like I talked about on that podcast Insufficient Funds. Like have women friends. I think they are brilliant because they’ve been tried so much. They had to figure out ways to move and exist in ways that I haven’t. That’s why they are so much smarter than us. They had to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

YLB: Multiple experiences early.

LJ: Early! I’m still learning so much man. Like my gay homie be telling me shit and I be like fuck. Like I think shit is fucked up out here. I know shit is fucked up. You don’t know how fucked up until someone opens up about it. Opens up in a real way. Then it’s like damn, what can I do to help? I do want to be much more aware. I don’t think I’ll ever be where I want to be because there’s always more to learn. Also the people in my life I want to learn ways to treat them better. Sometimes I can caught in my head and when I get caught in my head I can become very distant. I want to work on that. So yeah man no where near where I want to be, but hopefully one day I’ll get there.

YLB: What’s your over all goal as a human?

DFJ: I don’t know what this life shit means. I don’t know if there is a purpose. I don’t if there is a purpose or what that purpose is. I do know we should live life as if this is the only go around we get here. I think that you should want to make the world a better place in some capacity. You don’t have to do it on a huge fucking level. Even in your circle of friends, circle of family are happy to have known you. You somehow enrich those lives, presence and time on the planet. I think that’s all this shit is. Like I said I don’t think you have to change the world on a grand level but as long as the people who knew you, you helped make their life better, a little easier, a little funnier. I mean that’s like the goal there.

LJ: Ah shit. As far as my goal I don’t want to leave this motherfucka with regrets. Thinking I wish I had done this but I was too afraid to. I want to take advantage of the opportunities that are placed in front of me. And I want to create the ones I can and not just sit back and accept what was placed in front of me. You know what I mean? I also want to let the people I love know that I love them. Want them to felt loved by me. To experience it as much as I could. Like Tyler said I don’t know what goes on after this motherfucka. Bro I honestly don’t give a fuck too much. I can’t change it. So I’m just going to do it the best way I can here. What would be success to me is taking advantage of opportunities presented to me and existing the way I want to. Be around the people I love as much as possible. That’s what I feel is the goal to me.

DFJ: Hell yeah.

YLB: Thank you for this conversation. I know this was a bad day but I needed this conversation. Brightened the spirits.

LJ: I really needed this shit too bro. I was thinking like “Damn, this is perfect timing actually” you say it was bad day. I think it was a perfect day because I definitely needed to have this conversation.

DFJ: Real shit

LJ: Consider us niggas. You know what I mean. I ain’t going to lie, I was out here crying and shit. It made me realize how blessed I am too. I appreciate you seriously.

Friends, the ones we can depend on. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if there is a certain thing as soulmates. Or if the stars and planets need to align just right in order for magical things to happen. It could be chance or destiny; it doesn’t matter to me. I am genuinely happy that Tyler and John met each other. I am glad I got to be a part of this moment. The human experience is complex and I am honored they let me share parts of the inner workings of their mind with you.

The world has taught and conditioned us all to be a certain way. I don’t have all the answers. If anything I have a lot of uncertainty. What I will do is ask questions of those who think different. Who can admit if compared to everyone else they may seem off. It is hard for a black man to be honest with himself in a world that often feels like it is attacking him. We have strength and value. No matter what they try to low ball and appraise us as. We must be allies and value to others in our life who are battling as well. There is true beauty in being able to admit your faults, listen to the ones you love and seek the growth you want. When your circumstances feel like a grave keep breathing and moving forward until they become a ladder. It may not be easy, you will surely doubt your self, but it is worth it.

Life is all about view.

As I read this piece nervous thinking about all the things that go into releasing your art publicly to the world. The numbers, will LaJethro and DrajonflyJonez like it, will people share it like the last one, how do I top this and gluttony of other things I shouldn’t give a fuck about. Not because I don’t care, but I need to enjoy this moment. I know the words will come, they always do. They always find who they are supposed to. I will never know if it’s by stars aligning or pure chance but I needed to be part of the energy of their brotherly bond on this day. I am glad during this conversation they got to know things about one another that they hadn’t previously. There’s something in this piece for everyone.

Mistakes can be valuable lessons and victories can be blueprints. So take what you need and pass the rest on to someone else. Thank you very much to John Boy aka @LaJethroJenkins and Tyler aka @DragonflyJones for the conversation. Thank you all reading for being in this moment with me.

All links in this story are clickable.

You can follow John Boy at @LaJethroJenkins

You can follow Tyler @DragonFlyJonez

Merch @JenkinsandJones

Listen to the podcast JenkinsandJones

Feel free to follow me on Twiter @YoungLionBlog

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