In Focus • 3
Remembering my childhood friend who left us too soon.
My name is Christian Solorzano. This is my newsletter, Beginner’s Mind — a newsletter about intentional awareness. You can learn more about the meaning of a beginner’s mind in a previous post I wrote.
This issue is part of a new segment I introduced last month called, In Focus, A bi-weekly 🤞 collection of curiosities that inform and shape my outlook of the world. The thread that will run through In Focus will be: examining the human condition and discussing artifacts that push the status quo.
Expect to receive In Focus in your inbox, every other Wednesday. 🌅
My friend Keny
This morning I remembered my friend Keny who passed away three years ago. I met Keny in seventh grade — we both went to school together. In my neighborhood, it wasn’t common to find people you shared interests with, so when I met Keny and realized we had the same taste in music, we immediately bonded.
In those days, I was in after-school detention mostly every day and it was in detention that I made friends — the other troublemakers around town. We all bonded through our attitude towards school. Each of us coming from a somewhat fractured upbringing, which we never discussed but looking back now, I think it’s the thing that subconsciously brought us together.
In middle school, I went through an anti-Christian phase. I did a 180 on my Catholic upcoming and alongside my new friend Keny, we found solace in possibly the most rebellious thing we could get our hands on. The Satanic Bible.
Around that time is when I was becoming more and more interested in graphic design so a large part of my interest in the Satanic Bible was 1.) shock value. 2.) the cover of the bible. The cover had red serif typography on a black background and honestly to this day, I probably still make design decisions influenced by that cover.
Anyways, Keny and I each purchased our own copies of the book and commenced our journey into faux-self-actualization. Eventually, I had to get rid of my bible as it was causing friction at home. My family did not like it or support it.
Keny was the type of person that mastered everything. He fronted a heavy metal band that played shows, he became a music producer, he rapped, he got into tattooing, he got into fitness, he drew obsessively. However underneath all of this, was a darkness that I never really understood. After my brief encounter with the Satanic Bible, I moved on but his interest only intensified over time — eventually becoming a full-fledged theistic Satanist.
As adults we lost touch. Eventually, I became a born-again Christian and would recommend that he read one of my favorite books The Impersonal Life, in hope that he would find salvation in anything but intoxicants and Satanism. It didn’t work.
As his substance-use escalated, his view of reality became distored — on occasion he would tell me stories of deities that he would come into contact with.
In 2018 he passed away early in the morning. To this day, I don’t know what the cause of death was or where his remains went. His death brought people together that I hadn’t seen in years and collectively we all recalled on our memories of him.
The last time I saw Keny was a few months before he passed. I was driving down Western Ave in Chicago and I saw a person wearing an oversized t-shirt. Keny liked wearing really big clothes although he was probably 5’7”. He was kneeling and petting a small dog while taking a drag from his cigarette. I didn’t recognize him until I saw that big smile on his face. He seemed happy.
Although we both grew apart and our shared interests waned, I am thankful that I got to know him because I know, that Keny’s impact still lives through me. He taught me the importance of self-care and self-inquiry, something I wish he had prioritized in his life.
I miss you Keny. I hope hell is treating you well. (Relax, it’s a joke)
Oak Park, IL