Healing: Awakening 

I was told time and time again (even recently) that without God everything you do will fail. It’s something that I’ve herd all through out my life from different people. I’d like to say I listened but I’ve been angry with God for a few years and I finally confronted Him about it. 

Sitting here pissed at Cupcake because our communication has been all but non existent, I told God that I didn’t know if I could do this much longer. It brought up memories and it triggered a deep well of anger that I had yet to acknowledge. I tried to calm down, but the more I thought about it the more the rage overwhelmed me. 

I asked God “why did he put in situations where I felt alone?” “Why put me around people who made me feel alone?” 

No Answer.

As I swept the aisles at my job I grew more angry, frustrated, and irate. I thought of the people who hurt, abandoned, and lied to me, and after a while I found myself struggling to not grind my teeth. 

I asked “God, why did you allow those people to treat me that way?”

No answer.

I said “God you know the things I want for my life and the people in it. Can you give me some direction?”

No answer.

“God please say something…”

No answer. 

The feeling of despair and rage danced a dangerous tango in my head and for once the anger that I kept hidden came out and came down like acid rain.

I cursed the people who hurt me to hell, wanted any and everyone to hurt like I was hurting. I wanted the atmosphere to feel the rage, despair, sadness, and depression in my heart, and if the environment was licked by the flames of my unleashed temper then so be it.  

“ITS NOT FAIR!” I said venomously under my breath. “Why does everyone get to move on with their life and I have to sit with the pieces of what used to be and what broken? God you lied to me!”

Often enough God answers you when you least expect it, and as I continued to vent and confess the dark thoughts of my broken heart He finally answered.

“You’re hurting…”

I stopped completely when the words came out of my mouth. 

“You’re hurting because you refuse to let the pain go. You’ve been hurting yourself and those around you in the process.”

In that moment memories of the people I loved played through my head:

When Missy sat me down and said “the only one that’s suffering is you”

When Mandy said “Your life is not your own anymore. Will you make your kids suffer because you did?”

When Cupcake with tears in her eyes said “The things you do creates a ripple effect to those who are in your life babe.”

“Why should I care?” My thoughts were beginning to tumble into chaos. I asked God “Why do I stay hurt & everyone moves on?”

A memory of mom played in my head. Her words clear as day:

“Holding grudges will leave you miserable.”

As the anger finally faded a mental movie went on in my head.

I was watching another me sit in front of me in deep despair and sadness. His eyes had no light, his clothes unkempt, his face ashen with the tears that his soul cried. He gazed in my direction and in a voice I barely herd he said 

“Why did you let them hurt me?”

Cold chills ran down my back as he looked at me. The me that sat before me was cold, defenseless, lifeless, and lonely.

“You said I was better off alone. You told me I was a horrific person. You said my past was unforgivable and you left me here to wither and die.”

I shook my head “No… I-”

“YOU said you’d protect me!” My doppelgänger cried out. “You said you’d keep me close to God and you lied to me.”

As I stood there with wide eyes, pale skin and the beginning of a bad headache, I looked around for an answer, a key, a sign, something….

I stood there not knowing what to say because for once I saw my tumultuous emotions, my hurt, pain, and sadness, manifested into something my mind made me tangibly see. 

What scared me the most was that it was the sometimes the same thing I saw in my reflection.

“…I’m sorry”

My clone adjusted his eyes to my form and I could only look at him with the same feelings of sadness in my own heart.

“What?”

“I’m sorry I made you feel less than. I’m sorry I made your life a living mental and emotional hell. I’m sorry that I didn’t protect you. I was young, so I was naive and I didn’t know. When I did I was far too conditioned to stop. I put everyone else’s happiness over yours, and I didn’t take the time to give you the things you needed.”

Silence stood between us for what seemed like forever. 

“Can you forgive me?”

“….” 

He looked up at the sky and looked at himself. Picking at his dingy clothes and his matted hair. “Look at the condition you left me in” 

I hesitantly walked up and slowly placed my hand on his shoulder. I looked at the dirt marks on his skin, the rings around his eyes, The confusion on his face, the overall washed out look that was his aura. 

“I’m sorry I let you get like this. Let’s get you cleaned up.”

“…You won’t leave me again?”

“Never…”

My clone grabbed my sleeve and said the one thing that changed my perspective

“I forgive you”

I came out of my mind space wondering how much time passed. I found myself still simmering but ashamed of how I saw myself in my mindscape. For all it was worth I began to sing to God. 

It was through song that I first learned about him. Music is part of me and by singing to him I allowed myself to be vulnerable to Him.  He began answering my questions one by one. 

To Be Continued… 

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Freestyle Fathering: Family Time

It’s funny how life can teach you something when you least expect it. It’s one of those moments when you can’t quite word it yet but you can feel it. It’s that feeling when you can tell God is trying to tell you something if you only listen. Today was very much needed for the kids and I.

My kids can be antisocial. I call it a healthy dose of not liking people but I know it’s just being antisocial. Don’t get me wrong, they can communicate with people, but Raphael  has social anxiety, and Serenity doesn’t do well with unfamiliar faces. Add the fact that they’re Daddy crazy (aka clingy) and you have the perfect storm of introverted children. 

Today after their nap I was persuaded by MJ to take them to the park, where the neighborhood was celebrating the opening of the pool. I was debating whether I should take them or not because half of the park was under construction. MJ mentioned free food and I was won over. Hey, I have an inner greedy fat kid. Don’t judge me. 

When we got there I was surprised by the turnout of people that were there. Food stands, music, a bounce house and more. As I was in full on parent mode, all I saw was the excitement on Raphael, Serenity, and Fitzgerald’s (their cousin) faces. They let loose and I was trying to make sure I kept up with all of them. 

Hot dogs, chips, cookies, popcorn, and juice. 2 hours in the kids were happy and full. I noticed though that only Fitzgerald was going around socializing with the kids and playing. Raphael and Serenity were close to me because not only did they want to be, but I kept them close. So with that in mind I wanted them to enjoy themselves. I went to the kiddie pool with them and convinced them to put their feet in the water.

It wasn’t an easy task. After a lot of “No!”, “I don’t want the water!”, and “I want more cookies!”, we were sitting down side by side with our feet in the pool. With the music playing I started taking pics of us just smiling and enjoying the sun. Fitzgerald by this time, much to my dismay, was walking around the 12in deep pool talking, splashing and playing. 

I grabbed him and pulled him back to my corner of the pool and told him to relax and sit. Raphael wanted to walk around the pool and Serenity wanted to dance and I was okay as long as they were close. The pool wasn’t that big but for some reason I wanted them by me. As I looked around the poolside I saw parents letting their kids play, run, scream, and enjoy themselves, and I wondered why couldn’t my children be the same way. 

Seeing them wanting to play, listening to them plead with me to walk and dance in the water made me come to a realization. They weren’t being social because I wouldn’t let them. For some reason my desire for them to act civilized (aka act like they had sense in public) warped into them not doing much of anything because I’d be quick to pull them back and correct them. I also realized that I’m very overprotective of them. I could say being a single father made me this way, but how long could I use that excuse? I was trying to shield them from the world I wanted to learn about and as much as you can teach someone about riding a bike, they won’t fully learn unless you let the person get on the bike and ride it. 

Finally, I let them walk around the pool. They danced, they splashed, their clothes got wet, but they were having fun and I couldn’t have been happier. We got in the bounce house and as I sat and put them on my Snapchat I couldn’t help but finally see that all they really wanted was to just be kids. 

As we walked home I could tell they didn’t want to go, but I knew not only was it getting late, but they were tired. After baths, prayers, and Disney lullabies, they were fast asleep. I made a promise as I watched Serenity sleep that when I could make my financial situation a bit better, I’d take them to different events, movies, parks, and give them a chance to laugh, play, ask questions, and let their imagination flow freely. 

They’re very well behaved, but at the same time they’re only children. 

Life lesson of the day: In your desire for your children to be better than you, don’t take their childhood away. 

Until next time,

-Ace

A-Z: Long Distance


I miss my girl. 

I don’t say it often because it brings emotions that I don’t want to deal with. It takes me to places that I don’t want to go because as much as I want to be by her side I can’t right now. Times I wanna cry but I can’t allow myself to… or rather I don’t. 

This is the first time I’ve even allowed myself to bring myself into this headspace in a while. Not too long ago I’ve lived in this headspace because of her. We talked everyday. I woke up to her & went to sleep with her smile as the last thing I saw. It was all through FaceTime but it was all so perfect. 

The way her eyes sparkles… There’s a look she would give me that would set my soul past cloud nine because I knew it was only for me. I loved talking to her, and even when we said nothing we would just look at each other, eyes scanning our souls in a space in time that we designed only for us. 

As cold as it was that night. Seeing you for the first time after 5 years (but this time as my girlfriend) was one of the greatest moments I had in Texas. Seeing your eyes sparkle in person made seeing it on FaceTime just not fair. The way you fit in my arms, the way our lips danced with each other, every morning I woke up with you in my arms I wanted to freeze time. 

It was hard seeing you go. Even though we had plans on seeing each other again the thought of you leaving that day I’ve come to realize hurt more than I expected it to. The tears in your eyes broke my heart and as we cried in each other’s arms I knew I’d move heaven & earth to keep you in my arms forever. 

Something changed that day. A transition happened for us. Neither of us knew it yet but it would bring about new problems for us… problems that would amplify our emotions past anything we ever expected it to be at that point in time. We’ve pushed each other away, gotten busy individually, and have been upset because it seemed like the space that we made for just us became unavailable. 

I started to not show you my emotions because you didn’t show me yours. We spent the last few weeks angry, short tempered, and easily triggered. People have even asked us “do you even have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”. As funny as it seemed it irritated us more because as much as we knew our feelings we began to question the feelings of the other. 

It’s been a while since I’ve allowed myself to be in this headspace and I didn’t know what to say or what words could properly describe what I was feeling. All the emotions I wanted to avoid are currently crashing into me and I finally understand what changed…

You’ve successfully managed to break through every barrier I had, and I managed to break through yours…

You became such an important part of my life. As headstrong and determined as I am, life didn’t feel the same before you came into it. I was afraid because these emotions that I’ve been trying to avoid made me realize that I’m territorial, jealous, and a bit crazy…

Everything I tried to avoid (because of stress, fright, etc.) is a terrifying storm in my chest but to stand in the eye of it has brought peace to something I needed. It also made me realize something else. 

As much as you’re busy, sleepy, stubborn, short tempered, etc. 

You’re just as afraid as I am… 

You’re just as scared as I am…

Our pasts hasn’t been the most pleasant which is why not only are we scared because of the new feelings, but we don’t want to be hurt or feel less than by someone we love with an intensity we’ve never felt before. 

So as my thumbs are shaking writing this, I want you to know that I’m terrified, I’m scared, I’m busy, and I’ve fallen so far in love with you that I can’t see the bottom. The place we made for just our souls is still there. No matter how busy we’ve gotten, or we’ll ever be, I’ll always have time for you, in the space we’ve made just for us. Where all of the stress of the world was muted and we could laugh, cry, pray, and love. 

When you left that night in Texas, as I slipped my gold ring around your thumb and kissed you, you took a piece of my soul with you. I think I finally understand you… because of the piece of your soul you left with me. 

I miss you baby… with all of my emotions on the table… I miss you.

I’m afraid to lose you.

You’re one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.

The future wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t there by my side with me. 

Don’t run away from your emotions, because it was the trust we shared through our emotions that made us.. and makes us.. as powerful as we are. 

So let’s be scared together. Let’s take this next jump into our lives. I promise you won’t jump alone. When we’re in the air I promise I won’t let go. When we fly I promise to hold you tight. 

You’re not alone anymore baby. We’ll challenge & conquer this world together. 

In the space we made for only us: where our darkest secrets lie, where our hopes, fears, and prayers lie, where we allowed ourselves to be human and feel…

That’s where I’ll be waiting…

And no matter the distance… I’ll always be here. 

I love you.

Freestyle Fatherhood: Single Father

I love my son & daughter, but I hate the questions people ask about them. 

I love being their father, but I hate the questions people ask me about being a single father. 

Not all of the questions are the equivalent to nails on a blackboard. Some are asked out of obligation to the person’s occupation, and some are asked out of genuine love and concern. Then there are the others who ask for “curious minds” (nosey) and for reasons to gossip. Being a single father is simply sitting in an everlasting interview. Some get to the point to where they can answer the questions before they’re asked. 

It’s easier to talk about single mothers because we talk about single mothers everyday. The ratio of single mothers is much higher than single fathers so we sometimes (a lot of times) get overlooked. No, (before anyone starts) this is not to bash single mothers, this is to simply to let you look at the world through the eyes of a single father. 

As a single mother you may get questions like “How many kids do you have?” “Do they all have the same father?” “Are you assisted by the government (welfare)?” For me the questions were “How many kids do you have?” “Do you pay child support?” Do you just have them for the weekend?” Why do you have custody?” “Where’s their mother?” 

Twilight Adulting: My Cold Welcome


You know, a lot of times people like to talk to you about something that they themselves have never experienced. I think one of the worse feelings in the world is when someone tells you “I know how you’re feeling” and you can honestly say “No you don’t”. The moments when you can look at a situation and say to yourself “if that were me I’d do…” and when the situations happens to you, you feel like you’re standing in the middle of ground zero. I’m talking about those moments when you feel untouchable and God takes it upon himself to personally humble you. 

My mother, Bubbles, was an educator through and through. She made it of the utmost importance to know how to read, write, and to articulate your thoughts in a conversation. She was the type of woman to befriend your teachers and ,if she liked them enough, gave them permission to nail your ass to the wall if you stepped out of line. Education was paramount for her and she has no issue openly telling you about it. 

Although she biologically wasn’t my mother, she put her blood, sweat, tears, & prayers into me. She & my father (before he died) brought me from NC to NJ and gave me a life that was full of adventure and opportunity. In my eyes, my mother was everything to me, and as long as she was binge watching Law & Order SVU and drinking ginger ale as if it was the answer for the eternal youth question, I was alright.

 When she died, April 10th, 2011, everything stopped for me. I was in the middle of taking assessments for my upcoming freshman semester for college and my mind went completely blank. A month before prom, two months before graduation, 4 months before I left for college and I had just lost the person who helped me set it all into motion. 

The rest of the year was a blur that consisted of two proms, graduation, traveling, classes, partying, drinking, cheating, sex and the news that I was going to be a father. Needless to say I didn’t handle the loss well. Some people say that I was being 18, others say I was being careless, to me it was taking my mind off of the things that hurt by doing everything else. 

By the end of the freshman year I was face to face with the fact that my fall semester had all but made certain that I would fail my initial year of college. Lala tried her best to console me but it added on to the disappointment and sadness that I was already holding in me. For the first time I had to come to terms with the fact that I had no idea how to handle myself being out on my own in the world. The one opportunity I had to learn how, was spent blowing money on black & milds, alcohol, and women. 

In July of 2012, the stinging pain of knowing I flunked college (& now owed them) somewhat dulled as I held E.G. in my arms for the first time. I was somehow making a $75 dollar check every week from being the musician at a church care for E.G., Lola and me. One of my best friends, Stix, always wondered how I did it & to this day I have no clue. I was still dealing with my own issues when my Godfather said to me “what is your plan for college and your son?” 

Needless to say, I had no idea at the time. My initial mind said ask for help but my anger and pride said to figure it out on my own. I was living in the first floor apartment of my aunt & uncle’s house where I would sleep, cheat, and avoid paying my uncle the little rent money he asked for. The sad part is that I was the one who came to him asking to pay him what I could for rent because it felt wierd staying in his house for free. I spent it towards E.G. and Lola agreed that it was the best choice, but I learned a word at 19 that most people in their 30’s and 40’s still tremble at. 

Eviction. 

Granted it was a verbal eviction notice, but all I knew on Sept. 1st 2012 was that I had 30 days to find somewhere else to live or I would be homeless at 19. To start from a dorm room a year ago to facing homelessness a year later, it was safe it say that I was both spiraling out of control and burning bridges left and right all for what I thought was right & justified. 

I would’ve been a damn good politician at the time. 

30 days later I found my girlfriend, my son and I on an airplane destined to Charlotte, NC where we’d bounce like a game of Hot Potato from one Carolina to another until we ended up in Charlotte again with the sudden news of our daughter’s surprising presence in Lala’s stomach. 

At that point in 2014 I was asked several questions: How do you walk into an interview? How do you sell yourself? Whats the best kind of insurance for car, house, life, etc. How are you going to finish school, work, and be a parent? Is marriage in our future? I started going back to the question my Godfather asked me back in 2012: “What’s your plan for college and your son?”. 

2 years and now one child (with another on the way later) I came to a startling, scary, and stark horrific concept…

My mother, Bubbles, was an educator through and through. She made it of the utmost importance to know how to read, write, and to articulate your thoughts in a conversation. She was the type of woman to befriend your teachers and ,if she liked them enough, gave them permission to nail your ass to the wall if you stepped out of line. Education was paramount for her and she has no issue openly telling you about it. 

She was an educator, and like most educators she made academics the top priority. So as I was turning 21, living with my brother, with my daughter on the way I realized that academically I was well versed, but when it came to the social aspect of the real world I was as illiterate as an infant beginning to teethe. 

To put it bluntly: I was scared shitless. 

I felt untouchable at one point. I thought the world was in the palm of my hands. God showed me that the world I thought I was holding was slowly eating me alive. 

July of 2014 I woke up as a single father of two. Lala and I separated after a broken engagement, countless lies, and trust that was scorched to flames. As I looked at my two year old son and my infant daughter I knew that something had to change. If life ate me alive, I’d bear the teeth marks but my children would feel the bite. I decided that life had to and would be figured out. 

This is my continual journey to not only chase after my goals, but to let someone know out there who’s going through the same thing that I understand. 

This is my journey to understand, and eventually, master life. 

Stay Tuned…

Twilight Adulting: Harsh Welcome


This is for those who were introduced to the real world late in the game. For those who were told that “the world was theirs if they wanted it”. This is for the individuals who’s parents covered them from the harsh realities of the world. 

Yes, these are for (no matter the circumstance) my fellow sheltered brethren… 

It’s not the easiest feeling in the world knowing that in a rather cold, manipulative, first come first serve kind of world you don’t how to function. The first time you hear about state & federal taxes may have you scratching your head. It might be intimidating knowing that your likelihood falls on you to provide for yourself. 

Let’s not even mention young parents who bit the forbidden fruit and was shown the real world like women on Maury who just found out the guy they were 1000% sure was the father is not. 

It’s a lot of us out there who’s introduction to the real world was baptism by fire. For whatever the circumstance, it just doesn’t seem fair. Why should you have to deal with a hand you never dealt? Why should you be put in a position you never asked to be in? 

Unfortunately, that is how life goes sometimes. You’re never always in the greatest position and many times you may be unprepared for what’s about to happen. There’s a silver lining however: Just because you might not have been ready doesn’t mean you can’t learn now. You have the power, as you are, to do two things that will be the bread & butter of learning & conquering life. 

1. Learn: you’re never too young, old, or damaged to learn. 

2. Apply: take everything you’ve learned/are learning and practice it until it becomes second nature. 

They say life doesn’t come with instructions. Consider this a guide from someone who understands the feeling of waking up all of a sudden in a world that I didn’t understand. 

Hopefully you’ll follow my journey and you can share your own stories because we’re all trying to get to the same place aren’t we? 

So a toast to all of the late bloomers, late registrations, and those who just got the short end of the stick. 

This is our journey: Twilight Adulting

Freestyle Fathering: A New Journey 

I thought of different ways to start this, but  decided to take a brutally honest route…

I wasn’t ready to be a father at 19…

I wasn’t ready to be a father at 19 nor did I want to be. At 19 I was finishing my first year of college, had plans of partying all summer, starting a business, working, and having a lot of intimate moments with my girlfriend at the time. Playing daddy was nowhere in the agenda. 

My girlfriend at the time, Lola, told me three days before thanksgiving the previous year that she wasn’t feeling great. I chalked it up to something she ate. She insisted she was pregnant because besides not feeling great, her monthly red headed friend never appeared. I made statement after statement on why she wasn’t pregnant, and a clinical physician’s rebuttal was 2 positive pregnancy tests and a prescription for prenatals. 

Needless to say for an 18 year old, you might as well just have turned the lights on at  the club to horrifically stare at the part wildebeest that’s been your dance partner for the past 10 mins.

The months that passed were a blur, but I know I wasn’t happy at all. I tried being positive but throughout all of the planning of baby showers & names, all I saw was my absolute freedom being slowly snatched away from me. 

So what changed?

Two months & two days after my birthday, my son, E.G., was born and he made a hell of an entrance. During the night before, I watched Lola fight through contractions as thunder, lightning, & rain waged war above us in the blackened cloudy sky. I took a deep breath and accepted what was to come because there was no turning back at this point. I walked to the window to listen to battle cry of the storm just to watch it end. I don’t know how long I stood there watching the clouds part and eventually fade, but I was eventually eye to eye with a night sky illuminating full moon. I heard the ear piercing scream of Lola behind me and I knew E.G. decided it was time to prepare to come. 

July 16th, 2012, 8:42am

Lola is being stitched up by the nurses. The sounds of her colorful language and the medical teams not so low talking was all drowned out by a concept that I had dreaded the past eight and a half months. I had kept it all in but now it was there in my face and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. 

He was 6lbs, 11oz, 19 1/2 inches long. His eyes were puffy, his back was (and still is) hairy, and his eyes were a deep brown…

As I held this bundle in my arms my thoughts went back to the full moon from the night before. 19 years ago I was born on a full moon. The fact that he used the full moon as an signal to begin his entry into the world made me smile. More importantly…

… He looked just like me. 

I gently put my index finger in his hand and watched as he gripped it as tight as he could. He tried to open his eyes but I guess the light was too bright. As E.G. gripped my finger as if it was the o my thing keeping him in the world I unconsciously began reflect on my own life. I didn’t know my biological father, and my adoptive father died when I was 5. My list of male figures were few & far in between. I didn’t really have a male figure that I could reflect back to. 

As I looked down at my newborn son, I felt the crushing weight of being a fatherless child ready to take the breath out of my lungs. I came to the realization long before, but one of the main reasons I didn’t want to be a father confirmed itself that day. I asked my son “How can I be a father to you when I have no point of reference?”

All of the thoughts I had before that moment I was suddenly ashamed of. Thinking about what others thought of me took a backseat for once. How could I be so selfish to not want something that my son didn’t ask for. He didn’t ask to be here, but he was now. 

At that point I made a promise to give my all into figuring out fatherhood because my son deserved nothing less. So as I pushed some of his hair to the side I finally began my first conversation with E.G.  that would begin my journey into figuring out what it was to be not only a father but a man.

“So you’re E.G. huh?”

“….eeeeeaah” 

So it began.