My journey really started back in May of 2005 in Douglas, Arizona. A high school graduate that no one really saw coming until they sat in the bleachers at The Armando De Lukas Stadium and saw me sit amongst my classmates on The Douglas High School football field. As they read the yellow and black program in hand titled the class of 2005 Douglas High School commencement ceremony and all skepticism was reduced. As our class song Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson played in the background.
Probing our thoughts for the future.
Up until that time few of my behaviors yielded any merit that my family would be realizing me becoming the recipient of a high school diploma. I had created a we will believe it when we see it point of reference when it came to me accomplishing anything in life other than maybe a term in prison.
In the first grade I stole $.60 from a classmates cubbyhole, his reduced fare lunch money and went and bought an ice cream cone from a vendor on the playground during recess. In the third grade I stole a pack of cigarettes for my uncle and took them to school. After multiple attempts to forge my father signature on a detention slip my teacher opened my backpack to look for it and found the cigarettes. I was suspended from school for being in possession of tobacco in a tobacco free school zone. A few weeks later the Scholastic book fair was on campus and I stole hundreds of dollars of the rent money for my mom’s purse and got a question about it after buying my classmates books and other items. A few weeks after that I stole my brothers baseball card collection and stamp collection and passed them out to at school. It wasn’t long after that that I smoked marijuana for this first time. Bless my parents hearts they tried everything in their power to get me to straighten up and fly right becoming more and more frustrated with my behavior. They tried every means of discipline they could think of regressing into the same patterns that they long to escape from and that is where my opportunity began. Even though I didn’t quite know it then. Understanding their pain as they inflicted it on me and what they believe was a means of discipline. Things became so bad for me in school that I was interviewed by specialists and counselors about my experience at home thinking to be protecting my parents I lied about the discipline techniques and I live without any regrets about it. As a man now I have forgiven them move on with my life and thank them for the experience they have provided me with that has led me to discovering my purpose. Anyhow as time went my behavior didn’t get any better. As a young man growing up without any running water not many friends and missing out on many of the things all the other kids had and did, Honestly I looked at it from a very shallow angle and rather superficial and from a warped point of view. As I aged not much of that changed until I got to Douglas high school.
At Douglas High School I was invited to participate in sports. Even though I was not much of an athlete that usually followed by laughs in the locker room but it got me the attention I was missing at home so I came up with new ways to get laughs in the classrooms in the hallways going from social group to social group not really sure of myself or anything I did. Insecure on the inside and a self protection and false sense of not really caring on the outside, as most of my classmates could tell I was putting up fronts and is as long as I was OK with them laughing they were OK with laughing at me. It was kind of a sick twisted sense of if you can’t beat them join them if you could imagine that.
At the time I live with who I will for ever know as T-Ma and Papa. They took me into their home during my four years of high school but at home it was nothing like at school I was mad at the world and then some. I put holes in the walls and was disrespectful to two people who are only trying to prepare me for what they would call the real world. Anyhow when I got mad there wasn’t anyone who wanted to deal with me so T-Ma had a plan to defuse it. She and I would take a drive in her pick up truck and she dropped me off at what everyone in Douglas Arizona knows as D-Hill and it was up to me to run back. It was genius and probably one of the biggest factors as to why you’re reading this now. Running became my vehicle out of Douglas because after that everybody was stuck in their I’ll believe when I see it mentality about me even though I began to make better choices in my life and I made a pact with myself to graduate high school. I kept running and even joined the cross country and track teams. I also wrestled and sports seem to be a means of therapy and escape from what was really going on inside of me.
I was making better choices simply because of the pack I had made with myself. I joined every club they had offered. I was an active member of the community and I volunteered my time where I could.
Come May 25, 2005 those who would believe it when they saw it watched me with a pair of wrestling shoes and cleats wrapped around my neck jogging and shoot stepping then sprinting to the podium to be presented my high school diploma, representing the sports that just bought my ticket out of Douglas and the college money to attend Mesa community college. I wasn’t sure what I do I wasn’t sure where to go I just knew I was going to be successful. And at 6 o’clock in the morning the day after I graduated three classmates and I packed the backseat of my Aunt’s Kia and headed for Phoenix. Where she dropped us off on the lawn in front of Mesa community college for a meeting with cross country teams and coaches.
It wasn’t long after we unpacked our bags and moved into an apartment that we are shared that a lot of conflict came crawling back to me. I dropped out of school and started smoking marijuana regularly I was kind of depressed and I couldn’t really hold on to any of the girls I dated. My life was not very interesting to me. I was a keyholder at Cold Stone Creamery and the only conversations I really had were with myself and customers while chopping up their miixins and folding them into ice cream. All the while becoming super competitive at doubling folks’s ice cream for .40 cents more.
Time would move on and I thought I’d join the military but there was only one problem. In high school I was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy after consulting with the recruiter who could think of many times folks had found a way around their entrance with leaving it off the documents. I too decided I leave it off the documents and join. I got passed meps. I got past weekend drills for almost a year. Then I got to the moment of truth during basic training and I’m broke. I decided three days later to speak to the National Guard Liason and tell the truth. I was given and other than honorable existing prior to service medical discharge.
I was separated from the army and I returned back to the Phoenix area and immediate two weeks later I enrolled into a medical assistant program at Lamson College. I got through the first two courses and then conflict came back around and I stopped going to class. I started smoking marijuana heavily again and 2 days before I would have been dropped from the program the director was parked in her car outside my apartment complex waiting patiently for me to come out and cross her path. And did I ever, surprised with her visit she explained that I would have to go to class the next day and risk failing or miss and risk my enrollment altogether. I showed up failed the class but was given another opportunity to repeat it. I was given a month off to clean up my act and regain my focus. I did then I returned to school to finish with a 3.6 GPA and A’s in each class but the final which I had repeated when I finish with the 89% and a very generous but unrelenting teacher who would mark it is a B as it was. Only to return one year later to pursue a teaching career there after my persistence of selling the idea of me being able to teach college age students because at the time I was a teachers assistant after being hired on from when the college sent me there as part of their school to work program. Life for me had been looking up I had three professional careers. One as a teachers assistant in the elementary school district, one as an emergency room technician in the hospital and a medical assistant instructor all at the same time. I was becoming a workaholic but then one day I got the news in the midst of the 2009 recession that my positions would experience budget cuts as a part of the Arizona State budget cuts to education and healthcare. Then the enrollment would decline at the college and they no longer require my services. I got so depressed I quit working at the hospital as well. I went on unemployment as conflict caught up to me again. I seen many people making it distributing and transporting narcotics so I dipped into it to make some quick cash. quickly I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do forever but what it was quick and it was cash and a lot of it. And that’s when the music called me home I begin caring a notebook and pen with me everywhere went I became passionate and decided I had found my vehicle to a sense of success and I wrote down my thoughts my feelings and emotions creating a vision. Those thoughts feelings and emotions became a lifestyle and that lifestyle is quickly becoming a brand name. I would experience several more hardships along the way but none more then with the separation of my wife and that is when Things began to click and I really started accepting responsibility for things. I decided I would change the world starting with myself if I ever was going to overcome conflict and experience growth consistently looking from a lens of contribution I am now an active participant and the decision-maker in my children’s lives. Generating generation wealth with my mindset on as many of us who follow my example of being completely honest with ourselves and decide we’re going to activate an effect change in our communities by examining our own hearts and our own minds first to experience the world where we all matter, imagine it.
Nowhere to go but up I moved into my aunts vacant home and she was becoming a full-time caregiver for my grandma who was slipping away each day with Alzheimer’s disease with the business in the life of my dreams to build I found myself learning everything important to ensure that I did it and complete my past and overcome myself only to find out that my purpose is much bigger than me now I’m walking Coast to coast from Santa Monica California to Long Island Bayside New York on a walk to remember healing our lineage. Its a mission to bring people together making us whole once againlet 1 mile represent a mile in your shoes.
And the best part about it is I have caught the whole Journey behind record bars and you too can enjoy the experience with the art and sound when you enter your name and email address below the red arrow and get three free singles from my most recent album I Am that, I Am For The People By The People.