Who I Was…

I’m not proud of who I was two years ago. I don’t know if I’m resurfacing many of my memories because of recent events over the last few months, or I simply feel like there is a void gradually splitting open more everyday. Either way, I will never go back to that place. Everyday I push more and more to be productive and keep my past behind me. The strange thing is, it somehow finds its way back into my life like a twisted vine tightening its grip around my throat. Where did this all start though? Why do I always have the inkling that I am alone?

I don’t know if it was the constant heartache from being hurt by multiple people. If it was the fact that I felt like I didn’t amount to anything because everything I attempted to build always crumbled. Hell, I don’t even know if it’s the fact that depression still blackens my emotions like thick oil. I will say this though, I overcame a part of me that I thought would always hold a barring on my life. Debts, struggles, and worries were all the issues that built inside me and made me feel like there was no hope left for me. Let me tell you where I was in May last year and why I turned to Christ instead of committing suicide.

I had just left work at 11pm and it was a rough night. I was about to lose my car because I could barely afford the lease. My relationship was rocky because I was struggling with my own fears and doubts about what I could achieve. My life was a mess. I felt like David trying to hide every secret from everyone. I lied to everyone I came in contact with because I did not want them to know that my writing was actually a flop. Yes, my books were not selling and I was about to lose everything. I was scared!

The rain was pattering on my windshield and it was pitch black. I was listening to some rock music and listening to the chaos unfolding in the lyrics. I can’t remember what song I was listening to but I was pissed off. I was angry at God, my parents, my friends, and my life. I convinced myself that ending it that night would be the best course of action. A bullet to my head would be messy, so I figured a peaceful sleep with some drugs would make people bare to see my face in a casket at a funeral. Yes, I was really in the darkest depths of my consciousness convincing myself that death is the way to solve everyone’s problems in my life.

Eventually, my eyes were burning too much for me to continue driving so I pulled over. I turned the ignition off and stared through the sunroof, watching the water puddle on the roof. I reached for my phone and flipped through my contact list and cursed every person that I use to be able to talk to because I knew there was nothing they could say to convince me to stop what I was about to do. Then, there was some friends that I knew who didn’t even want to bother hearing what I had to say because they had their own problems and would simply brush me off like a mosquito.

I don’t know what led me to the moment where I clenched the wheel of my car and screamed out to Jesus for help. This was what I said if I remember correctly:

“Father, why have you done this to me? What am I doing? Who do YOU want ME to be? My life was great and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I lived a life that very few people get to actually experience. I’ve had it all. Why have you decided to lead me on this road? Why have you pulled my friends away and left me here alone? If you are real, why would you let me WANT to kill myself? Please, help me figure out something. There is nothing else for me and I am not going to make it! PLEASE!”

Little did I know a few moments later after really clenching the wheel did I feel chills ripple across my arms and chest. This was no ordinary feeling, it was like someone had wrapped their arms around me and rubbed my skin trying to comfort me. It was an eye opening experience. I took a deep breath and all the worry simply went away. Something inside me had changed and my perspective was gradually altering to wanting to go home and sleep.

A few days later, I went to church for the first time without it being a holiday in almost ten years. I was nervous and scared. I had always heard that church-goers were the most judgmental but after a few weeks of continuously going to church these people were trying to figure out who I was. I ended up going to bible studies with my dad there and even trying to get deeper into my faith after meeting more people there. Then, it all came together for me. I needed a community of people to talk to. I couldn’t handle all these burdens on my own, and God led me to where I needed to be.

It’s hard to believe where I was a year ago and where I am now but putting my faith in Jesus has led me on a road that I never thought would be there. Jesus gave me the strength to take leaps of faiths that I never thought I would have the courage to do. I ended up leaving my job, finishing my novel, starting a business, and accepting a role in a passion play. I’ve met a lot of amazing people along the way, but God filled the void. He has filled the void with people who care. Even as I write this, the tears are dropping from my eyelids because none of this was possible if I didn’t keep my faith in him. Jesus healed, he provided, and he gave me strength again. It’s truly amazing and I can’t stop thanking him.

Let go, Let God. It’s the only philosophy I go by now because even in hard times somehow he has protected me and kept my feet moving forward.

Connecting the Dots

Today has been a very inspirational and encouraging day. A lot of the questions about my life and where I am being guided have finally pieced together. There are still some questions that are constantly pressing deep inside of me, but I am gradually finding the voice to express how I feel in those moments.

I had many memories of small moments that have led me to where I am at now from all of the pride I had for myself, the jealousy of others that did better than me, and all of my selfish ways. During my days in high school eight years ago, I had a huge ego. I thought that the world revolved around me and I could do whatever I wanted. My life was based around a spoiled kid who went to mom and dad for anything that I needed at the time. Especially if I ran into trouble along the way, they were the first ones I ran to for help. There are constant things that happen throughout people’s lives to bring them back to the Lord and in every way, it turns out to be a beautiful story that is filled with encouragement for others who have the opportunity to hear a person’s life. Well, I’m going to summarize all of the important moments of my life that led me here.

Learning Music-

I learned how to play music in high school, and I was very talented at it. I played tuba in the Wind Symphony, and sousaphone in the marching band. The goosebumps and special moments I experienced performing made me feel like I was at bliss with myself. There was nothing that could take away the feelings that music brought to my heart. When I reached my Senior year of high school, I traveled across Europe and performed at many historical locations across the continent. It was an amazing adventure that created a new perspective of what I wanted to do with my music.

Back home, I put together a small rock band and enjoyed creating music. It was like we were all connected until we started finding new members and replacing old ones. It got to the point where all we wanted was fame and fortune. Both of these never came to us, but we did enough work to pull in a small following, but we never reached that milestone where we all felt fulfilled with our lives. All of us wanted to make more money and be able to travel to huge arenas, where we could perform for thousands. That never happened though. After looking back at what kind of experience I went through with the band, it made me realize the one passion I truly did have. It was actually the ability to write a story and portray a picture of what I was seeing in my mind. This brought about the next stage to my life.

Writing-

I enjoyed writing stories before, during, and after my music stage of life. I went to school at the Art Institute of Atlanta, where I was studying Audio Production. My journey there ended up leading me into an English class, where I met a wonderful teacher named, Ms. Jenkins. She was one of the most encouraging teachers I had ever had the honor of studying with. She taught me a lot about creative writing and even offered her services in editing to help me grow as a writer. It wasn’t until it was the end of the year when she gave me my first notebook to use for dreams that I happen to want to write about. That notebook now sits inside of a box in my closet, but it was the gesture that let me know that I was stepping in the right direction in my life.

I ended up writing scripts for some of the video production students, who struggled with creativity. It was fun joining in small groups and helping these kids out, but it didn’t start to dawn on me until about two years later when my dad sat me down in his office at his house.

Spreading My Wings-

My dad was struggling with his business, and he was leading in the direction of bankruptcy and searching for a solution for problems at work. He worked so hard for his business that he built the last 25 years. My mom played an important roll with him too, but it all came tumbling down. I don’t know when the quake started for my dad, but it didn’t reach me until I was halfway through college.

He sat me down in his office and looked up at me over the rim of his glasses. He had multiple documents in his hands from insurance companies, school bills, the mortgage, utilities, and anything else he owed money to. His credit was ruined and there was little hope for him to pull himself out of it. Actually, I remember a few months later he started going back to church and searched for answers in spirit trying to figure out what to do in his situation. Anyways, he told me that he could not take out another loan for my schooling and that I needed to start helping out. I was told that I needed to get a job to help pay for my schooling, my health and auto insurance. It was actually a fair deal, but my selfishness and ego didn’t see it that way. I felt like my dad was trying to punish me and make me fail. It wasn’t that at all.

If my dad did not make me step up my life like he did that day, I think I would still be living with them in the same position today. At the time, I was coming near the end of performing with my band and meeting the one I love today, Nadine. My band performed two more gigs after I met Nadine, and we split up because the guitarist wanted to join the army, I needed to make more money working in the grocery store, and the drummer went to school down in Valdosta, which was a distance away.

Nadine-

I remember meeting Nadine in a small pizzeria off of Lawrenceville Highway. It was inside of a strip mall, but they had open mics there, and my guitarist wanted to perform one of our last times there. We went in and one of our fans was there with her cousin, Nadine. I sat down at the table behind her with Luke. I couldn’t help but text Nadine’s cousin. I sent texts about how beautiful Nadine was and how much I liked her. It was actually kind of pathetic on my end of it haha! We exchanged numbers at the end of the night and ended going on a few dates afterwards.

I think meeting Nadine was not a coincidence in my life. I feel like it was God’s way of pointing me in the direction I needed to turn to. If it wasn’t for Nadine, I would’ve never continued to work at my job with the grocery store. I would be living with my parents. Quite possibly, I probably would have not had the motivation to build myself up. I had found my Eve, but I needed more in my life to feel like I was doing well in the public eye of my friends and family. I decided to become an Assistant Manager after three years of working for the same company.

I’m going to end this post here. it’s getting a bit long. Plus, I have work early in the morning. Please stay joyful and inspired by everything around you. There’s always a spark somewhere that is going to get your attention. You just have to be patient to grasp its meaning. Until tomorrow, sleep well and Happy Blogging!

MY Recent ReBlog

I scoured through my past posts and was amazed at how long ago I posted my Testimony on here. I read through the whole post, which I am sorry if it was too long for anyone that read it, but it was my story last year. We all have a story where we fell to the darkest depths of our inner selves and tried so desperately to pull ourselves from the ashes, but we continued to scrape against the small stone walls of our world. It’s kind of funny though when God uncovers your blind eyes and reveals what is waiting for you. Yes, it may at first seem like an uncomfortable change for yourself, but once you do it, the world starts to turn again in your life.

Psalm 139: 11

“If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is light to you.”

At the church’s Men’s Group Breakfast today, a young woman named Jessica Banner spoke about how God has been working with her to bring her to where she is now. This was a verse that she read today, and I was instantly pulled to it because I was in this same place for a long time.

It’s funny how this speaker today fell into my life at a time, where I was still having questions towards God. I was still pondering what my life really meant and why I was continually satisfied with everything around me now, even though not much has changed other than my attitude. I know I have been more active with my blog recently, and I write more frequently with my novel. These two things were the only two changes I’ve made in my life so far, and I have been immensely blessed with joy being able to have the opportunity to spread my thoughts with my words.

Today was a realization that God did many of these things so quickly this last year because I had too much pride in myself when I was an Assistant. I decided I didn’t need him anymore, and as bad as I hate to say it, I returned to him in the darkest hours. I hate to say it only because I wish I would have glorified him in my brightest days. I’ve learned to be more humble towards him and the ones around me that have pushed me in this direction, and I plan to keep moving in this direction.

Trials

I have come to the realization that I am being tested. Last year was a great year. I published my first book, made a little money to get some new things, and stepped down from my job to pursue writing. I’ve finally realized that having a part time job and writing is not working out anymore. I can’t take the plunge that I wanted to because I am so deep in debt currently, and I am having troubles with even paying for my insurance, car, and phone. I was offered by a family member recently $3,000, but I turned it down. Is it because of my pride? I don’t think so. I just never really thought I’d be at this point in my life. Let me break it down for you guys real quick. Maybe someone can give me some advice.

I owe:

$308 on my phone before it’s turned back on.

$877 behind on my car payment.

$9,700 owed to student loans.

$2,800 owed in credit cards.

Plus, my mortgage has gone from $540 a month to $740 a month because of property taxes.

Am I concerned about these things? Yes, I am. Do I let them control my life? No I don’t.

Right now, I feel like I am being tested on my faith and my own life. I put a lot of faith in God, but when I get the phone calls and the letters in the mail from debt collectors, I do waver a bit. I am the first one to say that I am not a good Christian. I have done wrong, I have sinned many times, I’ve been envious of others, and I put my wants before my needs. I know there are far more people out there that have a lot worse going on in their life. I pray for those people I know and I don’t know everyday. I pray for myself as well cause I do need help. I do need to find a way to rise up from where I am at.

I work 40 hours a week at my current job, and I do side work to get by. Although I may be worried about these small financial things, I do believe that God will provide. At the end of the month, I still have a roof over my head, transportation to get to work, and food on the table. Yes, some days are scary. Some weeks frighten me.

The only consistent thing in my life has been family, and I finally realized that money was the factor that tore it apart years ago. Do I want that in my life? No. Is that why I turned down the $3,000? Maybe.

When you live a life where everyone is out to take care of themselves, you don’t know what that money will lead to. If I take that money, I would pull myself out of a lot of the debt that I am, plus get back on track with my bills. I just want to earn it though. I want it to be my own money that I busted my butt for. Not someone else’s money so they can come back and hound me for it back. That’s why I say no. I can’t put myself in a position where my family turns against me because of a piece of paper. Sorry, I needed to rant a little.

10 Smells That Make You Happy

I heard this on the radio the other day and I thought this would be a great topic to post today. Hopefully this post can bring happiness and joy to others, and kindly reblog, share, and post your own smells that bring happiness to your life.

1. Cookies in the Oven: I enjoy the smell of cookies. It’s mouth watering and makes me excited to be able to enjoy the delightful taste. It also reminds me of my parents baking them every holiday.

2. Cut Grass: After I cut the grass, I love the smell that lingers in the air. Not the fuel smell, but the smell of wet or dry grass. Reminds me of when I played baseball back in middle school.

3. Sweet Perfume: I just love all of the melon and citrus smells that come off of a woman. It makes me want to just hug the air and reminds me of my fiance.

4. Cigarettes: Alright, I know this is a bad habit and I don’t smoke, but I do like the smell of smoke. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of poker nights and performing in a band back when I was younger. A weird smell but it just brings back those good times with friends.

5. New Car Smell: Who doesn’t like the smell of a new car? You just forked over thousands and the least you can get is a fresh car smell that brings chills down your spine.

6. Hotel Rooms: The smell of hotel rooms is just that small reminder that you are on vacation and finally away from home.

7. Ocean Air: I love the scent of salt in the air. Plus, the breeze and sounds of the ocean. It’s very relaxing.

8. The Grill: Anything that goes on the grill whether it’s hotdogs, hamburgers, or steaks, the smell is divine. Grilling out reminds me that summer is here and baseball season is in full swing.

9. Burning Leaves: I love the barbeque smell that lingers in the air. Especially while I’m driving and the windows are down. It just makes me want to go home and start grilling some food.

10. Beer Factories: The smell of yeast wafting is the air is strong at factories, but it really does make me crave for a stein. The smell of hops also makes me happy too.

What’s Been Happening?

I haven’t done a personal post in a while so i thought I would update everyone on what’s going on. Currently, I am working on editing The Temperament Scepter to hopefully make its debut in August, (Hopefully) I am also discovering a deeper meaning to life as I have as started to look deeper into my spiritual self as well as discovering myself. I have hit many bumps and roadblocks in my life so far and I know there are more to come, but I know that it will get better. Everyday that I write i have found my love for it starting to return. I don’t know why I needed reassurance from strangers before but I’ve realized if I love something I need to continue to pursue it.

This blog has brought in many interesting people that I thought I would never get the opportunity to talk to. (Thank you internet/wordpress.) I’d also like to say that sometimes falling to the ground and crawling back to your feet again is the best way to discover yourself again. My gut feeling last year to step down from my job and pursue writing was extremely frightening. Also, the many trials that continued to knock down the wall that I built around myself finally took toll on me. It wasn’t until I had to face my demons that I finally realized that I cannot continue to live the old lifestyle. I had to make a change in my life. First it was my job, then my spending, and now my faith.

I have found the happiness that I was so desperately searching for a year ago. It never was about becoming rich, famous, or powerful. The happiness and joy I needed was a stronger faith and to be a part of the community I have learned to be a part of now. I do have a few days, where I feel down or worried about even stepping foot outside. I still do things that I know I need to cut out of my life for good. I’ve created habits that I am aware of now, but my discipline is weak. Hopefully, I can one day push all of those things out of my life for good, but right now, the tiny baby steps and goals are what’s helping me. I will never be a perfect person, but I can do better. Thanks to all those that have supported me and been hear to read my ramblings or happiness. I will continue to write more of my creative posts like poems and stories. I’ll try to post more personal things, but sometimes my personal life does find its way into my writings, so maybe you guys can see my moods at that moment.

Thanks again and happy blogging!

Peace, Love, and Patience

I had to post this story today while I was ordering my lunch at the local grocery store. I was standing there in front of the soda dispenser waiting for a lady to finish getting all of her things together at the condiment counter. The reason I waited was because she had her grocery cart in front of the machines to get drinks. I’m pretty sure she didn’t notice me, but I was not in a hurry at all.

As I waited, an older lady walked up to me and grunted under her breath. “Hmph, you’re a lot nicer than I am. I would’ve just asked her to move out of the way.”

I smiled and looked down at her. “Ya know, I could do that, but I’m patient and am not in a hurry.”

So she walked in front of me and got her drink. I chuckled because she jumped in front of me, but something inside of me didn’t get angry. I just nodded and finally got my drink and went back to a table in the corner of the store, where I would eat my lunch. Another woman came up to me and looked up at me, saying good morning. I responded to her and saw her say grace at the table next to me with her friend.

For that one moment of my day, where I was just going to get something to eat, I saw many different signals bouncing in my direction. It was almost as if I was being nudged about the things that were on my mind all day. Peace, Love, and Patience.

I have been eager to discover these three characteristics in myself. All three have always been tough to in myself. Yes, I can love my fiance and my family but to love my enemies has always been a very hard thing to do. I remember talking to my dad last year about how he took the step to pick out three different people that he was seeking forgiveness from. One of these people was actually someone he was too stubborn to apologize to. The funny thing is though, he was placed in the same room with the guy at a networking event. One that his enemy never showed up to but that day was the first day he ever showed up. My dad went to him and talked to him about their disagreement and told him he was sorry for everything. They both had lunch and talked it over. Now, it’s almost like they had just met all over again and have befriended each other once again.

Now, the reason I’m telling you this story is because my dad told me to do the same thing. I picked three people that I felt were either enemies, or people I had a fall out with. Here’s how it went:

My fiance’s cousin:

We use to talk to each other all the time. She would come to my band’s gigs all the time and she would always call us her brothers. I met her cousin, Nadine, and we hit it off great. We’re engaged now, but family issues pulled all of us apart. It got to the point where I got sick and tired of it and brought it up to her on facebook. (Yes, not a very mature thing for me to do) Anyways, we bantered with each other and used questionable words and phrases. Put each other down in witty ways, and copied all of our responses to show to everyone that mattered in our life to make the other look bad.

After the night driving in the rain, where I asked for forgiveness and help from the Lord, my eyes opened wider, and I could see better. Every night that I prayed everything inside me felt better. My burdens were gone and I could breathe easier. Although it helped a lot, I still had many problems I wanted to address with people in my life. The first one was “To love thy neighbor.”

I messaged her one day and told her that I was sorry. She seemed shocked at first, but I told her that everything I said was wrong and that we are family. Yes, not yet, but sometimes in life family will have arguments but that doesn’t mean we should tear each other down. We talked for a few minutes because she was at work, but she accepted my apology and invited Nadine and me to lunch to talk. It never happened due to scheduling conflicts but for both of us we took a huge step from where we were before.

My best friend (1):

The second person to come to mind was my best friend. I remember  a few weeks to about a month we didn’t talk at all. It was over something I can’t even remember now. That is how insignificant the argument was at the time. We talked for about an hour. I think most of our argument had to do with my relationship and all of my poor decisions I was making at the time. I will have to admit I have made many poor decisions financially and personally. My life was a wreck.

She forgave me for everything and now, we are talking again. I just want to say that with all of my friends that I pushed away, I really didn’t mean to do it. I only did it because at the time there was something I needed to take care of myself. I didn’t want the opinions and criticism. I wanted peace of mind so that I could focus on my relationship with my fiance. All of the suggestions just made me feel worse about myself already. It got to the point where I sat down with Nadine and poured myself to her. Told her everything I was feeling and how I needed help getting my life back together. (That’ll be for a different post.)

The third person was my best friend (2):

I still haven’t been able to talk to her or message her. She reads my messages and emails. Possibly my voice mails? I just want to point out that before I fell into my dark places, I was a good person. (Most of the time.) I remember the exact argument that pushed her away. The one that lost a very dear friend that was close to my heart. Not saying anyone of my other friends are not as important. I’m just saying she was there for EVERYTHING!

Anyways, what happened was we got into an argument about my relationship. She said that she thinks I need to think about finding someone else. I told her that I am happy with Nadine, I’m just struggling with my financial situation. But little did I know that my financial situation was effecting my relationship with Nadine. I let my financial problems mix with my emotions about Nadine, and I said things that were not true. I blamed everything on her, which I should not have done. I even put myself before Nadine. It was a very selfish thing of me.

Well, she told me that I should maybe move on from Nadine. Not think about marriage or kids because I obviously have some problems I need to square away before I can take that step. I got defensive and told her that’s not true. That I do love Nadine and I think we are ready, but she disagreed. The reason I got frustrated though was because she was marrying a guy that she had been with back in high school. They broke up and got back together a few years ago, but he was in a relationship with someone and my friend kept flying out to see him across the country. It was none of my business, but I cared about her well being and I didn’t want to see her hurt.

Well, they ended up mending their relationship and he left his girlfriend to be with my friend. They both got married last year but I said something to her that I will always regret. I said it out of my own anger and selflessness. I told her sarcastically that I hoped she had the perfect f**king wedding, with the perfect f**king man, and lived happily f**king ever f**king after! (Yes, I dropped the atomic F’s) I couldn’t restrain myself, and she replied calmly to me with, “And to you too. Good luck!”

She has pretty much wiped me clean from her life. She reads my messages, but never responds. I haven’t talked to her family since then or any of her friends. Pretty much everything that we shared was gone and still is. I wrote three long apologies and tried to call her multiple times, but there hasn’t been a response in the last 5 months. Even though my third person will not acknowledge me anymore, I feel like I have done everything possible to beg for her forgiveness. I’ve eventually moved on from it though because I have now focused my energy on peace and patience.

All I can say is that in the moments when someone says the most ruthless things to you. In the times where people accuse each other of past transgressions, and treat each other like they are above every one else. In the times when people are lost and think only materialistic things will bring them out of the society we’re in now. All of this we have to remember is temporary. What matters is what you do now while your still alive. Are you going to be the one that talks everyone down, or the one that praises someone’s faults? A world cannot change without more love and patience spread by its people

Next time you’re standing there watching someone pick up their drink and condiments. Even if they take longer than a normal person, just remember, talking behind their back is not going to help the issue cause that person maybe suffering and underlying illness or death that you don’t know about. So watch what you say and do cause everyone is waiting for you to reveal your flaws. Don’t give them that luxury. Love and praise each other.

The Power of People

I just want to say how amazing it is to find so much support from ordinary people around us. When I started writing my novel, Horizon, I had invested do much money into getting it of the ground and putting together a story that I wanted for my own.

I wanted to thank my family for going through the process with me of writing my new novel The Temperament Scepter. I also want to thank my friends for putting together ideas and art for the cover and maps of my book. It’s funny how many people want to jump on a project when you tell then about your story and where you are trying to take it. I see a bright future fir this story and I know many bloggers and readers probably see. NEW BOOK! And turn away, but I want you to know that either way I do appreciate your support by sharing, liking, and inviting your readers to check my blog out.

Thank you all and keep writing!