I am a man engaged in the story of life, who is sometimes complex. My story stems from my childhood, a story of living in love and in trauma.
Even in the midst of praying for peaceful dreams, I was ravaged with fear.
“Now I lay me down to sleep and I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
In my mind, I could not go to sleep because I thought I would surely die. With my eyes propped open with invisible toothpicks, I was always looking for the other shoe to drop. So, I did not close my eyes. I did not sleep very much during my childhood. I spent many nights awake watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Cabin in the Sky and Cal Worthington.
I learned to survive within the truth of a story. Even though, my fears were not ground in a real truth, they became a pattern of survival, then the story that would allow me to rise to the top of the waves with the waters raging inside of me. And the waters would wash me and feed me. I became my own ocean. I did not understand the depth of my responsibility to be a person and how to balance the scales of fear and love. But I knew the freedom of a twirling body, a point of a hand in a rhythmic poise. I knew the power of a state of love into the eyes of your beloved, in the midst of a midnight dance.
This time at night gave me the opportunity to process the drama of the previous day. I would lay enveloped in the lines of my tales. I would live in the safety of my fantasies. I learned to dream with my eyes wide open. I built cities in my backyard with handmade wooden, stick houses and furrowed streets so they could stream water. I knew a fire would come, so you had to be prepared. I could not understand why my father would beat my mother. I could not understand why he turned the kitchen table upside down, spilled the groceries we just dutifully bought, packaged and carried home to feed our waiting hungry mouths at meal time. I hung my head in shame. It hurt my ears to hear him call her a whore. I felt the burning of her tears. I wanted to love my father, but I feared the depth of his rage.
When I buried my father, I found out he was born out of rape. In learning that fact, it brought me to a new realization of his personal trauma. Also, I had to forgive him for his woundedness, the pain of his story. The process taught me to be an editor in life’s gifting. I learned to meet the ocean at the foot of shore. I began to learn the art of sitting with oneself. I would soon learn to let go of whatever has the power to drown me. I had to developed a deeper relationship with water. I had to learn to properly feed myself, learn how to find balance while drinking the water and eating the abundance of food in the ocean. I learned to sit on rocks by the ocean, to singing to the waves as they reflected my emotions. I learned to place my emotions in their proper place. I came to understand the language of internal peace.
To get to where I am now, I buried myself in responsibilities. I became the model student and a stable in the top percentile of my academic classes. I worked hard at being a worthwhile person. It was important to me to be understood as a being worth honoring. First, I had to honor myself and be my own hero. I became someone flying in pure freedom, safe inside my books and my dreams of being a solution to all that troubled my young mind. My father was called “Andrew the Leaping Crow” and I was called “Little Crow.” I learned to understand the spread of my own wings. I also learned to understand the renewal journey of the eagle when it goes through its process of shedding its beak, his feathers and talons. I had to be willing to be reborn, no matter how painful. I believe this is the human process, our rite of passage.
I buried the memories of the mental and sexual abuse. I learned to be detached. Most of the time I felt safe and loved. I had a family that supported me in love. Yet, I had a family deeply embedded with echoes of a society which refused to support them as valid human beings. It was the in between times where I got lost in time, lost in the pain of feeling alone and abandoned. Men are supposed to protect the women. I was a man-child and I realized there was no one to protect me. I began avoid the human touch, just for protection. At that point, I did not know how to use power, but I knew how it was taken. I learned the art of dreaming in motion because I was always leaving. I became a runner.
I could still my mind in the midst of creating. I could become totally present to allow the art of breathing to come in and then be released. I understand the imagery of struggle. I understand the journey of healing to become whole. I identify with people who struggle, including the poor, disenfranchised and queer. I am all of them. I have spent my life unloading pain that did not belong to me. I am only one part of the story. I found I had power within my own character in the story. I found I could be a working part of the solution. It was revealed I could be a part of the change by being love in action. I became aware my voice could be an echo in the wave of the ocean and the echo in the coming wind of change and I must take responsibility to speak up for mistreatment, even at the risk of personal embarrassment. We, as individual people, have to drop the personal shame and address the overall problem. We must stop injustice and the racism in our world. Racism, sexism or any “ism” kills the human spirit, aborts it ability to express itself. Every voice matters.
Every voice has it place in the human choir and should be supported by the unified voices.
The tenor voice does not ask the alto voice for proof of validity. Nor, do any of the voices need confirmation of right to express their individual vocal ranges. We all crave acceptance of the sounds of our individual voice. I know there are things we desire, and some things are stolen as some things are wanted. And some things are simply given. I desire the daily acts of love. I resent the loss of love where fear has come to take its place. I want love and solution to be freely given. I want to live an ocean of joy. I don’t deny pain. I respect the lessons of pain and living. I want to be a Man of Compassion, a Man of Love.
I breathe in total belief I will be able to turned stagnant fear into stream of rivers that find their way home to the ocean of my dreams. I have a dream of washing clean the pains of trauma, turning them into gifts of becoming more than I was yesterday. I have the ability to be born again, on a daily basis. I live my life as a positive, self-correcting and life affirming man. With this truth as a possibility, I can truly lay down at night and peacefully sleep with my soul at rest.