This year was hard.
I won’t wrap it in sugar, or paint the events of this tour around the sun as rosy.
Call it a quarter life crisis, a recognition of trauma or an encounter with God. Call it an encounter with myself… 2018 rocked me. And if you have been following my journey on Instagram or read some of my poetry from this year you could probably feel the tremors.
I am a man who struggles with down days and rest. Somewhere inside me exists a voice that whispers in ever more creative ways, I have not done enough. Throw in American hustle culture, and self worth becomes nearly synonymous with achievement. At some point in the journey, I eventually fell prey to the lie that a finish line existed, or a trophy could be won. That after achieving enough, working enough, doing enough,
or relentlessly trying to be enough, that voice would grow silent.
I was wrong.
The demons don’t just disappear and no amount of bargaining for my own worth produced a day when I felt brave enough to simply be.
Growing up gay in a christian community left me scarred, and hungry for any plot, performance, or plan that would allow me to live with the shame of who I loved. Excellence became my vehicle for redemption. And I truly believed that once the reality in my head matched the reality outside I could be free, and stop over-compensating for being born broken.
Step by step, this master plan drove me further and further from the truth of who I was. And to borrow a phrase from Father Richard Rohr, I climbed the ladder, only to realize it was leaning against the wrong things. My bets had been placed, and living the life I swore was my dream, I found a deficit in my soul.
It took me 5 years to go from never having danced to performing with the pros. I had a life on social media that was glossy from the outside, and a man who my family loved and treated me well. I achieved all of the things and checked all the boxes, but I could not shake the feeling that something was wrong.
January first it was as if I had woken up in a life that simply did not belong to me; built by a stranger and occupied by my own confused self. I had done all the things I thought I should. The voice was supposed to be gone. And I, was finally supposed to be happy. But happiness blooms from the inside out and I harbored gravel in my bones.
So I did the only thing I could think of, and I blew up my life.
After years of dancing with a pop icon, I stepped away from dance. Ever the faithful layperson, I left my church in LA. I sought mental and emotional help and, after some sessions, set fire to the gunpowder lining my own family tree. I don’t know what I was searching for, I just knew that I needed to find out who I was at the bottom of this mess; I needed to catch a glimpse of something real underneath the masks. I needed to see myself.
And the best place to start, was the home I grew up in.
My mom was not prepared for me to call her that day. We hadn’t spoken in a while, but when we finally did, I will never forget the silence that poured through the phone when I spoke the words, “I don’t need you to fix me.” The narrative of a broken man would end here. 26 years later, it would end with me.
But her response… my mother’s response tore at the loose thread in my world view, and the damaging narratives I carried began to unravel.
She said, “I never thought you needed fixing… Your father and I, never thought you needed fixing. We were just doing our best to protect you from a world that does not remember how to be kind.”
The judgement was my own, the wounds, self-inflicted and for the first time I could see my healing sat squarely in my own hands.
And this also meant I could set myself free.
So I began to write, and line by line word by word began to walk myself home through a rekindled love of poetry. Letting the page reflect back to me the truth of my own heart, the glory and the breaking. That collection of poems became my first book, Be(loved). And I am just one percent more excited than terrified to share it with you this January.
Maya Angelou once said that the heaviest burden is that of a story left untold. Be(loved) is my story. My anthem and reminder to myself to
If you would like to receive a sneak peak at the poetry that will fill its pages, and be notified when it launches I have left a form open below (or you can click here) and you can catch work that has already been posted here.
The story doesn’t end here, but on honest ground I am beginning to rebuild the foundations of my life. If you have read this far, thank you for honoring me with your time, and I would love to hear from this community, what act of honesty you are most proud of?