I have been writing and performing poetry since I was about 9 years old. The first poem I read was Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” at a Family Reunion my family held. I performed it with such sass that my grandmother informed me to never perform like that again. The next time I spoke in front of a large audience was at the trial of the man that murdered my aunt. After beating her for years he finally decided to kill her in the middle of the night when after she’d finally gathered the strength to leave him. The mistake she made was telling him she was leaving. He slit her neck from ear to ear. I stood at the trial, looked him dead in the eye and words spilled from my 13 year old mouth that brought the court house to tears. I realized then that I’d been given a gift but 14 years later and I’m finally beginning to walk in my destiny.
This isn’t a podium for me to blast my accomplishments. What I have done is nothing compared to some and just enough according to others. I am a published Author, Playwright, Director, and Radio Show Host. My first book, “Think It, Write It, Speak It… Nothing But The Truth”, was published in May 2007. Wrote my first play,”Having Faith When Giving Up Isn’t An Option” in 2005 and it debuted February 2009 as “Bend, Don’t Break”. I’m currently directing my newest play, “Behind The Rainbow”, which will debut June 2009. GSpot Radio Show hit the air in December 2007 and has had great success every since for the LGBTQ community. I am working on a collaboration book for HIV/AIDS awareness and I have a program for HIV/AIDS awareness entitled “Positively Infected” that will show June 27 in Orlando, Fl. I have done many other things but those are some of the ones that I’m most proud of.
All of the above is who I am today however in order to become the “Force” that I am to become I must release some things that I have kept buried for the last 27 years of my life. I was born November 1981. Decided that my mother didn’t have anything else to do that day so she might as well have me. Patience has never been a friend of mine and it wasn’t on the day of my birth either. Never saw the delivery table, decided in the cab on the way to the hospital that she and I just wasn’t getting along and by the time she hit the elevator at the hospital, I stepped right out into the world bald headed, eyes, wide open, and watching. Came into this world running and I’ve been running every since. My biological father is one of two men. Either the man that she’d been dating or the one that violently raped her. In my mind it is the one she’d been dating that has been nothing but a father when the trauma of her rape wouldn’t allow her to be a mother to me.
James Alton West was a man of many short comings but his greatest feat in my mind is being a father to me when no one had every shown him how to. After all, his father was never in the picture. He already had a wife and family so the only thing he had time to do with my grandmother happened in the bedroom. Later in life I had a chance to get to know my grandfather in a way that my father never did. We buried my grandfather in November 2008.
My younger years are a mixture of moving from city to city. Although my father was there, I was primarily raised by my grandmother. She is the image of a grandmother that is known all to well in the Black Community. Where fathers are usually absent and in working and trying to be both parents, mothers just don’t have the time to provide their children with the quality time they truly need. In addition to my grandmother, there was also my great grandmother, great great aunt, and a few aunts that helped to mold me. Although I have other sisters and a brother, I was the only child in a house where the oldest resident was about 92. That was my great great aunt Myra. She lived to be 102 years old.
My great grandmother died of cancer less than a year after I graduated from High School and my grandmother has been in mourning every since. Life ain’t been a bed of roses and I have to shed these layers because my future has a lot to hold and I must “SanKofa”.
Over the next few weeks I will release a life of heart breaks and disappointments. I will share with you stories that most would be ashamed to admit but the truth knows no closets therefore I will wipe my slate clean. In my purging, I hope to inspire you. Maybe something in my life will heal something in yours. This is my trail to blaze and my machete has begun cutting.