No Apologies


I Struggled to Get Here

I’ve always heard a magical story about how I came into this world. Probably designed to miss me with any traumatic stress, the tales were always simple.

One morning, your cousin went over to check on your mom, and she was in labor (no one in the entire family even knew she was pregnant)! Mrs. Joyner, from down the lane was a midwife, and she came to deliver you. By the time Dr. Flood got there, you were born. End of story.

I don’t blame anyone for the vague details about my born day. I don’t harbor any resentment for Mom for not leaving a letter explaining everything. There’s just always been a rush of nagging feelings that encompasses my mere existence, Therefore, my emotional response is to all of it is to just strive.

Several months ago, I spoke with one of Mom’s best friends. Out of curiosity, I asked a question.

“You know, this is what I know about my mom and how I was born. What I want to know is, what was the word on the street? Some things just don’t make sense to me, and I wonder if I’m holding onto this stuff in my mind, because there’s something more I’m supposed to know.”

She replied, “Well, I won’t dispute anything that you already know, and I don’t know anything to be fact. If I recall correctly, the talk was that Beulah and the baby almost didn’t pull through. She was very sick for a while after that. I do know that she was out of work for a while.”

There was a rush of adrenaline and shock that flowed within me from head to toe. I felt that she was remembering and not creating, because of the way she referred to us in the third person. If that is true, then it explains so much.

So, I’ve been fighting since the womb. Conventional wisdom has always told me that if I was born in the house and not in a sterile environment, then things could have easily gone horribly wrong. However, to actually hear her say it was sobering, to say the least.

My Passions Are Deeply Rooted

Depth is just a part of who I am. An only child has lots (and lots and lots) of time to think about things:

What is life? Who is God and how did He get here? What am I supposed to be doing? Can I take my experiences and impact someone else in a positive way? Why am I going through xyz? 

Honestly, I am still grieving, and I will be the first to admit that. Grief for me thirty-two years later isn’t full of tears, though. Everything I have ever done artistically or athletically (basketball, band, coaching, technology, etc), I’ve done with a passion that desperately seeks the mirage of my mother’s smiling face. It’s a deep passion that I bring to my work that the average person probably cannot fathom. In fact, it’s so deep that I hardly bother with the forever absent paternal side of my life. It’s hardly relevant.

My drive has nothing to do with comparing myself to others. Rather, it has everything to do with carrying on a legacy that I only caught a glimpse of. I’ve questioned my purpose in life, my life’s path, and my mission. I suppose I will never fully know what those are, but passion is what pushes me to keep searching for answers.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I believe that parents are collectively, a person’s proverbial road map for navigating life. My extended family is my compass. My friends are the bread crumbs. However, I am wandering around the world without my GPS unit. So, I am not going to make all of the right turns, and pass all of the landmarks on time on the way to my destination.

When I am seemingly running twice as fast as you are in the race, consider this: I’m not trying to beat you. I am trying to make up for the time I lost circling the same block six hundred times! Actually, I don’t even realize you’re beside me in the first place. My passions and my destiny have nothing to do with you, at all.

Somehow, my daughter could tell I was searching for answers recently while riding home from school in the car. She was amazed that I had started podcasting and internet radio. I said to her,

“Bri, you know how I just wake up one morning and decide to embark upon some new craft? Well this is one of those instances.”

To make all of this clear, she enlightened me by saying,

“Mom, your brain works differently than most people’s. Like, there are certain things that only you can say or think of that the average person would never think about. It’s not a bad thing, it just makes you different than most people. You’re just a creative type of person.”

After I concluded that her words were in fact, a compliment, I thought even more about why I am so driven to do the things that I do. I am just very introspective, and I spend a lot of time trying to understand others and what makes them tick.

I had fallen into a pattern of apologetically striving for my personal goals. All of which simply enables me to say, “Mom, I hope you are proud.” Apologetically, I defend and explain my motives to those who do not understand from where the passion comes. Often, I apologetically make excuses for “going hard” on most things.

All I really want is to be unapologetically me.

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