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I'm not entirely sure why, but it was extremely hard to take Amara back this weekend. I wanted nothing more than to keep her for the rest of the week, the month, the year. Not because she has a bad mother, exact opposite actually, but I just want to be in my daughter's everyday life.

It's crazy to think that most of the mess we find ourselves in is our own doing, sometimes that's hard to live with. I'm not sure about you, but living with my own mishaps has always been hard to digest. Knowing that the root cause is my own decisions, my own lack of knowledge of the warring between my ears and how it affects the way I view life.

Listening to this sermon by the pastor of BOD church, Craig Groeschel, and it was a message titled after his recently published book Winning the War In Your Mind. God lead me to his videos on YouTube, I want to say he was a guest on my lead pastors church Michael Todd during his Crazy Faith series but I'm not completely sure.

Pastor Groeschel was talking about the filter that we look through, relating it to snapchat filters and how the entire picture can change because of one. He put an example of a family photo and then another after his child had got ahold of adding the puppy face filter with the tongue out making them all look goofy. The same picture, but one could be used as a professional photograph where as the other is something you would find in the archives of a teenagers phone.

For me, and my hardships, I can either look at it with a negative point of view or I can choose to search for the positives and extract what I can learn. He made a great point, nothing I haven't heard, but it's worth researching why some people's words resonate more than others. Especially when it comes down to listening to parents, we always feel as if we know more than them or that they are trying to crush our shine.

The quote and scripture I live by, what got me started on this path to success and greatness is "Faith without works is dead." Even though my dad tried to implore the same ideology to me for years prior, it took another coach talking to the team, not even directly to me, for it to click.

Same with my current demise, although I've heard it from my parents and even Michael Todd it was more effective this time around. He also expounded on the impossibility of living a positive life with a negative mindset, wherever my thoughts go my life follows and I'm seeing the ramifications of my mental state now.

It had me thinking on my entire life, how I made it to Varsity my sophomore year, showed out in prep school, and eventually landed my spot at The Citadel. I thought about AAU, and how my coach used to brag on me because of my work ethic off the court. At the time I was doing 200 push ups and crunches daily as well as running every other day or on the weekends, depending on my allotted time. I think at that time I was only running 4 miles, eventually capping at 7, I remember wanting to try 10 but needing my knees for the basketball court.

After listening to the message I realized the vast difference in my mindset, back then I was writing goals on my walls and looking at them everyday. I read books that were conducive to my mental growth, and unknowingly, my writing abilities which will help me in latter years.

Like now. Never thought I would be a poet, I've always known I wanted to be an author though. I've tried writing several books as a kid and have reshaped my debut book at least three times. My mind had a fixed focus on my goals and how to obtain them, and there wasn't a shred a doubt that I would. If I did have reservations, I masked them by getting in the gym or going running or knocking out some push ups during a commercial break.

I see the difference between now and then, I see how I slowly started to wane away from a goal-oriented mind to someone lost in his own head. It's my fault though, as I mentioned earlier, falling subject to a woman with malicious intentions. What a horrible realization, what a defeat, how did I get here?

God lead me to another sermon this past Sunday while I was at work, by Pastor Groeschel again, and it was another touching message. He spoke on ridding the shame, shaking it from the core that tends to permeate and fester into many heads with minds of their own. The message was so good that I had to watch it twice, back-to-back.

This past Sunday I learned the biggest stronghold in my life, what drives my anxiety and my need for success as well as the self hate that I've carried around since the third grade.

Shame. Ashamed of who I am, ashamed of being molested, ashamed that I grew to like it after awhile, ashamed of the concurring thoughts that followed. Ashamed that I couldn't be all that I wanted with basketball, ashamed that I chose the wrong partner to fall in love with, ashamed that I'm kept from my child, ashamed to go to the courts and let people know how much of a fool I was. Ashamed that no matter how hard I tried to make it right or make myself feel better, it was always to no avail.

Now I understand the underlining for my sexual exploits and the need to fight demons through intercourse. Racking up in numbers fearing the past will once again rise taking over turning me into someone I always felt I was but never wanted to be.

He made some great points of someone who has "shame-based thinking," it comes out in perfectionism. Trying to outperform the emotions that weighed me down, the reason I could never get over the hump under the lights because of the immense pressure I put on myself to be better than how I felt. Doing my best to be the best and crumbling when failing to reach the level I desired, and putting the same perfectionist mindset on those who surround me not accepting anything less. That's all I accepted for myself, which only proved to drive me further into the hole I dug for myself.

Another point was that these thinkers are very critical of themselves which drives them to be very critical of others. Also we hate in other people what we see in ourselves, it's why I grew up with a heavy disdain for those whose lives are put in higher regard than the average black man. Regardless of the letter of the alphabet, and I've always heard growing up that I was very judgemental. I find myself saying throughout my life that I'm harder on myself than anyone else. Which is true, and a red flag for someone who is filled with an seemingly unbreakable chain.

The last point is that we have self-defeating thoughts to avoid from being disappointed, which is what I did when I was in a relationship with Amelia's mom. Not believing I deserved better and accepting the wretched days that we called a relationship.

All my fault. All cause of the shame.

There's plenty more that stemmed from this shame that I carried around like a handbag, one major problem is that I couldn't find myself to face God cause I felt worthless in his presence. Not worthy of his love or his peace and continually spiraling out, keeping it hidden until my heart was broken and not possessing the fortitude to keep up the charade.

Now I feel emotionally exhausted, not sure if I'll ever see Amelia again or if she'll remember me or even come to me when I see her. The shame of feeling like a horrible father, failing my daughter in the sense of a family and who I chose to be her mom.

So much shame.

With God though, there isn't a need to feel that way, his peace will overcome and he doesn't condemn us because he as already paid the price for our sins. I just wish it felt that way, but I'm back on my walk of faith promising not to slip again because I can't come back here. I even stopped typing in capital letters, it has been symbolic of me screaming on the inside a way of me crying out for help. One of the reasons I can connect with DMX.

I got to get better for my daughters, what else matters as much?

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.

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