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Updated: Oct 19, 2020

There are times where I feel like I can do life by myself, relying on me and my own abilities to go about my day. Believing that I know what is best in every situation, living and dying by my word instead of at the hand of someone else. Never wanting to take a backseat, seeking leadership positions and entrepreneurship so that I live by my rules, and my rules only.

My dad asked me one time while I was in college, "Why do you feel you have to buck every system you're apart of?" Referring to my obvious disregard for authority, choosing to do what I wanted when applicable regardless of the boundaries set before me. When he said it, my first thought was a specific instance where I wasn't allowed to go to the school dance but I wasn't to be deterred. Sophomore year with a new girlfriend that I wanted since middle school, I had to make a good impression.

When I bought the ticket, I had no idea how I was going to make it to the dance. Plots and plans ran through my head up until the day of my escape. Too embarrassed to ask for a ride or tell anyone I couldn't go, I secretly picked out my outfit and waited until the time was right. Sneaking out the downstairs window furthest from my parents room, I hopped onto my bike and set out for the three and a half mile ride hoping that none of my classmates would notice me.

They did.

Remembering parking the bike behind some bushes in front of the school, fearful it would get stolen because I didn't have a lock on it. I remember a a Senior football player questioning me asking if it was me on the bike passing by the McDonald's up the street. With a grin I nodded in acknowledgement unknowingly setting a trend of self-reliance that has carried me through the years.

With not receiving the college offers that I felt that I was capable of, I went to prep school where we lived in condos with our teammates under a certain set of rules. Guidelines that were readily disobeyed as soon as the appointed supervision thought it best to sleep at his girlfriend's house instead.

Weeks went by before we realized he wasn't coming back to check on us, only to pick up and drop off never stepping foot in our condos again. Once our freedom was apparent, we did what all 18 year old's would with three condos amongst the 13 of them. Exposed to a lifestyle that defied laws daily, I indulged. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted and in succession, got suspended, arrested, my parents gave me a surprise visit, we fought, even traveling out of town for at home tattoos.

After the year was over I had a decision to make, I already verbally committed to Delaware State but I just received an offer from The Citadel. I wanted to be and do more, I wanted to be the greatest basketball player and the greatest in life. I knew I could've thrived at Delaware State amidst the melanin and curvaceous women, my weakness.

Not thrilled about the military aspect but deep down I knew I needed some discipline if I was to make it to the places I've dreamed of. Still, I bucked the system in the ways that suited my needs hoping not to get caught looking over my shoulder. Often times, reminding me of the school dance and how I kept looking at the door just knowing my parents were going to storm through causing a World Star moment.

From the illicit soft shoe, to ducking parade, to sneaking off with civvies to be with a woman. Something that I realized controlled a good part of my life, doing everything in my power to get the next whiff of the sweet smell that attracts a saluting appendage. Falling into the pit of lust and beauty, paying attention to the physical while blatantly ignoring the aura.

I've never fell so hard, felt so low, or even thought I could be depressed until after dealing with the wrong woman. My father always warned me that women will take my dreams from me, I never believed him.

Until it happened.

Mentally growing to be the type to have to test the waters myself before believing anybody else. I have to get burnt before grasping sense the heat radiating from the situation, another quality fueled by self-reliance. The mindset equivalent to that of a God.

At least that's what the Bible says when we put other people or things on the throne, and if it's me, I essentially am my own God.

Which was, I believe, to be the true premise behind my fathers question. He always talked about being unequally yoked in terms of a relationship, but he also spoke on another aspect and that's in between our own ears. He told me that I can't go hard in basketball but not for school work, I can give my all to sneak around but not to do chores. He encouraged that the balance, one day, will tip in favor of hard work or laziness.

It's impossible to have both. Just like it's impossible to live for God but live in the world at the same time. The evils of this world are humankind's biggest temptations, and at one point I didn't care what the Bible said or what God thought. I did what I wanted and vowed not to beg for forgiveness until I was done sinning.

There was a point in time where I hesitated before committing acts against my own body and God, but after awhile I forgot the conviction I felt. Or maybe the feeling escaped me after feeding my ear and eye gates with things contrary to my upbringing.

It felt so right though, exposing myself to a world that I thought had greener grass and unlimited possibilities. Striving for a status that will allow women to want me regardless of what I look like or where I came from. Learning early that with money and power, there isn't a need for love, or raw feelings.

At least, that's what I thought. Truly, how I felt too. Compressing emotions since I can remember, the concept of having them, even expressing them became foreign. I recall in my early days being on the court and choosing not to yell or show expression due to the lack of sincerity.

What does it look like? How would it feel?

After awhile, anti-social thoughts and behaviors began to develop. Increasing the sentiment of self-reliance. Which in turn, sparked fear of my inner self ever being exposed to the light. Always wondering if people are watching my eyes, conscious of my body and face emanations.

Unbeknownst to me, this produced proficiency in the ability to be amicable and adapt to any situation. Hiding truths behind persuasive speech, observation, a big smile, and a split conscious. I'll never forget watching the pilot episode for a series on Netflix called Dexter. He spoke about his lack of feelings, how he faked emotions observing how to respond or learning by trial and error. The monotoned narration continued by talking about the demons that show themselves in urges that go against normalized social behaviors.

I was in college but had an elementary level knowledge of the why's and the how's behind the mind set. In those first five minutes, was one of, if not the, first time I felt understood. Even though it was a show, I knew it came from the mind of someone who knows, meaning I wasn't alone. I became intrigued comparing me vs. him trying to make myself feel less, you know, crazy.

Quickly learning that there are people born hearing whispers and others who never hear them until they've already seeped into the soul. Intrusive thoughts is what I've learned to call them. They became overwhelming to where I thought I was hearing voices. At a point where I started shouting out loud to silence what was going on in my head, I realized that it was my own voice, just not my thoughts.

It's scary to see shows like Dexter and reading about people like Ted Bundy with their dexterity in human interaction. The ability to hide themselves and put forth a mask that makes it hard for anybody to believe that they are capable of such heinous acts.

When I see people who know how to "work a room," as some would call it, my first thought is always the same.

"What do your demons look like?"

Watching politicians and hearing the stories of their scandals, backed by the very government we pledge allegiance to. I'm almost certain the most successful in this arena, are the most dangerous.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.


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