The Most Beautiful and Terrifying Moment

It has been a while since I have posted a blog entry. It has been almost a year in fact. I think this occasion is a good enough reason to get back into my blog writing. I would like to introduce you all to my Fiancée

My Fiancée

My Fiancée Tyffani

Yes, I got engaged toTyffani Thompson. It was a magical moment for me and my new fiancée. We met 3 years ago at work and had been friends for a couple of years. When we first met neither of us would have imagined we would be at this point. If you were to ask her she would swear it never would have happened. She tried hard to stay away and keep anything  more than a friendship from developing. So we hung out a few times and stayed friends until late last year. Dating her felt different than anything I have ever felt before. This was different from any relationship I had in the past. Love was building and by January it was full blown and both of us were captivated by it and each other. It was here where the first thoughts of making this and her a permanent part of my life.

The Plot Thickens.

We spent every weekend together. We were unapologetically in love. No matter what anyone said or thought we loved one another. We did have some challenges. She had doubts. I had hesitations. Together we had resolve. We also had no intentions of letting either of those prevent my story and her story from becoming our story. One January afternoon, after a trip and during one of Tyffani’s doubting moments, I watched her as she napped and thought “God, I want to Marry her”.  With that I worked to be a better man. The thoughts of marriage and proposals came to flood my mind but I knew that we were not there or ready yet. I needed to improve myself and character. We laughed and loved and fought and partied. We hosted family gatherings and Special events. We went on trips to plenty of places Charleston South Carolina, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Florida, Virginia and others. We were trapped in love. I didn’t want to escape.

2-14 3

Charleston Waterfront

2-14 2

Toast in Charleston

Punta Cana 1

Punta Cana Fun

We are two silly Kernels on a cob

I have always known that when I wanted to propose I would want to do something in public and fun. I also try to have a bit of romance to me. So I knew that anything I did had to incorporate those two elements. I also knew that whatever proposal I had planned had to be significant to her. I had thought of several different public forums to actually do the proposal. Some of the ideas that came to me were karaoke or a flash mob dance. (As much as I try to deny it, I’m not a great singer or dancer.) In the end, neither of those felt right. Neither showed of my romantic aptitude. I used to write very often. I used to perform open mic poetry on stage at a few places. I shared with Tyffani that I had written poetry before. She had asked me to write something for her. I had written something small and quick for her.  That was the end of it until I thought about a new poem I wanted to write for her….

Tyff

Stop This World from Spinning!

The poem idea came after watching other proposals and thinking about what exactly that moment is for a man. I, also being a huge thrill seeker and having a love for flying or soaring, swinging, gliding through the sky thought about that moment before you jump from a plane or base jump site or even the pendulum drop at an amusement park. That moment being a beautiful and terrifying moment. You making the decision to let go and or leap into the sky and not know whether you will crash or if you will be caught or if you will fall or fly. “It has to be a wonderful and scary moment.” I thought to myself. So I decided to write the poem as a metaphor.

“In order to feel heaven I have to touch the sky!”

Once I decided that I wanted to do a poem the next thing to determine was how to deliver the poem. I knew an open mic was the way to go. I knew I would need to try to get family there so my original idea was to have her sister invite us to a quaint open mic poetry night at a spot. The plan was to progressively invite more family along with us, in what I would try to make in unsuspecting fashions. I would then to her surprise hop on stage after my name was called and perform.  I was prepared to reach out to old contacts to try to host an open mic if I couldn’t find one already being hosted during the period I would want to propose. The problem with that plan is that she would be suspicious if there was that much family at an event. So I needed a new plan.

The Ring

The Ring

It was at this point where I bought the ring. That was a challenge in and of itself. But immediately after I had purchased the ring I began having a bit of second thoughts and worries of if I was doing the right thing. Now anyone that knows me and has ridden in my car knows I have an unorthodox way of listening to music. I usually let my entire collection play. Usually this means going from an R&B song to a Pop song to a rap song to country or gospel or rock. Im told its hard to catch a mood in my music selection. But in the exact moment of my doubt I got Devine confirmation of my decision. The song Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, which is special to us for a number of reasons, began playing. It was then followed by Bruno Mars’ Marry You. 

Armed with this newfound confirmation and confidence, I went ahead started working on fine tuning my plan. (I don’t want to give all the details before you see for yourself below) I found the perfect event which was another confirmation. This also gave me a date. The plan ended up working to where I could get all of our immediate family there and Tyffani not know it, as well as me surprise her with the proposal. Below is the Poem and the proposal both and some photos of the day of the proposal. (So I actually was nervous and there was so much going on I forgot some lines.) Please Enjoy Share and comment. 

So there it is folks. That was the culmination of months of planning and different ideas. I knew I wanted to plan the event around October or November because this was the time when we started to have our relationship grow. We have a number of special moments in October and November. So once I purchased the ring I began looking for open mic events and then I found that the Blumenthal Performing Arts center was hosting an open mic at their Spirit Square McGlohon theater. The event was schedueled for October 30th 2015 and this fit within the time frame of when I wanted to propose. What really sold me was the size of the theater and the fact that they were encouraging performers and audience to wear costumes. I loved this fact because this allowed me to have our family all there to witness the event without Tyffani ever knowing they were there. This also allowed me to perform and for her to not know it was me until the point when I wanted her to know. This venue and event was perfect in every way that perfect could be.

Once I found the event and venue,  I called and advised them of my plan. They were very supportive and eager to help and assist me. They allowed me to come by and visit the venue and plan the proposal. They also offered much assistance and I thank all of them for their involvement before and day of. After the venue was secured I needed to coordinate with the family. So I gathered up everyone’s contact information and informed them of the news. I contacted her grandparents and asked for their blessings. I then had to gather the important people in our lives and make sure they were there to be a part of it. I invited my 3 sisters, My Mom, Tyffani’s Son, Mom, Sisters, grandparents and best friend. Her brother, unfortunately was not able to make it. There were also plenty of nieces and nephews there as well. I kept in secret email correspondence with all of them. It was a clandestine operation and I was the Jason Borne of wedding proposals I had deleted every evidence of it from my phone. Any pictures or text messages were instantly deleted. I used a secret email address. I even made the family members delete conversations from their phones. No one was allowed to text me about it unless I text them first. I went so far as to throw her off the scent by downplaying my readiness to marry her. I even lied to her face and flat out told her there were many things for us to work on to get there. I annoyed her and acted disinterested in her discussions. every word out of my mouth was carefully vetted before they left my mouth, like soldiers off to do battle. I was determined for this to be a complete surprise to her.

My next task was to perfect the poem. As I mentioned earlier the theme was a metaphor of The Most Beautiful and Terrifying moment but I needed to make sure it was special to us and related to our relationship. There was a moment where it all fit together. Back when Tyffani and I were dating and beginning to get serious in our relationship and wondering about the next steps, we were both hesitant for our own reasons. We had both been through a lot and as I mentioned Tyffani was already trying to push me away for the longest time. She was afraid of us failing, of being hurt and losing out on our friendship. She used a metaphor of her being on the ledge and worried about taking the step off. She was scared of falling. She didn’t want to jump she felt she had no parachute and she was right. She wanted to stay safe and comfortable on the ledge and then the words of the thought she was terrified of seemed to escaped the prison of her lips dying for freedom.

“What if I stepped out off the ledge”

Without a hesitation I responded with

“I’ll catch you”

This was it. This was the moment from our relationship that married my poem with our love. I had to make this the signature.

Now that that was all in place I just had to wait until the day of event. Leading up to the day I was not nervous at all. I had to remain calm to make sure I had all bases covered. The plan was to have her sister invite her to the open mic event. I would be invited as well but I would decline and state that I had to work and instead would watch their children. I meanwhile, on the day of the event would get all of our family in the theater early seated and in costume so that she wouldn’t recognize them or me. I also invited a friend of mine whom Tyffani did not ever meet in person but also in mask. Her purpose was to help get Tyffani and her sisters to their designated reserved seats in the front row. She was also responsible for taking video from my phone during the performance and proposal. I chose her to do this because I figured Tyffani would be suspicious if her sisters started recording my performance. (They recorded anyway lol.) I also was supposed to have a camera on stage with me to film Tyffani’s reaction to the performance. I unfortunately in all of my day of excitement did not realize that I had not charged my camera battery. If I have one regret of the proposal it would be that I did not have that done.

On the day of, I was a robot. I had worked the night before from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am. At around 7:30 am before Tyffani left for work I fell asleep as I would normally do. I then woke up about 10:30 and began preparing. I had to prepare my poem. I would then go to my barber to get my haircut. Next I would have to be at Tyffani’s house to pick up the children and get them and myself dressed. All the while throughout the day taking and making calls to be sure everyone was going to be in place on time and to make sure everyone had all of the details. I didn’t even eat until about 5:00 pm. At 5:00 I met up with Tyffani’s grandparents and my mom and Tyffani’s best friend and headed to the theatre where my sisters and everyone else would meet with the exception of Tyffani and her two sisters. Their job was to take Tyffani out to a bar for drinks and snacks and stall her prior to, in order to make sure that everyone else was settled in first.  When we all met I gave the family the final details. I advised them when I was set to perform and informed them of the audible cue in my poem. The audible cue was the phrase “Cloud 9”. When they heard this they were to get up from their seats in the back of the theater and travel down to the front in view of Tyffani. I wanted her to know that her family was there to support her and share this special moment with her. That cue gave me enough time to also make my own reveal.

At the time of the doors opening I got everyone in. I was in full on dictator mode. I began barking out orders and demanding compliance. Once everyone was settled in and had their masks on. I put on my own mask. and waited in the lobby for the guest of honor. Once I spotted her I signaled my friend who then signaled the hostess to seat them. I walked away before being noticed and sat down in the back. I waited and watched other performers and then my name was called. All of a sudden all of the nervousness that should have been spread out over weeks came and hit me at once. I wasn’t worried that she would say no, not in the least. I worked so hard to make everything perfect. I wanted it to play out just how I imagined it. This moment was a culmination of so much planning and care and precision tactics. I did not want to mess up. I even had an iPod with my poem ready to go in my ear in case the nerves took over my memory. I then stepped on stage.

In that moment looking down at her barely visible through my mask…. I felt as if I WAS on top of a building about to jump… My metaphor poem was manifesting itself in that moment. I truly was feeling The Most Beautiful and Terrifying Moment. I press play on the iPod, and then what felt like disaster… the poem was already 3 lines in. I paused for a moment and just started speaking from the beginning. My pacing was a little faster than I had wanted because I was trying to catch up. I even skipped a line. I was also trying to disguise my voice. In an instant I settled myself down and thought of the hundred times I had listened to and recited the poem and calmed myself. I got through to the moment where it was time to reveal my face. ALL BETS WERE OFF. I knew the words but it was hard trying to force them out. They were there but hard to see through all of the emotions and litany of other things going on.  They were mere the gnats in a room full of giants. And then for the first time since 7:00 am that morning I could see her clearly. She was there never taking her really moist eyes off of me. I could hear her tears. I would hear the crying and sniffles of most of the family and then the wave hit me. I couldn’t think and it took all of my brain to hold back my own tears to finish the poem. To Ask The Question… I speak and I know its not how I had written it down but I don’t care. I reach for the ring, I kneel… I speak still knowing that it wasn’t exactly how it was written but still not caring… I wanted to get to that moment. The question was burning a fire in its cell to be released from my lips. She’s shaking her head and answering before I could even get it out. And then FREEDOM. I lept. We met in the air and now we are flying and ready to soar!

Here is the full poem for those that would like to read it:

The Most Beautiful and Terrifying Moment by Xavion Newkirk

Have you ever been high? I mean at the top of the world and looking down from the sky type high. Your breath is lighter than helium gas, your heart is a revving like a Nascar engine waiting on the green flag. Your apprehensive mind filled with second thoughts and hesitations. “What happens next?” written on your face with the ink of anxious anticipation. What ifs and speculations. But no, Now is not the time for regrets though…. You look down close your eyes and then let go. And you see and THERE is the moment. That wonderful, most beautiful and terrifying moment. The one where you take control of your fear an own it. When you let go and adorn the sky. See some fear the fall… but Me! Listen… I was born to fly… In that beautiful terrifying moment there’s a feeling of peace replacing my cares. I mean I literally get high on facing my fears. They say everyone has two choices when faced with peril right. Fight or Flight… Well ironically my fight is my flight. I’ll look for the tallest and most terrifying roller coaster sight. Get on wait for it to climb to its highest height. To feel that beautiful scary moment start when it stops. To feel my stomach in knots when it drops. I’ll raise my arms and throw my hands up to fly. I do this because in order to feel heaven I have to touch the sky. That’s why I’ll never stop trying I’m obsessed. It’s no wonder my church is called Elevation and my favorite team is The Jets. I look down and stand above the crowd. Some may say I have my head in the clouds. Well How else do you expect me to elevate my mind? So I will fly, soar, glide levitate and climb. Everyone wants to be at the top. No one wants to fall. I live for the moment. Others don’t want it at all. When you’re there with the bungee cord attached to your legs.That moment Standing on the edge looking down working up the courage to leap from your ledge. I know stepping off isn’t going to be easy In that beautiful scary moment the fear frees me. When I’m up there looking down but I have no plans to touch the ground. I want to touch the sky. If I stepped off will I fall or will I fly. That moment is where I am now … See you have me at the top of the world. You have me on cloud 9. With you I feel high even in my down time. But staying in one place isn’t how I’m made. Not too long ago you were in this moment on the ledge and afraid. There’s a reason it’s called falling in love. You’ll never find out if you keep it safe. I told you I’d catch you if you just took that leap of faith. Now it’s my turn to make that leap out into the sky. It’s a beautiful scary moment. Will I fall or will I fly? And if I fall for you all over again will you be catching me? Because see The most beautiful terrifying moment is asking…

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Notches of Happiness

2014, my 30th year of life. When I was a kid, I never thought I would make it to this point in life. I come from a background that I wont really elaborate on. I will say it wasn’t the best or safest environment for a young man or really anyone. I see news reports to this day of the terrible things that happen in that city. When I was a kid I hated the idea of moving to the south. I didn’t want to leave New York. I thank my mother for doing it either way. Without that decision I know that I wouldn’t be in this amazing place I feel I am in now.

Year 30 Begins.

Year 30 Begins.

I am 29 years old and I haven’t always had the nicest things or the greatest. I always have thought adversity and struggle builds character in the strong willed. I have always been humble of my past and beginnings. I remember what it is like to have nothing but love and the basics.  As a child you grow up thinking of all the amazing things that you will do… All that you will have… We grow up calling these things dreams… Dreams… a funny thing to call them. Dreams are intangible. Dreams are seen when you’re asleep. If you really want to accomplish goals you must be awake. You must open your eyes and look to see what it is you want to accomplish. You must visualize the path and map out your direction. It will come from long days, sometimes long nights. It will come from sacrifice and hard work. It will take dedication and focus. It will take an alertness. Some may start as dreams and create an inspiration, but they transform into progress, growth, stories and finally “Notches of happiness”.

Over the past three years I have been fortunate to have experienced much growth in my character. I have been blessed to add many notches in my belt that houses my bits of happiness. They all started as dreams. They haven’t all been easy and the path has not been all pain free. I have experienced much pain over those three years. In those three years I have grown to a small version of the man I dreamed I would one day be. There are still parts of me that will want to continue to improve. As a good friend of mine says constantly “I am a work in progress” and I will always be. Some think this is draining or doesn’t allow you to be happy or embrace all that you have become. I think it helps me appreciate it more and provides motivation. I realize how far I have come. From the young, poor, nerd kid to the older, wiser, nerd man that wants to save the world and improve all around him. I will continue to work to become more while recognizing I am more than I was!

Highlights of the past three years were;

Falling in love: A true deep and passionate love. I know many people might think that to be a soft moment, but I have grown to a point to accept vulnerabilities and not be a slave to them or the misconceptions of what they mean of me. That love didn’t turn out the way I expected. Thats the pain that I mentioned before but growth requires pain sometimes and usually provides the strongest push… A bolt of lightning hitting and providing the power needed. I am thankful for this. I learned a lot.

New Job: In 2011 I was in a miserable time. I wasn’t happy with my job at all. I didn’t feel respected or appreciated. In early 2012 I started a new job. It was in a different office and it was a job more suited to my skills, needs and personality. It was a huge boost to my ego and a catalyst for future notches.

Time Warner Cable Business Class

Time Warner Cable Business Class

 

Hard Work and Will

Hard Work and Will

Fitness: I had grown to a point where I had not been cautious of my weight or health and overall fitness. I had blown to over 220 lbs. This was the biggest I had ever been. I decided one day that I didn’t want to be that anymore. So, I worked my ass off! I studied, I researched,  I changed routines and diets. I motivated and willed myself to get fit. Not to just lose weight, but to get fit to be able to be athletic and compete in athletic challenges. I wanted to be able to do things I had never done before or hadn’t in a long time. I accomplished this and still continue to work.

Get Fit

Get Fit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion: Tie Tuesday. I posted about this before so I wont spend much time on this but I wanted to recreate my image and discover my sense of style. I wanted to express myself through my clothing and to mark myself for more than what everyone else thought of me or what I was.

Some tie showcases over the past year

Some tie showcases over the past year

Volunteerism: One of the running jokes my friends have is that I want to save the world. They arent far off. as I mentioned above. I know what it is like to have nothing or very little. I have suffered and been in desperate situations. I know what it means to want or need that helping hand and how much that can make a difference in someones day or life. 

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for your time.

Meeting Curtis Martin: One of the people that have been amazingly inspirational in the person I would like to be is Curtis Martin. I wrote a whole post on him and that meet-up here.

Definitely an amazing moment.

Definitely an amazing moment.

This brings me to 2014. This year has been an amazing year filled with a few special moments and pieces of happiness captured. I made a promise to myself last year that I would accomplish a few goals. The first of which is a continuing goal. I would mold myself into a better man. I will work to inspire people to do the same. I want to see a world where we are all pushing ourselves and each other to become better people. I want us to stop settling in this life as we are imperfect so theres no reason to try to become more or better. You don’t have to work to be perfect but to be better can improve us all. There is a lot happening in the world today and much of it saddens and darkens the hopes for a wonderful future. People are fighting each other and killing each other. We are making excuses for wrong doings and excusing some inexcusable acts. We fight with people of differences and disguise it as group/cultural/racial or religious pride. We can embrace differences and still see each other as one. My goal is to try to share this vision to bring people together. I am working on this goal and getting people to help each other and those in need. I have showcased my volunteering on social media as a way to inspire others to do the same. Theres a saying that if you do something good and more than one or two people know about it, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. I can see the reasoning behind that but if no one glamorizes the care for fellow man then who will see all the good it can bring. I will say that while it hasn’t been the most successful goal of the year, I have seen moments where I have inspired. I have had friends mention to me their desires to volunteer after seeing me do so.

The next goal I started was from a seed planted last year. I had completed my second Warrior Dash race and it was after I completed the Spartan Race earlier that year. As I sat and looked at all of the medals I had. I thought to myself

“I would like to take the next step…”. “Next year I want a bunch more medals”.

So I decided that I would race to get more. I decided in January I would work to complete the Spartan Race Trifecta. I would race in three races each of different lengths. The Spartan Sprint. The Spartan Super and The Spartan Beast. The lengths were 5 miles, 9 miles and 12 miles. The number of obstacles were 17, 24, and 27. I knew that in order to prepare my body for this challenge I would have to work. I had never run anything longer than just over a 5K and I was very hesitant about completing the Super and Beast. But I set my mind to it and decided that I can do it. It is worth the time, training to complete something so physically challenging and proving to myself that I am willing to put myself through all challenges. I completed the Spartan Sprint in March. It wasn’t as challenging as my first sprint and I felt pretty good with my preparation heading in. I paced myself and handled many of the obstacles with ease. I even surprised myself on some of them. I will go into more detail on my races in a later post. I did write about my Spartan Sprint experience earlier this year. It was more about my mental  and emotional experience than the  physical and you can click here for it. I just completed my final two pieces of my Spartan Race Trifecta last month. They were by far the most physically challenging things I have done. There were times during the race where I thought that I would not finish and did not want to finish. The second race I wasn’t even sure I could do because of the toll the first race took on me… I decided though, that none of that would stop me. I made a commitment! A commitment to no one but myself that I would finish both of those races. After over 20 miles, over 50 obstacles and 10 hours… You are reading the blog of Spartan Race Trifecta completer!

 

Trifecta Complete

Trifecta Complete

Trifecta Finisher

Trifecta Finisher

Trifecta

Trifecta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A notch of happiness

A notch of happiness

Another thing that I have accomplished was just last week when I met Curtis Martin for a second time. I met him at the Charlotte Touchdown Club. He was a guest speaker for the luncheon being hosted. I love hearing his stories of his background and where he has come from and how he has overcome adversity to be in the position of where he is now. The first time I met Curtis I was 50 lbs heavier. I didn’t expect him to recognize me. When I met him this time I reminded him of our first encounter back in 2012 during his induction and the letter I had written to him. He told me that he didn’t specifically remember and that he had gotten a few letters that day but kept them all. It was to be expected. We went ahead with the luncheon and then after the luncheon I spoke with him just a bit more and explained to him how he has been an inspiration to me. I brought up the letter again and I reminded him of his last words to me that day and how they were a catalyst for me to push me through challenges such as my fitness journey and The Spartan Races. Those words were “Keep Pressing”. Once I told him this, his eyes lit up and he said that he remembered me. He told me that he remembered saying that to me. I thanked him again for how much he has done for not just me but inspiring people all over. I appreciate that I got to share news with him that he had reached a goal of his own and found a “notch of happiness” by being able to inspire me. This is a moment that I will cherish for a lifetime!

This brings me to the final “Notch of Happiness”.  I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

I moved a bit

I moved a bit

When I moved into my last apartment back in 2012, I had realized that I was so tired of moving. I was tired of picking up my life and moving it from one place to another. I knew I hated moving way before this but I had decided I was actually exhausted. I didn’t feel I could rest. I felt that I had worked my ass off so hard and I didn’t really have anything to show for it. At that point I was still making payments on my car I just moved into another apartment that I wasn’t all that happy about and I didn’t feel it fit me or all my plans and hopes and the happiness I wanted for myself. I was tired of paying rent to stay in a place that was so far out of my control. I figured I was tired of moving and I was ready to stabilize my life and quit lifting heavy shit back and forth.  I decided that my next move will be to a place that I owned. That it would be to a place that I would stay in and have control over.

I wanted to be secure in the fact that someone wasn’t dictating how much I would pay them to tell me what I could not do. So, in that thought I decided to begin my research and that when my lease was up in 2013, I would be purchasing my first home. So I studied and did research I tried to learn all I could about the home buying process. I picked the brains of friends and even strangers. I reached out in all ways I thought I could. When 2013 came I took the next step. That february I began my search for a real estate agent to assist me. A friend of mine mentioned that his wife worked for a real estate agency and gave me her information. I looked her up and sent an email. Her office was right around the corner from my job’s office so I decided she would be the agent that I would reach out to first for information. After my first meeting with Kadena, she provided so much information that I hadn’t already known. She was sweet and was understanding of my newness to the process. When that meeting was over I felt the nerves that I had prior were still there but less prevalent. I was still hesitant about the financial process. I wasn’t sure I was able to cover the upfront expenses that would be involved. I was struggling a bit and hadn’t saved enough to the point where I had felt comfortable. I went back and forth about it for about a month. At that point it became close to the time for me to either move or renew my lease. I made the decision that I would renew my lease and put off buying the home until the next year.

Fast Forward to 2014 and the year of the decision. I realized that I absolutely did not want to renew my lease. I planned and spoke with friends. In April, 3 days before my birthday. I decided to contact my bank to get pre-approval for a loan. I received a call back on my birthday informing me I was pre-approved for a loan for the budgeted amount $150,000 I gave to the mortgage consultant Kevin. I then called Kadena and left her a message and informed her of my pre-approval. She called me back and thus we were ready to get the ball rolling. My original search parameters were for the current area I was in. I wasn’t having much luck with that so I expanded my search. I learned about so many different mortgage programs and housing and real estate terms. I asked hundreds and hundreds of questions. I feel I must have gotten on everyones nerves but they were all patient and assisted. When we were looking for homes I had a conception in mind of what I wanted but I also had to realize I couldn’t look for a dream home on a non dream budget.  It didn’t feel so much as settling as it did learning to love what can be beautiful. The whole process felt similar to a dating process. I found the home I wanted to make an offer on, it fit that idea perfectly. It wasnt my dream home or a perfect home but it fit so much of what I wanted and needed. It felt right but I also felt a fear of commitment creeping. I decided I would not let that keep me from gaining something possibly great and I walked into Kadenas office with a check for $1,000 earnest money deposit and made an offer on the home. There was some back and forth on the offer amount between myself and the sellers. In the end I put a number and held firm on that and the offer was accepted. Then came the most nerve racking part of the process. There were inspections to schedule there were papers and documents to submit and calls to make. So many times I became frustrated and worried about the process and what I was taking on. Until… one day I prayed and let go. I decided that the house was going to be mine and that I would great. When closing came I found out that instead of having to pay down payments or closing costs… I would actually be getting a check back for $650. I signed the papers and then had that beautiful feeling.

I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

Closing; Kadena and I

Closing; Kadena and I

I have been in my home 2 months now and I am loving it. It is an amazing blessing. I couldn’t have done it all alone. There was faith and God involved. I want to thank Kadena and Kevin for everything. They took good care of me and provided me with my best interests. Kadena provided me with so much info and helped me tremendously. I would recommend her to anyone in the market for a home. Thank you to all the friends that have provided me with information and advice. I know have talked a few ears off and complained a lot. I truly love you all for being there.

So, safe to say I added a few notches of Happiness to my belt this year. Its time to tighten it up and see whats in store for 2015. Though I do know it will be tough to top 2014.

 

Happy Birthday Ma!

 

Today, August  2nd is the birthday of my one and only mother. So I decided to dedicate a blog post to her. This poem is one I wrote a while ago but it applies. It is titled;  No “S” Necessary. She may kill me but eh.. She’s been trying for years hasnt succeeded yet.

 

Listen
No… Look

Up in the sky, it’s a bird. It’s a plane… No it’s a Super Woman down to every inch of her frame. No cape No “S” on her chest, but a Super Woman all the same. Ma that’s what you are to me. You’ve been so strong… even when it was so hard to be. You’re the one that gave my heart to me. From ever chamber to every artery. So how could I not love you with every ounce of it? Told me to pick a number, any number. If I can count to it than I can amount to it. Now I see there was never a doubt to it. Now you say you proud of me yet… There’s no way I’d be the man I am today without Yvette. So stand up and take a bow and a dose of your own pride. No matter what I’m always by your side, to look you in the eyes and love you till they dry. No love you til I die. Nah til way beyond the time existance has diminished. Ill love you forever like a poem that was never finished. I watched you leap tall buildings in a single bound. You wasn’t letting anyone or anything bring you down. Not to say you aint see your fair share of pain and fears or have eyes that dripped at night. I mean even Superman has Kryptonite. But I remember long nights in emergency rooms. Those memories are like surgery wounds. They remind me I was hurt but now Im better. I appreciate you and the time to show it is now or never, And Im going to show you as long as you got me… You got a real man in your life for now and forever. I know there were those that came and went. Those that made you cry. And I know so many nights you prayed for that pain to end. They brought you sunshine and then let it rain again. Well here ma you can share my umbrella. And we’ll stay dry till we see the sun get up. And never will your son let up. If I need to Ill paint a future so bright you wont ever need the sunshine not as long as your Son Shines. It was you who always saw the greatness in me. Told me about your past and I realized I dont have just my own but the stregnth of many. You gave me something to believe in. And taught me that everything that happens, happens for a reason. So now I realize the reason you struggle, is to give me every opportunity to show you how much I love you. Thats one I plan to take advantage of. In return I always give you a man to love. You’re a Super Woman. Thats why I look up to you. You helped me find the answers when I didn’t know what to do. You created a Super Man. So you have to be a Super Woman. I do believe that one day the truth is coming. No one flys higher in my Skys, and theres a fire in your eyes. You let those shots bounce off you no vest necessary, No “S” necessary. No stress unless it’s very best. We’re blessed, So stress your very best, and we’ll test the rest. Look up in the sky it’s a bird it’s a plane, It’s my mother and Super Woman is her name.

 

We sorta look a like. Happy Birthday Ma.

We sorta look a like. Happy Birthday Ma.

The Dark Knight Returns

So almost everyone knows how much I love comics and superheroes and geek culture altogether. Most people know that I love Batman and think he’s the best hero in comics. I have always been a DC fan over a Marvel fan but I love both of them. I had been really excited about Marvels Cinematic Universe that they had created. It was something that I had always looked forward to when I was a young kid reading comics. A movie universe where multiple superheroes could meet and interact with each other and team up to take out great and many villains. It was dream come true when Marvel created this. Its one of the reasons I loved Avengers so much it was a culmination and realization of childhood fantasy. After… All I had wanted was for DC  and my favorite superheroes to have their chance and their own cinematic universe.

When the Man of Steel came about, I had hoped it would begin that process. I was hoping there would be a post credits scene showing Batman in his cave watching the destruction of Metropolis. They could have easily done just a shot from behind and didn’t need to have an actor signed for the role.  Now, I had my issues with Man of Steel. I didn’t care much for the way parts of the story played out. I thought the fact that Lois figuring out who Superman was was tasteless and takes away from future stories and great interaction between Clark and Lois. Also had a problem with The whole Johnathan Kent character. I love Henry Cavil as superman though. I think he fits the part well.  I did enjoy the movie though. It was fun and I thought a franchise would have potential.

Then came ComicCon and that changed the world… The Man of Steel Sequel would feature Batman. I FUCKING EXPLODED with excitement. This was what I had been waiting for. This was going to be the amazing and the most exciting superhero movie ever. I was so excited.. I even came up with an entire plot and synopsis for the movie. I was hoping that Chris Bale would come back but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t happen for a number of reasons. Chris Nolan’s batman didn’t really seem to fit in this Man of Steel Universe. Bale also had already discussed not returning to the character after as well. Also the way Nolans Trilogy ended it kind of left it alone to itself. So with Bale out we all Speculated on who would be next to don the cowl. I personally loved the idea of Karl Urban. I felt Dredd was a pretty good audition. Well few months later I took a shot to the heart. They made the announcement that they would be casting Ben Affleck as Batman. I don’t hate Affleck. I just really hate him for this role. It will be hard to suspend belief and accept him in this role because he is Ben Affleck. Also I’m not sure he’d be able to pull off the Batman badass that we know and love. Batman is a deeper character than we’ve seen in past and I think Nolan and Bale had come closest to getting him right. Although Burton’s was really good as well. So I had my reservations and I thought. It could still work with a great story. I think that Affleck if he was dedicated enough could be a surprise. But the casting already gave me worry about the direction of this franchise.

The next thing that bothered me was that they scheduled the movie for 2015 release. I just knew there was no way they could make this movie great and meet that timeline. I guess WB agreed and decided to push the movie back a year. Then it was announced that the working title was Batman vs Superman. I HATED it. I don’t want that to be the case at all. If they do go at it in the movie it should be a 5 minute petty fight scene. While they focus on a bigger threat at hand. (again I told you I had a whole story planned.) They next report that they had cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I dont have a huge problem with this casting. I thought she was too much on the slimmer side and Im not sure how well her acting is having only seen her in the Fast 5. This bothered me because it again felt like they were rushing a Justice league movie into existence. The thing that worked so well for The Avengers was time. Almost every character had their own movie or significant time in another movie so that when they came together they can all share their screen time and their solo time on screen felt like enough. We got to know these characters as individuals and see them form a team and how the team fit each of them. WB seems to have ignored this part of the Success. We still barely know this Superman and then a bunch of Characters and personalities we know nothing about are about to join him.

That leads me to my next  casting choice. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I love Eisenberg. I think he’s a good actor and can play a number of roles. My problem with this casting is the direction of the character. They are making Lex a young street tough genius mogul. My whole thing is okay its pretty established LexCorp is huge in the first movie. You now have to explain this as what some young kid created a hit website  and became a mogul? Lex is supposed to be a super genius. He should have years of philanthropy and scientific breakthroughs under his belt something that actually makes him feel threatened by this alien. I just find it hard to believe that this young urban kid would hate someone like superman. Granted the first movie gave about $100 billion worth of reasons to hate him. It just seems weird they would go in that direction.

This brings me to the latest in the story. The Batman suit and Batmobile. Let me just say… I LOVE IT. This is the first thing that has gotten me excited again since they announced Batman was going to be in the movie. The suit gives it a comic book feel. It is obviously based on the costume from Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”It gives the movie a Comic book feel. This Batman looks like he was ripped straight from the pages of a comic or graphic novel. With the muscle definition exaggeration and all. The Batmobile also takes on that feeling as well. I dont know what I was expecting prior to this photo but I definitely am not unhappy with this look at all. Now its feeling like Batman is in this fantastical world where men can fly Aliens do battle and a man can run faster than the speed of light.

I love the costume option. It is very Comic Book Inspired.

I love the costume option. It is very Comic Book Inspired.

 

This brings back some of the excitement I first had. I just hope for a great story. I hope they are true to character from the comics. The fact that this Batman hasn’t been in a movie before gives more importance to the need to  make him the Batman fans know and love. Batman is essential to the Justice League and he will need to be integral in this franchise for it to be successful. He will have to be the genius tactician. The no fear take no shit, stand up and put everyone else in their place Batman. He will have to be the master detective, master Martial artists insanely disciplined hero that makes the character so amazing. If they can get this right and follow suit with the other heroes this movie and franchise will surpass the Avengers. These characters are top of the rung and will always be so above the Marvel characters. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. They are the first images of superheroes in peoples minds. Getting this right will make them successful.

 

X

Love?

So you all will have to bear with me a moment. I’m going to have a “Mushy” moment. I’m a single man. There’s a reason for it obviously. I have met my share of women of all forms and shapes and types. I know people look at me and say “You’re a great guy” and expect me to be in a relationship or at least dating more than I have been. I am a hard working, dedicated, humble, and attractive man. I don’t know if every woman I know realizes that but thats not necessarily for me to be concerned with. I also don’t feel that I should have to promote it. I feel the proper woman will notice and love and appreciate it. That isn’t what this blog is about. This one is about how I feel about love.

I know its popular to shun love. Its a headache and causes pain and stress. While that may be partly true, the other side of it is so amazing. I honestly welcome love. That person that can make nothing seem like absolutely everything. I would love to be with that woman that I can talk to without saying a word. I want my love to be spoken in every language not spoken. I want to communicate with our own gestures. I want to hold intimate conversations with physical touch. Tell inside jokes with with small looks and smiles. AND SMILES… I don’t know if theres a greater feeling than being in love with someone who is so in love with me that she has the biggest grin from ear to ear because of me. My love should embrace her and she should wear it. She should dress in it and it should look amazing on her. My love will be a glowing gown that she will proudly dress in and show off.

Love is a risk but its a beautiful risk and feeling. To be in love is to truly feel weightless. People use the term “fall in love” but I know having that person that you make smile just by simply being you and loving her feels like Im flying. Like filled with so much positive energy power that you just soar off the ground. To have that person that you think about and just smile is shot of adrenaline to push you to the highest heights. When you touch it feels right like when two wires cross and complete a circuit. you’re no longer two but one. You’re so close you almost share minds. You share jokes with each other that you know that you will both laugh at. When your love is there, you JUST KNOW!

Being in love is tough. Being in love is going away from your mate and then loving when you come back because it is the bonus end to your trip. Being in love is being right next to that person but because you can’t romantically be with them they feel a billion miles away. Even when they completely piss you off and you walk away you wouldn’t rather have anyone else do it and you don’t want to be away too long. You’re best friends. You’re a match. It feels right. When you love truly you realize that you don’t sacrifice for that person because you realize they are the most important person to you.

I have been in love. I have experienced loving everything about her, even what I hadn’t before. Even what made me mad. I am able to love and appreciate her tenacity or stubbornness or self-consciousness. Love is finding what would be flaws and falling in love with them. When looking at others she isn’t as attractive because she doesn’t have those beautiful flaws. My love was always built on shared experience. I love when we can spend a night just hanging around watching an old shared favorite or discovering a new favorite feels like the time of your life.

Some people run from love. Ill embrace it and I’ll know when it is there. Im single until it is there. I don’t take it lightly. I’ll be here when it finds me or I find it. I feel like I still haven’t accurate expressed all of my feelings or opinions on love but true love would have me writing this forever. Thats what true love is a never ending series of new stories and experiences.

X

Curtis Martin: Someone to admire.

It’s no secret that one of the people I look up to the most, possibly more than anyone is Curtis Martin. He is a former Jets player who was recently inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. Yesterday was his birthday and I have always respected this man. Not just because he was a Jets player, but because he is a man who believes in doing the right thing. He has made over $40 Million and is so incredibly humble. He’s a man that doesn’t hold grudges and wouldn’t want you to hold one. He works to help those that are not as privileged or blessed. He fights a rigorous fight to help the homeless. He is a dedicated man that always worked hard to accomplish goals. His main goal is to inspire more people to be as humble, to help out those in need.

I got to meet him almost two years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was always a Curtis Martin fan. Since my young days as a Jet fan. My introduction to the Jets was about 1995 during terrible years for the Jets. I was just a casual fan who rooted when the game was on and really never gave much thought to what happened after.  When Curtis arrived my passion for the Jets that many see today came with him. I became a die hard.  I loved watching him play. I wanted to find out more about him. These were in the younger days of the internet so information wasn’t readily available but once it was I would read all about him. I watched sports shows hoping they would mention Curtis and the Jets. I got to see the non-football side of him and all the great and charitable things he was dong. I was ecstatic in 2004 when he beat out Shawn Alexander by one yard to win the rushing title. I was disappointed when his string of consecutive 1,000 yard seasons to start a career came to an end. And down right heart broken when an injury forced him to retire. I knew he was going to the hall of fame and I knew I would have to wait five years but I also knew that when it did happen… I was going.

As I said I got to meet him two years ago. Curtis was elected into the Hall of Fame in January of 2012. From the time they announced his name I started making plans to go. Leading up to the event I had to wait on tickets to go on sale. I wanted as many chances as I could get to see him. I bought tickets to the Jacket presenting dinner. I bought a tickets to a round table luncheon and the enshrinement ceremony. My most prized ticket though was to an autograph session to meet all of the enshrinees and get autographs. When the weekend came I rented a car and hit the road. I drove to canton and went to the dinner it was an awesome ceremony where the enshrinees are presented with their HOF jackets. I didnt have the best view from my seat but it was awesome nonetheless. The next day was the parade and this is when I got my first close up view of Curtis and he noticed me after I gave a huge Jets chant.

He looked Right at me and pumped his fist to my Chant!

He looked Right at me and pumped his fist to my Chant!

After the Parade I went to explore Canton a bit and get ready for the Enshrinement Ceremony. This again was another great experience. While waiting to get in a bus pulls up with many former Hall of Famers and NFL Legends. I saw so many from Gayle Sayers to John Madden. From Shannon Sharpe to Joe Willie Namath. I got to shake a few of their hands and heckle Dan Marino a bit.  Then the ceremony started. I sat through and listened to the other enshrinees read off their speeches in what felt was an uncomfortable state for them. After every speech I would get anxious and hope that Curtis was next… But Each time they made us wait. Though during that waiting everytime I got excited and thought Curtis was next I’d stand up and cheer. That apparently caused me to get a few texts and tweets telling me that was just seen nationwide. I ended up being shown on ESPN and NFL Network.

Look Ma! I'm on TV. ESPN

Look Ma! I’m on TV. ESPN

 

Curtis was last to speak and was that a great decision. His speech was filled with so much. It call came straight from the heart. He told what would have made for an awesome movie. He filled it with humble beginnings, Comedy, Joy, Pain, Loss, gains and life lessons. There were moments that you couldnt help but feel emotional and a deep connection as he bared his soul with intimate details of his father’s abuse of his mother and the murder of his grandmother. You couldnt help but laugh when Curtis he spoke of Bill Parcells’ Parcelisms. We were inspired when he spoke of his near death experiences growing up in Pittsburgh. The speech was truly the greatest enshrinement speech I had ever heard and I sometimes listen to it again to provide inspiration. Anyone who would like to see this speech can see it here.

After the ceremony the guys that I was hanging with for the weekend ran into Curtis’s pastor. He was the one that encouraged Curtis to stay in the NFL and inspired him to use it as a vehicle to do the amazing, wonderful and inspirational things he wanted to do.  Curtis took this advice and used football to reach people. His pastor told us the story of the conversation.

The next day was the big day, the day I meet Curtis Martin face to face. I wanted to express to him how much of an inspiration he had been to me and that he accomplished more than just the goal of being inducted into the hall of Fame. I wanted him to know that he accomplished the goal of inspiring someone to be a greater person. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to express this so I wrote him a letter. Before the autograph session there was a round table luncheon. The meal was actually pretty good and my table was pretty close to where the players would be sitting for the discussion. When the discussion had ended the players posed for pic and then headed out to the Hall of Fame for the autograph session.

Dapper as always

Dapper as always

After the luncheon I raced down the road to prepare for my meeting. The meeting was at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The line was long. But I patiently waited. I got closer and closer and I became more and more nervous. I know I had to capture this moment though. I took several pictures and videos while I traversed the red velvet lined path toward the Hall of Fame players. The inductees were at a long table in row. I stopped at each player and had them autograph HoF book I had picked up earlier in the weekend. I congratulated them and walked on. When I began to approach Curtis I handed my camera to the guy in line ahead of me to take a picture of the moment.  I reached out my hand to shake Curtis’s and he grabbed it firmly and shook. I told him how much of an honor it was and how he has inspired me. I then showed him my two jerseys I had brought and asked him which does he think will be better to sign. I could only have him sign one because I only bought one ticket (Which were $300 a piece). He suggested that he could sign the white one and it would show better on that. I handed him the jersey and then pulled out my letter. I explained to him why I wrote it and why he meant so much. He took the letter and thanked me. He then asked for my other jersey and signed the other jersey. I was so humbled by this act. He then handed me the jersey and said he would read my letter as soon as he got back into the car. Before I walked away I shook his hand again and he gave me something that stuck with me. He told me “Keep Pressing!”. It was advice to not give up to keep working hard and not to give up. I keep those two words with me and they empower me when I faced with struggles.

 

Definitely an amazing moment.

Definitely an amazing moment.

After the meeting I got to tour the hall of fame! I was on a high the entire time. Not only did I meet one of my heroes but I was surrounded by football greatness. So much rich history was in the atmosphere. I was flooded with memories of previous seasons and players. To think of all that played the game, imagine the impact you had to have made to be exclusive enough to make it here. I think I spent a good twenty minutes in the bust room. I spent at least 7-8 at Curtis’s Bust. I wasn’t ready to go. I had to leave though. I had a long drive back home.

was powerful

was powerful

The drive that felt like forever coming up felt so short going back. I was still on my high. I thought of all the amazing moments of my weekend and how I would use the two words Curtis left me with to impact my life and others. The first I used it with was to lose weight and get healthier. “Keep Pressing!” When I’m in the gym that would keep me going. I used that to make it through. It helped. I’m 45 lbs lighter than I was in that picture. I use it today to try to make an impact. It’s what gets me to keep giving back and to keep volunteering. Its what gets me to press for societal changes that will make us better. I think we can all benefit from this. I think we can all use motivation to continue to push through trials. So from Curtis Martin through me to all of you I say… KEEP PRESSING!!!

 

My Jerseys

My Jerseys

Meeting the Man

Meeting the Man

Tie Tuesday

For those of you who may not know me as well, I wanted to take this opportunity to show you something that is very much a big part of me. I love Ties. I have roughly 80 ties. I have them in all shapes and sizes. I love to wear them. I remember when I was younger, I almost never wore ties and if I had worn one it was almost certainly a clip-on. I remember I didn’t even learn how to tie a tie until I was about 20 years old. That was when I bought my first tie. It was a soft silky two toned red tie. I still own it.
My love affair with ties didn’t start then though.
As the years went I bought, won and inherited more ties. As I worked, I wore my ties. I liked to dress nice. I felt good. I felt professional. I still only wore ties sparingly. One day a colleague asked me why I wore a tie. It was common belief where I worked that if you wore a tie, it was either for an interview or a date after work. I told him I had not had an interview nor date but that I felt good wearing one. It made me feel as if the job I was doing was important. If you dress to feel good you should feel good.
After that exchange was the first iteration of Tie Tuesday. We started a trend of celebrating wearing ties on Tuesdays in the office. It hadn’t lasted long but it was there. So I sparingly wore ties again. My collection at the time was maybe ten ties strong. I would buy a tie here and there but It really picked up toward the end of 2010 early 2011. I was buying more and more ties. I was being more bold in my tie choices. I tried different tie styles. THEN… Somewhere in 2012 I realized I had close to thirty ties and was not wearing them enough. I had so many ties I loved. I loved tying them. I loved pairing them with different shirts and shoes. I learned different ways to tie them. New knots fancy knots. I had fun.
So in middle of 2013 I decided to start show casing my ties. I used my Instagram account as my platform. With well over 50 ties in my inventory I posted every Tuesday. I started off simple then graduated to more complex combos and knots. I even added tutorials. I love it. I love putting on a tie. I love seeing new ties. I love the compliments I get on my ties. I will continue doing it for the foreseeable future so be on the look out for them. You can view them on my Instagram at @Pr1meX.

Happy Tie Tuesday everyone.

-X-

Today's tie is a white skinny tie. Paired with a multi-colored plaid fitted dress shirt. Knot is standard Windsor. The shirt I was told is very Easterish I guess I'm celebrating early!

Today’s tie is a white skinny tie. Paired with a multi-colored plaid fitted dress shirt. Knot is standard Windsor. The shirt I was told is very Easterish I guess I’m celebrating early!

Some tie showcases over the past year

Some tie showcases over the past year

My Birthday, My Gift.

Good Morning all. It has been just over a week since my birthday last Monday April 7th. I first want to apologize for the time it has taken to send this out. Truly every birthday wish was ready and heard and appreciated. I thank everyone of you. Even if we don’t speak every day or don’t hear from each other or know all of the details of each other’s lives, for us to take out a moment to recognize or celebrate or bestow well wishes on a person. Friendship has always meant the world to me and I truly do cherish and value connections and relationships. I want everyone to know that they do hold special places and moments in my mind and heart.

I never usually make a big deal out of my birthday. I know most people spend months planning out events and activities and celebrations. People have countdowns and announcements and shout it out to the world. I’m not one of those people. I had my first birthday cake in about 13-14 years this year. (Well, whole cake) Do not get me wrong. I love my birthday! I love when it comes. I think it’s the greatest day in the world. and I feel powerful during it. I love recognizing that I have lived another year and get to spend more time with those I love and another year to improve. I am now in year 30. I don’t share this a lot but there were times when I never thought I’d live to see 30.  Well I am almost there. I appreciate every birthday I just don’t feel the need to make a big fuss about it.

Year 30 Begins.

Year 30 Begins.

Every year more people seem to be more excited for me to have plans and celebrations than I am. Every year I’m asked:

“So what are you doing for your birthday?” “What do you want to do for your birthday?” “Where are we going?”

And every year I have the same answers. “I don’t know”, “It doesn’t matter/I don’t care”  or “Nothing”. This year I decided against that. I have always tried to be humble and kind. It isn’t hard usually but I am human and there are challenges sometimes to being a great man. Over the past two and a half to three years though, I have wanted to dedicate myself to doing more for society as a whole. I have wanted to give back and help out those less fortunate or unable to help themselves. Lately I have dedicated myself to volunteering and offering community service. I try to show that there can be good in this world as well. With all the craziness of violence and poor human conditioning and general lack of compassion, I feel I have to do something to try and help somewhere.

I have volunteered a lot over the past couple years. Mostly I have been preparing and serving breakfast at the Salvation Army Center of Hope. I also like to encourage others to give back as well. I do very much enjoying bringing great feelings to others. To be able to help out those that may be down or have a period of misfortune and desperation and hurt, brings me joy. I know how it feels to feel hopeless and desperate. I have been at times in my life where I just wished someone would offer a hand or some sort of service. I know how much that would have meant to me. While I may have experienced low points in my life, I know that I have been fortunate, blessed and that there are some that were at even lower points. I feel it is my responsibility as a human being, a brother to all to help out. No one lives forever. Screwing someone over or avoiding helping does NOT help you in the end. We all end at some point. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not is of no importance. All that is left of you after you are gone to those still here is a memory and legacy. What will yours be?

With that being said, leading up to my birthday I knew the questions would soon come. So I decided what I wanted to do for my birthday was something not about me. But in order to maximize it I had to use my birthday as a tool. I decided for my birthday, I wanted to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte.  I had volunteered there a few weeks earlier and enjoyed the time there. While there I was expressed the importance of volunteers to their work.  I would need more people to help. So I used my birthday to gather family and friends to join me to volunteer. They say if you do something good and more than one person knows about it you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I used to agree and I can see why someone would say it, but now I disagree. If you do a good deed or something amazing, tell it to the world. Inspire others to do the same. The world could use more of that. I sent the information out to see who would be able to make it. My hope was to get at least ten people for the volunteering. I received responses and confirmations and from there we were ready to go.

The shift was scheduled for Monday April 7th at 9:00 am. That morning of my birthday it was raining. So it was a heavily rainy Monday morning with rush hour traffic. I had requested everyone to meet me there between 8:30-8:45 am. That was mostly to make sure people prepared to be on time. With that being said I was excited that everyone had actually made it on time. We all got signed in and we were met by the volunteer coordinator. She then gave a brief tour and lesson about what the Second Harvest food bank does.  After that we were handed off to another employee. This employee then gave us instructions for the job we were to be completing during our shift. The task was simple. The bank takes in donations from all over. Some of the donations come from big stores such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.  Our task was to basically grab the products from the boxes they were donated in and sort them by product type into other boxes. Before we could sort them we had to deface the bar codes on packaging to prevent anyone from returning the products for cash. We also had to secure any open products with tape. Once we were set free to work we began to choose tasks and begin in playful conversation. Food was a popular topic. We laughed we joked, we met new friends and engaged in conversation with them. We played some music and even I broke out a dance move or two. At the end of our shift, we were once again reminded how important volunteers were to helping their cause. We were offered candy and free treat because unbeknownst to me or my fellow volunteers. It was national volunteering week.  After we all went out and enjoyed a nice meal. All together it was such a wonderful experience and I enjoyed everyone coming out and making it an enjoyable and memorable birthday experience.  I’d like to thank those individually that came out.

Thank you;

Yvette, Tierra, Alex, Viveka, Damien, Jordan, Ashley, Curtis

Thank you all

The Volunteers

I truly appreciate you all for taking the morning to celebrate with me in one of the best ways possible.

-X-

 

Fun times!

Fun times!

My gift

My gift

 

Who I am

Who am I?  To tell you the truth, I am nobody and everyone at the same time. I’m not a finished product. I cannot have a definition of who I am because I am constantly changing. I am constantly growing, evolving, learning and adapting. For me to tell you I am this or that wouldn’t be fair to that growth. It would box me into a singular place and stunt potential. I don’t ever want to be limited by a single label. A black man… a hispanic man, a man from the ghetto, a nice guy, a fool, a genius. I want to have the freedom to be whoever I want to be, and if I were to say I’m one thing, then I have the burden of conforming to that archetype.

I am simply Xavion

Enjoy Life, You'll never make it out alive

Enjoy Life, You’ll never make it out alive

 

This blog is for me and for those that find interest. I wanted to share my life, my thoughts, my philosophies and my experiences, open to the world. I wanted to share with anyone interested, curious, needing. Free for all to laugh, marvel, discuss, debate, wonder, share and provide feedback. I want to help inspire those that feel maybe hopeless or weak or insecure. I want to entertain those bored or curious. I want to motivate those that are listless, stagnant or complacent. Most importantly  I want to encourage love, kindness, free-thought  and self sacrifice in order to help improve the condition of the world and societies we live in.

So in this blog, everything that follows is what is a part of me. These are my thoughts and opinions and feelings and experiences and preferences. They all come from a unique individual. They don’t express views of any other organization or group or family that I may be a part of .

I hope you enjoy and are entertained or inspired or motivated or encouraged. I also please ask that when or if you feel any of these things, pass it forward. Share with someone that may need the same. If you feel anything I post can reach someone that is in need of it don’t be afraid to direct them here.

With love,

-X-

 

My Spartan Race Experience

          The weekend of March 22nd was an amazing and rewarding experience. I participated in another Reebok Spartan Race. It was the second one I have completed and it will not be my last

          Before I go any further into details about my specific race. I will explain a bit more about what it is. The Spartan Race is a timed obstacle course that traverses various distances and several physical obstacles. Most of these races involve copious amounts of mud.  It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. I love doing it.

          Some of you may remember I was overweight a couple years ago. Years before that I was a highly athletic and in shape kid. I loved playing football and running with friends and doing all kinds of activities. When I became bigger I had still loved doing those things but couldn’t enjoy them as much.  One of the things that drove me to get fitter and healthier is so that  I may enjoy those things again. The Spartan race is one of those things.

          I completed my first Spartan Race last year.  It was one of the physically toughest things I have ever done. I pushed myself to complete it. I raced at a time right after I completed a fitness goal. I wasn’t in as good shape as I am in now. It was cold. The temperature was mid to high thirties and rainy. There were times I wanted to stop and quit but I kept pushing.

          One of the reasons I was able to keep pushing is because of my favorite part of the Spartan Races and even other Mud Runs such as the Warrior Dash. The camaraderie is amazing. When I was limping through last years Spartan Race I was strengthened by hundreds of other runners pushing me on. Everyone was offering kind words and encouragement. When I needed help with an obstacle, without even asking people offered assistance. They were quick to reach out a hand to help me out of the mud when I couldn’t use my legs to push off.  The race was full of people that genuinely wanted to help you and see you finish and keep going. This was such a beautiful concept to me.

          This year I was much more fit and prepared much better for this race. I went in with a goal of 1 hour 30 minutes. While I did not meet my goal, I still felt a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment.  Obstacles that I had struggled with in the past were less of a challenge. I got help out others that were struggling to complete their journey.  I loved my racing experience and I loved putting on that medal at the end.  Another physical obstacle conquered and I’m ready for more.

          This year not only did I run the course but I also volunteered as well. It was such an amazing experience as well.  I volunteered first for the load out/build which means I helped set up for the race festival. I got to see the site prior to the event and it was a much different look. The most rewarding part of volunteering though had to be my course shift on Sunday. I had already ran on Saturday but I got up at 5am the next day to go back to the site to volunteer on the course. I got to volunteer at the Fire jump obstacle. I loved this because it was at the end of the race near the finish line so I got to see people’s excitement and joyous finishes. It was great seeing people come over that slip wall and smile as they jumped the fire and prepared for the gladiators. Some of them never thought they would make it this far but they had some of them looked spent. Those were the ones that I loved seeing because when they came by I screamed out at them to “Finish strong” I yelled “You’re almost there” I cheered and hooted and hollered for every runner that I saw coming over. That’s when I hit the most inspirational part of my whole experience.

          Allow me a tangent for a moment. When I tell someone about the Spartan Race and ask them if they would like to run it. So often I hear “I’m not in shape for that” or “I’ll never make it.” “Im too big” etc.  I wish those people would at least volunteer or watch a live Spartan run. I saw people twice some of the peoples size or twice their age. There were runners from age fifteen to mid sixties. People weighing upwords of 320 lbs. If you are determined you can complete this event.  There are people with missing legs and missing arms that are completing these runs.

          During my volunteering session, I noticed some people having issues climbing the slip wall to get to the final two obstacles. Not wanting to deny anyone their sense of accomplishment, I went to help those I saw struggling to get over the wall. The slip wall is basically an angled wall with a rope attached to the top of it that you have to use to climb the wall. What makes it incredibly hard is that you have to climb it right after getting out of a giant pool of muddy water. Many people slip. Many make it to the top and just cant get over.  Whenever I would see someone struggling I’d race to the top of the wall and try to pull them up and over the wall.  There was this one guy. I will remember his name for a long time. Chad. Chad was a bigger guy. He was over 300 lbs. He was having trouble getting over the wall. He was running with a friend and they had both made it this far. I saw Chad trying to climb the wall. The first time he made it halfway to the top and couldn’t push any more and slid back down. He could have accepted that he was too big or that he didn’t have what it took but no. He rested for a moment and grabbed the rope and tried again. He climbed to the near top with his buddy pushing below and Myself and now another volunteer trying to grab him from the top. Chad didn’t make it this time. He slid back down to the mud and tried to catch his breath at this time many other racers were looking at Chad and encouraging him. His buddy is stressing to him that he WILL make it over that wall. Myself and the other volunteer cheering and pressing him not to quit and pushing the growth of will power through our words. The huge crowd of spectators were cheering for him. He grabbed the rope again. He pulled and lifted himself on to the wall and out of the mud crowd other runners and other volunteers, all cheering for him. He makes it to the top and cheers are louder than ever but he still cant get over the wall we are holding him from over the wall and we don’t want to let go. He asks us to let go and we assure him that we will let go but he is going to get over the wall.  We let him go he slides back to the bottom. The crowd of spectators watching and runners watching is now at its peak. Chad holds his head down but not as if in shame but as in gathering his will and summoning his strength. He snatches the rope he beats on the wall and pulls the rope tight. He sets his foot on the wall and begins to climb everyone is cheering. With each step Chad makes the cheers get louder. People are screaming;

“You can do it Chad!”

“Don’t quit!”

“That medal is waiting”

“Aroo Aroo Aroo”

          Chad makes it to the top of the wall. He’s holding on with everything he has. Now with three volunteers we all reach over to help pull him over grabbing his leg and dragging it over the wall. Once he used that for leverage and climbed over that wall the crowd of spectators other racers and volunteers erupted in applause and praise everyone was smiling and shouting. I told him to go get his medal.  One of the other volunteers walked with him through to the finish line.

          As great as that experience was for me, I can only imagine how great it was or Chad. The feeling of having hundreds of people cheering and pushing you to complete and genuinely wanting to see you succeed for no other reason than the fact that you refused to give up.  That had to be an amazing mixture of emotions.

          I wear my medals proudly and so should anyone that has earned one because you do earn them. After my race I overheard a woman on the phone bragging to her mom about her completing her race and about how hard it was and about how she never thought she could do it. She had an excitement in her voice of a young kid after he opens a gift that he had been asking for all year. I’m not the woman’s parent and I don’t even know her name but I was extremely proud of her as well.

          To me the Spartan Race is about much more than times and people competing with each other. Its about the times we realize we are so much more than we thought were and competing with ourselves. To me its about the sense of accomplishment, the will to keep pressing and the amazing camaraderie that can make this world so much more amazing if we treated all of life as a Spartan Race.

It may hurt at first but that pain becomes strength and Pride and then you realize. "Hey I survived"

It may hurt at first but that pain becomes strength and Pride and then you realize. “Hey I survived and I’m greater”

My Spartan Sprint Medals

My Spartan Sprint Medals

Spartan Race Gladiator Pit

Spartan Race Gladiator Pit