For men, it is considered taboo to show vulnerability in public, especially in the form of tears. I usually try to conform to such societal norms, but I believed this moment was too important for conformity. Therefore, with a bit of transparent defiance, I captured this photo of me in a vulnerable state, and I’m calling it “The Release.”
When I took this picture of me in the middle of “the ugly cry,” I was listening to music while approving the final interior/exterior layouts for my first book, The One Book (in stores on October 20, 2020). Suddenly, Gladys Knight’s version of “I Hope You Dance” started playing on my Amazon Echo Dot:
“I hope you still feel small,
Standing by the ocean.
Whenever one door closes,
I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance…”
God had been pushing me to step out on faith, and start my own business for many years, and I often pushed back with reasons as to why I wasn’t ready. Some of those reasons included marriage, starting a family, working multiple jobs, finances, etc.
In February 2018, I heard that small still voice of God, and this time I listened. Finally, stepped out on faith and started POWEM PUBLISHERS LLC, an independent, full-service, book publishing company. The nostalgia of having my own business, however, was short-lived. After a series of setbacks (e.g. book rejection, death of my maternal grandmother, financial stressors, etc.), I hit the pause button on my company, and began working a third job. This new job of providing clinical supervision to graduate-level clinicians, I told myself, was going to provide the financial cushion needed to move forward with the business. Although I continued writing books, and developing POWEM PUBLISHERS while working 3 jobs, it was clear that working for other people was my priority.
As the old saying goes, “you value what you spend the most time doing.” Furthermore, instead of putting the extra income into my business, I started using it for other things, such as a meal prep service to help with fitness goals, and a cleaning service to help with the upkeep of my home, all needful things but not what I had promised myself.
Fifteen months later, in January 2020, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I began pursuing another lifelong dream, becoming a member of the prestigious Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In March 2020, I completed the fraternity’s Membership Training Academy, and by the end of the month, COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt. The fraternity, like most organizations, closed its doors for business. My jobs, all 3 of them, placed employees in a teleworking status, and a month or so after that, that third job of working with graduate students, placed me on furlough.
Once again, I felt like a fire was being lit underneath me, and I became more resolved than ever to launch POWEM PUBLISHERS. After the State of Maryland issued a Stay At Home Order, I now had all the time I needed to focus on the business, and it made for an easy decision to discontinue using some of the non-essential services I had set up, so that I could in turn reroute those finances to my vision. I had peace, and the creative juices that were stifled, began flowing again.
The vision in my head and heart were free to flow again too, but not unaccompanied. This time, as the soulful voice of Gladys Knight projected through the house, I immediately started thanking God for how He brought this Fatherless Father out of the ghetto of New Haven, CT to this moment. Every embarrassing moment, from dining at soup kitchens to being clothed in thrift store garments, and how God had brought me out each and every time, flowed in my consciousness. From overcoming exposure to the indiscretions of others before I was of age, to being brought up in an environment that included mental illness and substance abuse, He brought me out of that too.
It became crystal clear that God had never rejected me, as I once thought, because why would a God who loves you allow you to go through all of these trials and tribulations at such a young age? The answer, because He was preparing me for such a time as this!
We are living in a time when men are becoming less apprehensive about asking for help. A time when Fatherless Fathers are searching for healthy ways to heal from the traumas of their past. This is a time when fathers are ready to share their story to the world on the Fatherless Fathers Podcast, and/or through their books via Fatherless Fathers Publishing (A POWEM PUBLISHERS Imprint).
So yes, “The Release” of these tears represent my decision to let out every burden that I was holding in for years. I hope that you will make the time to join me as I dance, perhaps even sharing your release as well.
If you’d like to be a guest on the Fatherless Fathers Podcast, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , with the words, Fatherless Fathers Podcast, on the subject line.