What I am writing may very well be my last long form post on MakesMeWannaHoller.com. This doesn’t mean I won't pick up roots and start blogging again or creating again somewhere else but this I believe is the curtain call for this blog. Certain experts in the field say it's good to end a blog. Many in life say all things come to pass.
The History Lesson
When I first began this blog I was confused. Confused and without much direction in life. The original name of the blog was Manchild In the Promised Land, after the famous book. My intention was to write about how disconnected I felt from life and this world I was born into. It was going to be about the struggles of a youngish, up and coming black man trying to find purpose in a world, and a city - New York City at that, where it constantly eluded him.
My reason for doing this? To become a published author. I wanted to write fiction and tell fantastic stories about the underdog - me - but with more panache, drama and power. An old girl friend told me I’d never be satisfied with life because I lived it much larger in my mind that in reality. To this day, I ponder this and I hope she wasn’t right.
But then something unexpected happened along the way, I wrote about one of my kids climbing into my bed in the middle of the night and beating me as I tried to get a good night’s rest. Some people liked the post. They told me I should write more like that. And write is exactly what I did to the tune of 1,000 posts about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between. I became transparent about my life and then I scaled back a bit to become more inspirational/advisory. But you folks who read me you knew the deal. You knew when I had arguments and you know what I was arguing about. You knew my oldest kid’s struggles and you even knew my desire to make him “officially” mine. Which I did and always quietly told myself would mark the end of this blog. Other than their names, all of them beautiful, I didn’t keep much else secret.
And blogging has brought me unexpected “fame” - a few random television appearances, many advertising and influencer opportunities, a handful of trips in the US and outside and a number of speaking engagements. The job I have now as an ad agency dude has a lot to do with what I bring to the table as a blogger. I have connections I can call friends and experiences that have truly shaped and molded me into the man I am: somewhat outspoken, positive more than negative, and innovative.
But there was something else going on in the background that you, the readers, and I, the writer, wasn’t exactly aware of. It was how I was neglecting my wife even though I was writing about how central a role she played in my life. See, I was trying to create income, create notoriety, create a platform in the name of doing for my family. But in not sharing these motivations with her, because as I guy, I thought she would get this because, well, why wouldn’t she - I left her out of all this. She was the subject of many stories, the butt of some jokes, the focal point of my literary ire (which I point out is way stronger than my face to face ire) and much of it was without her permission or without buy-in from her. I knew that I was doing what I was doing so that when the job opportunities came along or the book deal popped up I could say, “Here, look at my body of work, all served up on a digital platter for you.” But without communicating that intention, and when I did, doing so poorly and sometimes angrily, my efforts were judged as being far less simple, and even less so noble. So for me my blog is my platform. For my wife, it was a thing that came between us and to a certain extent remains between us thanks to the many years of fallout it has caused.
You are seeing this post today because this is the day I published it, but the first few sentences were written as a draft on July 25, 2014. It was something that I knew I needed to do to address the inadvertent hurt I’ve caused. Because sometimes you do have to prove to others you care about, how much they matter. It was what I knew I needed to do because I don’t want anything real or imagined, that I can control, coming between me and any of my family members, especially my wife. It is what I’ve known I needed to do for a long time because sometimes when you have a conviction to do something, you don’t really even need an explanation or a reason that makes sense to others.
It’s been a good run, but I never really had any intention of writing here for another eight to nine years as my daughter ages up and out of my house. Unless there's something truly compelling happens that I need to share from a dad-daughters or girls’ empowerment perspective. Besides, I’m sure most of it will be a repeat of what I went through with my son, except this time it will be wrapped in pink bows, zebra and leopard prints and a beautiful smile versus a junky room and big feet. If this is your first time here or you are relatively knew, feel free to scroll through the 1,000+ existing posts. This place is a time suck if there ever was one. Ultimately, it is my love letter to my kids, a place that they can come once they are a little older and understand how confused and human Daddy was and maybe not make the same mistakes I have. It's also the safe space I created for myself, a man of color, to be me whether it was right or wrong at times, in a world that doesn't really allow for or even want men of color to be vulnerable or authentic.
Shuttering the Doors
Ultimately, my family’s well being matters way more to me than any material thing. And what my wife believes and how she feels and most importantly how she feels she is being regarded means the world to me though I’ve stumbled plenty in this department. If shuttering the doors on this project which has brought some confusion and some pain behind the scenes heals just one of her wounds well then this action was well worth it. Life is too short and love is too precious to hold on to things. This is not a goodbye, but rather me putting an endpoint on a story that no longer needs to continue publicly. I look forward to living life without feeling I'm not doing something right if I don't share (unless I'm really in the mood). I’m glad and blessed and honored and privileged to have been able to evolve this experience into one that has allowed me to inspire others, both men and women. And with my wife’s permission, I may pop in from time to time to wax poetic here and there or make an announcement about something, but it’s time to move on to the next thing. If I could have my way in a perfect world I would hand the reigns over to another to pick up where I am leaving, so if you’re reading and interested in becoming a contributor let me know in the comments and let’s get connected. I've been wanting to do this for the past two years, actually, but it's hard to get someone to blog for you when everyone has their own blog.
One simple request, if you’re feeling like applauding me for this, please do not. I do this somberly. Accolades are something I do not want. I’m doing this solely for the purpose of righting past wrongs. I don't do this out of duress. I do it because it is long overdue.
Thank you for the experience, my beloved blog. I’ve become a better writer and a better thinker thanks to you. Thank you, to my contributing writers over the years. I also need to thank my wife for enduring me on the not so good days and being as understanding as possible about something I never truly explained to her. Thanks to all the brands that have trusted me to review their products. Thank you for reading, my beloved readers. Thank you for allowing me to share a little (or a lot) of my life with you and I am nothing but honored by the respect you’ve shown me over the years.
Until the next experience (maybe/probably) stay tuned…
And my fondest farewell.
Meet Ross and watch his testimony on what it means to be a father.