SHATTERING INNOCENCE: A PLEA FOR MY DAUGHTERS

This morning my daughter woke me up, with the same smile that she always has in the morning, with her little sister in tow. “Can we have some Cereal?” I thought about the merits of telling them have at it and dealing with aftermath later. Sadly, there were none. So, I broke out of my sleep and made my way to the kitchen. I made two bowls of the cereal my wife told me not to give them, but she was at her  Fitness Boot camp and will never know (unless she reads this blog). My oldest daughter, Amara Blurted out a question is wasn’t ready for. “What’s a nigger?” I stuttered through answers that were age appropriate and excuses. Then I finally landed on “it’s a bad word. Don’t say it again.” It wasn’t the time to explain the history of the word, but it made my mind wander to when I had my perception of the world shattered.  As a child, I was always acutely aware of  forms of hate, but always from a distance, never up close.

In the summer of 2005, I landed my first job as a crew member in one of the famous Wendy’s restaurant Chains.  As a young adult, the naivete’ was pure. I thought that the 6.15 an hour was going to take me places. I wanted a car, a apartment and nice girlfriend. I thought I was going to be well off. Let’s say that my imagination often took over my logic.

My job was to close up at night. Which was fine because I didn’t live too far. However, one night after I said my goodbyes to my manager and turned down every offer for a ride home, I began to walk down Romig Road, past the Rolling Acres mall. The streets were quiet, and I felt at ease knowing my house was only a few blocks away. Then I heard the hard shifting of rocks, as a van crept up behind me. Then I felt there presence more than I heard it. I felt the sting of white hot pain as a full beer can threw with a good amount of effort because it landed flush against my head and knocked me off my feet. My world spun and I heard the words “fucking nigger” as the van sped off.

Although, cars rushed by and a few faces stared at me, no one stopped to ask if I was alright. Even as I looked for some kind of compassion or help none came. The fear of them returning made me run as fast as I could home. The embarrassment made me hide my wounds and lie to my parents about its origin. Growing up in a neighborhood where everyone looks pretty much the same, I didn’t understand what I did to cause it. I kept that thought with me. From that night forward, I stood and waited for hours for a bus, in order to ensure that I never walked home from that place again.

Those thoughts makes me hold my girls close to me at all times. The fear and need to protect them is much stronger in me because I’ve learned what evils lurk in the shadows. I know that there are people, whom hate them for their skin tone, their hair, or the way they resemble their African ancestors in all. For that I am afraid. As I see that same “love everyone” nature in them I once had, I fear the day that it is shattered by a single act or word that makes them question their own existence. And I want to tell warn them not to go here or not to walk there because not everyone loves us, and some people are sick. The sick ones will hurt you if they have a chance. Maybe not with objects or fists, but their words can impact you the same. But I know at the age of 6 and 7, they can’t understand that they will have to love themselves and each other, even if it seems no one else does. I want to tell them to love themselves enough to never become some pervert’s eye candy, treat their bodies well and there is a special etiquette when we deal with authority, and I know you didn’t do anything wrong, but don’t be angry. Just survive.

My mind sends those messages to them but my lips stops them from forming words Because they need to innocent a bit longer…

 

 

As social media grows along with the amount of experiences I’ve had, so does my awareness of the hate. The hatred for who not only I am but for each one of us, for some reason or another.Its not limited to color or any other label, but I can only give my experiences. However, I wont give them specific titles because I believe words hold power, and that is not my goal in writing this. My goal is to start a conversation or to continue one because it needs to be talked about.

 

My hearts war

Today, my wife and I sat in the backyard and watched as our girls played together. She talked to me as she always do about her new exercise boot camp and how it “kiliing” her legs, rubbing her hamstring for effect. Then being the space cadet I am, my mind began to wander, exploring parts unknown to my logical mind. 

I began to explore “what if” scenerios. Nothing too dark, but sometimes it feels that the love we share has no end. Our quiet commitment to each other keeps our realities intertwined into a universe where nothing else matters or can break it. So my mind be the cynic that it is, tries to break that bond in it’s never ending passive war with my heart. 

It toys with infidelity, and my heart just grows fonder of her. Because it wears the armor of her loyalty and her devotion to it’s well being. Then my mind starts to play very dirty and throws in the idea of parallel universes. Saying what if I never took that job and was at that interview, where I sat at the table, neverous with an accelerated heartbeat, just to have it stopped by her beauty. What if I never moved to Canton, Ohio‚Äč, and left that apartment that I loved so much for a better opportunity. And just like a bad friend, it asked “what about the women.” Then my heart laughs and says “what women?”

My mind then wanders to a darker place. What if she leaves. What if her love was a bad joke at your expense and she just disappears from your life without a second thought and my heart tears. Not much, but enough that the very thought of her absence felt like it threatened it’s very existence. 

I was sinking in a sea of my own despair and self doubt, until a touch brought me back to reality. The reality of knowing that she needed me as much as I needed her. It may not be physical but as intangible as may seem, it is something that has caught fire and left us willing to burn together. My mind eased and finally accepted the fact that as illogical as it may be, no matter the scenerio it conjures up, our lives couldn’t had ended up any other way than together…

Shitty drafts: Writer’s Overload

When cavemen wrote on walls, do you think that they ever said to themselves “fuck that’s not right” and tried to scratch it out or just switched walls, or was it another medium before the wall. Did they use dirt, mud or animal parts? Did they just have a frat-boy last minute essay night and looked at it, seen it made no sense, said “fuck it” and rolled with it?

If it was anything other than the latter, they are geniuses. I say that because I am banging my head against the wall, only to fight the urge of throw my laptop out the damn window, which would be meaningless. besides, I just fixed my screen; totally unrelated incident. The messed up part is that it’s not because I’m having “writer’s block” its because I am indecisive in my writing and that very nature is causing me to look for perfection in a imperfect process. Drafts are meant to give the writer a chance to remove the mental clutter and self correct. Well that’s what my old English Comp instructor told my back, as I furiously repeated the process of balling up paper and throwing them at the trash can.

So, recalling on that bit of information from Mr. Quirk, I am stepping away from the laptop that I’m sure is resentful or depressed from the litany of curses and swears aimed at it. I hope it understands that the anger was misplaced. I am instead going to comeback and write everything that comes to my mind. Let’s see how a confusing draft with six endings workout. Well in a world with Micheal Bay and M Night Shyamalan all is possible. Whatever I write I am going to stick with until my next draft. There’s the challenge. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Beginning: “Putting myself out there and leaving a legacy”

I am Antonio Smith. I have been writing for most of my life. I have a large box full of notepads with mostly written stories to attest to that. Other than my artwork, it had been a talent that I’ve kept hidden from others. I don’t know whether it was fear of being rejected and coming to a realization that I am not as good as me, my wife and closest friends believe me to be, or on the flip side, I am actually good and can go somewhere with it. It may as well be a combination of both. However, those are minor apprehensions. I won’t let it stop me from creating something real and cool for an audience that I know will appreciate and anticipate it.

I believe that everyone has something. By that I mean some kind of talent, insight or maybe you’re just a hard worker. Whatever the case may be, there are too much regret in this world. I see it everyday at work in long term care. It’s soul sucking to see an 80yo man constantly ask for the woman he never married or talk about how he only worked his entire life, never traveled like he wanted. So whats my goal with this blog? Sure, it would be awesome to monetize my abilities and to get paid doing this 24/7, but I want to leave a legacy. Something that my great great great great grandchildren can look back at and say “wow”. That should be a goal of everyone. I believe that if we were more concerned on the mark we left that people would lead better lives, not wanting to be remembered for living a shitty, mediocre life, and that’s fine if that is where you find your happiness, but not for me. I lived that way for a long time and now that I am 30 years old ,and have worked my ass off to be a semi-functional adult, I am fucking going to live out my dreams and accomplish some great shit. Along the way I hope to inspire some people to do that same.

So,Through this blog and hopefully other avenues in the future, I will take on my journey to publishing success. Please comment or email me your stories too. It doesn’t matter if you are successful or striving to be. I want to hear your story and maybe talk about it. I can always learn something new. Stay tuned.. I will be posting often. My goal is everyday, but if not, at least 4 to 5 times a week.