Image courtesy of “The good birth practice”
As we all know, becoming a father can be a major transition point in a guys life. Of all the times considered to be “rights of passage”, fatherhood can arguably be the most pivotal. Where we go from solely thinking of ourselves to having to think more-so of others. Not only thinking of others, being responsible for another life. Like, whoa!
At least that’s what the transition of fatherhood is touted as. The truth is, while that maybe the case, for many others it may be a time where fears and pressure can make us crack, run or choose not to deal with it altogether. There really is no one standard fatherhood experience, but I’m not here to judge or discuss any of that. In my case, fatherhood may have been a catalyst for my personal “dark night of the soul” and ultimately my conscious spiritual awakening.
Prior to my son’s birth, I was a typical young NYC guy, enjoying life and debauchery as I juggled ‘gigs’ and responsibilities. Professional actor, Dj and managing a part-time office job all to enjoy life, as I maintained NYC’s high cost of living. As far as I was concerned, for a kid from the ‘hood’, it was not bad at all. Coming from a childhood where me and my younger siblings were raised by drug addicted single mother, in a home full of domestic violence, while living with the disability of sickle cell disease… I gotta say, I was pretty damn proud of myself. Having somehow made it through that, to end up college educated, having worked through many of my issues to not be abusive to women, not trapped in a criminal lifestyle, or any of the other negative stereotypes imagined when thinking of black men from ‘the hood’. To be quite honest, I was more than just proud, I may have been pretty damn full of myself. After-all, it’s quite an empowering story once on the tail-end of it. I was living the high life as young NYC guy and loving it.
During this period, I was fortunate enough to partner with my son’s mother, a woman who resonated with me on shared core values and reflected my own journey and my issues. As difficult as she could be (as most women are 😉), when we started discussing the possibility of having children, I was all for it. I had always thought I’d make an awesome dad, and I knew I wanted to do things different from what I had experienced in my own childhood. My only fear was being ‘ready’ for it, whenever it would happen. When it finally did happen and I found out I was really going to become a father… well, then shit got real!
I began questioning more of what I was doing with my life. Whether or not I was truly ready. How was I going to really provide. What if I screw up this kid, or can’t make it work… and on and on the rabbit hole of fears went on. This was the start of my ‘dark night of the soul’. What the hell was I doing with my life? I was sure I had fucked up somehow. Somewhere along the line I hadn’t planned for the future… having fun in the moments, regressing and indulging in my second childhood was coming back to haunt me. At least that’s what I thought. My self-esteem dwindled to a low I hadn’t experienced since my suicidal days in my youth. The difference here was suicide wasn’t an option, I had people relying on me, a child on the way… I owed him better. I owed myself better, so oddly enough the thought of obligation which weighed me down and burdened my heart with fear, was simultaneously my saving grace. So with checking out not an option, I was left with on thing… figuring out what the hell I was going to do. Acting was fine for a single guy in the city, but short of being an ‘A-Lister’ it wasn’t going to cut it. An unfulfilling part-time job wouldn’t cut it, not for me, not for the example I wanted to show to my son. Something had to change and I had to figure it out… quick-fast!
This lost, hazy, dazed and confused kind of depression lasted a few years. Carrying on as best as I could, faking it trying to make it through… I was seeking and searching for something. Something more, something fulfilling, a way to provide. An understanding of what it is to truly be a man.
What being a father meant to me. What the hell was the point in all of this. Just really digging to find myself and what I was mad of. In the process… I turned to self help books, coaches, hypnotherapy, and an assortment of other self development resources. All to dig my way up out of the slump and figure out what I was going to do… to begin to build myself back up, anew. Slowly but surely I was finally beginning to see a light at the end of this dark tunnel and was eagerly, anxiously crawling my way up out of it. My son was getting into his toddler years, and I had somehow managed to be a ever-present father and man in his life, regardless of my own issues. I started to feel inspired with all I was doing, and believing again in my own worth and value.
I eventually decided to go back to school, fill in the gaps and bridge my skillsets between the different career paths I’d been juggling. I was believing in myself again personally, but professionally, and financially I was still unsatisfied. It was time for a change and my desire to have my own , to build something greater for myself and seed was pushing me onward. In hindsight, I realize it was more than just that spurring me on. The desire for growth and expansion, the wish to contribute more to the world, the urge to shine my light and no longer hide in my comfort zone was like a fire spreading through my heart. It’s so easy to want to stay in that comfortable space, to be afraid to live life on your terms, as your truest self. To diminish your light for the sake of fitting in, being normal and coasting along the status quo of society. The thing with that is, the un-satisfactory-ness of life on society’s, or anyone else’s terms can then become a real soul killer. Rather than settling for a life of mediocrity or the constant need for escape… getting drunk and high while working on others dreams, etc… I felt pushed to do something different. To shine my own light, pursue my own dreams and live life on my terms, win, lose or draw. I found myself in a place of realizing, what the hell else, am I here for? Hell, the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is a cornerstone of the american dream. What is the meaning of life, if not to pursue the things that bring you joy and live the fullest experience possible? I was faced with thoughts of what kind of life I wanted to live and what kind of example I want to set for my son. These thoughts, questions and so much more consistently rang throughout my head and heart…
End of part I… Part II will be up in a couple of days come back for the rest of the story then. Until then feel to leave some feedback questions etc!