Growing up I didn’t live like the Bill Cosby family and I definitely wasn’t the Brady Bunch either. I didn’t get all those hugs and kisses. Most of the time if I did good it was met with-“You can do better.” Every reprimand was met with a threat within an inch of my life. That is how I was raised. Mother believed in a firm hand and never hesitated with the chancleta. I knew through it all that she loved me. It was the only thing I knew. It wasn’t till my teenage years that it dawned on me that not everyone grew up the same way. By that time I grew resentful but accepted it because I knew better than complain. I learned a lot of things the hard way. I suffered many bumps and bruises that for me some were necessary as well as there were ones I care not to repeat and left rubbing my ass saying to myself- I should’ve listened. Being a man I wouldn’t change a thing. Her strict upbringing mixed with old fashion morals and values and infused with a huge dysfunction gave me what I needed to survive in this time. I gave me respect to my elders. It made me realize that with hard work you can achieve.

At this moment in time so many things have come in full circle for me. The internal has come to face me in my loneliest of moments especially when I sit behind this computer. I have stopped counting the times that tears have fallen from the thoughts that I have relived while writing. Just for the record, for those that don’t know writers and actors relive every scene and paragraph over and over. We feel the pain and the anxiety and the moments as if they were happening all over again. It is in these moments whether good or bad that I am taken back to my friends. To the ones I have called family at one time or another or still consider family. Also to the ones I don’t consider family anymore. It is all there waiting to bombard me with its avalanche of thoughts and memories to keep fresh the lessons I have either learned or need to keep fresh in the mental list of “Don’t Forget”..

When we were growing up we formed a huge bond that many times kept me going. The support from them was never ending. They accepted me in all my worst. I can remember when I was out in them streets how they looked for me. Some prayed for me but one thing that never wavered was their love. They embraced me through it all and I can say that those same feelings is what I am feeling now.

Walking in this light I feel it all over again. Feels like a huge epiphany with the singing angels and all (yes I love the dramatics. It makes for good T.V). The drive, the wanting, the pushing forward it’s all there. The waking up and just working toward all that I want is ever present. I can’t really say how it came to be but I embrace it. I won’t run away from it. I want to venture even more to what is called the craft. I want to allow this GOD given talent to flourish itself with no fear or limitations. I welcome this feeling in all its facets.

I carry the love and the great moments of my youth when life was in my hands and I was able to shift it and change it. Where every waking moment I was doing things to make it all come true. I was relentless, creative, pushy, dreaming, shifting, changing, celebrating, seeking and above all loving life. There wasn’t a day that I wasn’t doing something that involved the arts. The many rehearsals we held in the parks and in the empty schoolyards as we made up dance routines. There was really no show we were doing but we were honing our craft without really knowing. It was just doing what we loved. The many times my friends would record and join in these impromptu skits. The comedy being completely unfiltered was genius. The mini shows we would throw anywhere the minute we heard music. How all of us would sing and dance at the drop of a pin as if our lives were a musical scene from a dance movie (I did tell you we were dramatic) like a scene out of a musical. We allowed and let this energy flow constantly and freely. We never believed in limitations. If we thought it we did it. We would all be on the same page and support each other with a fever that matched the youth we exuded.

On these streets of Brooklyn we were not ashamed. Everyone knew us as the group of teens that were constantly laughing, dancing and singing. We were so ahead of our time but didn’t have anyone to show us the way. One of the many things when you are not born privileged. How we have survived our youth is a testimony itself. We were a group of kids that had some real hard lives of abuse and betrayal, some of us dealt with death before we even knew what the word grief was. Yet we didn’t allow that to poison the love we each had for each other.  We didn’t allow it to kill the dreams that one day we would get there.


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