To Rise Above Conflict


For the Ride

Hand to my head
Hard to believe the words that were said:
Quantifying, analyzing, criticizing;

I held your hand
You pushed it away
Can the opinions and beliefs we carry
Really map out the way?

I was going to show you how love
Can be powerful, too
But, useless, it felt,
Judging by the response from you.

Then, a shift, a lean, a bend came along
Your side of the story soon came into view
Mine pulled up beside yours,
Four arms stretched and our differences withdrew.

Your head, in my lap, made me realize
The miles I would travel to be by your side
You’re a piece of the puzzle;
Still here. For the ride.

  • Listening to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor. Sometimes, life is not joyful and gets sad and the key turns minor. True friends hold all the keys.

Mickey Mouse Watch


My dear friend Ashley is getting married next month. Earlier this morning, she asked me to please select a few of my favorite old photographs of the two of us and to send them to her for a project her future Mother-in-Law is working on. I came home from work and started digging through my old trunk.

I found so many great photos from the fun times my friends and I once shared. I texted a few of my friends a sample or two of what I was sorting through. A couple friends were probably a little taken aback and/or embarrassed of the random blasts from the past. But, maybe that was one of the reasons I held on to the photos! 

While sorting through the contents of a particular box, I stumbled upon an envelope labeled Friends and Family. I found many memories stored inside the envelope and a few were items I have been searching for for quite some time. 

One of the items for which I have searched far and wide is the Mickey Mouse watch pictured above. I became so excited when I discovered the black straps and silver edges of the face of the tiny, worn, piece. Immediately, I called my mother and apologized for accusing her of throwing the watch away.

The item is so special to me, mostly because I have a very clear memory of where I was and the person I was with when the watch was given to me: I was with my mother at a mall in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the time, I must have been in kindergarten or somewhere around that age.

While we were walking around, I saw the watch on display and said aloud how badly I needed to own it. My mother asked the clerk how much the watch would cost. 30 dollars was the answer.

At the time, I thought 30 bucks was an absurd amount of money and I felt certain my family could not afford such a price. The look on my mother’s face said she knew what I was thinking and and she said, “We’ll take it.” I felt a combination of utter guilt and unequivocal materialism mix inside my little body. I wore the watch all the time.

At times, I can imagine what it must feel like to be a hoarder. I have so many sentimental items and letters from friends and family I would be so devastated to lose. Looking through my old trunk, I selected an item or two a wise man would probably toss out. After securing these items back in their spots, I began to dig for another envelope. 



One Lucky Dude

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When life gets me down, I have found one thing that never fails to ease the pain is to focus on the positive and not so much on the negative aspects of my life. Something that always brings me back to realizing I am one lucky dude is to think about my amazing friends and family. I have always believed that I have the best in the entire world. 

My friends are the reason I am the person I am today and why I am not completely insane. Any time I need advice or feel lonely, I have a wonderful support system to turn to. While I know I am not perfect, my friends have always accepted my imperfections and have forgiven me when I sought forgiveness. I have always tried to do the same.

My family always proves that unconditional love does exist and we always have each other’s backs. The truth is, I consider my family my friends and my friends my family. The lines between the two are quite blurred. And I love that. 

The other night, I was texting back and forth with my friend Jerielle. We were writing to each other about how much we miss performing. At one point, she mentioned that she wants to write sketch comedy with me. We ended up sending each other the most encouraging words, concerning each other’s talent and potential. I started thinking about how awesome it is to have artistic and gifted people in my life who I so badly want to see succeed and who really want me to succeed as well. I meant every word I said when I told her how much I miss our voices singing together. I love that soprano!

The painting I included above is one my Grandma Jean had framed for me yesterday. She has always been such a great painter. She and I painted this piece together when I was little and had just moved to Georgia from Ohio. She pretty much held my hand for the bits that I contributed, but I remember feeling like I knew how to paint afterwards. She has told me many times that she remembers me, when I was young, encouraging her to paint more and pushing her forward with her art. I don’t really remember what I said, but I do know how passionate I can be when someone I love has such potential; I always appreciate when a friend or family member pushes me forward in that way, too.

In a world where it is so easy to turn on the television, look at social media, or pick up a newspaper and see negativity and crap, I am so happy to have a team who all make it very easy to find optimism and love. They are the best. I am just so grateful.


“It’s been so nice to have your brand of humor back in my life. I’ve been starved for it.”
– Liz Daggar, to me, at Black Horse Pub in Brooklyn. 07/05/16