Damn, it’s been almost five years since I’ve been on here. Since I last wrote anything. Let me clear one thing out the way, I ain’t dead. Recently I’ve been thinking about creating something that allows me to express myself, to say the things I want. Then it hit and I said to myself, “fool you already got a blog, dumbass”. I don’t know what it says about my psyche and self-image that I speak to myself in the third person and insult myself while doing it. Anyway, I logged in today and it took me straight to the dashboard that holds my metrics and I was amazed that everyday people are checking out this space. Some days 40 to 60 clicks and I haven’t been on here in almost five years… “Told your dumbass you had a blog”, I said to myself because I apparently have no respect for me.
It’s been a wild five years, let me catch you up. Last time I was here I was getting adjusted to life as a father, my son was just six-months-old. Honestly, outside of being a father, working and questioning the institution of marriage, I didn’t do much in 2012 and 2013. Just embraced being responsible for a life, feeding that life, keeping a roof over the head of that life, and raising a son too. The struggle of those two years was being a one income household. Living in Chicago on one salary, in a high rise apartment, in one of the ‘better’ neighborhoods in the city with a view of the lake costs money! And then… 2014.
- My job downsized.
- I was cut.
- I cried.
- I could only think of my son.
Being a parent makes you give extra consideration to everything you do in life. It makes you reconsider everything… so does losing your job. I felt as a professional I topped out. That was before getting cut. Professionally I was in this space where people with less experience than me, were making the same and in many cases more than what I was bringing home. I work in the nonprofit space and a salary that supports your life is hard to find, you truly work to change lives. Now I sit in a living room, with a 2-year-old son and a severance package. Getting ready to interview for a job with the same expectations and salary. Then my phone started to ring.
Before I was let go, I started an application to a graduate program at my alma mater. One day I got a call with a young lady asking me, “why haven’t you completed your application? We need your letters of support and the personal statement”. My reply was I didn’t want to take on any more student loans. The voice on the other end said “finish your application. We have money. I see your resume, you would be a great fit”.
I finished my application, started applying for jobs near the program, found a job and took the severance pay to fund our move to Indianapolis, Indiana. I had not received word of acceptance, just got up and left.
Started a job in a domestic violence shelter. I would catch the bus, leaving the car with my wife and son, I proceeded to fall into a regular fog similar to my previous days. Plus I was making $15,000 a year less in salary. I took a second job. That allowed me 15 to 30 minutes every day from the time I got off the bus home to see my son awake and get something to eat before I was off to job number 2.
One day on the bus, the phone again rings. “Robert, are you still interested in
Robert, are you still interested in joining our master’s program?
Well, let me officially offer you a spot with our incoming class.
Next question was if I applied for financial aid, my response was no. I need the school to assist me. 24 hours later I was offered a fellowship, tuition included, health insurance and a stipend.
2015, remember I questioned the institution of marriage and I decided to file for divorce. Neither of us had anything resembling happiness and my health was suffering from the stress. My son could not see me this way. It was a difficult decision. It was the right decision. My son is sitting next to as I write this, the cool thing is he is writing too.
2016, Prince died. I cried like I just lost my job. Fa real. I’ll write something else to express how much I ADORE Prince (get it? Adore? Nevermind… dumbass! You this time, not me).
2016 also saw me receive my second degree from Indiana University. This time with an M.A. in Philanthropic Studies from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I now work in education on a national level. Salary still sucks but better. My job is exactly what I dreamed of and I travel as I hoped for my next job. This isn’t bragging.
The last five years I realized what needed to change and changed it. Accepted hard work (did I say I was a full-time graduate student with a full-time job?), and dedicated myself to change. I dedicated myself to be better. I am better, not the best, better. I’m striving for perfection, I will never be perfect but I can work towards perfection. I have the education, I have the job, now I have to get the balance… so my blog is open, again.
I leave you with the artist I have attached to since Prince passed, I’ll write about him as well… soon. I’ll be funnier too.