Archives For boyhood

Free To Speak

March 17, 2017 — 3 Comments

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On a Friday morning I had a chance to go to the barbershop while I was out of town in Oklahoma City.

You know the experience especially if you’ve ever ventured into a predominantly black barbershop. Their’s that familiar sound of electric clippers humming in the background, boisterous conversations over the current affairs of the day and sometimes you get a hint of background noise from the TV or radio.

I normally don’t go to the barbershop, but this time, I had a chance to experience this very familiar moment once again. The discussion between the barbers and the people in the shop turned from who was the best quarterback in football to the president and the congress and finally to race and culture.

As I sat there, I quietly listened. It reminded me of the times I was a little boy. I would sit and listen to this adults go back and forth until they were blue in the face. But then it hit me…I am free to speak now! I actually have a voice! I am an adult with the privilege to share my views and analysis.

One gentlemen said a few things I both agreed and disagreed with. I listened intently to the man’s take on race, prejudice, life, women, politics and much more. My arms and legs were crossed and my eyes slowly wandered as to avoid staring.

As I was getting my haircut, I felt this deep, bottom of my stomach urge to speak up. I really, really, didn’t want too. Seriously, I didn’t!

I mean, what could I possibly contribute to this conversation? What would happen if I did say something? Who would care? Why would it matter? Who on earth needs to even hear it? I don’t have the background, experience or anything to back up what comes out?

The conversation was finally over! I realized I just about lost my opportunity to speak up. I felt like such a loser at that moment. A really deep part of me demanded to speak out and I kept silent.

But just as I was about to give up, the conversation started back up.

I added my two cents! A consensus was made with a very understandable group of men who heard what I had to say. In fact, they even demanded more depth from me, which I might add was pretty cool! Here I am, a young guy being asked to expand on my analysis in front of men who were several years older than me.

Deep down, this very real, masculine, powerful and vocal part of me wanted to speak out and I almost missed out.

Why!? Because we short change ourselves! We doubt if we really have what it takes. We doubt if we could make a difference. We sit back and allow things to unfold and cower in the back.

The experience at the barbershop moved me from being the boy who sat back and watched to a real man with real perspective and real insight.

19 and 32

So, for fun, I thought it would be kind of neat to write a short-story of me interacting with my 13-year-old self. Needless to say, I didn’t have too much trouble putting it together. 

Ken (age 32): Just wait till you get to be my age!

Ken(age 13):  You mean I actually survive till my 30’s?

Ken 32:  Of course you do! What makes you say that.

Ken 13:  You forget, I’m in middle school….in Dallas.

Ken 32:  Relax! It can’t be that bad.

Ken 13:  You DO have bad memory then. I’m  itchy…smelly…and constantly feel awkward.

Ken 32:  It’s called puberty! You’ll get pass it.

Ken 13:  That and the fact I didn’t shower today.

Ken 32:  HA! Gross.

Ken 13:  Well it’s not like it’s a habit. It’s been a long day. Anyway, do I grow up to be a Meteorologist or what!?

Ken 32:  Well, let me put it this way…..no.

Ken 13:  WHAT!?!?

Ken 32:  But you do get to work in media. And you’ll be a minister. Oh, and you’ll be a cartoonist.

Ken 13:  Hmm…well, gotta have a back-up! Wait, hold on….I’ve got so many questions.

Ken 32:  I bet…

Ken 13:  I preach!? And I actually create cartoons and stuff!?

Ken 32:  Yep

Ken 13:  I preach….and I’m a….

Ken 32:  A cartoonist…yes. And a writer… And you’re gonna do other media stuff. Oh, and you’ll get married in your early 30’s to an amazing women.

Ken 13:  WHAT!?!? How in the world did I go from THIS to THAT!?!?

Ken 32:  Jesus…a whole, whole, whole lot of Jesus. And you were faithful. You worked hard. You grew up. You matured. You changed. And you didn’t give up. You kept going.

Ken 13: (pauses and looks away) ……. So I actually become somebody.

Ken 32:  You already are. Just be yourself.

Ken 13:  I keep hearing that….but I hear ya.

(a pause between both)

Ken 13:  That means you know….uh….my deepest….personal thoughts….correct?

Ken 32:  Yep. But, don’t worry, you’ll get past that stuff too. Get prepared to see a counselor or two.

(13 year old self sighs)

Ken 13:  So I figured.

Ken 32:  Surprised!? Concerned?! Maybe anxious!?

Ken 13:  Actually, no…..now I’m curious. Looking forward to the future now.

Ken 32:  To the future!

Ken 13:  To the future!

(Ken 13 and Ken 32 pop open a can of Dr. Pepper at the same time)

 

 

My Webcomic and Kickstarter

February 8, 2016

 

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As discussed a few days ago, I said that I hoped that my Kickstarter would be approved.

I’m happy to announce today that my Kickstarter is approved and LIVE!

The webcomic, “By and By,” follows the adventures (or misadventures) of 11-year-old socially awkward boy, Watler Ayo, and his struggle to understand God, girls, government and grown folk!

With your help, I will be able to expand the webcomic by way of design and look and create an appealing story about a boy and his daily experience of overcoming everything from bullying to peer pressure to ridiculous math equations.

And…you’ll get some pretty cool stuff for supporting as well. 

Do share with as many people as possible and feel free to keep following the webcomic here. I’ll also continue to update the Kickstarter as the days go by.

 

IMG_0623It was at age 13 that I received my first journal as a gift from my Mother.

I wasn’t sure what I would actually write about or if I would even bother journaling in the first place. But, the minute I put a pen to that paper, I was hooked. I was able to release a TON of thoughts and concerns and anxieties that I had as I sojourned through what was essentially an awkwardly yet successfully survived and blessed boyhood.

Even though I do love the digital touch of blogging, for me, theirs something about writing in a journal that really capstones my experience as a writer.

Therapeutic

I needed this growing up. As a kid, I would often visit the school counselor like I was a modern day Charlie Brown. But, journaling did something similar for me. I really found myself being able to release junk that was floating in my mind and on my heart onto paper. I’m not going to lie, it felt weird sometimes being THAT honest with myself. But, I knew that I could be. I had the space, the privacy and the resources to be able to just be real on paper. It also helped that the journal I had at age 13 had a lock on it that was so efficient that the NSA couldn’t get to it.

Tracking My Progress

As a Christian, as a man and as someone whose totally imperfect and who has the potential for failure at any given time, it is imperative for me to keep a journal of my thoughts, feelings, ideas and everything that pours out from my mind and heart. I journal because it keeps me focused on always  living and operating better as well as reminding me to remain humble. I have wrote about things in my journal that to this day still make me blush and scratch my head. Because of this, when I revisit my old journals, I am quickly reminded of how far the Lord brought me and, frankly, reminded of how blessed I am and how I am not deserving of how good I have it. Because I check back on those old journals, I can celebrate my successes and be reminded of my mission.

Keeps My Ideas Balanced

I come up with multiple ideas during the day about multiple things. I wonder sometimes if I’m ADD I come up with so much stuff. But, journaling and writing keeps things focused. Oddly enough, I wasn’t journaling or blogging as much and because of that I was suffering. My Pastor called me out on it (thanks uncle). As he’s always told me, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So, I got back into journaling in my book and writing down my journey and planning forward and I started seeing things materialize before me. This is SO key for me.

Best Gift Idea

I bet that if you give a significant other or even your kids, grandkids or nieces or nephews or cousins a journal, I bet you they will come up with all kinds of things to write about or even draw.

You might be surprised! They may need it.