Today, I turn 25 years old – what a number that carries so much weight. At 18 I thought I knew exactly where I would be today. I thought I would have graduated from Asbury University with a degree in film in three years, then graduated from University of Toronto with a MFA in film, then graduated from Indiana Bible College a year later with a special one year Bible degree for students who have already graduated from college. That would have had 24 and already graduated from 3 colleges. I thought I’d be married, and at 25 have my first kid on the way, preparing to direct my second feature and working on buying my first house.
“Man plans and God laughs.”
The past 25 years have been filled with many highs, and many lows. But is life. And it’s not that I’m disappoint in where I am, but I know I could be doing so much more and that’s my plan for 25. Yes, planning 7 years from now is important. But I’m put less focus on “down the road” and more focus on today. Being better today. Becoming greater today. Seeing more, caring more, doing more – today.
So with that, I’m letting the old me die. This next year will be my cocoon year, where I will start over and be born anew. So with that said, here are my thoughts to those who played a major part in who I was. Some will continue to play a major part in who I am and become, others won’t.
JaCodi, for over half of my life (14 years to be exact), I considered you my best friend. Be it you stepping on my pizza because I had the plate in the floor, then sitting on the next slice because the plate was on an empty chair. Playing soccer and basketball in the backyard, playing Guitar Hero or real guitar, playing Yu-Gi-Oh or Dragon Ball Z, or making games of our own – you’re my childhood best friend, and I hate that the friendship faded.
Mr. Trueblood, “Thank you, sir, but if my English teacher is the only friend I make today, that would be sorta depressing.” You may not have taught English, but I’m so glad that I became friends with the vice-principle in middle school. You’ll never know how much it meant to me. You helped me grow beyond measure in a time where everyone feels so small.
Mrs. Crowe, now you, you did teach me English. Thank you so much for believing in me when no one else did. They said I’d never go to college, you said I could. You, too, helped me grow beyond measure and I owe so much to you.
Sam, dude, your soul and heart are so full. I honestly don’t know what I would have done at Asbury if you weren’t there. Thanks for always being there for me and never being afraid to call me out. I know I can be a drama queen, thanks for not snapping on me when I snapped on you. Can’t wait to hang out with you again someday, it’s been too long.
Kayse, thank you for always having an open ear and a loving and praying heart. Thank you for being there for me, giving me your honest opinion on things and for never saying “I told you so” even though God knows you have had many a chance to.
Martin, you’re the perfect example of God bringing someone in your life for a season to help you grow and then they are gone. I owe all the growth I made in GCU to you. I don’t know if I would have been able to step so far out of my comfort zone without you. Thank you for seeing the shy and nervous guy with crazy hair moving into his new dorm room in a new world and knocking on the door and saying “I know you’re shy, but I’m help you break that”. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
*DeMar, my brother… Going all the way back to day 1. About an hour after Martin knocked on door I was living the dorm to walk to my car to get my camera to take pictures of campus only for you two to be sitting in the lobby, and him telling me to come over and he introduced us. I don’t think an introduction by a life leader the first week of school ever lead to such a strong friendship as ours. We spent so much time together that people would see me alone and ask where you were and why we weren’t together. I’m pretty sure more than one person thought we were dating. As the only member of the squad that meet you before the Cheetos, I don’t know where I was going with that – but for real, friends for life man.
*Carsyn, lol. Just gotta laugh when remembering where we came from. Sitting in the lobby with Martin and he sees you out the window and loses his mind and goes out to talk to you. That night he, I, you and Jenna go to get dinner. Then one day the four of us and Adrian go to hike Camelback Mountain and Martin got mad at us for running down the mountain – but that’s Colorado and Kentucky for ya! I don’t know when or where we got so close, it just seemed to happen – but I’m glad we did. There is no one I’d rather take four hours to do an hour hike with. “Let’s just follow the creek” she says. *eye roll* I guess we can still be friends for life even though I’m a curly haired dildo, I don’t know, let’s just follow the river of life!
*Jenna, I’ve known you just as long as Carsyn but we never got as close as she and I did. Different interests played a part in that, and then Martin played another part. You two fought so much and every time that happened Carsyn and I just said there like “uhh…” and that caused us to get closer. I’m sorry that you felt left out of the squad sometimes. The first year Martin tried to push you from it, second year you were a life leader. I’m sorry we didn’t get to hang out as much as we should have. We missed out on a lot of fun times. But I love you none the less, and am looking forward to the good times we still have ahead of us! Jenna, we will be friends for life. Tell your parents I said hi! haha I still don’t know why they loved me so much, I mean I stepped on your mom for Pete’s sake! *covers eyes* I still feel bad for that, I thought I broke her!
*Dontaie, last but not least… The man. The myth. The legend. You came late to the squad, but I’m so glad you did. You’re seriously one of the coolest guys I’ve ever meet and I still don’t know why you ever hung out with me, but man, did we have some great times! Smash bros in your room, to you hating on all my music (you’ll be proud to know that you, Carsyn and DeMar rubbed off on me – I listen to a ton of rap now! Sorry it took all the time at school for the music to set in!) to the pain in your face when your poor car was driving on some God forsaken path as we tried to find those cliffs. You finished the squad perfectly and I’m proud to call you my friend for life. You may not have been pretty enough girl for me to drink for the first time, but if such a girl does come around, best believe I’m have a round with you while listening to some dope music and doing something crazy with water (maybe that’s what you and DeMar needed to jump).
Geoff, FTL! The Breed himself! And what a rare Breed you are. You’re 7 foot, 13 inches of pure awesome goofyness. Somedays I wish I let you teach me to dance, rap, and went to the club more with you out there, other times I’m glad I didn’t. From always beating you in N64 Smash Bros even when I didn’t have a B button, to cleaning up your messes because I had company coming and knew you wouldn’t, to hearing you tell a drunk Joel to go to sleep 500 times when he wouldn’t shut up, to trying to bench you in that intramural game – it was real man. Can’t wait to hang out with you some more. “You can’t bench me, I’m the captain!”
Abe, I still don’t see why you thought I was too intimidating to go talk to. But I’m so glad you ended up on my intramural soccer team. Sucks for you that you’ll never beat me at soccer, but hey, we can’t all be the best at everything. I’d gladly let you win in soccer if I had your voice! Can’t wait to hang out with you again in the near future, and can’t wait to buy your first album! Don’t forget to bring your computer if we go cliff jumping again!
Trevor, I thought taking a freshman film class in my last semester of college would suck. And it would have if it wasn’t for you. We only knew each other for a semester, but I wish I meet you a year and a half sooner. We could have made some sick films had we known each other sooner. Can’t wait to play ping pong with you again man!
Leticia, another friendship set up by others… The Litke’s were so on it when they connected us, man I owe them so much. Thank you for helping me make friends while in Oklahoma that stole all my sleep on camp nights with eating Whataburger every night after service and being there til 2/3 in the morning even though I had to work at 7. Thanks for getting together my birthday party and for always being there for me.
Kristina, you, my friend, are amazing. I’m sorry I didn’t have the patience you did and hurt you because of it. I was wrong and doing that and I wish you the absolute most from life.
Destiny, my high school sweet heart. Growing up, I always wanted to only ever date one girl, our first kiss to be after saying “I do” and living happily ever after. I didn’t get the fairy book love story I wanted, but I did have 3 great years in my very first relationship. And it hurt when it ended, but it forced me to grow. I wish you and your family much health and happiness.
Kamren, my second love… I thought no breakup would ever hurt more than the first, but you broke me in ways I didn’t know a person could be broke. I loved you deeper than I knew love could go and it only took 5 months to get there. I was ready to throw away the dreams I’ve had and worked towards since I was 15 so I wouldn’t have to leave your side, I was ready to marry you. I know your life has been filled with pain, but you didn’t have to push all of that at me. It’s crazy to think someone’s family would leave them because they are happy with someone, but your family has always been the same way and I know you wanted to fix things with them, but I believe hurting then leaving the one person that would never leave or hurt you, for people that only want to control you is a bad move. But it’s your move to make. I wish you the best. I hope one day you find what you’re looking for.
note: not as long posts for y’all, but y’all should already know how I feel.
Joy, Tonya, & Renata, thank you all for always loving me and being there. We’re humans and we all fall short from time to time (some a lot more than others) but at the end of the day, we’re still family. I love you all and am praying for you.
Dominick, it’s been one of life’s greatest pleasures having an uncle so close in age to yourself. I grew up looking up to you and wanting to be half as cool as you and you’ve always been one of my best friends. I love you and am praying for you.
Robert, I’m extremely blessed in that you’re the hardest lose I’ve had to face in my first 25 years of life. I know most by this age have lost much more, but it doesn’t make the pain any less. It has shaped me more than I even know. I miss the days where we use to play. I wish you were still, I’d love to see the man you’d be today. Though you’re gone, I still think about you often, I love you, I still pray for you, and I miss you.
Aunt Nan, thank you so much for having Robert. I have no clue where my life would be today if it wasn’t for God, and I thank God for bringing Robert into our lives for the short time we had him. And I thank you for bringing Marqueese and I to church as small kids to hang out with him. Most want to change lives, you changed your entire families with your actions. I love you and miss you, I can’t wait for you to give me another hug once I reach the other side.
Dad, “a whole generation is raised by gangsters who probably never knew pops, we had Tupac, an old boom box” – Rise, Lecrae. I’m by no means the only young man who was raised by a single mother. Most of “being a man” I’ve had to learn without. But I don’t use that as an excuse as so many others. No, I didn’t have you to show and tell me what to do – but I was able to see what not to do. I know our relationship has been rocky, and I’m sorry for the words I said that day. They still haunt me all these years later, but I’m so glad that they lead you to grow closer with Marqueese, Kennedy and Tres. The truth is, it always hurt them a lot more than it did me that you weren’t there. I don’t know why, and I don’t think it matters – all that did was that those awful words woke you up enough to get closer to them. Maybe someday you’ll want to be more a part of my life, maybe not. If that day ever comes, know I’m here, that I still love you and that I forgive you.
Nana, thank you for always being there. Not just for me, but everyone. You’ve taken care of more people than Red Cross and it’s unfair for you that your entire life has been taking care of others. Hopefully soon you can get some rest. I love you and look forward to the day where I can finally give you a great-grand baby to hold.
Bekah, you were born with the cards stacked against you. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with some much that you shouldn’t have, but know you are loved and can do great things. I may give you a hard time, but that’s because I think you could and should be doing so much more than you are. But no matter what, know you’ll always be my sister.
Tres, this young man… Still shocks me when I realize how old you’ve gotten. Youngest kid must be so easy… Everything came so easy to you because you had three older siblings guiding you through it all. But we may have done too much for you. You have so much potential that you’re not using because you’re so use to just getting everything. I love you and hope you learn soon that though things may come easy, you still have to work to get ahead. Potential isn’t enough, you’re going to have to work.
Kennedy, the perfect one. You’re entire life you’ve just been the perfect one. Unreal grades, always winning awards, getting more PT in a season than I ever did with all my time combined, beautiful, and having so many friends. The world is yours for the taking, but remember you’ll still have to work too. Yeah, people suck but that’s why we can’t base our happiness and self-worth in a guy/girl. One day you’re going to find an amazing guy and make him a very lucky husband. But always remember that your worth is based in God and what you do, not what others do. I love you and can’t wait to see what you do in college.
Marqueese, growing up we fought a lot. Guess we both were trying to be the man of the house and the power struggle was real. But we both made it out alive. Growing up everyone thought we were twins, and now everyone thinks I’m your younger brother – but to me you’ll always be one of my best friends. I love you and pray often that you stay safe out there protecting us all. You’ve got great things ahead of you man, and I love you.
Mom, 25 years ago today, you gave your life up. Ever since then it’s be about us (kids), not you. I’m sorry that you missed out on living those years without kids, but I’m so glad it happened that way. Being close to your mother, nothing is greater. Hopefully I can make you a grandmother soon so that I can be as close to my kids as you were with us. Words will never be enough for you though, so I’m keep it short. Thank you for everything. I love you.
Who I Become, you’ve got this. Trust in God, take it a day at a time. Make sure you’re always taking a step forward and becoming better each day. This world is yours for the taking.
So yeah, this is the end of me. Hopefully you’re all still here when I come out of the cocoon.