Someone To Hold On To

We’re living in some of the strangest times, at least in my existence. Companies, organizations, and individuals the world over are standing in solidarity with Black people for the fight to end police brutality and dismantle systemic racism. The symbolic gestures, donations to causes doing the work, and removal of statues erected to traitors and slave owners have not gone unnoticed. Even with these somewhat dubious commitments, I still question if I’m living in some alternative reality. NASCAR has banned the confederate flag from flying during it’s races and members of the U.S. Senate wore kente cloth while taking a knee to mourn the lives of Black people unjustly murdered by the same system they uphold. At this point, I’m awaiting the arrival of extraterrestrial life forms to penetrate our atmosphere. In the midst of this calamity and clownery, Julia and I were still able to celebrate ten years of marriage. It’s in the moments of most uncertainty and frustration that one needs an anchor to firmly fix them from drifting into the sea of despair and confusion. My wife and I have been through two recessions, a financial crisis, countless murders of Black people filmed with no repercussions, the rise of fascism, a few epidemics, and one pandemic. Through it all, we toughed it out together.

Even when the skies were gray. You would rub me on my back and say, "Baby it'll be okay.” - Method Man

Being better collectively reminds me of some dark times in my past. 2005 was a whirlwind of a year for me. In the words of Jeezy, “I seen it all” and experienced it all as well. There’s a long list of things that happened to me and things I allowed to happen to me. I experienced a break up, was arrested, nearly was expelled from college, my reputation was ruined, successfully ran for student government Vice President (and quickly vacated office), lost friends, and started dating the woman that would become my wife. We all have defining moments in our life, 2005 was a series of “what the fucks” that tested me emotionally and made me question everyone in my life at the time. There’s so much that I’m choosing to omit right now, but I probably needed therapy during that time.

Through it all, the one bright spot in a clusterfuck of a year came in a phone conversation on a rainy, summer afternoon. I was given Julia’s phone number from a mutual friend that was playing matchmaker at the time. I’m not sure what prompted me to call her that day, but I’m forever grateful I did. We talked for what seemed like a couple of days, but in reality was probably over an hour. Curious to understand her family background, political leanings, thoughts on building long-term relationships, and anything else under the sun, we peppered each other with questions in a manner where we were both seeking to understand. Through that one phone call, I understood that my wife was a warrior - one who not only fought for righteous causes, but for those that couldn’t defend themselves. Our conversation opened my eyes to her selflessness and accepting heart for all humanity. After that phone call, I declared to myself that I would marry her. Sounds a little wild now as I write this, but I believed it in every fiber of my being. That being said, the road to jumping the broom wasn’t as definitive as I proclaimed after our first conversation, but fifteen years later I wouldn’t change a damn thing about our journey. In the midst of calamity and uncertainty, we all need someone to hold on to. Julia was that someone for me and she still is.

The last ten years have been tumultuous to say the least and the year 2020 is proving to eclipse previous years in horrifying fashion. My glimmer of hope through the most chaotic of times has been the love and respect I share with my wife. Similar to the world, not everything in our lives have been unicorns and Calvin Harris songs, but we’ve made a commitment to each other that our home will be where we find peace. That level of harmony in a long-term relationship requires work though, but this last decade has shown that we can weather any storm. Cheers to us!