Monday, January 8, 2018

The Renaissance

     First of all, welcome to my page, my own little world. I have been very excited about taking this journey, and I'm glad that you have decided to join me on the ride. Writing has always been a love of mine, and I have been fortunate to be able to utilize my gift in a positive way. I have been able to successfully parlay it into full-time magazine gigs, eventually getting a call from Huffington Post as a freelancer. The pinnacle of my writing career so far has been the release of my first children's book, Ebenezer The Sneezer. 

     A lot of people have been asking why I chose to call myself a Renaissance man. The dictionary defines a renaissance as a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival. In the past three years, that is exactly what has come to me. 2014. I was just a happy-go-lucky guy working and paying bills. An average Joe. No real motivation to do anything but maintain the status quo. I had my music and my love of the outdoors, but that was it. I was living to fit in. 

     I was approached by a high school classmate to help him with a hip hop website he was starting. I agreed, based on my love of the music culture. I was able to not only write reviews on music, but I was now up close and personal with hip hop stars and insiders. It also afforded me the opportunity to make friends with young up and coming business owners and entrepreneurs. This was my first spark. I was being noticed for my writing ability. I've always enjoyed writing, but just as a hobby, not much more. But the website really opened my eyes. It showed me that there was more to life than mediocrity. I could actually branch out, take chances and be who I wanted to be. It was no longer a fairy tale. 

     Through meeting my friend Nneka, I was brought into the world of retail. I was immersed in the ins and outs of sales and marketing. The real world experience was something I had not been exposed to before. This was my second spark. We entered into a business partnership, and I became partner in her online boutique. Well around the same time, I decided to participate in something I had heard of before but was not really interested in: No Shave November. I began to grow my beard out, much longer than I had ever been comfortable with. I posted on IG using the hashtags #noshavenovember and #beardgang. After a few weeks, I was being followed by beard groups and people that loved beards and beard care companies, that I had never even heard of before then. I began to realize how popular beards had become. Nneka and I discussed it, and decided that we would begin to sell beard products on the site as well. Well after searching, researching and calling, we had no luck securing a company. We then decided that we would do it on our own. For this project,we took on another partner, Aubrey, and launched HIM BY DNA in the summer of 2016. 

     By this point, the entrepreneur bug had bitten me hard. All I wanted to do was own a business and make a name for myself. I studied night and day. I would get off work and do more work. But I enjoyed it. I knew I was close. All I had to do was keep pushing.

     Like I mentioned before, I've always enjoyed writing. By this time, having written for various magazines and blogs, my confidence was high that I could actually do something with my work. When my daughter Nylah was young, around 3, all she wanted to do was read. All day, she would pick up books for me to read to her and she would follow along with so much attention. When she finally began to read on her own, she would literally beg me to take her to the library day after day. And of course, as excited as I was about her zest for reading, I would take her every time. We have a remarkable library, especially when it comes to children. But as large as it is, after about a month, we began to run out of books and had to resort to reading the same ones over again. Needless to say, that started to become stagnant. Finally, I asked Nylah if she would like for me to write her a few bedtime stories, to which she agreed. I would write her one story at the beginning of the week, and that would be her designated bedtime story. I ended up writing a total of 20. As her reading skills became more advanced, I got away from writing her stories, as her reading choices had greatly expanded.

     Fast forward to 2016. HIM BY DNA had been launched and we were doing very well. I was enjoying my life as a part-time entrepreneur. But I was hungry for more. More opportunities, more avenues to explore my newfound creativity. The thought began to pop up into my mind: turn your stories into a book. As much as I would try to shake it and work on something else, the thought would come back stronger. Turn your stories into a book. Doubt began to seep in. How could I, a virtual unknown from a town of 12,000 people actually write and publish a book? Fortunately, the hope outweighed the doubt. So I decided to take a chance. I called my mom and asked her to look in my old room for a blue folder on the dresser. Once she located it, I asked her to open it and tell me if it contained some typed stories. She told me it did, and I was on my way to see her. The story at the top of stack was Ebenezer The Sneezer, the first story I had ever written to introduce Nylah to sight words in the form of rhymes that would be fun and interesting for her to read. The process took about a year, but through a lot of headaches, sweat and tears, I finally released my first children's book in April 2017. 


So you see, in the last three years, there has been a great shift in my perception of life, what I want from it and how to get it. I'm no longer the average Joe; I live life outside of the box. That's why I am a Renaissance Man. I was able to reinvent myself. I took life by the horns, and I've decided to live my dreams. So this is just a peek inside of my life as I go forward. Laugh with me, cry with me, write with me. But most importantly, I want you to see my life and know that you can not only have dreams, but make them come true. It certainly has been quite a ride so far, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come. 

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  1. That's so awesome to read and see a fella from my home town accomplish his dreams. You give so much inspiration in every paragraph. I look forward to following your creativity through your blog. I share a lot of your interest's and I am also in the #BeardGang my #BeardedBrother

    Till the next blog,
    B Giddens

  2. I love it cousin. I pray that God continues to bless you in all of your endeavors.#ProudCousin#Motivation

    Be Blessed Always

    Tawana Tripplett

  3. Good for you. It takes guts to put yourself out there for the world to critique something you've taken years to create. It can be scary and even paralyzing to leave my comfort zone. I love seeing others happy and healthy 😍