America is the greatest country in the world.
I know that America is the only country where you can be unemployed one day and then the next day, bartend for high-powered attorneys, Georgetown professors and young college students.
I don’t know how anyone can hate a country where a guy like me once smoked crack and was homeless. In 2008, I came to D.C. homeless and had only 10 cents in my pocket. My fortune changed when I saw a guy wearing a vest emblazoned with the Street Sense logo. I asked other homeless people about Street Sense and they dismissed it as glorified begging. But I saw it differently. I saw it as an opportunity.
I always think long-term, and I viewed writing as a platform to start a business, a vehicle to get my voice heard. I began writing columns and have since been published in the Washingtonian, syndicated in the Washington Examiner and American Compass. I’ve also met mayors, movie directors, and even been invited to meet President Donald J. Trump.
While I had many blessings, 2018 wasn’t a good year for me. Shortly after being invited to the White House, I was fired from LA Fitness. I also lost my syndication with the Washington Examiner and my side job with RTCA. My life, partner, and best friend were also dying. To make matters worse, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, my bladder was ruined and my blood pressure was through the roof.
I suffer from attention deficit disorder and my depressions are dark and can be suicidal. But when I persevere through these dark moods, I have the genius to write poignant stories.
Some people see me as a happy person, but with all these internal battles, many don’t know what I have to go through just to function.
While I focused on the things against me, I never gave up. I also never blamed the white man, rich people, Republicans, or Donald Trump for any of my hardships.
As with Joseph in the Bible, I turned every disadvantage into an opportunity. While others may see Street Sense work as degrading, I saw it as a chance to meet interesting people and a way to make future financial gains.
Then, one day, I was selling my paper and met a customer. He was everything I detested about liberalism. He was condescending, paternal, and acted as though he wanted to be my white father. I almost told him, “I don’t need your money; Take a hike!”
My dark side comes out when I am around upper-crust people. I’m no dumbass. I once studied economics in college. I have read over 500 law books and can win any case. I had a business. There is no job too difficult for me, no company I can’t manage, no crowd I can’t speak to. I could be mayor or president if I decided.
For some reason, instead of telling off this condescending customer, a voice inside me said “Humble yourself. Take his help.”
So, I looked past his liberalism. Then, he offered me a job setting up studios. He didn’t pay me much, but anything was better than making $60 a day selling newspapers.
Then, he told me about a guy named Mike who worked at a restaurant called Wingo’s. For almost four months, I declined because I used to be a cook, and I hated working in restaurants.
The money was good, but I had no life. All the people I knew worked in the restaurant business, and I don’t drink or smoke.
But eventually, I got so broke that he drove me over there, and that’s how I connected with Mike.
Little did I know, at the time, that this man would eventually save my life. Working at Wingo’s was more than a job. It taught me skills I can apply to everyday life.
I could write a book, but I will tell my story in parts so people can digest what I’m saying because I feel what I have to say will give hope and inspiration when you think all is lost and you have given up.
To be continued…