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  • RUSSELL

Prose of a CON-fession:

Honesty isn't the easiest policy when leaping out alone with no certainty of how it'll be received. I feel I've been the up most honest about my past; I've worn it thick on one sleeve, with my heart beating on the other, but today it seems I may have left some things out. I had my first son May 12th, 2009 with the love of my life at that point. We were both young and knew nothing about love, and me, I was battling so many scars of my past that I hid because of my shame of what I went through and had seen growing up. Instead of deal with it, I covered it in my relationships, wanting to love and be loved, to have my own family. But my past horrors and fears surfaced in my own life because what I ran from, I soon became. I cheated. I lied. I screamed. I cursed. I called names. I kept score. I emotionally battered, physically intimidated and abused and mentally manipulated people. One of those people, my son Josiah's mom. No, we both didn't handle things well together, as people, parents and adults, but as a man, I hold most of that responsibility.  I think time and time again of the moments I could've salvaged our family, but I didn't. My son became apart of that mayhem with us living under the same roof. I try to tell myself I never hurt him but the truth is, I did, I hurt his mother, I broke our family, I didn't fix what became unrepairable. How do you measure hurt on kids? Scars, I still deal with mine and I'm damn near 30! So in retrospect, him observing my behavior affected him in some way that I refused to acknowledge then until now. I also neglected him by waiting so long to try to reconcile the differences between me and his mother Brittney, believing time heals wounds, but it never healed mine. The things we tell ourselves to avoid facing ourselves, Nah I was just being a coward, afraid and ashamed. I'm sure many men go through these battles that keep them from reconciling issues, wanting to blame the other half as having some culpability, but it's just deflection. Emotions seemed so weak. I wanted to portray strength, as many men do, but that bullshit show of testosterone is as pointless as women taking estrogen pills. I just might maybe have that opportunity to reconcile with her in some way, and I will be talking to her for the first time in so many years. I'm scared I admit, even ashamed to admit how long it's been, another omission because I know it reflects on how long I've been away from my son. And all I want is what she is willing to give, no more, even if just pictures, I will Not try to speak of what I want, I'm OK with time and the process, but I admire her strength in being big enough to want to talk to me after all I put her through. I tried to keep from mentioning my son's name for privacy, respect and mostly shame on the part of my first son. A result of this has made it seem like I love one more than the other or don't care. How do you walk the line of respect and fear while trying to use your words as a platform for  an emotional and truth outlet that may inspire others, but still withholding? I guess the problem was that if I have to question whether to withhold, then I have to confess more and stay genuine. It's scary, I paint myself as a monster but I hope to be seen as any thing than, an inspiration for at least one person to heal and find strength in my story. I'm still learning, bear with me...I thought surviving wars and riots in prison was my toughest battle, but it's really this...this moment I become more of a man, learning the lessons of a flawed absent father, and humbling myself knowing that my first great love has gone through more because of me, instead of me shielding him. Humble...that's the word, when no extra words need to surface from the depths of fear, because fear clouds truth and reality. So, today I take my biggest leap and I'm ready to be beat down and disappointed, because it's not about me, that's what us parents get wrong, it's never about us, it's about our kids, so we shouldn't hide our agendas, fears and pains inside of our children. Just as I still have questions for my mom, he will one day have questions for me. I'm sorry again Brittney, I'm sorry Josiah Henry-James Wardlow, I love you, and I'm a better man now, than that you ever knew. I can't wait until I get that chance to love you the right way and be your dad that not only gave you half your genes but all your good looks, ;) (Joking, your mom is gorgeous)..day-by-day.

I'm sorry if I ruined my image to anyone that reads this, but all truth isn't glamour, and I started out not so pretty myself. But this is about making positives out of negative, beauty behind ugly, something deeper beyond makeup. It's not easy, but Life, Forgiveness, Healing, Learning, Growing and Love, are all a process, and that's the worth- Trust the Process and endure the setbacks and pains along the way. If you know any men hiding/hurting/healing the same way I used to...now you know. Women, men will never be as strong as you are, recognize that and communicate because we Never do like we should until a whole disaster lies at our feet. Face it, that's real bravery, because running from emotions creates darkness and leaves you blind to the desolation in your wake, but running to them is a light that hurts your eyes, you may squint and hold up an arm, but at least you can see where each foot lands in your path, choice becomes clear. This or that way. No cul-de-sacs. No U-turns. Just sharp lefts and rights, because every direction but back, is straight ahead.

I tried. No really, I tried. To avoid the truth Run, or not run from you Leaving black rose petals plucked in my wake Sunshades Tinting acknowledgement from suns rays Instead of light I became, my son's shade Truth became gravity Lies became hollow Soil became regret Not enough soil in my hollowed ground to feel the effects of my mess Until gravity humbled me down to knees-now rooted, face soaking wet The tears of a man blossoming to face his Black Rose flower beds.

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