I wake up so many times…I wake up all the time…I guess the good part is that I wake up. Thank you Lord. I wake up…from days of darkness, apathy, cluelessness, loneliness…I always wake up. I have no one to thank for that BUT GOD.

Over the past few months, I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions. I’ve made decisions based upon the opinions of others and acted and reacted, retreated and retracted out of fear. I’ve found comfort in complacency and anger has aged me.

Over the past few years, I’ve struggled with my own identity as a man, as a Christian man, as a Black man, as a musician…The different identities seemed to war within me as one seemed to be more important than the other, one simply would not let the other be, and the other could not be because of fear; fear that I would seem too radical, too pro-Black, too militant, too arrogant.

I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that every event that has taken place in my life has been a crafted event from God…my creator. Everything I see on television or historic events I witness is for a reason and has a purpose. I believe the purpose is that I learn.

I’ve made excuses for myself and my stagnancy. I’ve allowed my location and my inability to travel cage in all of my potential. There’s so much inside of me. There’s so much energy inside of me. It’s like lava…You can see the bright reddish-orange and yellow glow peeking through the cracks, but on top is a dark, crusty layer that has formed.

Indeed, I do fear that upon writing this blog, I may retreat again, but I’m going to try my hardest to break free. 

My oldest friend pulled me out of my room to come to a coffee shop with him, and I have to admit, I fought in my mind, and almost verbally (peacefully of course) to stay at home. Even when I got to the coffee shop, I fought to stay at home, in my mind, but though I hate admitting…it helped me.

My callous heart has come to from constant criticism, correction and scrutiny of one of the very things that makes me who I am; my art. It’s always constructive criticism, but sometimes you want to do things and just let them BE…you know?

Back in 2006, I spent a full year in an Christian community with men who, under the greatest intentions and beliefs, introduced me to a life where law and rule governed their relationship with Christ… In so many ways, my thoughts on freedom and Christian liberties became a box…and the only things that fit were the things that my brothers fed me. I told myself that I would never be in that place again. I told myself that I would never be told that I shouldn’t worship in this way or that way or that I have to pray in a specific way. Basically I was being told how to love.

Now, in 2012, I don’t know exactly where I’m headed, but I know that I want to experience freedom in Christ and no other way will fit.

Early Monday morning or late Sunday night…I was pulled over by two Brazoria County Police Officers for driving too slow in a fast lane. I was asked repeatedly if I had drugs, alcohol or weapons in my vehicle. I was pulled out of the car and questioned about my arrival and departure from my parents’ house. The policemen then tried to confuse me with asking about my departure with days of the week that I never stated. Then they ran my driver’s license and told me that I had some expired Protective Orders against me… (I’ve never been in a fight, verbal confrontation or anything like that with roommates or family members)

A few of my friends mentioned that something similar happened to them that SAME weekend…but the only difference between our very SIMILAR situation is the color of our skin. I was a victim of the very REAL racial phenomenon DRIVING WHILE BLACK. I’d never imagined that it was real until it happened to me. It happened to me…I didn’t really know my rights, nor was I going to try to outsmart them because my position was to remain calm…They had nothing on me.

But as a Black man…as a Black CHRISTIAN man…and a BLACK CHRISTIAN MUSICIAN…Something sparked in me…as it often does after months of unnecessary sleep: Reclaim your identity.

RECLAIM YOUR IDENTITY.

I’m not what my fear says that I am.

I’m not who doubting folks say that I am.

I may not be going on any pilgrimages to Africa any time soon. Although I so DESPERATELY want to go. I may not be immersed in rich, urban culture any time soon, although my heart yearns for such a thing. So, I’ll just escape in my mind and in books and on the internet. Through images and words and music…until I can get there…I’m gonna get there, and when I get there…I’m not coming back.

JIROD

Canvas  by  andbamnan