Again! From the Bottom!

Not too long ago, I suddenly stopped blogging (save your applause I’m not finished) after having hit another bottom in my life. A life still in recovery from the devastating effects of past legal troubles and a sudden but reluctant return to the ranks of El Paso’s unemployed which is code for getting pink-slipped, canned, axed, getting the boot.

I called it a permanent vacation but not in the suicidal sense because I have too much to live for–mainly for paying off my IRS and student loan debt. Making my odds as a black man still trying to find a place (preferably a lucrative one) in this southwest border town–an American city dominated by Mexican culture and delicious Mexican food that I’m pretty sure is solely responsible for El Paso’s obesity problem–seem far-fetched.

Besides, I don’t know what made me think my blog posts would go viral. My posts were closer to flatlining with little to no views and a few comments by a couple of supportive family members that I live with. (Thanks, Mom and Big Sis!)

I even blogged about my white Facebook friend (not to be confused with an actual friendship) who I refused to call a racist just because he’s overly critical of the black community. But yeah,…he’s a racist and not just because he’s overly critical of the black community.

Still, it was a blog post about racism and who doesn’t want to read about racism? Racism is everywhere in America. It’s the new normal, the new black, the new black normal, the old black normal, etc… In other words, it’s what’s up!–like the mass incarceration rates of African Americans!

And since I graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso (Go Miners!) with a Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism, I figured I had some marketable skills as a writer, photographer, and maybe a freelancer.

A male escort? Not so much. Actually, not at all if I’m being honest. And I am. Though it’s true that I’m a pathological liar.

Then I did something very, very dangerous. Something that threatened to destroy the little bit of sanity I had left. I began to binge-watch Singaporean TV dramas streaming on Netflix. With intellectually challenging, and cleverly seductive titles such as Unriddle, Mind Game, Against the Tide, The Ultimatum, and Breakout that I couldn’t pass up but I really should have. They became my new kryptonite, apparently, replacing my weakness for all other infinitely better, extremely well-made Asian dramas.

And I ended up escaping into a world of low budget television where entire seasons seemed to be shot at two allegedly separate locations (at the most) with unbelievably transparent plots like ones you’d expect to find in porn movies (or so I’ve heard) and filled with cringe-worthy, wooden performances (no pun intended). And again, what you’d expect to find in adult films.

But I was really depressed and I was barely functioning on an adult level, grew out my beard but amazingly enough, I somehow swore off alcohol (an easy call when you’re broke). I was in a dark place as I started to reflect on my life’s choices. And I decided in those crucial moments to own up to all of my mistakes, failures, and transgressions I’d accumulated from living nearly four decades in El Paso. But only the ones I couldn’t blame on being black. Not that I constantly look at America through a racial lens but this country makes a lot more sense to me when I do.

And lo and behold I had an epiphany of sorts. What can I say? I got woke!

I began to understand that what was really good about watching those Singaporean TV dramas was that they weren’t afraid to be bad or just plain awful (a lot like the majority of stories written on Wattpad –stories that read like a very long text message between teenage BFFs).

And I’m not sure what a crappy analogy about poorly produced Singaporean TV dramas has to do with my triumphant return to the blogosphere (now you can applaud). But I did learn that it’s not so much what I write but why I write.

Initially, I began blogging because I wanted the recognition–the views, the likes, the comments that I could use to validate myself as a good writer, believing that I have the potential to be a great writer and get paid absurd amounts of money for my New York Times best-selling memoir that chronicles my humble beginnings as a Word Press blogger and failed gigolo, which goes on to win the Pulitzer for best fiction.

But that’s not why I write.

I write because I need to. I write to remind myself that I’m still alive and that I refuse to leave this world without my voice being heard. That silence is not golden and I shouldn’t risk leaving my memory in the hands of others to tell my side of the story. Especially when I have the opportunity to do it myself. So this is take-two in the life of Benjamin Woolridge. Again! From the bottom!

Thanks for reading. Get at me, reader and tell me why you decided to blog in the comments below.

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17 Replies to “Again! From the Bottom!”

  1. *Applauds wildly*
    Holy sh*t!!!

    Let me tell you something, you seem to already know that you’re a good writer. You’ve got that thing that a lot of blog posts don’t…. Interest.

    It’s almost as if you could write about anything and make it entertaining and even heart felt. Which is great.

    But there’s more.

    You seem genuine and real with yourself. It’s easy to be dishonest about your life and your, well…everything in blogging. But you kept it real and brutally truthful and that’s what I like.

    So why did I comment? Because both the simplicity and realness of this… … moved me, for lack of a better phrase.

    Welcome back sir. I hope it’s for the Long haul.

    Like

  2. I am not your mother. Or your sister. Actually, I don’t know you at all. You landed on my blog – probably to get some traction – and, on an unexpected vacation day because of the wild fires raging in Los Angeles, I decided to check out some of the new people who left a trace on my site. Normally, I wouldn’t have stayed. My site is for women over 50 (groovy, wildly interesting women but still far from black male reality in El Paso) but I stayed because your writing hooked me in. And I read all the way to the bottom and empathized even if I don’t find myself in a situation similar to yours (although you are giving me ideas for my next Netflix binge – Singapore, really?). So. There. You know you are good when someone who is the least like you makes a connection with you because of a few paragraphs. Writing because you have to is not a bad place to start. I hope you plow on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I started blogging again because I don’t journal (even though my 12 step fellowships sponsor tells me to). It’s turned into some Journaling, and some record of what did and didn’t work for us at our fledgling intentional community. I look forward to reading more from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t understand issues with a persons colour of skin. I never have. I’m colour blind. I can see all the colours of the rainbow; all the colours on the paint chart; but when it comes to people, I’m colour blind, and don’t even notice what colour someone is, for that would only be an issue if I came to describing someone to someone else.

    If there were two Johns sitting next to each other, and I was giving two cups of coffee to a friend to bring over to the table, I’d need to say which coffee was the one with one sugar and which one was the one with two…. and so which was for John with the dark hair, or the one for John with the dark hair…. ah … ok… John in the blue shirt, or John in the blue …. ah …. this is where I’d have to acknowledge a difference which would stand out in order to get the right coffee to the right chap. John who’s white and John who’s black.

    Other than that – or describing someone who’s missing, or even describing to a policeman the person they might be looking for …. tall, dark hair, jeans, white jumper, trainers …. oh, and he/she’s white/beige/pink/yellow/black/green (hey – it might be a martian – who knows!).

    So I don’t, not even for a second, understand why someone would be ‘against’ a colour! What that’s all about?!

    I really don’t care what colour you are, but I do care what sort of person you are. And this is how the world is supposed to work. I understand the not liking someone because they’re not a nice person towards others or you. I understand not wanting anything to do with someone who has been horrible to you – for I’ve been in the situation and know how much it hurts when someone has been really awful towards me, and so I’ve backed away from that person and made a decision I don’t want that sort of person in my life.

    It’s the person you are, not the colour of your skin.

    But … to answer your question … yes I blog, and I began my blogging journey after moving a long way from my home of 35 years, and realising that I’m not a natural ‘friend maker’ like I was when I was a lot younger. Many things have changed me from the person I used to be,and so I found I had a need to connect with others who had some of the same interests as me. So I chose to blog about my hobby of crafting. Since I don’t ‘do’ Facebook, or any of the other social media things which connect me with faceless others, I knew that blogging and gaining other blogging ‘friends’ and followers was going to be an uphill struggle for I had nothing to promote myself other than hope. But I kept the faith and continued to blog, learning as I went along, and today I’m overjoyed to have 586 WordPress and Email followers.

    Obviously I’m not daft enough to believe that some of those are maybe people who have clicked to follow me in the hope I’d follow them, but have no interest in my blog at all…. but even if I reduced the amount by half that’s a whole lot of people I can now chat with and who tickle the heck out of me and fill me with joy when I read their blogs and comment.

    I don’t know how many followers you have Benjamin, but I do know that you have a talent for writing and engaging your reader. Keep doing what your doing. Don’t lose faith. Have faith in your abilities. And … may all you need be delivered to you, to make your life complete.

    Things have a funny way of working out, perhaps in a different direction to the one you were maybe planning to go, but they have a way of supply what you need or putting you in the position or place, at the right time, and then God or fate (which-ever or whatever you believe in) leaves it up to you to do that final push. So … don’t miss the doors which are opened to you as you walk your life’s path. Yes, choose to make the right decision regarding what those open doors offer you … but choose wisely.

    Many your God go with you Benjamin.
    Sending warm Christmas wishes, and hoping and praying for the very best for you and yours.
    ~ Cobs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well….I am not good at blogging or at writing a journal. They,who ever they are, say it is good thing to do but my typing is slow and sometimes I just think it is better to just say nothing. I have enjoyed reading your re-entrance into blog land and look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

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