My name is Bobby X, but this was not always the case. Why is this relevant in introducing myself to you? It is relevant because the “X” on my name has significant meaning and value; it is relevant because that “X” announces to the world that, like a Phoenix, from the ashes of life of unconscious behavior patterns that compromised my freedom, my liberty, and my happiness; it is relevant because it signifies that I am no longer those things that those behaviors labelled me as, but a man of God Allah.
In my youth, I was a socially awkward person who never really fit in with any particular group. Taller than everyone else, I was ridiculed; smarter than most, made me a target. It’s ironic how we begin to devalue one another in our youth, which leads to adults who have no value of one another later on in life. Suffice to say, I was (and still am) an introverted person.
At eleven, something happened in my life that left me with the thought process of never being a victim again. And this is where my life’s journey took a trajectory that led me to squandered opportunities, faded goals and dreams, disappointment, and prison. A trajectory that has nurtured, encouraged and sustained the hurt, anger, disappointment and betrayal that was produced in the heart and mind of my eleven-year-old self.
I’ll be 49 years old next month, and it has taken me nearly 34 years to identify and seek help for that hurt, anger, disappointment and betrayal. Why so long? Fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of rejection, fear of mockery, fear of giving life to the trauma that I held hidden within me for so long. Combine that fear with the warped societal view that Black men don’t cry, and that we’re taught to suppress our emotions, and it’s easy to see why it took me so long to seek resolution to these issues. I had to first recognize them, then realize that I could no longer allow them to enslave me.
This self-evaluation led me to take some classes that were instrumental in my “breaking those chains” of fear and understanding that I could (and needed to) ask for help. It also led me to the Nation of Islam, for I had a desire for self-discovery. Both mediums allow me to learn a lot about myself, as well as being able to use my intellect for the benefit of others. With the knowledge that I have gained, and continue to gain, it is becoming easier for me to recognize that I can be the effective member of society, of my community, that I was created to be.
Which leads me to this moment, and this state of mind. I feel that I not only have a lot to give to the world but that I am becoming increasingly knowledgeable enough to properly do so. I am a man who is overprotective of those within my circle, and commit myself to their success and happiness. I desire to be a family man, for I relish being depended upon. And I’m loyal.
I desire to own a restaurant one day, and I pray often for the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of some o the youth who have given up because they think that no one understands or cares. To this end, I want to start a non-profit community centre.
In closing, I offer this. I’m a man who is…
Proud, yet humble;
Outspoken, yet respectful;
Introverted, yet loving;
Focused, yet open-minded;
Adaptable, yet determined;
Flawed, yet perfect…
…a man who is striving today to be better than he was yesterday as he walks towards tomorrow.
Thank you for hearing my voice!
Robert Green (#210296)