I have my parents to thank for finding my personal voice. I grew up in Detroit, and my mom fed my passion for comic books. My father introduced me to science fiction through his love for Star Trek, Star Wars and horror films. My parents divorced when I was 6 months old and I spent weekends with my dad. My mom remarried, and between all of us there were 5 boys and 1 girl. But the story took a different turn from there. Today there is only my sister and I, and my oldest brother (who I haven’t seen in more than 30 years). The other 3 boys were taken on the street. My stepbrothers Eric and Ricky died violently in Detroit. My brother Terry was shot to death after moving to Florida. I knew that I was different, because street life simply did not interest me. I’ve always preferred to avoid confrontation (as much as one can in that environment), and I found my peace in my comics. I truly believe I am who I am because my parents. And although they are no longer together, they fed my imagination and kept my mind busy. I am so thankful for that.
I realized I had a voice when I meet dudes who you’d never imagine grew up as comic nerds (they buried it deep). I knew that there was absolutely no reason to hide who I am or how I was raised. Today I wear the banner without apology, and just accept the criticisms of those who just don’t understand. They don’t have to. But for those that get it, maybe it will motivate them to accept themselves and be proud.
As a personal trainer, I try to empower people to be the best version of themselves. The worst thing anyone can do is live to be someone else. I just remain silly, wearing my Marvel or DC socks or my other nerd swag so people can see that you never have to hide yourself. I also try to incorporate my nerdy side on my fitness Instagram. Others don’t have to understand it. I also try to help people isolate and pursue their health goals, and most importantly just have fun doing it. It doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It’s not about looking like someone else. It’s really about being the best you.
I work everyday to encourage others to first find out what they’re passionate about, and then to boldly run in that direction. That, at least for me, is the path to happiness.