I posted the picture of the young me the other day on Facebook. A friend of mine was shocked to see how I had changed. Well, I tend to do a ton of self reflection and looking at the younger picture caused me to take a minute to ask myself, "What would I say to me at 18 if I only had an hour?"
Age 45 Age 18
When I started writing my memoir "From Gigolo to Jesus" it was with the intention of sharing my life to this point so I could help others to not make the same mistakes I made. As an educator I find myself daily trying to get young men to consider their actions and what lasting consequences they'll have on their future lives. Looking at the younger me in this picture, from the summer of 1985 fresh off of graduation and about to start college, I had the whole world out in front of me. It makes me wonder what would I say to that young man if I could go back and peak to him? What could I say to pierce that shell of arrogance he carried with him a shield of honor? Would he even listen to the detour signs I would try to hold up to what his future was going to be? How could I do this without stealing the life I have come to know as my own? Are there sacrifices worth making by going back and offer a different set of life directions?
This is how I see that conversation going inside my head. Take a walk with me as I speak to my younger self. Enjoy
Hello Keith. Hello Sir. You don't have to call me Sir, call me K. L.. Fine, hello K.L. mind telling why I am here talking to some old dude who looks like a broke ass ghetto Santa. Funny, always the clown. The ladies love it pops. Well I need you to be focus for a little while. I am here to help you. If you'll let me. OK, so let me get this right. You came back to talk to me about what? By the way, how old are you? You must be fifty or sixty something. How much do you weigh? You are a big ass dude. Please don't tell me when I am old, I am going to be that fat? I see you're not going to make this easy. I only have an hour and I need you to listen. Yes I am you at forty five, twenty seven years from now. Yes, your going to be a bigger guy. You want to call it fat then fat it is. Either way its who you'll become.
That is why I came Keith. You see, if I can get you to listen this picture of who I am doesn't have to turn out the way you're seeing it right now. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to tell you and what not to tell you. Knowing who you are if I tell you the wrong things I alter our lives where you might not even see twenty five let alone forty five. Man K. L. you talk to much just say what you came to say. I have people waiting on me and a few ladies I am trying to get with today. So will you please make this quick. My God I forgot how rude and arrogant I was. Now your trying to insult me but you want me to listen. Why don't you try making sense. OK Keith, I see your point let me start by saying this. First and foremost take college serious when you start in September. You're going to want to play ball on the varsity basketball team and you won't make it. What the hell are you talking about old man? I won't make what? There is no way in hell I am not going to make a division three basketball team. Stop right there, that is one of the problems you going to have to change as you get older. Stop lying to yourself. You didn't start in high school. You learned how to rebound real well but you were never good enough to start. It will be the same thing in a few months. You'll miss the cut and you'll make it seem like playing junior varsity was your place of destiny. You have to start seeing you for who you really are. I am sorry to hurt your feelings with the truth. But since you were twelve telling lies became something you were good at. So if I can't play ball what am I supposed to do? I want you to focus on your writing. Writing? Please I don't like writing or reading. I know, but you have to move past what your seven grade teacher said about you, when he said "You were the worse thing your mother ever had" Ever since then you have avoided writing and refused to read as if you were begrudging him but in turn you've been hurting yourself and missing out. Don't you remember when you came from Penns Grove, NJ you were a good student earlier that year. You only acted bad to fit in with kids from New York to protect yourself. You did it so they wouldn't see you as soft or rob you like you saw happening to the other kids who didn't fight back.
Keith when you start college I want you to listen to your English teacher when she says, "Mr. Belvin I see some great things in your writing. Your imagination comes through well. If you just work on some of the basic you could be a pretty good writer someday." Wait are you telling me I am going to be some type of writer or something like that? Do you know how much booty writers get? Man, I am going to be the man! Boy will you listen. If you make these changes I don't know where you're going to end up. But what I am trying to do is point out areas I know would enhance who you could become as well as trying to get you to use talents you don't trust. There are talents you have buried deep inside that you'll refuse to use in these coming years. I am only offering what I know to help you with what you've pressed away because of fear. What? I am not scared of anyone. I am not a punk. I know your not Keith but I know your scared of failing. I know your fearful of looking foolish. I know you lie and tell harsh jokes at other's expense to protect yourself. Punk, no, immature to be so intelligent, yes. This doesn't make any sense K. L. Why don't you just tell me the the good stuff and be done with it. Your really wasting my time. You make it seem like my whole life will be a waste. Keith, its not going to be a waste but you are going to waste much and lose much. So I turn out a failure that is what your saying K. L.? No not at all. I didn't come to argue with you. I came to help. Well then help old man. Right now all that is coming out your mouth is trash. Plain and simply. Your talking as if nothing I am or will become matters. I am sorry that is not true Keith. Maybe I went at this wrong. I am trying hard not to alter your future completely. Much of what I am saying will have repercussion to what direction your life will go. I didn't come to lie to you. Many of the steps you'll make will be for the wrong reasons. I am trying to give you options, so when the time comes you'll have more to consider. Let me share this with you. In the future you'll have three college degrees. An Associates in Business, a Bachelors in Physical Education and a Masters degree in Education. WOW! Really? I do all that? I must have it made in the future. No you don't have it made. How is that possible? How can I have all that education and I still didn't make it? Now if you'll sit back and listen we can talk about it some more. I only have a short amount of time left.
Let's back up a second. While, yes, you have three degrees you are also going to get kicked out of college first. Kicked out? Are you kidding me? No I am not. Your going to start college in September and you're going to do what you've been doing since age twelve. You going to find as many women as you can to have sex with. Sex and basketball with be your only focus each day you arrive in school. Your going to play cards daily an going to class is going to be an after thought. Impressing your friends and the ladies will become more important than what your mother and grandmother say to you about your future. So if I get kicked out how do I make it to get the degrees. You see Keith, you don't know how to quit. Yes, you fail but you never quit so you transfer and find a way to make it. You will follow the same pattern. You get the next degree as reaction instead of making education your primary motive. Here is what I am saying to you. Don't get to that point. Focus on your talents God gave you and allow them to work for you up front. Don't be reactive be proactive in how you see your educational life. Make doing well in school your main priority and you'll see education won't come hard to you at all.
One thing which must change is you're going to have to leave having sex with so many women alone if you are going to become who the Lord created you to be. Hold on right there! Now you're sounding like my grandmother with all the Lord mess. She is always telling me I am going to be some damn preacher and I am going to preach God's word. I've had to hear this since I can remember. She constantly tells me how she prayed over my mother when she was pregnant. Telling the Lord if he gave my mother a son she would give him back. I've had to hear this every day to no end. Please don't tell me that is how I end up like some phony Jimmy Swagger or Jim Baker on TV begging for people's money and claiming I can save their souls. No you don't end up like that. No you wont be preaching that way. Preaching that Way? Wait are you telling me I end up in the church? No you don't end there either? I'll explain more in a few minutes. I have to get back to explaining to you about these women. Which my friend is your downfall. Because of all the women you're going to sleep with its going to effect how you go about having real relationships. Now remember how you felt when you found out Juanita was cheating on you in New Jersey last April and your girlfriend Allyson in New York was doing the same thing but in March. You are going to use those two situation to push away from any woman who get close or wants to love you. You also use it as a mantra to why its OK for you to be a whore. Man, why did you have to remind me of Juanita and Allyson. See that is the problem, you think they wronged you while you were the one cheating on them the whole time. That is your common practice of reversing the issues and blaming others for your short comings. It has to end. You have to find a way to stop and take responsibility for all you do and who you choose to be with. You are going to damage the lives of many women, some you'll know about and take pride about the damage. Some will say nothing but allow the pain of being with you to effect their lives forever. Sex is not the answer to your problems. You're anger for your father can't be cured by sleeping with as many women as you can. Don't mention my father, that bastard has never been there for me. Hold on, he will be and when the day comes you'll love it. What? I meet my dad? Really? What is he like? I'll tell you this. Don't give up on searching for him. He is searching for you also and he has some things to share with you about what his young life was like. You two are more alike than you realize. Don't cry this is why I am here. You future is brighter than you know if you just listen. Man why did you come here to tell me all this? Why are you doing this to me? This is not helping me. Yes it is. Trust me I know it is.
Keith look at me. We don't end up as bad as it seems. I am trying to help you become even better than what I am right now. Things could be a lot worse but I am hoping you'll work on things which will make them greater than they are. As I said the ladies are you problem. You have to find a way to resist wanting to be with so many. Here is how you can help yourself abstain from being with so many women. Now what I am going to say goes against everything you think you want and feel. But when I speak I want you to consider where you have heard this before. OK? I want you to sit with your grandmother often and start to learn about Jesus and His sacrifice for your life. Oh hell no!! I knew this was some BS. You're sounding just like my grandmother again with all her church nonsense. Hold on young man. Stop for a second and get past that first physical reaction. When you were in NJ all of last year in high school and you were walking home alone at night on many dark roads, when you got scared who do you speak to? When you made mistakes and worried about what was going to happen, who do you call out to? When you were younger and the man touched your sister who did you turn to to for answers? When that man placed a gun to you head for trying to help the woman he was going to rape who did you speak to inside your head? You have tried everything you can to remove yourself from who God has made you to be. Yet you have never let the idea of how powerful He is get past you. I am telling you the Lord has protected you and will continue to do so. He has given you tremendous gifts to share with other people. Gifts He will show you how to use if you move closer to Him. This sex thing and all these women are a smoke screen to who you could be in future years. People will listen to you, learn from you and even come to you for life changing advice. You can't fool me, I am you. The same way your friends come to you now to ask for your advice it will happen as you get older but the situations will be deeper and so will your responses. You know how you secretly wonder why they came to you and how you knew just want to say without hesitation. That is the Lord using you. You have to find a way to allow the Lord into your life and watch where he takes you. K. L. I don't know what to say. All of this seems crazy I am not even sure if this is real. I have so many questions to ask about my life and who I become.
Hold on Keith, I have five more minutes. You see I was very vague with the details of your life. I did this on purpose. There is so much life you have to decide for yourself. I simply wanted to fine tune some of the choices you'll make. I can tell you this. If you don't listen and act like we never talked, its going to be OK. You're going to fall in love a few times. Get married twice. Have some children and even write a few books. Here is something else, your even going to become a teacher. What? Wait a minute. Married, kids, a teacher. There is no way in hell I am going to be a teacher. I hate them you know this. Yea OK, my friend. Allow me to remind you what you told the lunch staff back in in high school a few months ago before graduation; you said you would be back when you come back to teach at Penns Grove High. You also told Mr. Jacobs you would come back to teach his ceramic art class one day because of the fun you had. By the way, grandma still has the ugly bowl and ash try you made her after all these years. So before you say no to anything I mentioned to you today. Just allow it sink in and consider it as you make your moves in your life.
Well, looking at the clock my time is up. I did what I set out to do. Will I ever see you again
K. L.? Who knows? Maybe the Lord sends you back twenty seven years from now to do the same thing or maybe this is a one shot deal. Either way, I am on my way back to continue working on making changes and cleaning up much of the mess you caused. You could think about that as you set out to rule the world keith. Remember to keep the Lord in the picture even if you don't know how. He is walking with you everyday. Don't wait so long to get closer to Him. He is going to save your life a few times. Save my life? Wait K. L. what happens, when does that happen? Don't go. Why would my life be in danger? Take care Keith make something happen with the talents you have. I'll see how different things are when I get home. I'll know if you've listened or not.
Take Care and God Bless Keith.
In my book from Gigolo to Jesus, who I was leading up to who I am now is written down. I am proud of what I produced. If you want to read more of who that young man was and the mistakes he made which prompted me to even want to go back to talk to him. Just click on this link "From Gigolo to Jesus" If you have read the book. Please leave your thoughts on my website www.KLthewriter.com or Amazon.com look up "From Gigolo to Jesus" This writing game is special to me since I am not it to be the best or sell the most books. I want to help others by offering help I know I needed at various points in my life. Please share this or my book with anyone who needs it. If you need me to come and speak just reach out and let me know. My email is Info@BravinPublishing.com