New Beginnings, Part Three

New Beginnings, Part Three

In the tapestry of human emotions, few threads are as intricate and delicate as the decision to part ways from a relationship that once held our heart captive. Just as a skilled artist might contemplate each brushstroke, so too must we contemplate the rhythm of our heartbeats when faced with the crossroads of moving on or holding on. This poignant juncture calls forth a symphony of emotions, each note resonating with the harmonious struggle of bidding adieu to the past and heralding the advent of a new beginning.

When I left my ex, I felt like I was closing a chapter, and I was scared what that meant… What if my next chapter wasn’t as good, as meaningful to my whole story as the one I was closing? What if I’d made a mistake? Despite how toxic our relationship had become, what if I was walking away from the person I was supposed to be with… what if I never found someone else who supported me with my writing aspirations?

All these questions ricocheted inside my head as my house faded from view and I drove to Atlanta to my friend’s house, who had graciously offered her guest bedroom temporarily until I found an affordable place of my own. About 15 minutes into the drive, my head quieted as the noise of the questions was replaced with the sound of the music blaring from my car radio—until about 10 minutes before I arrived at Jessie’s house.

With my doubt dissipating, my courage slowly made its appearance just as the lights of Atlanta made theirs into my sights… What if this next chapter is the best of my life’s story—what if this moment changes my life so pivotally that I finally find the happiness and love that all of us deserve?

It is in these moments of heart-wrenching contemplation that we realize the profound beauty inherent in the very essence of change. The decision to walk away from a relationship is an acknowledgement of the evolving chapters of our lives, and a testament to our resilience in the face of the unknown. It is akin to a protagonist of a novel bravely stepping away from the familiarity of their setting, daring to venture into uncharted territories. In this embrace of uncertainty, we cultivate a renewed sense of self, untethered from the confinements of yesterday’s narrative.

The allure of a new beginning lies not merely in its novelty, but in the tender possibility of growth it holds. Just as a budding flower breaks free from the constraints of its bud, so too do we unfurl our potential as we walk away from the shores of our past. The prospect of transformation becomes our muse, igniting the creative sparks within us. We reimagine our identity, envisioning the narrative arcs that might unfold in the blank pages of our lives.

In the realm of literature, countless tales have woven the intricate fabric of this decision. Characters from classic novels to contemporary stories have grappled with the weight of similar choices, each finding their own path towards new beginnings. Just as a character’s evolution captivates readers, so too does our journey as individuals fascinate those around us. Our stories are chapters of a narrative that constantly evolves, drawing connections between our past and the fertile ground of possibility that stretches before us.

The difficult road definitely lead to a beautiful destination—one of introspection and self discovery, where self-doubt has been replaced by confidence and courage to tackle anything without the same fear I was burdened with in my last chapter. Looking back, it was actually this blog and the path it lead me down that kindled that courage to leave in the first place. I think the accomplishment of compiling, editing, and publishing Twice Upon A Time, seeing it in print, and holding it in my hand was like holding a missing key to a door I had to—despite the fear and the pain that it stirred—unlock and open… and eventually close behind me.

This next chapter for me, so far, has been somewhat of a fairytale, if I am being honest. I found not only someone who supports and loves me, but someone who communicates with the honesty and compassion that’s needed for a successful, happy, and lasting relationship. We share similar goals and dreams and actually built a music event production company together from the ground up.

On Leap Day 2020, Emerich and I took our own leap and married each other at the Punta Borinquen lighthouse in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, high on a cliff overlooking its western shores, surrounded by family and friends—literally a week and a half before the COVID lockdown, which only made our bond stronger, our relationship healthier, and our dreams for our future even bigger—and in 2022, after both of us had spent nearly two decades in Atlanta, we packed up our belongings and relocated to Tampa, Florida.

New Beginnings, Part Two

New Beginnings, Part Two

THE amazing thing about new beginnings is that, like endings, they sometimes happen when you least expect them or even when you’re opposed to them happening at all.

In 2016, a few months after ending things with my ex, I decided to move from the suburbs back to the city of Atlanta—I was thankful the car was mine and it took me far away from one sunset and toward my life’s next sunrise.

Other than for work, I never truly got to experience the city before because I worked in the nightlife scene of Atlanta (since nearly day one of living there)—and I definitely hadn’t as a single man, so the move back to the city was a lot to adjust to all at once.

I was able to connect with acquaintances I had known for years, who soon became good friends now that I was actually able to cultivate the friendships. As opposed as I was to any sort of romantic relationship, I eventually (but reluctantly) accepted some offers for dates, and some of them became a bit more than friends.

After leaving a 14-year relationship, the last thing I wanted was to even enter the semblance of one, so I became, admittedly, a bit of a player, dating upwards of 6-7 guys at one time. As much as I tried to protect myself, however, there were a few who made me drop my guard enough to let them in beyond what I wanted to, one more than the rest.

Let’s back up just a little bit, though… When I first moved from Michigan to Atlanta, Emerich (pictured with me above) became one of my bar customers and was one of the first people I met in my new city. As with all of my bar patrons, though, I wasn’t allowed to develop any sort of meaningful friendships because of a jealous partner, so he and I were only acquaintances. We knew very little about each other… just enough to keep up the occasional conversation about our lives.

Shortly after our meeting, Emerich started dating Henrique (Kike), the man who would become his partner of 8 years and who also became an acquaintance and regular bar patron alongside Emerich; their relationship ended in 2012, shortly after I was let go from my job at the bar and around the same time I started my blog The Bearded Scribe. I found this out after taking another bartending gig later in 2012, where Emerich became one of my regular bar patrons once again.

Because my ex (at least not at first) didn’t work with me at the new gig, I was able to chat a bit more with my customers, get to know them a bit more without the constant worry of being accused of being unfaithful, and in that time I got to learn even more about Emerich and his life story—yet just a little bit more. Had you told me then that this man would (SPOILER ALERT) become more than just a friend, I would probably give a good chuckle—not because there wasn’t a connection, but because—even despite the abuse (or perhaps due to it)—I never saw a life outside of one with my ex.

Despite feeling that connection in 2016 when Emerich and I first re-connected—so much so that I (more or less) ran out of the bar shortly after our interaction. He stopped me by grabbing my arm as I was on my way to look for my friends. I have always been an empath, intuitive, and sensitive to energy, and when his hand touched my arm, I literally felt a surge of energy hit me and I was bombarded with flashes of memories of a life with him I hadn’t yet lived… and now you know why, once our conversation ended and I told him that I still had to find my friends (who had already left, as it turns out), I literally left out the back exit and went home.

As luck—or fate—would have it, when I moved backed to the city, my apartment was literally down the street from his. I only knew this because of his proximity to me on one of the gay dating apps. I withheld from connecting with him on the app; my scars and my heart still needed to heal, and I wasn’t ready for the visions I had experienced that night in the bar.

One fateful night, about a month after that other one in the bar, Emerich found me on that aforementioned dating app. My photo was selectively cropped to prevent my ex (or his friends) from harassing me, so he didn’t know it was me when he messaged, but I knew exactly who he was and used it to be a bit playful, using his name (with the correct spelling from years of looking at it on his credit card at the bar!), which freaked him out a little bit. When I revealed my identity, he said that I had made his night. I swallowed my fear and we made plans for a date later that week.

New Beginnings, Part One

New Beginnings, Part One

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 7 years since I was forced to put The Bearded Scribe Press on a very unwanted—but inevitable—hiatus. With the blog and the publishing company, I had finally found my creative outlet, and then all at once, I was forced to give it up.

Without getting too detailed on the reasons, I was also forced to make another hard decision as well: to walk away from a 14-year relationship—a toxic one, sadly, with a level of perniciousness I kept hidden from the world, perhaps in hopes (or maybe denial) that it would one day change. As much as we tried to make it work, however, at the end of the day, we were not bringing each other the happiness we both deserved, the happiness everyone deserves.

Although we could no longer make it work as a couple—or, unfortunately, even as friends—I will forever be grateful for the support my ex gave me in my writing endeavors. I think, other than it logistically not being able to fit it in my schedule anymore, this is the reason I found it hard to focus on writing after the break because writing reminded me of my ex (and my failed relationship).

Coincidentally, and funnily enough—well, truly not as funny as it was frustrating—someone hacked into the website (about 3 months after the breakup) and created an automatic redirect to a porn site, as if the universe was trying to nail home even more the fact that I should put my writing on hold. Even though I still technically owned the domain name, I could not log into the website or do anything to fix the issue. After a month so of trying with GoDaddy to correct the issue, I gave up, and the site sat dormant for about a year and a half after. Every now and again, for a few years, I tried to log in and make a backup of the data, but I had no luck saving the data without also saving the redirect. Even GoDaddy had no luck and told me my best bet was to wipe the site completely and do a fresh re-install of the theme and plugins—this, however, meant losing all the pages and blog posts I spent years creating with my team.

I held off in doing so, not wanting to let go of the hard work and proof, much like I held off on making that hard decision to finally leave a relationship I put so much hard work into, trying to make it work, and that takes us directly to the lesson I learned in the process.

Sometimes the work required to repair something that is broken isn’t worth it. Sometimes it’s about trusting in your gut, in God, that the new beginning that awaits you was the reason it all had to end in the first place. While the new beginning of The Bearded Scribe Press is still a little bit in the future, I’m excited for the adventure.

Until then, I’ll share my own personal new beginnings that have happened since the forced hiatus in 2016, so stay tuned for my updates.