on may 20 god blessed me with 14 years of freedom from active addiction. thru his grace & mercy i feel spiritually refreshed & glad to be alive. most days. some days i'd rather hide under a bridge. with cable tv. some buffalo wings & french fries. a sexy chocolate man by my side to caress my body, stimulate my mind & feed my spirit. u know the deal...
anyhoo. i'm grateful to be clean. no alcohol, no caffeine, no drugs, no nicotine, no pork, no white bread, no white eggs, no white flour, no white meat, no white milk, no white popcorn, no white salt, no white sugar, etc. yeah: u know the deal. god has helped me clean my temple. so amazed am i not to be using any mind or mood-altering substances. my life was a mess b4 he rescued me from insanity, depravity & death. the day i got clean is 1 of the most important days in my life. may 20, 1995 is/was the beginning of my spiritual journey.
regular prayer & meditation cultivated a serenity i never knew existed. friends with brothas & sistahs all over the globe has given me the diversity i lacked. learning how to live one day at a time was the perspective eluding me for decades. what a joy it is to be clean! do i feel happy, joyous & free every day? no. but i do feel a peace of mind in experiencing a deeper level of self-acceptance accompanied by an awareness & empathy 4 others. in fact, helping others is 1 of the highest aspirations of the hue-man heart. god continues to use me as an instrument of his will. as such, we play beautiful music together.
no longer am i under the illusion of being his conductor.
recovery has fueled my creative passions in ways i long felt hopeless about. some of the dreams, goals & aspirations from my childhood & young adult years have awakened my spirit. collaborating with other artists has given me the opportunity to learn from my ongoing mistakes. even when i feel alone, depressed, sad and/or uninspired, i can connect with someone - online or on the phone or via a text - who understands my dilemma. its a relief to accept my shortcomings as an integral part of my humanity. after all, if i'm not perfect why would i expect others to be?
everywhere i travel people respect me today. some of the drug dealers in my hood call me by my 1st name only. when i was a kid growing up on the south side of chicago folks called me faggot, punk & sissy so often i cringed walking down the street in public. the fear of public humiliation battered my spirit. emotional abuse & sexual abuse were constant companions. my manhood was attacked. i lived in a dark abyss of hatred, shame & terror. haunted by guilt & riddled with anxiety i secretly believed my life had no meaning, purpose or value. i'm wounded & i need to heal.
i can admit today i'm not frightened of the darkness but i'm afraid of the light. why? bcuz the truth will piss u off b4 it sets u free. sorting thru the confusion & contradiction of my life has been a painful process. i'm still learning to simply say, to myself, i hurt. my 97 year-old great- great grandmother used to tell me as a kid, "no one leaves this world unscathed." she also said, "let your conscience be your guide." her words of wisdom are with me with each breath i take. eugenia jefferson was my sojourner truth. she transitioned feb 16, 1976. her loving spirit shines a window thru my soul.
thank god i'm clean - just for today!
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.