Photo of the sky
Image courtesy of Pixabay.

I thank God for his tender mercies and grace towards an undone wretch like me. To God be the glory for the great things he has rooted in my life. I am truly, truly, truly grateful for His miracle-working power and His unfailing love towards me. I am the “original” Reginald Denny and there is no other like me, for God created me in His image. I am unique and set apart by God’s grace.

For a long time now, I’ve always tried to fit in where I could get in. See, I was always the kind of guy who desired that everyone would like me and I felt that everyone should have my best interest at heart. Oh was I sadly mistaken. Always trying to live up to others’ standards landed me up depressed and distraught for the feelings of not being accepted by them.

Sometimes I allowed people to talk me out of dreams I had for success and grandeur. They made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. My bouts with self-esteem issues and fear of success kept me from attaining goals and completing that which I had set out to do. I can remember as far back as elementary, junior high, and high school that it was always my passion to sing, dance, and act. I was also very athletic. I was on the basketball team and Boys Club boxing team. Even with all these gifts and talents, I still did not feel like I was good enough to excel at any of them. I had an emptiness and void that was not being fulfilled.

I really had a passion for singing and dancing more so than athleticism. But dancing and singing at the time was not accepted by my peers. It’s just wasn’t the “manly” thing to do during my era of growing up in the ‘70s. So I hid the fact that I desired to be like the actors of the movie “Fame.” Fear of acceptance stifled me from venturing on my “softer” talents. I wanted to fit in with the status quo,  with “the boys in the hood” — with the hard heads! I kinda feel like I missed my calling.

As time went on, I began to gravitate towards hanging out with the less desirable. This was the easier way of life for a guy like me. I was pretty good in academics and I got good grades. But I was hard-headed and wanted to do things my own way and not the right way. I began drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs around the tender young age of 12. I never knew what this learned behavior would set in motion. By 11th grade, I became uninterested and bored with my studies. As some might say, I caught that bad disease of know-it-all-ism.

At this point, no one could tell me anything that I figured I already knew. In my mind, I was a grown-grass-man, for the sake of better words. My attention span for school stuff grew shorter to the point that I decided to drop out and get a job like adult people do. Absentee father, mother burdened with two jobs and total responsibility of care and upkeep of a house full of kids — I figured I would be one less liability by making money to care for myself. I believed my own lie.

Who’s fooling who? Well, I began work at the commissary on a military base. I enjoyed working there because it gave me a source of independence and I felt like less of a burden on my mom. I really thought I was a productive citizen because I obtained money and finance to get what I desired. Little did I know that my decision to abort my education would end me up in a bad way.

It did not take long for me to get totally immersed in the “lifestyle” of doing whatever it was I desired, regardless of the circumstance. I bit the apple of life and began to experience some of its pleasures that would eventually bring on my demise, spiritually and socially. I became so self-absorbed, almost narcissistic, that I was full of sh**! And I was reeking of its stench and aroma.

There were times I could not stand to be with my own self. I was truly out of control and did not want to accept it. “All I got is me,” I’d convincingly remind myself, “all I need is self-love and I’ll be fine.” Wrong answer.

I was already damaged by that get-in-where-you-can-fit-in syndrome, I had always felt that I needed others to be complete. And when I was not accepted, I isolated from those ill feelings and other people, which left me alone and desolate. In turn, I engulfed myself in Seagram’s gin and Windsor Canadian whiskey bottles. I was addicted to alcohol very early on and didn’t actually realize the severity of these flavors. This was my out, that feel-good sensation. No matter what was going on at the time, I had no worries and instant gratification, with or without people around.