Who is Patrick? Revisted, in-depth.
When I first started this blog, I gave a brief little summary of who I was and the purpose of the blog was. And, I just lightly gave details and I think that I gave you enough to get by and call it a post to get me started. It was a way of saying that I am here and I hope you will read my blog post.
Well, I want to revisit this again because one of my goals in 2016 is for more personal & professional growth. As part of my personal growth, I want to get down what makes up the many parts of me. And give you a chance to really know me.
This is also a chance for me to reflect, look forward and see what I really want. I hope that you will continue along the journey with me. For those that are short post readers, fair warning: this is a long one.
Born on a Saturday.
I am the oldest of two. I was born on Saturday, October 20 to my military parents on Camp Pendleton in California. My parents both met in the U.S. Marine Corp., about a year or so before I was born. My dad is originally from Jamaica and my mom from Louisiana. They got married just before I was born, in June.
We lived in Oceanside until my sister, Keshia, was born. Then we moved to Rialto, California because my dad found a job near there. I was never really proud of living or growing up in Rialto or in the San Bernardino area. Not sure why, but I always found that Oceanside, by the water, was my home. Living in Phoenix now, I hope to return back there someday — soon.
We didn’t grow up in poverty and we weren’t rich but I definitely grateful for the rich experiences we had along the way.
We call each other ‘big head.’
My sister, Keshia, was born on Friday, June 9, about 5 years later. She was cute and adorable — and loud. She cried like no other. She eventually grew out of that. (Thank goodness! Could you imagine?)
We got along most of the time. I now know that she hated when I played Mariah Carey at 5 in the morning before went to school. Maybe, that wasn’t the case, maybe it me attempting to sing like I was the songstress? I can’t say… ha ha!
Although, I don’t think that I am the best big brother that someone could ask for. I think we got disconnected somewhere. I still doubt if I am doing the right things or if I need to be there more. I feel like I need to work on having a better relationship with her.
Attended the School of Normal, but I’m different.
Growing up, I just felt different — no matter what I did. I felt different. I could tell you what it was. It was hard for me. I was verbally abused by others. Though I wasn’t physically damaged I feel everyday that I still fighting the scars of hearing these things.
I remember in 3rd grade that I had so much sway to my hips and so much snap to my fingers — and hung out with mostly girls. Today, that screams loud and clear what it means, but back then I had no clue. It wasn’t that bad in third grade, I didn’t get harassed as much for it.
I also remember around this time, that I was really clumsy and I always got flack for it. Dropping things and people just didn’t get me. I didn’t know why it was happening. If I knew, why it was happening I would have stopped. At some point, some said to me “you’re so clumsy, you should have been a girl,” indicating that girls are weak. At the time, I felt degraded because of the person saying it and how it was said. (Sadly, I still hear it from time to time.)
When I got in the fifth grade, it started with people making fun of me and I was getting told I wasn’t smart enough. There was something that believed every bit of what people said “are you really that stupid?”, “why can’t you read aloud?” In seventh grade, I remember watching “Roots” in my history class and being called Kunta Kinte because by my classmates all the way home. That’s just one example, I suppose. I was also called a faggot a lot. At one point, I thought I had a enough nerve to beat up one of my harassers. But, I quickly lost it and was lucky that he didn’t follow through with it.
Sometime, even when people don’t mean anything by it, I get offended and empty-hearted about some of the names they playfully call me. In high school, the nicknames wore off and it seemed like a decent experience.
I did two years at a local community college in California and then transferred to Arizona State University and didn’t do as well as I hoped. After a year, I decided it wasn’t for me and that I would go back if I needed to. I sometime feel the urge to see if it would make a difference or would just be a big debt that I am paying for the rest of my life.
Run the hurt away.
At some point, even though I wasn’t doing well in school, I released my stresses by running. In middle school, I joined the local city running team after doing in middle school at P.E. seemed like fun and a nice challenge.
In ninth grade, I didn’t try to join the team. I didn’t think that I would be good enough. (Inner thoughts won! Damn it.) They wouldn’t win the next year around. I tried out for the Cross Country team and got on the varsity team and was on the team throughout high school and did track as well. I continued on until I dropped out of college.
Discovering the land of rainbows, fairy dust and men.
When I first moved to Arizona, it was a time of discovery for me. I had previously avoided anything to do with who I was — through and through — a gay man. I wasn’t sure how it would be accepted in my family and my friends.
The first friend that met when I moved to Arizona was named Grant. He was a handsome man with a flamboyant personality. I even tried to hit on him once — ha ha! And he quickly shot me down, I wasn’t heartbroken, I was glad that he told me. And I felt like I was free. Though I was still trapped, I didn’t tell my parents, any family for a long while.
On Saturday, June 24, I met my husband after blowing him off the night before. Let’s just say I am glad he waited a day. We got married about two years later and have been together for almost ten years. We have two girls (from his previous marriage), two chihuahuas: Javie & Missi, and a cat named Sassy.
Jack of All Trades: Graphic Designer, Photographer, and Social Media & Brand Manager
When I graduated from high school, I got a laptop and still had to use dial up. (Sigh) Ha ha! Anyway, after being in yearbook and watching another guy do all these magical things on Photoshop. I taught myself to do what he was doing. It was fun and I even joined online communities that did weekly, monthly challenges.
I continued to do this through community college and going on to ASU.
After dropping out of ASU, I worked in retail but still learned on the computer. I taught myself how to design websites, how to code them. Developed my photoshop skills by taking “selfies” on a digital camera and transferring them to my computer (only me that remembers that?) I designed MySpace layouts. It was awesome.
While working these retail jobs, I started my own side business EyePlay Design. (I know, I like the way the words look stuck together like that — shhhhh.) Then, I started working at a local school that offers career and technical education. I started there as an administrative assistant. Then realized that their website needed some work, I got develop their website.
Later, they took a chance on me and promoted me to web and graphic designer developing the web material as well as printed material they needed. I did that for a year or two.
My boss at the time decided that we need to get professional photos of our students to share on social media. The point and shoot ones were not of good quality and sort of embarrassing. I learned about photography, by doing it, teaching myself. I looked at examples from established photographers and such. Recently, I have started my own side business, Respectfully Yours Photography.
I soon took over the social media platforms for the school as well after my boss left in the middle of the semester. And learned to what worked on our platforms and grew us into others as my new boss got comfy in her chair. Now, we are developing, nurturing relationships online with all of our stakeholders. A couple years ago, I developed this blog to share a bit of myself (as I have done today) and share my knowledge of social media as I learn it.
I definitely don’t feel like I’m an expert and love the fact that I am always learning as tools, apps and platforms are getting developed from day to day, hour to hour, minute by minute. Just trying them out is going to be part of the journey.
I have been fortunate to start focusing on my own social media and learn more than I ever thought I would by connecting with people and listening. It has been a great privilege at the start of 2016, to be featured on the Higher Ed Social podcast. I never thought that would happen. I am also looking forward to a speaking gig in March — feeling nervous, but definitely excited.
All in all, it has been a great journey — this life.
So, now have I practically dumped all of this in your lap and here we are today. I am looking forward to more personal and professional growth. I hope that you will continue to take that journey with me.
What are some of your goals for personal and professional growth this year?