Updated: Jan 4
I once believed that living as a Black man in the United States was my worst nightmare, given my early encounters with racism and discrimination. When I turned seventy years old on August 14, 2020, I accepted the grime reality that I was older, yet I was also a vessel of vast experiences that defined my life long before I turned seventy. There were good and bad decisions, triumphs and failures, love and rejection, pain and suffering. Having published two memoirs in 1990 and 1995 chronicling the worst and best times of my life, I realized on my seventh birthday that there is much more to tell.
My mother never bonded with me. I never connected with my mother. Looking back at my early childhood with my mother, who seemed to me--as a little, frightened boy--rejected and abandoned me. I remind myself that I am seventy years old and that I should not concern myself with events and experiences that are decades old. I should look forward, not backward. Childhood experiences, however, should never be dismissed when examining one's life because childhood interactions shape life and become the blueprint of who you become as an adult. When a mother bonds with a child, that child has a chance of growing up as emotionally balanced, empathic, compassionate, and capable of loving himself and others. I never had opportunities to grow up as a normal kid.
Bullet Proof Soul is a book of personal essays reflecting my thinking on social and political issues of the day. I borrowed the book title from a song written and recorded by the famous singer, Sade, who sings about the need to have a bulletproof soul when battling for love and respect and facing life challenges. The book illustrates my thoughts on race, racism, mental illness, and drug addiction and how these traumatic topics have impacted my life as a child and young adult growing up in the dangerous streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where sociopathic behaviors were the only way to survive. The poignant, intimate essays reveal my fractured soul struggling to be acknowledged, listened to, and respected during a time when institutional racism was rampant
Turns out that living as a Black man in America was not the most traumatizing journey in my life, considering that I was a drug addict for twenty years of my life. Witnessing my girlfriend's ovarian cancer, my grandmother's passing, my mother's dementia affliction, and the revelation that my father was a pedophile are more hurting and disturbing than any single experience in my life.
I am a man, not a boy. I am seventy years old, not six years old. I am responsible for the choices. Who I am today is what I choose to become.
Pre-Order Bullet Proof Soul from my website: https://www.buyronsbook.com/