Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is Humanity

All I Want for Christmas is Humanity

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. - Mahatma Gandhi

December 26th, 2010 will mark the second year anniversary of my own hypocritical journey though the last two years of my life…

A journey I was only just reminded of tonight while watching my
illegally downloaded copy of the movie Gandhi.

I’m sure not many of you can sympathize or empathize with the feeling of packing a few suitcases with all of your belongings, along with a few boxes of books on Christmas day, knowing you’d be leaving your children the very next morning.

But I can assure it’s a heart wrenching experience the likes of which I wouldn’t curse or wish upon my most envious of enemies.

Two years later and I still only know for a fact that I was venturing off into a future that promised me nothing other than an opportunity to try to answer what back then was the unanswerable question of why am I really here.

Why am I really here?

It’s one of those survivors guilt questions thrust on those of us willing enough to pay attention to the fact that we survived an upbringing that at times should’ve proven to be un-survivable.
A question that I’ve come no closer to answering after 724 days back in New York than I did when I was living a calm, quiet and comfortable existence back in Virginia Beach.

For those of you who consider yourselves my loyal readers, you’d realize I’ve been gone for over a month from this blog spot.

The exhaustion of chasing down the answer to that question finally got the best of me and I disappeared and went back to the kind of exhaustion that allows workaholics a six-figure salary in corporate America if you’re willing to give up everything else…

80-hour work weeks are enough to turn anyone into a zombie and when you need brainless
activity to rest your thoughts… you don’t turn on CNN… you turn on MTV.

So there I was trying to forget… trying to mind my own business after allowing my dreams to
collapse in on themselves causing a catastrophic-like claustrophobic cave of silence and nothingness…

Doing what we all do when we give up on our dreams… Getting lost in the irrelevance of popular cultures reality television that is so far from reality, it very rarely allows us to come back…

nd then his face brought me back…right there… James Cruz… that son of a bitch snapped me right back out of my own hypnotized state of stupidity and made me remember one of my happiest days in recent memory…

It was the day I sat across a conference room
table from him with my partner at the time, Actress April Lee Hernandez and listened to James tell us how we’d never have to worry about money again.

“I’m a dream maker… I make peoples dreams come true for a living… that’s what I do.” – James Cruz
He wasn’t lying to us, at least not intentionally I don’t believe. As a marketing genius and music managing monster that’s helped guide the careers of everyone from Diddy to 50 Cent and Akon to Missy. He’s certainly assisted in dream making for many people including the hottest female
rapper to hit the scene in a minute, Nicki Minaj, which led me to my, “Oh shit,” moment while watching My Time Now on MTV a few nights ago…

That day in that conference room – if only for a brief moment – Cruz made April and I believe that altering the mind-states of our teenagers was as important as how many units 50 Cent would sell in his first week. He provided us with so much hope that I remember watching April wipe tears of joy away from her eyes.

Though I never heard back from James after his promise to help promote my first book, Next Stop, it was one of those defining moments in my life that made me realize that I could reach for the stars, after all I was only one degree removed from Diddy at that point.

But the all too sad reality was the fact that I had to grow-up and realize that changing a life, or even saving a life for that matter isn’t profitable. It’s too great a monetary cost for us to expect any men of prominence and wealth to take up as a cause. That is of course unless one needs a tax deduction at the end of the year.

No, unfortunately the profit still remains in our own ignorance. Ignorance so strong that it not only sustained itself for the past few generations, but it’ll far surpass any ignorance we’ve seen for generations to come.

It’s on the same level as my own inner ignorance that made me believe I could come back to
New York and change the world.

I guess being laughed at by a co-worker prior to walking away from a 15-year career now seems l
ike justifiable laughter. At the time I was all gun-ho about proving him wrong. But these days, I just want to prove myself right… that in the midst of a failed dream. I can still retain my dignity and my own humanity.

This year I would’ve made 17-years as a loyal employee of a billion dollar company in Virginia Beach. My Christmas bonus would’ve been in the range of $7,500.00. And my kids wouldn’t have wanted for anything that daddy couldn’t get them this year and stuff under the tree.

I wonder if they’ll ever forgive me for leaving them and
failing at this mission I explained to them was something I was called to do.

No matter that outcome… I still have to hold on to the belief that my children are better served seeing that sometimes sacrifice for the greater good of humanity is much more rewarding than our own financial gain in this lifetime. Even when they can’t see the actions of their father.

Perhaps I only ever returned to New York to buy those two cans of formula for that stranger’s baby with my last ten bucks in the bodega that night… Maybe my destiny was to feed a hungry child that one night.

Or the night I almost got beat up trying to help a drunk and homeless man with one leg get out of the middle of the intersection on 125th Street even though his wish was to stay right there even if he had to hit me with his crutch to do it… Perhaps destiny dictated that my timing kept him from being hit by a car.

Maybe it was the time I tried like hell to give a deranged homeless guy wearing a bag for a shoe the $16.00 I had in my pocket only to watch him stare endlessly into a puddle of dirty water while trying to wash his face…

He never looked up… never took the money…

No matter the ending… the means were justified in taking just a few moments out of my day to be a humanitarian.

The men in India who saw Mahatma Gandhi’s gift to inspire and help his people… changed the course of the world. More so perhaps than Gandhi himself…

When Gandhi first returned to India he told the powers that be that his first course of action would be to setup his law practice to feed his family. Even back then, money made the world go

Luckily for the world, they told him, “You forget about your practice… you have other things to do. India has many men with too much wealth and it’s their privilege to acknowledge the few who can raise India from servitude and apathy…”

Imagine that… the privilege of the wealthy to support the few who can inspire those needing inspiration to live better lives.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever find that kind of support system…

But I’m not going to let that stop me from asking Santa for it this year…

Santa… If you get this letter… I need some wealthy men and women who believe in change to
support me on my future campaign of, “A penny for your thoughts…” so I can go back out there and listen to our youth… and find out how we can bring about change for a few of them…

And this time… I’m going to make them pay for my advice so I can pay it forward… You have a problem… You need to talk? That’ll be one penny please…

We all need to give a little this Christmas!

Be the change you want to see in the world… - Mahatma Gandhi

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing up Wild-Style in the Bronx (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 2008). The book is the first memoir released by a major publishing house written by a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. Sanchez is also the co-author of It’s Just Begun: The Epic Journey of DJ Disco Wiz, Hip Hop’s First Latino DJ (powerHouse, 2009). He was awarded the National Novel honors for his first fiction offering and is currently working on several new books about NY Latinos. He is also the co-host of Rebel Radio on Urban Latino Radio.