Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Year Ago - I Found My Dad on FB

Exactly one year ago, I was in Cuernavaca, Mexico in a pretty deep funk. I was in language school, trying to adjust to being an expat, missing my son, and dealing with a pretty sucky love life - the center of which happened to be sitting in front of me every day.

After a "I'm just not that into you" conversation with the fella of the moment I felt an overwhelming sadness that I couldn't explain. The romantic situation wasn't that deep and I've never been one to get hung up too much on dating and boyfriends in general.

For a few days, I cried uncontrollably. The tears streamed on the rooftop, they came visiting Hernan Cortes's castle, they came after leaving Josephine Baker's home, and they came in the middle of the night. I began to think I should be looking for an arc I was crying so much!

At some point I sat still at a coffee shop and something told me to find my Dad immediately. For 28 years I haven't had a dad and he didn't know that he had me. I'm the glowing product of a one night stand which I found out at about age 14.

Since finding out I wondered who my dad was or what he looked like since my mom explained that so much about me looked like him but with the oh so common name he had and no cheap means to do a search I placed it in the nearly impossible box.

Since the coming of Google I had casually searched for him but never with any real fervor. After the birth of my son, my interest peaked a bit more. But never with the intense force of this internal or universal directive.

There I sat in Cafe Cielo and typed "Mark Blake" into the search engine. Within seconds a Facebook name came up and I clicked. There appeared to be this global wild man with an afro and thick eyebrows just like me. He had an Arab/Hispanic look, a comment I get all the time. Reading his profile I saw that he too studied biology and that the people he admired the most in the world were "the impoverished". Tug at the heart strings for someone who has made a career in international poverty fighting organizations.

I literally couldn't move. Could this be him?!?! I didn't know what to do. I looked up at the visiting fella and simply said "I think I found my dad - what should I do?" He looked at me with a pretty funny face and said message him!

I think we reviewed that first message and dissected every word at least 10 times before I pressed send and then we waited. He wrote back an hour later and we batted around questions and possibilities over the course of the day. Our host family had no wi-fi so I was prepared to close the coffee shop down!

It appeared that I had stumbled upon the wrong man...complete blower. In my resignation I messaged that my mom mentioned that they met at a NY nightclub called "blackberry Jam". He didn't respond anymore that day and I thought that maybe I'd scared him off. The next day we trekked back to the coffee shop and I logged on...hoping to have heard something from him. Surely enough I saw messages in my Facebook inbox and the most recent one was from him.

"I think I am your father" - the most fulfilling words I've ever heard in my life. We immediately started chatting and then he asked if I had Skype. Of course being the tech savvy traveller that I am, I obliged. I think I cried for the first two minutes of the call. The overwhelming sense of completion was beyond anything I could've imagined.

We talked about so much over those first few days. All the funk I was in disappeared.

Not only had I found my father but I found an amazing example of a man. A good father to both of his other children he is also a raw food vegan, wood floor company owning, house music D-Jaying, meditating, Nicaraguan farm and wellness center owning guru.

My dad is my super hero. I give him a hard time because he is the most amazing person I know. He has accepted me and my son and has been there for me in the past year as if we were never apart. I have an entirely new family that I'm thankful for, two new brothers who are so similar to me it's scary and most importantly I have PEACE.

Since meeting and establishing a relationship with my dad my outlook on the world is different. I think of him and his words and I try to use them to guide me. My love life while far from perfect, is not bent on a man filling any father gap in me. My father loves me and I love him to this world's end. I cannot even imagine the days before him. We've had our first falling out and are still learning to understand our different perspectives but I wouldn't trade him or our experience for anything else.

So today I'm giving thanks to God for giving me my dad when I needed him most!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Don't Have to Travel to Go Somewhere

Over the past month or so I've spent a bunch of time travelling. I literally spent 18hrs in India jumped back on the plane to NYC, met a cute DJ in DC, went go-kart racing in Orlando and celebrated a birthday in Miami in the span of about 8 days. I love to travel and am fortunate to have a job that allows me to do this frequently but travelling doesn't necessarily mean you're "going places", at least in the mental and spiritual sense of the phrase.

Sometimes the whirls and excitement of the world can whip you back and forth so much that you end up may have physically moved but your mental space has been so consumed with "movement" that it has remained still. While the travel itch may consume the nomad who is home for too long, the mental itch of neglected thoughts is far more perilous.

Personal goals whether they be weight loss, saving money, better organization, or keeping your integrity are just as important as getting that next stamp on your passport. So while we jetset it's important that we keep our mindset on our inner, human growth.