“Boy get your ass outta that bed so you can go to school, I aint gonna tell you again!” That was the first thing I would hear every morning, my mom didn’t like to repeat things much. Most mornings she would have to wake me up for school or else I wasn’t going. When you wake up knowing you have to put on the same school uniform pants you wore the day before; just to go and sit next to the same people you sat next to the day before. The idea of school isn’t all that exciting. Even though I would have loved to sit at home frees-styling on the back-end of some old records, momma wasn’t about to have it so I drug myself out of bed to save my ass. Every morning the first place I would go was to the bathroom, a part of me always liked to look in the mirror and use the fresh wounds on my back to trigger a flashback of the beatings my dad gave me just about every night. It’s one thing to give a child a whipping with a belt, it’s another thing to beat them with it. There was a thin line between child discipline and child abuse, my dad had crossed it about five years ago. Even at nine yeas old his belt felt just the same. That mirror was a huge tree in my near sight that spoke to me and for the most part the things it said made sure that every morning was a bad one. I spent half of the morning trying my best to make my bruises less noticeable. The last thing I wanted to see was my mom walk in the room and make a big fight with my dad, I hated to see shit like that. For the most part I did pretty good hiding my external and internal pain as I walked out of the door every morning. The walk to school was no better than that damn mirror in the bathroom. Only this time the mirror was my neighborhood and the scars were the junkies and low standard housing that made up the hood of Riverside. This place was a real shit hole that served as the heart of south Memphis. A part of me loved what it was and another part of me hated what it wasn’t. The walk from my grandma’s house to the other end of the block gave me just enough time to fantasize about how I would come back as a big star and put everyone in nice houses and fix up the hood the way it deserved to be. After about ten minutes my best friend Mario would snap me out of it just long enough to add even more magic to the shit I would imagine on the way to school. We meet every morning at the corner of Monsarrat and Person. For the remainder of the walk to school I could always count on my nigga Mario to tell me about our next big move with our dream company R&R Entertainment. Even as dusty little kids walking the streets of Riverside we always felt like bosses in our head. Our talks about corner offices and big fancy studios would ignite fantasies that faded us out. They took us so far away from the streets of Riverside we almost couldn’t notice the dope boys and bangas that posted up every morning like they had to take their grown ass to school. We didn’t know it at the time but these fantasies where us utilizing our far sight. Trust me when I say I’m not telling you to fantasize all day and everything will be just dandy; but for us these fantasies gave us the ability to see beyond our circumstances. It wasn’t like we were fantasizing about fighting dragons or being ninjas. These where the visions that gave us ambition, we knew that those fantasies could be brought to life and we had our minds set on making sure that they did just that. When you’re from where I’m from, you need something to convince you that there is more to life than the hood. School was always the same for me, long and pointless. I spent most of my time in class serving as the example of what the other students shouldn’t be. Not to mention that my older brother was a fucking genius, this kid never made less than an “A” and if he did he would just cry until the teacher changed it. The bad part was that I would always end up with the teachers he had two years before me. They use to pick me for their classes thinking they were about to get another remarkable student to brag about. What they ended up getting was the complete opposite. Me and my brother where like the moon and the sun and I never understood how the hell him being Jimmy Neutron made everyone’s expectations so high for me. The truth was I hated sitting in class, I hated to study, and I damn sure hated homework. I sat in class everyday thinking about one thing and one thing only. How the hell was a kid like me ever going to make it out of the hood? It’s funny how every teacher in school all tried to convince students that we could be doctors and shit like that. Everyday they would ask students the same dumb ass question. What would you like to be when you grow up? It amazed me how all of the other kids all wanted to be lawyers and shit. My answer was always the same, I would stand up everyday in my dusty uniform pants and too small shirt and proudly say “Miss. White, I’m gonna be the greatest singer to ever live.” I never understood why the entire class would laugh at me as the teacher told me that singing was not a career, it was a dream. Yet you give hope to the dumbest kid in the class when he says he’s gonna be the first black president. I felt like the black sheep of the class, my teacher treated me like I had some kind of disease. I was a right-minded dreamer in a school with a left-minded curriculum. I guess for me being a singer seemed easier than being a doctor. I started to feel like school was only a huge lake of water that was blocking my hunt for success. The college degrees where to far away for a child that lived the way I lived in south Memphis. The walk home from school was never the same as the morning walks with Mario. Most of the time I was alone because all of my friends had after school programs that I apparently wasn’t smart enough to be a part of. The walk home was also a lot slower; I knew that my dad was probably waiting at my grandma’s house drunk, looking for any small reason to beat my ass so I made sure I took my time. My near sight was fucked up, it seemed like everywhere I looked my environment gave me a reason to want to close my eyes and dream. I never really had much time for fantasizing on the way home from school, not paying attention to what was going on in the streets would have got my ass beat, robbed, or killed. It was a nasty sight and every part of me wished I were walking the streets of Hollywood or the French Palms. All of the other kids seemed to walk home happy and excited but not me, I found nothing exciting about my life. The only thing I knew for sure was that I had to get out. I was nine years old and for the most part, I hated my life. One day I woke up and the walk to school no longer had fantasies that fueled ambition. All I seemed to focus on was the immediate views of my near sight. I focused on the nightly beatings and the short meals just as much as I focused on the depressing schools and hell birthed gangsters. My far sight had been taken from me by the realities that my life presented. It took my visions of what life could be for a small child from the slums of Memphis. Before I knew it I was just like all of the other kids on the block, I begin to look up to the dope boys and gangsters; my dreams of singing and being a big business executive seemed just as impossible as being a doctor. My near sight only allowed me to see what was and not what could be. It was during this period of my life I realized that the absence of ones far sight becomes the presence of depression. Before I knew it school was out and it was summer. It had been almost five months since I had any kind of dream or daytime fantasy of a better life. A part of me had started to believe that this would always be life for me. My dad was still a drunk, my mother was still struggling, and my family was still poor. This was how I thought it would be forever until one day something unexpected happen.
It was about mid July, a few days before my tenth birthday. By this time my mom and dad where separated so he moved out of my grandmas house into the projects down the street. It had been about a month or so since he had the pleasure of beating my ass after his liquor kicked in, but my dad always found away to fuck up something good. I was outside blowing up anthills with some left over fireworks when my older brother Chikuyu ran out of the house all excited. “Go and get your stuff, momma said I can spend the night over my daddy house and you gotta come to because the big kids aint gonna be here,” he demanded. This dude always did this shit, we had the same pops but he would always put the word “My” in front of daddy to feel like he was special. He was the only one my dad tried to take care of, but my older brother and me really didn’t give a shit. I wanted to throw a firework on this nigga; he knew I hated going to visit our dad. I dropped a lit black-cat by his feet as I ran in the house to beg my mom to let me stay at home. I heard him scream from the pop of the firework as I walked into my mother’s bedroom. She was sitting on the bed playing with my younger brother Teven; he had to be about three at the time. “Ma I don’t wanna go to Joe’s house I wanna stay with you,” I said in my crybaby voice. I could tell by the look on my mom’s face I wasn’t about to get out of this one. “Your baby brother is sick and so is your grandmother, I cant deal with both of you.” I wanted to cry as my mom laid down next to my baby brother. “And I’m not gonna tell you again to stop calling your daddy by his name, if you pull that shit around your grandma she’s gonna whip your lil ass!” My grandma loved my dad, and no matter what she wanted me to love him too. My mom had already packed my bag for the night, I knew it wasn’t gonna be much to do at my dads house so my grandma let me take her record player and a few of her records. The walk to my dad’s crib was short and unwanted; he lived less than a block down from my grandma. Chikuyu was bouncing his ass down the street like we were on our way to the damn fair. He had got me into this shit, I wanted to punch him in his chest but he had asthma. As we walked up the stairs that lead to my dad’s two-bedroom apartment my heart begin to pound like a drum. I didn’t know if this nigga was gonna hug me first or smack me because I was pouting. My near sight had put fear into me, and not being able to see beyond my situations made it impossible to know that I had nothing to be afraid of. I tried to get some kind of sympathy from my brother as he knocked on the door. “Please can we just go home, please,” I begged hoping that my brother’s subtle knock went unanswered. Every piece of hope in my mind quickly turned into anger as the door opened to reveal my dad. He was a dark-colored man with rough hands and long hair. His snake-skinned boots were always shined perfectly and his jeans were always creased. His belt was of pure leather and had his name engraved on the back. I could only wish that it felt as good as it looked. I slowly slid passed him as he and my brother hugged at the door; I was hoping to go to the bedroom in the far back me and my brother slept in and never come out. Before I could make it to the bedroom door the bass of his voice shook me. “You don’t know how to hug your father,” he said. I turned slowly and made the short unwanted walk to him. “Hey dad,” I said in a soft nervous voice. “I needed to use the bathroom.” Sometimes lying was so easy if it kept my ass out-of-the-way of dads belt; and this was one of those times. “Go put down all that shit and come eat,” my dad growled at me. I had been in his apartment less than five minutes and I had already successfully pissed him off. A few hours went by and the sun went down. After eating I decided to go spin some of the records I brought along from grandmas collection. I was standing in the mirror singing along to Jackie Wilson’s Dogging Me Around when my dad walked into the room. He guzzled down the last of his beer as he walked over to me. “What you got boy,” he asked. I answered quickly not to piss him off. “Grandma let me see her record player and some records.” I hated being around my dad when he was sober and even more when he was drunk. I didn’t know what to expect as he inched closer to the dresser. He picked up a few of the records that were laying on the bed and flipped through them throwing each one on the floor as he went through the short collection. “You think you gonna sit in my house all night playing this shit? Huh, you got some money to pay my light bill… you damn sure running it up spinning these records,” he said. I didn’t respond, I just kind of stood there and looked as he unplugged the record player and begin to walk out of the door with it in his hand. “Give it back,” I said slowly. I didn’t know what had gotten into me but at that moment all I wanted was my record player. “What you say boy,” he asked. I could hear the anger in his voice, I know I should have just shut my mouth but I couldn’t. “I said give me back my fucking record player,” I yelled. I just knew I had talked my way into a classic ass beating, but what he did next shocked me at the moment. He simply laid the record player on the bed, and walked away. I begin to cry as I kneeled to pick up the records my dad had thrown to the floor, I noticed that one of them had rolled under the bed. As I laid on the floor to crawl under the bed I could feel footsteps approaching me. Before I could make it to my feet good my dad ripped through the door and snatched me off of my knees by my arm. I felt a sharp pain run through my shoulder, the yank was enough to scare the hell out of me but he didn’t stop there. Just as I caught my balance his large hands mugged me back down, not able to break the fall my head bounced off of the floor. At that moment it seemed like everything went silent. The world slowed down as my dad undid the buckle of his belt and snatched it from his pants. He was yelling so loud that I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I jumped up and stumbled to my feet praying that I could run down the street to the arms of my mother. I was half way to the living room door when I felt him yank me to the ground by my shirt. I tried to yell for my brother who was outside playing in the yard but the force of him dragging me across the ground caused my shirt to choke me. He dragged me back into the bedroom and closed the door behind us. My shirt was ripped and my back was exposed as I laid on my stomach trying to catch my breath. I was a nine-year old child who was no match for the uncontrollable power my father possessed when he was drunk. Too weak to run and too afraid to fight I just laid there as my dad raised his belt high into the air. The dryness of the leather made sure that the first blow from the belt cut through my skin. It felt like someone had placed burning metal across my back; before I could recover from the first lash a second one struck me that burned far worst than the first. I needed to escape this place, I needed to feel far away from the abuse of my father and the struggles of my family. I didn’t try to fight the beating, I simply closed my eyes and for the first time in a while I begin to dream. I pretended that I was on a big stage, and that my fathers yelling was the roar of a sold out crowed. I begin to see myself far away from that bedroom and before I knew it I could barely feel the lashes of my fathers belt breaking my skin. It felt like forever but soon the beating was over and I was left alone in the middle of the bedroom floor. The wounds on my back would soon heal, but the power of mind that I discovered that night would stick with me for the rest of my life.
Now many of you may question the purpose of this story. Well be clear that I in no way wish to convince you that dreams are the complete utilization of your far sight. This story exemplifies power of mind. To completely understand the concept of you far sight you must first understand the power of mind. In this story my undeveloped mind as a young child was still powerful enough to show me a life beyond the threats and depressions my near sight presented. It is my deepest belief that before you can utilize your far sight you must first create the desire to see beyond your circumstances. The reason I stress the importance of dreams is because the presence of a dreaming mind is the absence of content. My dreams of wanting to be a big superstar wouldn’t allow me to be content with my life as it was, those dreams forced me to want more. This is important because a person who is content with what his or her near sight presents will have no desire to see beyond that. The lack of desire for this greater sight forces the mind into a stage of contentment that removes ambition. Josh Billings wrote that “Contentment is a kind of moral laziness; if there was nothing but contentment in this world, mankind wouldn’t be anymore successful than a stone”. This is because contentment is the enemy of an ambitious mind. If Christopher Columbus was content with life in Europe would he have wanted to sail away on the voyages that lead to him discovering America? If mankind where content with the automobile today would we have the luxuries of flying? The answer is simply no.
I encourage you to develop your hunter’s eye; practice and learn the benefits of seeing more than just what is. Far sight is being willing to see what is, what has been, and what will be. Using the knowledge of the past to navigate through the present; and understanding that knowledge is a greater commodity than even the eyes. Give pity not to the blind man who dreams, but to the man who sees all and dreams nothing. For the man with both eyes only sees what is and the dreamer sees what will be. To completely choose the direction of your life you have to train your eyes and mind to view the world as a whole. Remember that there is always more to the picture than what is right in front of you. Everything that you see in life is printed onto your mind. It is your job to make sure that you print more than just the negative images that are revealed to many of us by our near sight day-to-day. These are the very things that consume us and force us into depression, crime, and violence. Exercise the power of mind and begin to use your hunter’s vision, visualize each goal as your prey and develop the desire to see beyond your circumstances. If two men stand in a house that is consumed by fire, the man who focuses on the flames will burn, but the man who focuses on the door beyond the flames lives to tell the story. Will you choose to focus on the downfalls of your life that serve as the flames seen by your near sight or will you choose to look far beyond that and see the door that gives you a way out. Norman Vincent Peale tells us that “No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities; always see them, for they are always there.”