I attended Dad 2.0, a conference for writers, bloggers, influencers, and media personalities who are fathers, in Washington DC in February. It was a surreal experience to introduce myself to people I’d known for years but never met in person. I felt validated as several dads told me they enjoyed my work and introduce myself in person to peers I’ve befriended online. Apart from this one-day trip, it had been seven years since I visited DC, a city I frequented seven-to-eight years prior. The experience overwhelmed me with nostalgia because in 2012, this is where life as I know it began.
Singledadventures started with a girl named Aubrey from Washington DC. Once upon a time, I was in love with Aubrey. Not really in love, but like 90’s r&b exaggeratingly infatuated. It came in waves for a few years; but nothing came of it. We were just friends who were in denial and made our decisions put us on our different paths in life. I guess Singledadventures started off in pursuit of a “what if.”
I thought how I felt about Aubrey was one-sided. We were two people in a small group of friends. We were friends and often the two of us would have lunch and our own mini adventures together with our own inside jokes. However, I never gave it any credence because she had a boyfriend back home and I backed off.
We reconnected after Timile passed away when Aubrey offered condolences. She and I were at similar crossroads and had each other to tell the other how we were adjusting to new lives.
In January 2012, Brandon, one of my best friends from college was in New York to visit his mother. As we caught up, I told him “Yo, I’ve been in touch with Aubrey. She and her husband split up.”
Brandon snickered and said “With all the attention she used to show you…” I shot him a look of oblivious disbelief.
Aside from a few check-ins, Aubrey and I seldom spoke for a few months. One June evening, our routine catch-up texts became a full-blown conversation for six weeks. I felt comfort because there was someone who understood. While our experiences varied, widowers and divorcees undergo a similar grief process. Both are rooted in death, be it the loss of a loved one or an ideal which ceased to exist. It is a slow process in which in one’s gut, they know the outcome. A relationship begins to deteriorate long before one files for divorce. Even when one knows one day, a court will mandate a day the marriage has ended, it still hits and hurts as if it came out of nowhere; it paralleled how I to watched my partner succumb to cancer.
My rekindled friendship with Aubrey prompted curious emotions. I kept in mind what Brandon told me months before. I learned a concerted amount of attention connotes an amorous interest. Since we spoke all day, every day, the sentiment had to be mutual. I decided to act on my intuition and told Aubrey I planned to make a trip to DC and visit my friend, Chase; but we both knew the real reason.
I took a weekend trip to DC. We conversed for an entire afternoon and there was a connection. As we chatted in her living room, her parents walked in and out and they knew who I was. “The next time you’re in town, you have to get the girls together” her mother said before she walked upstairs because our daughters who were close in age.
On my bus ride home, I felt inspired. A few weeks earlier, I came up with an idea to start two blogs: one about my life as a single father raising my toddler and another called My Expensive Hobby, where I journaled musings about music. The latter never happened in this incarnation; but it became the lifeblood of my style as a writer. I told myself I would begin these new ventures August 14, 2012, when my daughter turned 18 months. I made a page on WordPress and created a logo out of a picture of Cydney and I took a few weeks earlier and went live two weeks later.
Two days after Single Dadventure went live, I made my second trip to DC. I took a another bus for a football game many of my college friends attended as well. I needed to be with old friends and make new ones and that’s exactly what happened over the weekend.
Once again, I stayed with Chase. Before the game, I perused through Twitter and saw Chase and my friend, CJ, was in town. Through direct message, where a bunch of our classmates congregated for pre-tailgate drinks before heading to the stadium. Aubrey knew I was in town and said she’d come along; but at the last minute, she backed out.
When the game was over, I texted Aubrey to see how things were going. In a roundabout way, she informed me she opted to give her marriage another shot. It reminded me of a similar pattern from 2003 and 2005 and I was used to it. However, I was hurt because Aubrey was the first person I bonded with since Timile died; I no longer had a friend to talk to who got what I was going through.
Despite my hurt, my weekend in DC was a positive experience. I finally found purpose and something I could do that was just for me. I had no idea what I was doing, or what I was doing it for; but writing for Singledadventures gave me something to do, for myself, every morning.
On September 3, I told whomever read my site I took some me time in DC. The one sentence, “I got back yesterday evening feeling a little refreshed and a sense of clarity on a lot of smaller things in my personal life which is always how we hope to come home from a day off” was a condensed version of virtually all I wrote in this essay. One run-on sentence at the very end gets drowned out in a sea of words; but an acknowledgement of the current that created the wave.
This is how I process my emotions. I will recognize how I feel, address and process it all, accept it; then channel the feelings into something unrelated, and allude to it in public. Long before this essay, this whole story existed in detail on my hard drive, and it waited for me to find the right time and comfort to share.
My experience in DC in 2020 felt like a full-circle moment. I roamed the streets of DC like I’d done in my mid-twenties and it felt different. The city evolved into a place I hardly recognized, yet it felt familiar. This time, I stayed with my college roommate, Devin because Chase moved a little after my last trip in 2013. Devin and we reminisced over the good ol’ days.
CJ stopped by the hotel where the convention took place. We conversed for hours about our current lives and reflected shared experiences. Our reconnection in 2012 developed into a friendship in New York and became the origin of many friendships I developed since.
Eight years ago, I came to Washington DC for one thing; but I left with lot more. It was nice to see and be reminded of my growth.