As a writer it’s important to share my story. Life is dynamic and this is only part of my life’s path. We read the words of authors and often have no visibility of their own personal storms. When successful, it’s easy to consider they’ve always lived a purposeful life without challenge. Yet, that’s what empowers us to write.
When we admire a work of art or a piece of antique furniture, it is the experience from every brushstroke or the patina of life that gives it character.
And so it is with writers. We write because we have a story from within, based upon experiences that give words life.
As an artist, photographer and writer, I’m published as Anthony M. Davis. My friends call me Tony. I’m here to share a little of who I am, how I got here and my perspectives about the future.
Life can be a strange thing. Like a roller coaster ride with climbs and falls; we can fill our days with joy or sadness. While those days ebb and flow like the tide of our lives, our conscious choice of how we respond determines how we feel and move forward… or not.
It took me a long time, but I finally realized that my response makes a difference. For years, my life tossed about like a buoy at sea and I see now that I allowed it to happen. I just went along with the wind and waves.
Here’s how my ride started. A long time ago on a cold, windy New Year’s Eve, a 15-year-old girl went to New York to celebrate the new year. With no real thought, she met up with some Navy guy and one thing led to another. Shortly afterwards, she realized she wasn’t alone. She was pregnant. I can only imagine the thoughts, fears and worries that went through her mind as a teen.
During moments of uncertainty and uncomfortable times, we can accept personal responsibility for our actions, or we can take the path of avoidance. I don’t know from where the idea came, but she decided she would make the problem go away.
Through avoidance, she tried a self-inflicted abortion. Yet, despite her efforts, it didn’t work. Months later, determined as she was, she decided that she’d drink, get in an accident and this time make the problem of carrying a child disappear. The car flipped and rolled and… the baby survived.
I was born despite her efforts to kill me.
The Third Attempt
Sometime later as an infant in my crib, she tried something that looked like infant death syndrome by suffocation. Again, her efforts failed when a family member caught her. From what I heard, they gave her the choice to go to jail or leave. She left and for my first 11-years, my grandparents raised me. Somehow because of these attempts, I developed a blink from oxygen deprivation during the ordeal. Since that time, I carried the blink that people used as an excuse to label me as broken.
When you deal with a monster, sometimes you carry the mark of their madness.
I was a normal kid. Yet, I think I was more fearful than I needed to be. When I was eight years old, I was just 80 pounds of skinny.
Back then, I didn’t know why I was fearful. I just was. Looking back now I understand. Within our subconscious minds, we hold every thought, feeling, memory, experience and belief.
Every thought creates a chemical reaction that leads to how we see and feel about things.
I remember as a small boy having nightmares of being in bed when someone pressed a pillow hard against my face. I remember the panic of not being able to move or breathe. Then… it all stopped, and the sounds of yelling filled the room. This dream returned repeatedly over the years.
Now, many years later, I understand that it was not a dream. It was the experience of what happened to me as a young child. The emotional trigger repeatedly prompted a regression back to that time. Even today, I can describe it just like it was happening again.
During those years with my grandparents, I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I learned the value of work and respect for our country. My grandfather was an Army veteran that served in the Pacific during the second World War.
I’m glad to have had solid ground to stand upon during that time because a storm was coming.
Over the years, my older sister would pop in and out of our lives unannounced. I was an 11-year-old when she told me she was really my Mother and wanted me to live with her, her latest husband and her infant daughter. She told me how my grandparents wanted to live their lives and didn’t want the problems of raising me. I didn’t know what to think back then. I was just riding the wave like the lost buoy at sea. I moved in with them and quickly; I realized that was an awful choice.
Physical, emotional and psychological abuse marked the next six years and the violence and substance abuse of those around me defined the environment. I continually heard that I was nothing but a problem, everything I did was stupid and I’d never account for anything. It became easy to let that be the identity I believed about myself… and I believed that for a long time.
Moment of Clarity
Now I may not have been the brightest bulb on the tree, but I had a moment of clarity as a teenager. I didn’t know where it came from or what the future would bring. I did know that my current environment was not it. When I turned 17, I went to the Navy recruiter and convinced my mother to sign the papers and let me go.
To her, she was saving money. To me, I was saving my life.
Since that time, I was a helicopter rescue aircrewman in the Navy, had a commercial photography business in New Orleans. Later, I rejoined the service and retired from the Coast Guard as a Chief Warrant Officer, the very next day I began a federal civilian career and later served as the acting Chief of investigations.
I’ve been a bestselling author twice, and named one of the Top 100 Travel Photographers in the World. My wife and I married over 41 years ago, and today I’m a Board Certified Therapist and a Leadership, Success and Stress Coach.
I’ve learned that a hard start doesn’t determine your future unless you choose to stay there. I don’t know what the future brings, but I know it’s not behind me. Ann Landers once said,
“Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that’s where the future lies.”
⭐️ About the Author
Anthony M. Davis is a Leadership, Success & Stress Coach, Board Certified Therapist, Top-100 International Travel Photographer. As a Coach, he helps people just like you overcome obstacles & reach their goals. His free book, “Keys to Your Success” is available now.