Summer Of Soul: Reflecting On A Year


I’ve doubted my abilities. I’ve felt worthless. I’ve been in dark moments mentally. Support has been my saving grace. A man, a father and a friend is knowing when you yourself need help. When asked for, it was received.

Having lost my best friends to death, accidents and beyond my control. It shook my world. My husband Sean was there right by my side to offer what I needed. We are approaching our 14 year anniversary. Wow! Love abounds. Our journey is still being written. Let’s keep the ink in stock.

One thing the universe gave me was a new best friend. See I believe destiny takes you so far and then you do the rest. It takes work, just like anything else, to make it work. Along the way entered Kathy King. I was blessed with someone that understood my crazy. She left me laughing at myself when I needed to laugh. She offered insight when I asked of it. Her care was in actions and not just in words. Love isn’t something I throw around lightly nor is friendship. So when I say I love my best friend. It is meant with all sincerity.

A year ago I was on a summer of firsts. What I would truly call my #SummerOfSoul Part 1. How was that possible? Well first I attended Dad 2.0 Summit in D.C. with the help of a scholarship. Humbly I went. It was enriching and led me to meet John Dominguez & Joshua Hicks which led to my first few Kia Motors America events. Talking about cars, driving cars and being immersed in car facts was wonderful.

Why SO wonderful? It was clear to me that despite all my success, education and character there was one distinct fact about me that would be judged. I learned to ignore adversity. That was a struggle and sometimes still a struggle. I fight a battle everyday against discouragement and fear. The fighting keeps my spirit strong.

My hustle. My diligence. My tenacity. Things I’ve also learned about myself. All of that has helped lead me to now. Looking back, my first adventure into social media content creation was spent with quality groups, events, organizations such as L.A. Dads Group City Dads, Mom 2.0 Summit, Life of Dad, Dads 4 Change, and now to being a panelist speaker for the upcoming LatinoDad Summit next month.

On a third #KiaMotorsAmerica event, it solidified friendships in Alice Chase & Jeff Bogle. I drove us around in Las Vegas, we went off-road in the #KiaSorento and ventured to the #SevenMagicMountains for the first time. Silence, the wind and the sun. Nothing but land, desert and mountains. Memories made.

Now I’m in my 2nd #SummerOfSoul. I’ve adventured to some of the same places. Enjoyed the company of many familiar faces, encored many events and deepened friendships. Driving around in the #KiaSoulTurbo has led to family firsts, business firsts and pure utter enjoyment of automobiles. I’m a #kiadad.

What is that to me? I’m leading my journey with my voice. My crazy. Myself. It is all me. True to the core. You get all Joël. I’m Just Obviously Enjoying Life. Coincidentally it spells out J.O.Ë.L. A new tag line. This was a natural progression. One brand that has supported me through and through has been Kia. I am able to be my funky-fresh dressed to impress ready to party self. Always.

Adversity was there which took a lot strength, fortitude, decorum, and self introspection to achieve my goals. As a gay man who is a father, a husband and of Mexican/Native American decent. Prejudice is stacked against me. Society today has a lot of issues with race, sexual identity and political views.

I’m here to share my story. I’m here to be heard. Fighting for what is right is what I believe in. In sharing myself, my journey and my family I’m able to educate and mitigate the ignorance out there. Make myself known. All of the people mentioned above helped support me and my voice.

Stand firm in yourself. Be proud of yourself. Listen to that inner voice. It is okay to ask for help. Surround yourself with quality. Work hard. Today I’m happy in my world. It has taken time to get there.

Follow along. There will be more Summer of Soul moments. Vlogs and blogs. Live posts and more. Welcome to my world.

It Can Be Amaze-ing

Parenting has various milestones or moments in life that you may or may not be prepared for. Middle school and elementary school I was prepared for. Discussing sex and sexuality was slightly forced upon me to discuss with my own children. Typical responses and or books were my first go-to resources. Then I came to know Amaze.

How was this topic ‘slightly’ forced upon me? It came to my attention that classmates of my children had brought up these topics. (Gulp) That was my first reaction. Then to find out there were more uncomfortable scenarios that my children experienced. Gasp! What was going on?! My goal was to have myself and my husband be the main point of reference for our children. Time to get my resources together. Let’s have the talk,  in this case many talks.

Find a book…look up resources. How to best discuss it with my daughter? What did my son know? Questions and thoughts permeated my mind. Maybe some panic. It wasn’t like I hadn’t planned this conversation out before. It came about suddenly versus my own natural progression into it. There had been a few conversations prior in the general form.

Well I utilized Amaze videos to help guide me with some key talking points. Little did I know that they produce engaging sex education videos for 10-14 year olds. These videos cover the “mechanics” of sex, puberty and more complex topics. Also covered are relationships, gender identity and consent. I utilized these two videos with my own children.

Learning that Amaze is a collaboration between three expert organizations in the field of sex education: Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health. It helped me feel confident in having open dialog with my children. I was well prepared to engage the necessary and the needed information. Did I want to have this conversation? Yes I did. Part of my own desire as a parent is to be the resource for my children. As Julie Metzger states the ‘conversation‘ is what children need.

Amaze is a great resource for families to help educate, inform and then discuss with their children. Being a dad myself it offered some new learning for myself too. It was great to learn how best to express something to my daughter that would help her understand sexuality. In addition my son felt comfortable to discuss with me puberty experiences he is having.

If you are seeking to start having these conversations with your own children I would refer to the Amaze website. As a dad-squared family, with a son and daughter, having a resource readily available to help with these discussions and other topics is essential. Talking with my children is a must with myself and my husband. Proudly we are now #AmazeParents with new learning and new dialog. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook for more at the ready information, link is below.


*This is a sponsored post with Amaze. All story, opinion and expressed sentiment is my own.