Reflections of Me

 

This year has been a wild journey for me since coming out of the closet, an earth-shattering event whose ripple effect is still reverberating throughout my personal life. During this vision quest of finding myself, I’ve become drawn to the stories and tales of those who made the leap before me. Other black gay males who were not ashamed to share their story of finally removing their mask to feel whole for once in their life. Most of the stories I heard came from personal accounts shared through texts among friends and associates on my various social media accounts. But it wasn’t until I picked up Andre L. Simmons’s Butterflies Hitting Home Runs when I truly felt a repeat rush of personal freedom that I hadn’t experienced since my soulful renewal during my sojourn to New Orleans earlier this year. Surprisingly, I had no clue I would be experiencing that same exhilarating feeling all over again from a voice just as intoxicating and engaging as Simmons’s personal account of being black, gay, and making sense of it all in today’s society. Enter Michael G. Riggins and his soul-baring autobiography, Reflections of Me.

Unabashedly candid and poignantly bittersweet, Riggins’s personal reflection of his life as a gay man growing up in the DMV area(District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia for beginners) held me captive from cover to cover. The 114 page confessional read as if a secret diary of tearful triumphs, soul altering heartaches, extraordinary revelations, and faithful confirmations were being disclosed to an old friend over a nice stiff drink or a glass of red wine; Olivia Pope approved, of course. There is no ‘shame’ in Riggins’s game as he weaves various focal points in his life together to form a how to guide to dealing with the crazy thing we call life. Some of the events were deliciously candid, but not to the point of being completely classless and crass for sake of shock value. Again, reading the book was like having your best friend or new lover spill the secrets with you, the secrets they would only save for those who they truly trust or are finally comfortable opening up to. In other words, if you want to get to know Mike before approaching him, then this book will serve as a primer to better understand the man you’re about to approach.

And who is Michael G. Riggins? We know from his bio that he’s a writer (of course), an aspiring producer, a jack-of-all-trades., if you will. From reading Reflections, we could also add he has a keen sense for avoiding potential problems (“2003 Gay Hollywood”), spiritually rich (“Coming Out”), and blessedly inspiring (the entire book) to that exquisite list. While Riggins might sound as if he doesn’t suffer fools, he does, at least offers some “free” advice on how to get your life together along with the motivational push of a life coach. But that’s the beautiful irony of the book and the title itself. The word “reflections” is aptly used in the context of Michael G. Riggins’s story, because while ‘reflecting’ on his past, present, and future, Riggins found the two most important attributes from within: his inner happiness and self-worth. While reading the memoir, I couldn’t help but reflect back on my own past and question several instances in my life that led me to become the man I am today. This is where Reflections charm took root for me.

Despite my glowing experience with Reflections, my only qualm was that I wish it was a bit longer in length. But knowing Riggins, he knows how to play his cards when it comes to his writing. He might have something else in store for later and is just offering a morsel of what to expect in the future.

Reflections of Me might not have all the answers, but from someone who was struggling with his own sexuality throughout and after college, this book could have prevented a lot of brazen, inane decisions and unearned self-degradation. Along with Andre L. Simmons, I will have to put Michael G. Riggins as two of my top favorite black gay writers on the market.

Reflections of Me by Michael G. Riggins is available on Amazon (Print and E-book), Barnes & Noble (Print – Online Only), Books-A-Million (Print – Online Only). You can also buy the book from Michael G. Riggins’s Official Website here. Also check out the book trailer for Reflections of Me here.

 

Advertisements