Brilliant Storytelling

Brilliant storytelling, a blend of memoir and astute cultural observation utterly without judgment. We need more voices like C.J.’s. He delves into themes and topics that are at once intensely personal and universal to being human. I can’t recommend highly enough. Looking forward to more episodes. Thank you for the time and attention you have lavished on this project, C.J.

Julie Gabrielli


 

About the Host

CJ

Husband / Father / Son / Brother

I’m a 38-year-old graduate of Towson University who lives with my beautiful wife, two daughters, and our dog in a two-car garage home in the suburbs. 

If you asked my mom, she’d tell you that I’m living the American Dream. 

I didn’t come from much; I grew up relatively poor with my mom and older brother in Germantown, Maryland. At times my life was chaotic, but I never quit striving for more.  And to be honest, with where I am now, I could probably just chill and enjoy my days. 

Yet every morning during my commute through West Baltimore, I see little black boys and girls walking on crumbling sidewalks past dilapidated houses, navigating unsafe streets on their way to school. 

The sight always gives me a sickening pain in the pit of my stomach. My past poverty is nothing like what they have to go through today, but at the same time, I know that they deserve so much better than what this society offers them. 

I ask myself, “Am I doing enough to help?” 

At my downtown office, I spend every day navigating a corporate culture so different from my personal experiences that it leaves me feeling alienated from my peers. Insecurities and doubt creep into every interaction, and I can never be completely sure if I’m experiencing racism or just being too sensitive. 

I wonder, “Do they care to understand how I really feel?” 

As I’ve continued on this journey, I’ve come to the realization that the more I share with others, the easier it is to see the commonalities between my situation and theirs. Presumably, there are others like me who also feel uncomfortable, who doubt their contributions, and who may benefit from hearing me speak about my experiences. In this podcast, I share my journey to becoming normal—where the entirety of my experiences are valuable and valid.

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