This is going to sound ridiculous, I know. Forgive me.
But when I was in jail, homeless, unemployed, parentless, awaiting trial for a crime I didn't commit, too poor to buy enough to eat on some days, burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills that seemed impossible to ever pay, with no viable way of ever making it to college or doing anything with my life, I always believed in my heart that I was more than the failure I seemed to be.
I always believed in the possibility that I might do something better with my life someday.
I wasn't sure if it would happen, and I honestly doubted that I ever would on many days, but I always knew that there was more inside me than people could see.
I never thought I was a muffin. I always thought I was a cupcake.
This is a stupid little aphorism, but when I saw it for the first time, it sang to me.
It still does. It might bring tears to my eyes if I think about it hard enough, but I would never admit that to you.
When I work with my students, I try to convince them that they are cupcakes, too.
It's what I want my own children to believe with every ounce of their being.
My wife, too. She is such a cupcake. I'm not sure that she always believes this. She should. I try to make her believe it every day.
I hope you believe this, too.
It's a stupid little aphorism that I'm slightly embarrassed to embrace to the degree that I have here, but it's also belief saved my life. It brought me to this place in my life - this impossibly perfect place - where I get to be a husband, a father, a teacher, a writer, a storyteller, and more.
This belief in myself allowed me to become the person who I always thought I could be but doubted that I would ever be.
I was a muffin who believed in miracles. That belief made those miracles happen.
I know I sound ridiculous.