From Omar:

Hello everyone and welcome to Expresslist. Before you sign up for an account with Expresslist I think we should get to know each other first so I will take this opportunity to tell you about myself. (This is the G-rated version!)

I wrote my first poem in 1995 when I was 15 years old after a girl that I had just met and developed an instant crush on was killed in a car accident. I remember being so confused as to what could be God's reason for allowing me to meet this person and then taking her away so suddenly. In my neighborhood, and especially amongst my circle of friends, having serious feelings for a girl wasn't really a popular thing to do so I felt that I did'nt have anyone to talk to after this terrible tragedy had happened.

Even though this situation sticks with me to this day, the solace that I found after I had written the poem about this young lady was unexpected. I felt that I had come to grips with the situation and had handled my confusion in a mature and constructive manner and had even discovered a part of myself that I did'nt even know existed.

Being a teenager in the south in the 1990's gave me the unfortunate opportunity to see the results of the crack cocaine era close-up. It also allowed me to be exposed to the brand of hip-hop music that these conditions produced. I found myself relying on the positive and educational messages of some of these hip-hop artist for guidance. The more I listened the more I began to realize that they were regular people, just like me, and that they had decided to use their creativity and their life experiences to reach back and help others. This realization inspired me to write, even though I had no aspirations of being a rapper.

In 1998 I graduated from high school and a month and a half later I was off to boot camp. My first duty station was Friedberg, Germany and for an 18 year old kid from Rock Hill, SC it was a complete culture shock. After being taken to my barracks and left alone in a colorless room with a bed, a desk, and no television, I immediately began to regret my decision to join the Army and spent my first 8 months in the country subconciously angry about my situation.

By the time I left Germany 16 months later, I had notebooks full of rhymes, poems and random thoughts in the form of journal entries. Writing had become my therapy. It gave me the opportunity to express the thoughts that I felt no one else understood. I became less angry as I wrote and I began to mature to the point to where I was willing to accept the responsibility for every situation that I found myself in. I used my creativity and a willingness to be expressive to grow and to release the negative, stagnating energy of anger and resentment.

Fast forward: In May of 2009 I was jobless and almost flat broke! The following October I had moved into a delapidated, two bedroom, 900 sqft. home with my then wife and 5 year old daughter. This move would prove to be the proverbial straw that would break the camel's back as far as my turbulent 8 year marriage was concerned. I spent my days filling out job applications online, reading self help books, becoming self educated on various topics ranging from marketing to business managemet and all the while waiting on anyone to call me back with news of a job, but the call never came.

I would look at the boxes of notebooks full of my writings that I had accumulated over the last 10 plus years and think "they have to be worth something." They were my life after all! My growth, my maturity, my confusion and solutions had to be worth something! I eventually started to try to teach myself to code. I was going to build a website where people could post their random thoughts, or any other forms of expression and creativity and be paid for it. But I had too much pressure on me. There was no way that I would learn to code fast enough or well enough to build the site that I needed to accomplish my mission. I decided to instead draw out the design of the site on notebook paper and write a business plan up to present to a venture capitalist that I had discovered while doing a Google search. I read an article on his company's website and had found out that he would be attending a convention in Boston. I sold my car, a 1982 Delta 88,  and bought a train ticket and headed to Boston. So I crashed the convention and met this very successful VC in the hotel lobby where they were holding the convention. He gave me about 20 seconds of his time, looked over my colorful business plan and turned me down (I don't blame him though)! 

In July of 2009, after using my last $17 to get as far south of Boston as I could, I wound up in Providence, Rhode Island and very soon after that became homeless. My wife had seperated from me and had moved back to her home city of Detroit with our daughter. While I was in Rhode Island I began to write again. I wrote on anything I could find: brown paper bags from the soup kitchen, blank space on a chinese restaurant menu, basically anything I could get my hands on. And at this point I was writing to keep my sanity! In December of that same year I had moved to Maryland with a cousin and soon after became deathly ill and developed congestive heart failure. I spent 10 days in a medically induced coma and even flatlined once. So understand, I've literally been dying to bring Expresslist to you! LOL!

By being a member of Expresslist and participating, you WILL get paid for your time! There is no meta data optimization to worry about. No keywords that you need to be aware of. All you need to do is be yourself. At Expresslist we care about you as a person, better yet, as and an individual with real life struggles and triumphs. We want to encourage you to take on anything in front of you in order to become your best self. Through personal experience, I have come to know that this is almost impossible to do if you are not in tune with what is going on inside of your own head. No one can tell you how you feel or what you should do in a situation. Only you know that because only you can determine your happiness.

How We Do It:

  • Expresslist serves as a platform for your local business owners and large corporations to show you that they are there for you. We focus on forward thinking and want to help you build for your future. 
  • Expresslist makes these business owners and corporations visible to you, but being visible is simply not enough. The only way that Expresslist can provide you with monetary incentives in the form of a points system is if you patronize the businesses listed in our directory or that have advertisements on our site. We ask that you even use our directory to locate participating Expresslist advertisers when you visit other cities and towns. By doing this, you help to increase the points pool for the people that live there as well as increasing the revenues for Expresslist clients.
  • Expresslist also contributes a portion of its adverising revenues from business owners and corporations operating in your local community to your school districts and to your local governments. All of this improves the services and infrastructure of your communities. 
  • Expresslist accrues your points and converts them to dollar amount that will be contributed to our Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) funds. We allow you to keep track of these investments over the course of 10 years, at which point you can withdraw any accrued funds or choose to leave your funds where they are and let them grow infinitely.
  • We know that 10 years sounds like a long time, but if you're 17 now, can't you remember when you were 7? If you're 30 now, can't you remember when you turned 20? Doesn't seem that long ago does it? See we're all about forward thinking. The seeds we plant today will grow into plants that can feed us in the future, if we attend to them properly.

We don't feel that money will solve your problems or make your life any better. It is just a way for your local business owners and corporations to help you and to offer an incentive.

So with that being said, feel free to express yourself here. We don't judge. There is no good or bad. You feel how you feel for a reason and we respect that.