The Diatribe’s G. Foster II – a.k.a. Auto-Pilot

Several images of roads, highways and a car interior

I grew up feeling semi rich as the Huxtables. Subtract the doctor and lawyers as parents, my sister and I did not have it rough. As a family we were well traveled, in fact I can name pretty much every exit on I-96 from Muskegon to Detroit, not to mention we probably visited at least twenty states before I turned 16. I played just about every sport and I remember doing all kinds of extra curricular activities.  In hindsight I was the cool nerd who seemed to live a fantastic life.

Auto-Pilot's family at the hospital worrying and embracing

While I was in the 7th grade, My father had a stroke. We stopped dinner and raced down I-96 from Muskegon to Grand Rapids to meet my father at the hospital. He was already checking himself out when we got there.

He thought he was alright.

It had been misdiagnosed as Cerebral Palsy.

An image of superman's cape, absent superman himself, floating in the sky

When the world saw Christopher Reeves also know as Superman break his neck, a little bit of you dies inside. That’s how I felt . He wasn’t the same. He lost his jovial swagger.

Images of Auto-Pilot in a cape and cooking dinner

I became one of those teens, working two jobs, and playing all of the sports while helping my mother with bills and taking care of my father and sister.  The head of the household changed from father to son and mother. We had hit a dark period, but we struggled as gracefully as we could. 

12th AP English class with Robert Gibner was when I truly tried with expressing myself with writing. Mr.Gibner motivated me. to write more, apply to various colleges. It’s here, where my writing truly started. 

Another defining moment was orchestra. It was this class where I first free styled a Rap because the person trying to do it wasnt giving the beat its justice.  I unlocked a hidden talent that I never knew I had. Music had always been apart of me but it’s the lyrics, and words that moved me

Auto-Pilot rapping and dressed as homecoming king

I graduated, played sports until my senior year, was the homecoming king and I even got a full ride to GVSU for academics. My glass was half full despite the setbacks.

My writing brought me back to music, into frees tyling, and then into the hip hop group Gray Theory.  This music and writing got me some level of success, I mean I was a traveling struggling artist who made the Vans Warped tour three years in a row.

I felt like I was achieving but at this same time, my family was deteriorating.

Auto-Pilot wearing a shirt emblazoned with a graphic of a fierce mouth who's tongue is holding a pen

My father’s health would decline for twenty plus years until his death almost three years ago, three days after his 58th birthday.

I lost my favorite fans, and depression definitely set in. The pen and pad became my friend and worst enemy.

But it’s lead me here, to teaching about my experiences and writing was the only thing that has helped me to battle demons and reality. It’s one of my passions because it’s my truth, and it impacts myself and others to an emotional response. It’s always how you were feeling at the time.

Auto-Pilot wearing a super hero cape

I am G. Foster the II.

 I am Auto-Pilot.

I write for myself.

I perform for others.  

Writing has bridged a gap between anyone willing to listen and those that thought that they couldn’t relate to anyone. 

We all have our battles, I just write about mine and others, hoping to change the bad parts of us. There are complications from experience but there is no growth without pain.

Comic Created by Jordan Vohel

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