I try to maintain a certain level of confidence in myself, at all times. I will admit that it is not always the easiest thing to do but I wake up, every morning, and believe in myself. From that point, it’s time to hit the streets and envelope myself in that energy. So, with that being said, what do you believe that you exude? And why do you believe that you exude it? I can tell you why I go around town with that mentality, in my back pocket. There was a time, in my life, when I used to seek validation from different places/people and I would extend (sometimes overextend) myself in order to obtain what I thought that I needed. As I grew to be older, I became upset with those same people, through whom I had sought that very same validation, because I felt like they were aware that I was looking for it in the wrong places and they chose to not steer me into the right direction. I thought that they were arrogant in that. Not realizing that the true arrogance was being actualized by yours truly. It took me a while to get to this place. The place of accountability. I cannot expect anything from anyone, if I don’t let them know that I need it and, as for any sort of validation, everything that I need is within me. Nothing that I do is done because of you. It is about how I feel about it. You may believe that saying this is selfish, and it is, I guess, but I can’t think for anyone other than myself and if I were to continue to seek for others to substantiate my inner strength, I would leave myself open to the possibility of dishonesty to be projected in my direction due to the fact that, unfortunately, some folks do not have your best interests at heart. With anything that you do, you’ve GOT to believe that you can do it. Belief, I have come to realize, is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence. Few veritably believe, whole-heartedly, in what they do/say. This is why I believe that it is truly important to be able to read what is right in front of you, and to utilize all of the tools at your disposal, namely your intuition. This is also why I believe that there is such a large discrepancy between the amount of success and failure, on every level. Now, this isn’t to say that many people don’t actually want to achieve success. I think that everyone wants that. It just comes down to a simple question: “Do you truly believe that you can attain it?”. When you believe, without a shadow of a doubt, success will happen. It is only when you offer up the possibility of failure that you encounter those things that will, potentially, derail you from your quest. I feel the need to be a bit more specific, with my theory. The singular thought of potential failure, rearing it’s ugly head, does not spell the end of your attempt, but you have to extricate those considerations by overwhelming them with belief. Your fears simply cannot be allowed to grow. Your day-to-day will always present you with a challenge (or two) that you may not have been prepared for, challenges that will threaten to undermine the mental state that you have been cultivating, so don’t be surprised when those moments appear. Build a solid base of confidence, and know that you will be able to deal with whatever it is. This is just how I think, every day, and I will stand behind these statements, if necessary. Ain’t nobody gonna look me in my eyes, and tell me that I can’t do something, and have me believing that shit. Never in your life. You’re welcomed to try, though.
I hope that this reaches you well. I think of you every so often and I wonder where we went so wrong. It all seemed to be following a certain timeline. A certain path. We fought about things, from time to time, but you know that these things happen. I guess that we were simply speaking two different languages. I truly believe that. It’s a shame. Lives are changing all around us. People are getting married, having babies and I felt that we were on our way there, but then came the abruptness of the halt. It stunned me. The truth is that I had your back, through it all. I had wished that there would have been some way for you to have understood exactly what I am. I allowed you in. Gave you access to seeing it, but I don’t think that you understood it, realized it, or even really cared. You can’t make people care about anything that they don’t want to care about, and I chose not to force the issue by maintaining a presence in your life. Maybe, at some point, you’ll see what I was trying to show you. Hindsight is always 20/20. Isn’t that what they say? But the clouds have dissipated, and my ceiling has been elevated, yet again. I am on a mission. I am making attempts to align my instinct and my mind, every day. I am one of the ones. You know that I am. I know it, too. Now. I hoped that you would be more than a page in the story but you chose to be just that. It’s a long book, though. and everyone loves a plot twist.
There’s something that I would like to get off of my chest. A subject that I have been thinking about for a few months but that I needed to properly put together, in my mind. The subject is about people being phony. I don’t like it. I really, truly don’t. And so, I do my best not to perpetuate that type of behavior. I think of it as my own personal ethos. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable playing the part of “the interested party”, or “the caring individual”, if I didn’t actually feel that way. What I have noticed, in observing the actions of people around me, is that they occasionally feel this way too but the difference, between what I see and how I approach it, is that I do my very best to maintain this stance at all times. “I will not be fake!”, I say to myself. No matter how much it may advance my career, or put me into the good graces of the person that I am interacting with because, in the end, it just makes me feel like a shitty person to have “kept up the charade” at the expense of that other person’s belief.
This hard stance has gotten me in to trouble with past relationships, beit amicable or other, because I don’t think that I may have had a chance to properly explain my train of thought to the people that it directly affected. Or maybe they weren’t really listening to what I did say, when I spoke on it. Either way, this issue resurfaced itself a few weeks ago and so I will give an example of why being duplicitous is so maddening, to me.
I used to work with a guy, I’ll call him John. John and I have always had a pretty good relationship, in my mind. We weren’t overly close but we shared interests in a few things and, when we worked together, I always showed love because I genuinely had love for him. I had stopped working with John, and I hadn’t seen him for about a year when I ran into him in a restaurant that I frequented quite regularly. It was like we hadn’t missed a beat. Laughs, and good times. He informed me that he had recently moved into a new apartment and that I should come by. I told him that I surely would. So he sent me a text message with the address and I went over there. We spoke and spent some good time and, before I left, I had invited him over to my place. I explained that since he lived so close to where I stay, we would just hang out, get the grill working and listen to good music. He obliged, which made me happy because I don’t really invite anyone to my place. I didn’t really put much thought into the invite after that, but I realized that months had passed and I had not heard a word from John. “Meh”, I said. “We’re both busy doing things”, I told myself. About a year later, we got in contact for a forgotten reason and I let him know that the invite was still open. “For sure, man.”, he said, assuring me that we would get to it. As another year passed, I decided that I wouldn’t care about it anymore. This got me to thinking that maybe something had fractured our relationship, but I reassured myself of that not being the case. John has always been a solid dude, and if there were ever anything wrong, he would surely let me know. Fast forward to a few months ago, and I started the “Foreigner Exchange” series. I decided that I wanted to do an episode with John because I have always admired his perspective on certain things. I decided to send a text, asking him about helping me with “something for the blog” but I never got an answer back. So I decided to call, thinking that he may have changed his number. I needed to make sure that I was texting the right person. Call went out. It was the right number. Never got a call back. So, at this point, this treatment confirmed that there is, in fact, some issue. I decide to remove John from my social media and my phone, a few months after that. In my mind, there’s no point in having him on either platform if he’s not communicating with me. I had moved on from the situation and I had let go of anything associated to how I felt John was acting but, then, a few weeks, ago, I saw John while I was on my work break. He saw me and gave me a hug and asked if I worked in the area. I answered yes, and he mentioned that he did as well, and that we should have lunch together. He told me that he had my number in his phone and that we should get together.
THAT is when I got annoyed about this situation. I respected the fact that he was with people, in the moment of our interaction but, in my head, I was like “You know damn well that you are NOT going to make ANY attempt to reach out, to me. So why even make the offer?! You could have just said “Hey, you work over here? Me too. Well it was nice seeing you. Take care.”, and you keep it moving. I would have just had the interaction with him and gone on with my day. Why be fake about it? Is it because John had people around? Is it because we, generally, are fake with so many different things that we lose track of when we should be real? I don’t have the answers to that. Whatever the reason is, I do NOT want anyone to have these thoughts about me. I would much rather you not like me because you didn’t like the type of honesty that I offer you. At least you will know where you stand.
With regards to John, I have no actual beef with him. We all have the right to speak, or not speak, to whomever we chose. I am simply disappointed in how he chose to treat the entire situation because if there was/is an actual issue to address, I felt that he was a person that I would have put forth the effort to right the wrong. Alas…
Honesty is the best policy.
Learning to be alone is an arduous process. I say that because , for me, it’s a whole lot more than getting comfortable with the fact that no one will be at home to greet you. That, actually, has very little to do with anything. In my opinion learning to be alone is a never-ending journey of introspection and self-discovery. It’s about honing in on the person that you really are, beyond the societal requirements that force you to act in certain ways that probably weren’t instinctive, anyway. Being honest with yourself. Have you ever been asked this question:
Are you truly content with the person that you know yourself to be?
Think about how often you help without the expectation of a reward (and it can be any type of reward: A thank you, a smile, the last piece of a chocolate bar…Anything.) and tell me if you would maintain that strong desire to be helpful if those rewards weren’t a motivating factor. Those are the types of things that I have spent various moments pouring over. I spend a lot of time speaking to myself, discussing important topics, in order to really understand my stance on those very same subjects because I need to know why I think in the ways that I do. After all, how can I hope to properly convey my thoughts if I don’t get to the core of them? The molecular levels, so to speak, are the ones that interest me the most. Although I write, every day, my writing is not for that specific purpose. If that were to be the case, I would never have any substantial time to do anything else, because I would be hamstrung by my thoughts. The alone time that I have, now, serves those purposes as well as many others, within the realm of introspection.
There’s a lot of “inner cleaning” to do, if I can say so. I don’t think that I would ever openly discuss all of the things that need to be worked upon, with anyone that I know, but just know that I know what needs to be done. The next step is actually getting to a point where I actually start making those changes. In saying that, I don’t mean to imply that the changes will all be made on my own. No, no, no. I will definitely need to be assisted in getting to the place that I, ultimately, want to be. I believe in myself, though. I know that I can undertake difficult missions. And I am not afraid of doing so because the painful moments, that I know will forever be associated with facing the honest truths about about who I truly am, are things that I am comfortable accepting. The fear, for me, is in getting so comfortable being with myself that I don’t hesitate to keep it that way, and stop making efforts to socialize. This is a very, very, real possibility that I feel in my soul. On the other hand, maybe that is a momentary necessity in order for me to find some sort of enlightenment. And when I would feel that the time is right, I would reemerge as a new individual. Who knows?
So many questions, but the great thing is that I am opening to the answers. Regardless of how I will feel about them, afterwards. I, sometimes, have trouble allowing myself to celebrate small victories, but to have started this blog and to have written as much as I have, is something that I will enjoy for a little bit. I write simply to get my thoughts out. Be it wacky, emotional, or wayward, I do this as a release. I am no better, or worse than anyone, anywhere and I will maintain this stance for the rest of this life. I just enjoy this form of communicating and I am so glad that you guys/girls are on this journey with me. I haven’t always enjoyed being with myself, but those days are over. I look forward to seeing where I take it, from here.
I met Eric in 2010 (I think). I was helping out a friend, at a media event, and he had been tasked with photographing it. We’ve both been through a lot, as individuals, since that time, but we have maintained a friendship, despite our diverging paths. Since then, Eric has gone on to be become an accomplished photographer, whose images have graced the walls of numerous exhibits, as well as someone that, continuously, makes me contemplate the depth of his work. When I started this series, I knew exactly who I wanted, to be a part of it, and I was elated that he seemed enthusiastic about the possibility of what the finished product could be.
With Milton behind the camera, it just felt like friends catching up. My goal, however, was to give some insight to you, the viewer, into the mind of a man that makes us think, simply by the way that we snaps a picture. Ironically enough, my statement of what he does, as being “simple”, is incorrect. But, for the sake of making my sentence sound cool, I’ma leave that in there. Please enjoy Episode 2. We all worked hard to make this great.
You can find Eric, and his works, on http://erictschaeppeler.com/