“Keep On Running”
My father was never much of a figure in my youth, which was a shame, but I had other folks to look to, for that sort of patriarchal motivation. A lot of what I’ve carried forward, and what I have fashioned in my own image, originated from the blueprint that they presented to me. The way that I dress, the way that I speak, it all comes from somewhere. Later on, I took a liking to reading and really examining situations connected to comfort and the lack thereof, in order to understand social cues. From there, I realized that I was a bit different. Reason being that I hadn’t encountered anyone that focused, so much, on the minutiae, the way that I did/do. It became apparent, to me, that I couldn’t follow any established blueprints to get where I felt I needed to go, and the folks that had inspired me were always supporting my journey. All of a sudden, indiscernible to even me, there was a shift. I began making exactly what I thought were the right moves, in order to attain my success. There were failures, but I was always on the right path. The issue was that there was a sort of inversion in my relationships with those close to me, that supported. They were always fans but they went from “The Standards” to “The Admirers”. Something seemingly made them think that they needed to accept their realities, instead of daring to continue to forge a path through the unknown. I became the inspiration. When I realized that this was the reality, I was surprised. I’ve never taken issue with this. I am honored to be able to be that, for any and everyone that enjoys it, but to these very specific people, it makes me uneasy. Because they have resigned to what their lives are. Which, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not even close. There is just so much that they are capable of. It hurts me immensely when I have to stand there and listen to them tell me “Do you know how it feels to know that you’re settling?” I took a second to think about it and, yeah, I do know what the feels like. I’ve done it twice. That day, when that rhetorical question was posed to me, all I could ask was “Is that really how you feel?”, to which the answer was “I feel that way because that’s what I’m doing.”. In that moment, I realized 2 things: I need to help get them where they need to be and if I can’t do that, myself, I need to continue to be an example.
That specific situation put a lot of things in perspective, for me. It just explained a lot of things that I felt but couldn’t properly associate, in my mind. One of the things that I couldn’t quite place my finger on was an occurrence during a pretty big transitional period in my life, a little while ago, and I had been in a true funk. I was trying to figure out how this whole thing happened and why this kind of thing happens to me. I simply wasn’t being myself. It came to a head, one day, and they actually started to show anger for the way that I was being. Many things have happened to me, in my life but they, very seldom, have ever demonstrated any frustration about my sadness. This was different for some reason. It was as if they were saying “You have a chance to do great things now! There’s nothing holding you back, anymore! Do what you’re supposed to do, now!” In this instance, I am paraphrasing, but those words had actually been said to me, on a different occasion. It was like watching a movie with two characters attempting to escape a terrible situation but one of them knows that only one can make it. So that one decides to do all he/she can to give the other the chance. I feel that I am the one that was fated to escape. I want to save them, though. And I believe that I can save them. Save them from simply allowing things to be, and going after that elusive success that comes only when a person puts themselves on the line. For them to have been an inspiration, to me, and for me to simply leave them behind while they struggle with what they should do, would be a sign that I didn’t truly value what had been given to me, regardless of if they had been aware that they had been giving it, or not. I am a leader, now. Responsibilities rest upon my shoulders and I have always been brave enough to carry them. The difference is that I have grown into the man that can actually carry them, now.