I don’t know what to write, at the moment, but that’s never really been an issue. I normally just have to start down a path and, eventually, something shakes loose. I will say this: I’m really glad that I have nurtured my ability to communicate, in this form. I’ve come across a lot of brilliant minds that have a lot of trouble sharing their thoughts, when their thoughts are the only things occupying this blank canvas. I’ve always enjoyed reading but I’m not even sure as to what made me start drafting. It has always just felt…smooth. I wasn’t always skilled at the production aspect of creative writing, but I have been very fortunate to be able to find the words that I need, in order to express the series of interwoven thoughts that paint the picture of where I want to take readers. I’m pretty sure that, as I progress as a writer, I will look back on these entries and see so many flaws that it will embarrass me to think that I ever viewed these posts as “decent”. For now, however, I like ’em. I have received a few messages from people in different walks of life. Some I had/have a relationship with, and some I did not. All of whom have expressed how much they’ve enjoyed the things that I have written, as well as the manner in which they have been communicated. I truly appreciate it. I never expected anyone to ever like what I write. I never even thought that I would ever let anyone see the things that I decided to write about. I was a shy kid who knew that he had many talents but was afraid to be made fun of, because those talents may not make me “cool”. I’ve never been “cool”, though. With that being said, I’m not sure what I was attempting to hold on to. My entire life has been me, standing on the opposite side of what people think is culturally relevant, and it used to bother me. I thought that it was because I was poor. Then I thought that it was because I wasn’t in the same shape as other folks. Hair, height, affiliations…I looked into it all. You know, just to check it off of the list. Gradually, I came to realize that none of that stuff even mattered. In fact, I started to realize that by embracing myself and being comfortable with the person that I know that I am, deep down inside, I don’t even need to be viewed as anything. I’ve been by myself and I will be by myself. I don’t need to be a “part of something” to validate how I feel about who I am. So, I write. And I do plenty of other things. I also DON’T do certain things. Do I think that I am cool , as a result of it all? Meh, not really. That’s for you to decide. But does it even really matter?
Irrational confidence is a very dangerous thing to possess. It is also, in many cases of overachieving in the bubble, a necessity. It will always be something that I grapple with because I have been taught to be humble. My question to you is: Where does humility end and the refusal to recognize your own personal greatness begin? Just because I am proud of myself, for having accomplished something, that does not denote narcissism. Of course, if we’re talking about individuals that reflect on said greatness, with the sole purpose of reminding you that they have been exceedingly blessed…well…that’s just obnoxious, and I want no parts of that. But what are you supposed to do when someone acknowledges your greatness, poses that “confirmation-like” question, and you know in your heart that they are right? That question, oftentimes sounds like this: “Oh, so you’re really good at ____, aren’t you?”, and other variations of that observation. We’ve all heard it, and so I pose the following question: If you believe, in your heart, that they’re stating a fact, why can’t you confirm it? After all, we work very hard to obtain the knowledge that we, in turn, utilize to move our lives forward and on the off chance that someone feels the need to test our confidence, if we deem it an acceptable challenge, we should all be comfortable providing further proof of our claims. What says that we can’t be proud of the work that we have put in and, simply, recognize our efforts if we believe in them?
The first time I had ever heard of irrational confidence was while I watched a basketball game. I forget who was playing but I remember someone speaking about a specific player, and saying that “The irrational confidence that once made him a star is the same thing that will torpedo his career.”. I had never taken the time to grasp the concept of that possibility, before having heard what that individual said, but it immediately opened doors in my mind that would never again be closed. Ever since that moment, I have circled the idea of irrational confidence very carefully. I know that it can help me reach heights that I may never reach without it but I am, and will forever be, leery of it’s presence in my life. The scrutiny that I employ while maneuvering through life forces me to manifest a belief in myself that I possess against all of the odds that were placed in opposition of my path but, I often wonder, is it “irrational”? At this point, in my life, I understand exactly what I need to do. The only thing that I wonder is if I will be able to make it to the mountain top, before it’s all said and done. If you’ve never really thought that you would live a long life, it’s sort of difficult to envision a day when you might achieve everything that you now believe to be possible.
The confidence is there but the daily reminder, to accept the fact that I have a small window to do what needs to be done, is always at the forefront of my mind. No complacency, for me. The last thing I want is to be oblivious to the fact that I may possibly be weighing myself down with the very hubris that allowed me to excel. I grew up needing to make sure that I was able to identify any and all modifications that were necessary to my progression. That has not changed. In truth, I have gotten better at identifying the things that need to change around me, and inside of me. This clarity doesn’t imply that I have been successful in doing so, simply that I have become more aware . Adjustments are just a part of the progression and I am not shy about adaptation. Getting carried away, and believing that this ride will last forever is, simply put, a fallacy. The difficulty, I believe, in the subject that I am speaking of, is in ceding your position because your time is up. Who truly ever believes that they have, plainly, run out of time? Yes, we are taught that “Nothing lasts forever” ; however, when are we taught to cede power? Gracefully step aside? I feel that those lessons are just as valuable as learning how to grasp control. I also believe that our lack of understanding, for the latter, creates the illusion of being able to retain the former.
I rang in 2019 by meditating. I ran through each and every single moment that I could remember and gave respect to each of them. I spent about an hour doing that and I have to admit that I could have, probably, spent more time in deep contemplation. In doing what I did, I sometimes feel as though I’m still meditating. It’s like I set my clock to a certain time and now I’m living my life, following that time. Nevertheless, life feels different now. The confidence that I feel can only be described as “sunlight”. I have more control of myself, in the deepest of senses, and I am increasing my self-comprehension with the more that I learn about the person that I am becoming. I know what I need to do, in order to be the person that I am needed to become. Do I really need to be irrationally confident, to become that person? Who knows? Will it help me achieve my goals? Or will it tear me down because I’ve taken it too far?
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.
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.
Shoutout to Zander Howard-Scott, Milton Zhang, and Eric Tschaeppeler.
Foreigner Exchange episode 4… Coming…