Chapter 1: Learning to be Vulnerable, The Underdog and the Importance of Being 100% You

INTRO

Good evening my adoring followers! It’s been a long time, but I have returned and have decided to begin anew with regards to my blog. In full transparency, I actually forgot I even had WordPress until I got the Gmail notification informing me of my pricey renewal fee. I’m taking that as the universe’s way of telling me to get back on this thing. My approach however will be different. In the past I tried to focus my energy on creating long-form content with the expectation that you’d read it, and hopefully gleam some value from it. Some of my previous post I approached with a metric in mind, “hmmm, I need at least 10 talking points on this subject otherwise I’m not releasing it”. Hindsight’s 20/20, but what a flawed way to approach something that should be organic. This time there will be none of that. The posts will be more concise, and I’m going to try and fulfill a personal promise and goal to write something everyday. Inspiration strikes at random times and I think the intent shouldn’t be to make this the biggest and best blog of all time, but to begin to develop the muscle and habit for blogging.

STOP BEING LAZY, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO GROW UP

You have to begin to simplify the process en route to your goals. That’s where I’ve been slipping up. To know me is to know that I’m a master procrastinator. This is not due to a lack of effort though, it’s mostly in part due to the fact that my struggle is perfection…and when the thoughts become too deep the burden becomes too heavy I’d much rather give up. It’s much easier to do something brainless than something productive anyhow. That mentality is great isn’t it? It’s the one that will lead me to that happy place of regret when I’m pushing old age and my best years are behind me…if you couldn’t tell, that’s sarcasm…but also truth. I’m rambling again, lol…I just can’t help myself can I.

Let’s get to the point. If you’re reading this it’s time to grow up. I still feel like a kid sometimes. A 35 year old kid living in fear of what my peers will think of me if I embrace my entire truth and face my grandest fears. A 35 year old kid who’s still waiting for someone to give me permission to make certain purchases, do my chores, get in bed on time, etc (spoiler alert, nobody is coming to do that for you lol). A 35 year old kid who’s just now realizing that my whole life revolved around needing approval and permission to do whatever my mind could conceive, when in reality I’ve been able to do it this whole time…even in youth. Why have I never felt empowered to do so, or committed to shaping the life that I’ve longed for? I’ve managed to make it a pretty decent ways on autopilot through God’s grace. Lord knows I’m imperfect in many ways…physically, mentally, and emotionally and still through both minimal effort and occasional spurts of focus I’ve done okay for myself. I don’t know how, however, I still know there’s more in the tank and the best is ahead of me.

THE MAIN POINT…ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE AND BE WONDERFULLY YOU

Here’s the point. I’ve been living in fear and complacency for far too long and I’m tired of it, and I’m sure some of you have been as well. I’ve experienced what I’m sure are forms of both depression and anxiety. If you’re a follower then you know that I’ve made a lot of empty promises to myself. You might unsubscribe and think to yourself, “another guy who’s full of sh*t, there’s no way he can help me with what I’m going through”. You’d be well within your rights. However, I’m viewing this through the lens of common human behavior, and that behavior is failing but trying again. There’s no shame in failure, but we need more of it. We need to try more things, fail at those things, and allow ourselves to learn and grow from those moments where we feel insecure and vulnerable. Need I repeat, give ourselves permission to do that.

Most of us get motivated to make changes in our lives only to get thwarted by our poor habits, low self-esteem or lack of motivation. How many of you all made resolutions on January 1st and are nowhere closer to being “the better you” that you promised you’d be. It’s October, you had d*mn near the whole year to work on yourself courtesy of Covid-19, where are you? I can tell you where I’m at. I’m still the same loser from 2019 LOL, no better, no worse, just existing and complaining about my current reality. Still being guided along by what’s been afforded to me by others, not really grabbing the wheel and steering the ship myself. The same as I’ve done probably the last 3 to 4 years of my life. The beauty of life though is that any day that you’re blessed to wake up you have the opportunity to try again. The fight isn’t over until there’s no breath left in your body.

The only way to establish the best possible lives for ourselves, and for myself, is to be vulnerable. We’re all the underdog…and most times we stay the underdog because we don’t even give ourselves permission to dream (yes, we allow others power even over our dreams) as being anything more than the underdog. We accept and embrace our flaws, we make that our truth, and we don’t give our spirits the freedom or permission to even live in a world where we entitle ourselves to the simple things and pleasures of this world. That’s sad, but it’s true.

My encouragement to you and myself is to cast your insecurities aside and embrace your God-given talents en route to becoming your best self. We all have a beauty that’s within us if we allow our light to shine. Don’t focus on the things you can’t change, but focus on that which is important and those things that you can have power over. Always be looking ahead. Don’t allow your greatness to be controlled, minified, reduced, and bottled up due to criticism or judgement. Stop feeling less than because the world places arbitrary labels on you and tells you what you are supposed to be or how terrible you are. Imagine who you want to be and become that. Go 100% forward, be tenacious in pursuit of your dreams and go after it. Don’t half-step it, really go after it. Most of what we think is important doesn’t even matter in the end and that’s just truth.

P.S, THIS LAST PART IS FOR ME…YOU’RE WELCOMED TO READ IT ALSO

This last paragraph is primarily for me, and I think the beauty of this blog is that nobody really knows it exist yet. If you wish to exit at this point you can, but I’m about to get all the way real with myself. You can steal this exercise for personal use as well if you enjoy it.

In order to move forward in life, and in order to evolve into the best version of myself, I think it’s important to say what is defeating me right now. I need to mention my insecurities, put them out there in black and white, and don’t claim it…it’s been claimed long enough, but rather get it off my chest and exhale because I’ve bottled it up for far too long as it is. It’s time to set myself free from this mental prison that I’ve placed myself in. I want to take ownership of that which I can’t change so that I don’t allow it to affect me when the world views me with judgement, and they will judge me. I want to begin to focus on that which is most important and not let my outcomes be dictated by seemingly arbitrary factors. I want to give myself permission to be whatever I feel passionate about in spite of others opinions of me. We all have greatness within and I’m personally ready to give myself permission to seek it, and with time I know that I’ll find it. I don’t want to oversimplify the journey, because I know it won’t be easy and some of my insecurities might linger, but I know I have to fight and work daily to diminish their hold over me. Once I have acceptance of myself these demons can no longer force me to dwell in my flaws. I will be able to face the world when others realize that I am unbothered. Most people want to take your joy, dim your light, or put out your fire…but they can only do it if you allow them to control you. Each day we’re faced with mental and spiritual warfare, and if we arm ourselves appropriately we can overcome anything. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. It is the divine plan of God to grow us and empower us and it is the goal of the enemy to attack us and lull us into submission. I will read this often and learn to live it.

Now, what’s been troubling me:

  1. I’m too short – even typing that was extremely tough. I’ve been short my whole life as a man and it’s prevented me from doing a lot (not height wise, but just from an insecurity standpoint). Ironically enough, nobody has ever really put me down for my size…however, I’ve always been insecure about it and most likely have focused on it more so than those around me. I always felt guarded around others because I always anticipate that somewhere someone is whispering about shorty over there. They probably aren’t, but I can’t help myself. I’ve been angry at times for no reason, I’ve been timid at others because of it, I’ve given power to all the crass and rude things people tend to say regarding short men. It’s always been a thorn in my side. Lord knows I wish I could’ve been taller, but…it’s not going to change, not at 35 minus a miracle (a la a Captain America type experiment lol). I’m 35 and I’m 5’7 (on a good day) and that’s life…I shouldn’t have to feel apologetic or undeserving because of it.
  2. I’m out of shape, onset dad bod – I work behind a desk and man I’m letting myself go! When I was younger, early to mid-twenties I was in shape. I had no problems (ironically enough in spite of my height) with the ladies. They used to grab my arms, feel on my chest, and were generally intrigued by my physique. When I first met my wife she got the best of it. 3 kids later and a stressful job and I feel like I look like hell…or sh*t…or BOTH. I’ve tried to get back on the wagon countless times and I’ve given up each time. I have too much pressing work at the job and it’s shamefully dictated my self-care routines. I DO have control over this one and I need to get it together. I thought of hiring a coach, but I already have all of the knowledge. It just seems senseless to pay money to have someone get me to do that which I already know to do, but I may have to. I also eat like sh*t and not consistently enough. My diet needs to be reviewed as well.
  3. I HATE My Job – I cannot stand my job. They don’t see my greatness or potential and that’s probably my fault too. I’m not passionate about the work I do. I’m a UI / UX Designer…I used to be super creative, but working for a Fortune 100 company there is little room for creativity. We have a design language system and it feels more so like using legos to craft experiences. I’ve been longing to get out but I never update my portfolio or work on creative things outside of the job. The worst part is that since I stopped dealing in the bureaucracy and seeking promotions I’m certain it’s painfully evident that I’m just showing up at this point. Which leads into my next point…
  4. I’m BROKE!!! – That one was equally, if not tougher, to admit to than being short. I haven’t left my job because of financial constraints. If I told you that I made about $90,000 a year you’d think I was doing good. All of my friends think I’m doing phenomenally because of the house I live in and the way my kids are put together, but the reality is I’m broke as f*ck. I have a family of 5 and we have been on a single income since my wife and I decided she’d stay home with the baby. Between the 2 of us we have over $120,000 in student loan debt…and that doesn’t even include our other expenses or credit card debt. Man, I’m in a bad position and my financial situation has lead me to stay in this job. I make enough to afford our expenses…just afford them. I don’t make enough to get ahead or out of debt, ever. I’ve been complacent with just staying above water since I’m alive, and not even attempted to figure out how to get out.
  5. I Waste Too Much Time – I’ve always been smarter than I’ve given myself credit for. Sometimes when I’m striving for perfection and I get stumped I tend to drift off into countless games of UNO or Among Us. Previously it was Call of Duty, Battlefield, or 2K. The point is I need to focus my energies on growing my mind, body, and soul. When things get rough and I feel like I can’t just plow my way through I should shift gears into another equally constructive task (even if it’s just exercise or going for a walk).
  6. I Could be a Better Dad – Some people would say I am a good dad, I don’t all the way agree with that. I’m not always present or fun, I’m mostly stern. I do offer tons of guidance and knowledge to them…but that almost begins to seem like it’s the extent of the relationship I have with them. I want to be perceived as more fun, but I need to improve my overall feeling about myself to become better for them…and my wife. I also find myself becoming the “I’m always working” dad. I don’t like that so much. I wouldn’t say I’m bad at being a dad…I’d just say I’m present, and just being present is not okay for me.
  7. I Don’t Have Enough Real Life Experience – I know how to design things, I know how to code a bit…but when it comes to real life experience…like building things, making a fire, shooting guns, fighting, etc. I just don’t have ENOUGH experience in these arts. This is going to sound dumb, but I consider them arts because I always examine my abilities through the lense of a zombie apocalypse (The Walking Dead) or Game of Thrones. If I lived in one of these universes what would my survival rating be? Do my current abilities serve me well enough to survive when survival matters most? I don’t feel like they do. That’s a personal goal for myself, is to learn how to use firearms better, knives, boxing, making fire…building stuff, and just get myself in peak conditioning for whatever could arise. Coding and Design won’t get me very far in a post-apocolyptic world.
  8. I Rarely Follow Through – I need to stop saying what I’m going to do and sitting on it too long or never doing it. That one is simple, short, and sweet. My words need to have more value and meaning, right now they mostly feel empty.
  9. Forgive Yourself For All These Things and Don’t be so Hard On Yourself – You’re still a work in progress. Don’t get down on yourself when you fall short in any of these areas. It’s okay, just be yourself and keep moving forward. Learn to live in the moment and learn to grow from your shortcomings.

That’s it. If you read the whole thing then thank you. Have a blessed day and I’ll see you tomorrow! Let’s all get better together.

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