I’m 33 years into my short existence and I keep thinking at some point that I will have life figured out to some degree. It doesn’t work like that – or so it seems. That is not to say that I have not found peace and joy in the simplicity of my life as it is now, rather that I would like some type of explanation. There is just so much to dissect on a daily basis that the answers fade into more questions before there is ever any true clarity.
I have an eternal sense of exploration buried within me, and while I enjoy the terrestrial voyages it is the internal voyages of the mind and human persona that truly entice my curiosity. I don’t lose sleep when pondering the questions of the mush of flesh between my ears but I sure do give it some quality time when I am with it. It is like finding a perfect loop gif while listening to a heavy organ clad instrumental glazing over electronic beats of stadium anthem intensity, it can be so symbiotic and entrancing. The mystery of it’s nature is an object of my affection.
To the masses of you who take the time to read my award winning blog, you are well aware that my subject matter revolves around a central theme: STRUGGLE.
I don’t have a doctorate (or a masters degree for that mater), I have not written the next great novel, and I am not in conversation for the next Nobel Peace Prize. When I fill out a resume, I still find myself being pretty proud of that “proficient in Microsoft Word, Excell, AND PowerPoint” caption. My accomplishments leave much to be desired so you could say I’m kind of a big deal.
In actuality, I have no credentials that are going to land me a corner office at a major corporation, let alone garner a cult following through my blog by spewing rhetorical psychobabble vomit all over the WordPress page. I have 68 followers on IG and 69 Facebook friends (giggity! giggity!). I get nervous when talking on the phone to customers at my job. I love the smell of new sneakers, and I find cat videos are a great form of therapy. I say this all to illustrate the point that I am just a regular dude in an irregular world, trying to trying to make sense of life. So why on earth would anyone want to listen to me?! If anything I am just hoping that in a world polluted with click bait and instafamous “celebrities” that it’s an element of authenticity that is appealing. I think it is a reasonable assumption that everyone has been through some shit. For some, the shit could be rabbit like, for others maybe a bit more Citgo gas station that requires a key attached to a 12″ piece of pvc pipe; ultimately it is still stinky shit. In no way is mine any more or less important than the next persons, but it serves a purpose (or so I hope).
“Authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.”
If you’re a human being capable of reading this, you have probably encountered the error “404 – file not found”. It’s a computers way of saying “I know what you mean, but I have no clue how to help you.” This is pretty much the message my brain sends to me every time I sit down to write. For some reason I have this notion that every time I write, I am going to have something amazing to say only to encounter a gargantuan mental DeRp! I have yet to figure out why this is…but it be like that sometimes. So here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known (DUN! DUN! DUN!) I wouldn’t consider myself a drifter whom was born with the sole purpose of walking alone. However, I have made up my mind that I ain’t wasting no more time.
If you have never jammed out to “Here I go again” by Whitesnake, you need to come out from underneath the rock you are living under and go do it now…DO IT LOUDLY!
At this point there is an irony bestowed upon me: I am struggling to write something coherent about the topic of struggle. I am beyond annoyed, but this is the purification process I suppose. I had a goal in mind…and it had nothing to do with Whitesnake, yet here we are. I am at work, spitting sunflower seeds into a tall plastic cup, wondering why I even bothered writing this today.
Every time I fly, I am marveled at the fact that the MD88 I’m resting in at 30,000 feet above Texas started as an idea. Someone was crazy enough to think, I’m going to fly like a bird…and did it. The idea itself seems so ridiculous, and indeed it was. I just want to have an idea like that. Do we all have that potential? Is there an element of insanity buried within me waiting to come to life? I would like to think so…perhaps it remains in its metamorphosis. It seems as if all the ideas are taken, how could I possibly come up with something that is revolutionary or a necessity?
I would probably be lying if I said that the financial gain that would come with is not a motivator, but in fact I just want to make a difference. Lord knows I wouldn’t be thrilled about traveling to Houston by way of greyhound every time – and thanks to the Wright brothers I do not have to. They had an idea and sought to bring that to reality.
Here I find myself coming back to the theme of my blog: The art of Failure. I wasn’t there for the thousands of times the gliding contraption in its infancy spiraled earthbound without the slightest trace of flight. I can only imagine that the frustration overpowered the hope more times than anyone would care to admit. Failure, failure, failure. Just give up, quit, you suck, you’re such an idiot, you will never make a change, don’t bother, don’t even try, they are laughing at you. The whispers of defeat clamor to a roar before I can even become aware that each fall has been a vital step to the pinnacle. The insecurities, the fear, the disappointments, they are all so ugly yet they are so imperative to the end result.
I want to see the big picture, how the story plays out so badly, yet I’m only given the chapter I’m writing today. There is an evolution happening within me, the germination of something fantastic is underway. I choose to give the dream the water it needs to grow. I might not see what the final product is, but I’ll be damned if I allow the setbacks to do anything but remind me that I’m not the only one who has had to fail more times than succeed.
As I begin to write, I find myself face to face with a self defeating whisper narrating my every thought. It never fails that when I seek inspiration, I encounter this wall of nothingness waving a finger at me; a metaphorical Dikembe Mutombo reminding me that this is not my house. This gargantuan of an entity never leaves me, we have become friends, yet I do not know what to call him. Throughout my day it lurks in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to call a misdirection play and further push me away from the real task at hand. I find myself frustrated, in a constant state of confusion, wondering how I can want something so much yet find the goal so unattainable.
Some can call it anxiety, others see it as an evil spirit: regardless, both share a common characteristic of negative energy born from fear. Fear can often be seen as boot rattling tension associated with slasher films, spiders, or clowns. While this remains true, fear is also the liar that reminds me of how stupid my words are, how pointless my job is, how alone I am, or how much of a screw up I am. Fear wants me to stay stuck, never willing to endure a little bit of the discomfort required to push on to the next level of greatness. Fear is the enemy who knows my intricacies better than my own mother, it desires failure disguised as a state of comfort and complacency. Most importantly, fear is not my friend, and after years and years I have invited him into my house, fed him the greatest of feasts and allowed him to wear my best pair of sneakers before welcoming him back. I have given this thing a place to call home, completely unaware that I was pushing myself further and further away from my dreams.
If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.
As I stumble through this post, I am realizing a few things: I am not going to win a Pulitzer prize but I am making a very important step towards actually writing. I came into this “project” with no real end game in mind. I knew I wanted to write, and I knew that I had enough life experience to help someone else along the way. What I didn’t know is how in the hell I would actually do it, let alone do it in a manner that anyone would want to read. Here is where the title comes to life…
THE ART OF FAILURE
When I look at my past, it is easy to identify with all the things I did wrong, the screw ups, the legal matters, the divorce, and the abandonment of my own family and kids. These are all topics that are larger than life affiliated with the FAILURE club. I am not up for father of the year, I am not being honored as a saint, I have been a criminal, and a dropout. I however, see all this as an opportunity to create something amazing. The hurt, a sunrise yellow to illuminate the horizon; the shame, sapphire blue for the calming landscape of the ocean; disappointment, a lively shade of jade that brings life in the form of palmetto canopies. The canvas of life is constructed of the past “failures”. Without these experiences, I am unable to paint the picture of hope and success that the downtrodden can relate to.
To fail implies that I neglect to do something. For anyone who knows me, I don’t simply neglect to do something I want to do. I will find a way to get it done. I will refuse to believe the lies that I am defined by my past. I will continue to press forward towards the goal in which I have been called to achieve by the master of the universe. Fear is not welcome here and I fully expect success to be on display when my canvas has been completed and adorned in heavens hallways.
I hope that as I continue on this journey that I might encourage one person to reject the lie that has kept you back from reaching your true potential.
“They don’t want to see you win, so we are going to win!”
Hashtag this, like that, upvote, retweet, just give me some digital recognition. This is the mantra by which we live in the digital generation of self seeking gratification. It’s amazing how every moment of life seems to be based around the likes. I speak for myself but I believe it’s a fair assumption that it’s commonplace to say we all walk this same line.
I slowly roll my Nicaraguan cigar methodically above the amber flame of my sulfur emitting match. I’m no aficionado of cigars, but I find myself embedded amongst the mahogany and leather clad cigar bar nestled along Main Street Cartersville. The aroma is reminiscent of old Havana – coincidently in a lounge aptly named after the Cuban city known for the logs of tobacco, classic cars, and fine coffee.
I’ve never been one to smoke cigars but I find it becoming a pastime of mine, and it’s in this moment I find inspiration for this rambling. Is there anything truly pleasant about smoking a cigar? Not really? Yet here I am…taking a picture with the cigar and placing my yeezys in the frame, seeking some sort of validation. Painting an image that I’m far more sophisticated than I really am. It looks cool but honestly I’m nauseous and regretting sucking down the cigar with every passing second.
The moment is symbolic of the trap I try to avoid – seeking validation for the superficial moment a picture portrays. I want to appear cool, but I just feel sick. I regret it, but I hope you like it.
I did it for the gram…like me, please while I go puke.
I have been told repeatedly that I seem to have a gift for writing. I wouldn’t argue with this, but I seem to have a difficult time understanding how I can apply this “gift” to something substantial or lucrative to be exact. Words are powerful…we all speak them, so what is it that makes my delivery any different than the next man? Syntax is like building with Lincoln logs, words fit or they don’t. This seems pretty elementary to me. I am no Mark Twain, Bukowski, Whitman, or Hitchcock; I respect them as pioneers of the pen and pad but I can’t honestly tell you much of anything they wrote. There is Huck Fin and the murderous love birds, aside from that I just know these are names I am supposed to revere as great (especially if I call myself a “writer”). Writing isn’t something I intellectualize, but I do find that my ego gets a chance to shine when I allow my brain to creatively expel its alphabetic vomit into a graceful paragraph of rambling.
“Write a blog”
“Write a blog” they say, you can really speak to people in away that connects. I have no doubt that I have a knack for speaking to the individual within each of us; but how do I get it out there? The world is more connected now than it has ever been. With this interconnected society of instant messaging, memes, and emojis, it seems as if everyone is talking and nobody is really listening. So, herein lies my dilemma: who really cares what I have to say? Do I truly care? There is nothing vastly different about me…yet my story is designed to be told. I just clickity clack away at the black plastic squares in front of me –wondering if any of this makes any sense. I just keep coming back to the words“you really should write”. I guess this will count as writing.
I am finding that I am becoming consumed mentally by the social media machine, and I hate it. My interests are becoming so narrow, my day is just thumb flipping to the next picture of the car I don’t have, the model who seems to be physically perfect, or the world traveler living out their dream, constantly reminding me of what I wish I had. I am becoming angry, not at the lack of enjoyment in life I have to experience and cherish daily, but at the way we are being conditioned to just dumb down and numb out. Our thinking is now programmed as an algorithm, and the desire to explore is being masqueraded by hashtags and likes. Our minds were meant to be unleashed and explore the dark recesses of the universe: questioning the very complexities of life and how this shit all makes sense. We are supposed to look up at the sky in amazement and wonder how we came to be in such a vast world of celestial magnificence. The advancement of our civilization is pushing me closer to the revelation that I want to go back to a time where things were not so advanced. Back to a time when getting a scar was a right of passage to the cul-de-sac nomads, when curfews were only set by the illuminating of the streetlights. A time when the spot to chill was the green utility box in front of the neighbor’s house; when action figures came to life in our minds, and beanie babies were the cryptocurrency of the suburban day traders. The days when getting clothes lined by the house phone was routine.
Life is so funny…as a kid, all I wanted to do was grow up; as an adult, I want to be a kid again. Is it the ignorance of the world that I desire again, or was life really better before the iGeneration? It’s common to have the prior generation praise the way things were…to now be that generation is sobering in itself.
Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life – Oscar Wilde.
I don't believe Oscar Wilde really pictured Mr. Snakes on a Mutha-Fn' Plane depicted as the zen master Bob Ross when he said "life imitates art..." but therein lies the beauty of life: it's all up for individual interpretation.
Failure (n): lack of success.
One might question how there could possibly be an art to failing…isn’t it something you just kinda do? Sure, failing can be indicative of not prepping properly or simply being beat out by a better opponent,but this is where the art form is required, finessing the failure to support the success. I have certainly failed far more times than I can count; academically, professionally, socially, monetarily, in just about every aspect of my life…I have experienced failure. The end result was never a masterpiece that could be deemed as art, however it was a stroke on life’s metaphorical canvas pulling together a multitude of events to collaborate into a masterpiece.