It is so commonplace to start the day chasing emotions, thoughts, and feelings, left over from the prior day. It is habitual to begin the day in the infinite loop of ruckus and digital pollution, giving no regard to the essence of stillness. I find it bewildering, that before I even take a moment to be present with my self, my consciousness has been hijacked by a story someone else has created. The world we live in is FAST…too fast at times. To slow down and invest in my self and conscious well being, is a deliberate act of discipline. While I find this discipline to be of great reward and joy, to regard it as easy is a fallacy.
I am a deep thinker, it drives me mad at times, and other times I feel as if I have a better grasp on my reality. At this current juncture in life I am finding that it is more a curse than a life hacking skill. There is a good chance that I missed my calling in life as an psychologist. To understand the mind and all it’s intricacies is something that I love to do for myself, so why not try and get paid for it? Besides the obvious student load debt I would have to incur, I think that diving into the minds of others might be a murky pond to wade through. However, when it comes to my own mind I often think that to accept is to understand, and that just could not be farther from the truth.
In the stream of consciousness we call life, I am finding myself in one of the valleys. It is hard to rest here, because if I am down, there must be something wrong. If something is wrong, I would be remiss to simply sit in it and allow it to go unnoticed. Yet, this is where the meditation and mindfulness correct me. To be mindful is to be present in the moment, focusing on the touch of the keyboard, the sound of my breath, or the scents wafting from the Columbian coffee roasting in the distance. There is nothing more and nothing less in this instance, including the “problems” I thought I was having. It is so counter to my standard MO because my overthinking brain tells me that this is just being naive and denying the existence of reality. So much energy can be wrapped up in figuring things out that I completely miss the peace that is the here and now.
I have no point here, and I guess that will just have to be OK. I will try not to over think that!
Bernie…or shrimp ‘cuz he looks kinda like a shrimp, doesn’t he? He is just a little golf ball head (“GB head” to be precise). This little orange feline has been the CATalyst of the emotional undertow that has slowly been sucking me under lately. To even think that when I finally sat down to document my feelings in this moment of clarity, that Bernie (my cat) was the genesis of the thought process is still a bit bewildering. For anyone who knows Berns, they know that entrapped in that dusty tangerine fur lies an incredible little spirit. If there were ever an ambassador for the feline race, Berns is the face. Now…before this gets misconstrued as a love story about a furry friend gone away, it is not (at least not entirely). The story that has been a parallel in my physical and emotional life has been perfectly embodied as the recent events that occurred to the aforementioned feline of mine.
My mans Berns, shattered his femur this weekend, and while I don’t feel the need to dive much into the obvious emotions that come with this, I wanted to try and live the moment through the eyes of the one who was hurting. Over 24 hours passed before we found Bernie in the driveway. As is customary, Bernie likes to wait under the cars, wisely dodging the everlasting heatwave that global warming is DEF NOT causing (wink wink). When he sees his mother or myself, he likes to roll on the rocks – adding to the permanent layer of dirt he likes to carry with him. As Andie reaches down to pick him up, Bernie remains still, raising only his head. It was such a small change but the fear manifested within me. I know my boy and something was off. Bernie is dirty and his greetings require acquiring more dirt; while it annoys me that he is a dirt bag, I wouldn’t change it for the world. As it would turn out his femur was shattered beyond repair. It was the moments between the discovery of the injury, to the physical outcome that caught my attention.
There are qualities in everyone that are magnetic; transcending all prejudices and preconceived notions, these qualities are life changing and vital to the life I know I want to experience. The one that seems to be resonating to me more than ever throughout this whole process is a four letter word (although not my favorite one). LOVE (n): an intense feeling of deep passion. You don’t have to identify with any organization or belief to know that love is the most powerful force in the universe (all you Science nerds who wanna argue – you’re probably right). The interesting observation I have about said emotion, is that I have a very deep need to understand it. There is a part of me that has yet to fully understand that love consists of ups and downs; the accepting of the downs as a part of the process is where my frustration has been hung up. I have this innate desire to dissect and understand everything, even if it is impossible to understand. It is fair to say I have spent over a week wondering why the fuck I am in a funk, instead of accepting the funk and pressing forward. You might be wondering how this relates to the cat…I assure you that while it is a detour, it will come out where it needs to. The subject of the quality of love I am writing about is a wonderful woman in my life. We all have this person in our lives, the nurturer, the comforter, the better half, in my instance she goes by Andie.
To say that Bernie is my cat isn’t a lie, however it isn’t the entire truth. Bernie was the second addition to the family, out of a necessity to have a feline who wouldn’t be so obsessed with yours truly (Fiddy is my dude)! Bernie was a stray who followed us home from a walk last year. We gave him some kibble and the rest was history. We took him to get his chip scanned, there was no chip…and the lost and found pages online found no claimants. It was not long before he found himself “long pawed” out (think Superman in flight) above our heads at night. Bernie would quickly identify as Andie’s boy.
From the minute that Bernie met Andie there was a connection. Andie isn’t the most emotionally charged individual so the way she responded to the news of Bernie blew me away. The impending reality of the thousands of dollars in doctors visits, surgeries, and medications, for the dusty coated stray from the library set in between the tears. I selfishly thought there was no way we would go into debt to fix this (speaking from a financial viewpoint), so when I looked to Andie for the answers there was no hesitation that our wounded comrade was worth every dollar. There are seldom moments that Andie is the one with emotional convictions, this was a major exception. There was no misunderstanding how she felt about her furry lil man. It didn’t matter what it took, she was going to get that boy back in the house…cuddling, licking, and whining, as Berns does so well!
Remember that love thing I was talking about? This is the moment that really brought this all home. At the core of everything, I believe we all want to be loved, through our brokenness, our flaws, our dirty exteriors, and even financial burdens. Lord knows that I have certainly had my share of difficulties far beyond a broken leg. I have stolen, I have lied, I had basically given up on myself and done a tremendous job of trying to push others away. I have been the Bernie of this story, helpless and broken, just in need of someone to love me through it. We all have the power to be the Andie in this story…so fully capable of loving with zero reservations, and zero conditions. We don’t have to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson, to see that a simple act of loving kindness can pull even the most lost souls out of a dark place.
I am blessed to be loved by my family, my girlfriend, my cats, and maybe a few other people. I am one of many people whose past actions are anything but deserving of love, yet somehow I am showered in it today. The Beatles once said “all you need is love”, the Bible refers to God as love, love is a universal language that knows no boundaries and overpowers all forces. It is not easy at times, and loving can be quite emotionally taxing, yet love never runs out. It is my hope that you might find love to give and receive today. You might just help someone get through a funk. Find a Bernie today and remind them that despite their dirty coat, busted teeth, and broken leg, that they are worth being loved.
I typically do not write unless truly inspired by a topic, however this subject deserved a little insight. If you are remotely clued into the social realm required to observe this post, you might have found yourself stumbling across the rumblings of a so called “POPEYE’S”. There is a great chance you have seen the likes of Barstool’s “El Pres” doing a blind taste test, perhaps you have observed the twitter rumblings of celebrities and friends alike chiming in on their evaluations of this “newfound” king of chicken sandwiches; Instagram feeds are flooded with #POPEYESGATE mentions, and any reputable account covering pop culture has delivered their take on the subject at hand. To call it rumblings is a bit of an understatement, as it seems as if everyone is clucking with chicken talk.
“This is chicken talk dawg! This is chicken talk!” – Gucci Mane
The truth of the matter is that Popeye’s has done something that they have never done before, they have actually been talked about. If anything, the mention of Popeye’s here in the south has revolved around World Star Hip Hop fight videos, and memes that do nothing to but make you wonder who the hell they are and what are they even doing in the land of the lord’s chicken?
Sure, the pictures look great, but someone gets paid some good money to present the chicken in a manner that instills desire. I can’t undermine the fact that the economics of the hype have been manipulated in a fashion that leaves the unknown to be answered: IS IT REALLY THAT GOOD?! There have been plenty of aspects revolving around this whole hysteria that deserve their accolades, but the truth of the matter is it is a hoax.
This is Georgia! We are the home of Chic-Fil-A! You can take your super crispy, imitation sandwich and truck right back to the bayou and feed it to the swamp monsters you call family. I am a bit offended that you think you can come into our house and think that you are welcome here uninvited (although I am sure Truett Cathy would welcome you with open arms). I live 15 minutes away from the closest Popeye’s and I will admit that I made the drive today with some optimistic anticipation. There was one issue I encountered during the process that has led me to my current rant and observation: THERE WAS NO CHICKEN SANDWICH!
On the menu board, placed over the newly placed marquis intended to glorify this giant killer of a sandwich was a (shitty) black and white piece of paper reading “We will be back soon!”. What kind of shit is that?! I have read that stores are limited to 175 sandwiches, and while that makes the supply low, while demand remains high, it fails on the most vital point – THE ACTUAL FREAKING CHICKEN!!
YOU HAD ONE JOB POPEYE’S and you have failed. I was willing to look past the fact that your facilities are typically littered and unkempt, your employees seem to hate their jobs and express no joy, and your sporadic, random, locations outside the prospering cities, just to get a taste of the chicken you think is so incredible. In conclusion, I will proudly stand firm that the lord’s chicken remains the King. The flawless record that CFA holds will remain exactly that…FLAWLESS! Aside from the incredible customer service, speedy delivery despite tremendous lines, and the waffle fries, there will never be another home of the chicken sandwich.
denying myself of popeye’s has been “my pleasure”!
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!”