Welcome back.

*****I’ve attempted doing this to help some of you. That didn’t exactly work out, because in the end I run out of people to help and when there is no trouble, there is nothing to write. Simple logic and reflection could’ve told me that, but I think the truth of it is that I was always trying to write WELL. Somehow I convinced myself that if I was always writing to help others, that would need to be good writing. No matter how shitty it might be in reality, the fact that it helped someone meant it would be a good thing. That makes sense, to an extent. It’s great to help others, I don’t mean to devalue that premise or to insist upon it’s opposite. In fact, I’m still doing that in a way.

When I was younger, my cousin Franco ( if you’re reading this, thank you) sat me down at a kitchen table in his mother’s apartment and stated /*“Here’s three M&M’s. If you wait ten minutes and don’t eat any of these M&M’s, I’ll give you TEN M&M’s.”*/ You might think that a child would give in to instant gratification, but you’d be wrong. And here is your lesson, out of the innocence of children (where most good lessons come from): It is more important to wait and enjoy the 10 than it is to eat the 3 before you. While it’s a lesson I knew as a child, it took me time to understand it as an adult. Instead of chasing my nightly joys, I bided my time and understood that working diligently would pay off. That being kind and compassionate in the face of disrespect and neglect would only strengthen my resolve.

 “I will gain more in the face of difficulty than I will in the face of comfort”.

If you wish to excel and grow, then you can’t take the easy way out, you simply have to work at it and continue until you get better. You have to do the work and know that your rewards come later (if ever!). In some cases, the work itself will be the thing you worked for. Determination is that vital element that doesn’t allow us to quit. This isn’t to say that “stubbornness” pays off. Stubbornness and determination are not synonymous. And to those who might shed a negative light and hand out half-empty glasses, let’s be clear:

Determination: 1) Firmness of purpose, resoluteness. 2) the process of establishing something exactly, typically by calculation or research.

Stubbornness: dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something.

Consider the irony that the word doesn’t even have multiple definitions; it’s too set on doing things ONE WAY. Where Determination will teach us that we should stand by our meaning, fulfill our purpose and see things through, Stubbornness is stagnant and involving. Determination says continue forward, and adapt. Stubbornness is pounding square pegs into circular fittings. This is my determination. I resolve to push onward and write not for all of you, in order to help myself. Rather, I write for myself in order to help all of you.

In writing to help others, I can only write what they need to hear. That’s not addressing the truth of a situation, it’s only addressing THEIR situation. This creates work that serves an individual, not the whole. It’s akin to being a high school poet and writing poems only you understand. Sure, the intricacies and sesquipedialan dialogue looks intelligent, but it’s actually shit when you review. I used to find some solace in that work, but it isn’t ever going to grow or develop me because it’s not me. I don’t ever speak that way, even if part of me wanted to be seen that way. True growth? True evolution? What growth is there without a degree of vulnerability and self-exposure? I can tell every last one of you who lays eyes on these words with the deepest confidence and happiest of demeanors, this was more fun to write and I’m still afraid of it. I’m afraid it will be shit, I’m afraid it will be mocked and welcomed with false praise. It’s more difficult than putting on a voice, than creating a persona with which to create. When you work as you are, you’ll shine through it and it will be Yours, and that is better than being anyone else’s work. I hope this helps some of you in some way. Thanks for reading, and please reply if you feel so inclined!

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