I’m sick of having the courage to be an absolute nobody
Limbs break as winds shake and shiver. The River flows past observers feet fixed to earth. I, jump in. Slipping through brush, accepting every touch of Immortal. Patterns of precipitation pool, and I pause. And I look up. And wonder. “Does rain feel?” Each passing hour feels increasingly filtered. Noises of distant occupations, muffled. Mounting moments moving me closer to where tangents collide. Where space and time intersect. In the here. And the now. Phalanges form from my waist, and Foreign lips caress shielded temple. Storm implies disorder - and perhaps it is from this vantage. But only. Here. Now. But. I perceive a new order, beginning to emerge. Existence with no need to impart suffering for survival. Love, they call it. And so- Metatarsals touchdown, and we stand, toe to toe. Or, face to face. "The storm is almost over" an angel laughed. Or perhaps it was God.
The next few months consisted of my ego being systematically deflated at depressingly reliable intervals.
Rock bottom continued to find new ways to surprise me.
It was beginning to feel as though I simply traded in my shackles for some handcuffs. Or perhaps, discarded one illusion to pick up another.
At the time, I wasn’t able to stay anywhere longer than a week.
My money was that short.
It was like I was living in some sort of nomadically inspired hell hole for runaway 𝚜̶𝚕̶𝚊̶𝚟̶𝚎̶𝚜̶ children.
Hopping between rooms, bunk beds, and the occasional couch, I was living as a high end for a bum for a few months.
Gratefully I got an NI # and was able to get a job in relatively short order.
Another perk of being born around these parts.
But it didn’t feel like it.
Bags always half packed, ramen and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, bank account perpetually over drafted.
Is this what freedom feels like?
If so, I need a refund.
I think I understand now, why people tend to believe the lie.
Trying to find what’s real feels like trying to walk up a metal slide wearing socks drenched in olive oil and covered with banana peels.
Of course, I like a challenge.
Fresh off of being cut off from family, ostracized from friends, and suffering through a divorce – alone?
It was a dark tunnel with no end in sight.
Except this tunnel had walls lined with spikes.
And the floor full of mousetraps.
And I’m naked.
But still, I knew.
That I wasn’t insane.
No matter what the doctors try to tell me.
This life has more to offer than conditional love and seasonal friendships.
I had a unique contribution to offer the world.
Only, I couldn’t prove it.
All I could do was stare at this mustard seed of faith; and hope it was enough to get me through the coming trials.
All the while, I’m still writing.
Or at least, “trying to.”
Just getting thoughts out, then putting them on the internet to feel validated.
Honestly, it felt like I was talking to a wall.
Often still does.
I make people uncomfortable, I think.
But didn’t care.
Reframed some of my blog posts and put them out as a podcast.
That seemed to get a bit more reception.
But not much.
Opened the archives, put a few old conversations up on YouTube.
Feedback was still minimal. Like super minimal.
You get out what you put in.
Except, I’ve got nothing.
Well, no leverage. Money, connections, resources..
Nothing. But ideas.
I could have gotten depressed (actually, I did) but soon realised that this was essentially the worst possible outcome.
Nobody is listening…
Nobody is listening?
Nobody is listening!
Just keep going.
Really, it’s that simple.
And that complex.
A bit of a paradox, too.
Failure I mean.
You fall, and half expect that to be the end of it.
You might even crave that end.
But, it usually isn’t.
Maybe it was genuine, maybe you took a dive, doesn’t matter – you get up, you dust yourself off, and you live to see another day.
In moments of solitude, you begin to grow a self-reliance that is indestructible.
You begin to see that most of what you built up in your mind was bullsh*t.
You recognize that rejection is only a precursor to acceptance.
You reject fear as a mode of being, and choose love instead.
But again, I understand nobody enjoys pain.
(Except you, freak.)
And, maybe the freaks actually understand a basic truth about the universe. One that many of us seem unfamiliar with, by the look s of our consumption habits.
Development only comes from discomfort.
By giving up pain, you give up growth.
Sure you can pretend, or take a shortcut.
But how long until you’re found out?
Pain is paint.
When you survive the worst, life becomes a gift.
Don’t abuse it.
Every breath is a reason to celebrate, nothing is to be taken for granted.
Even pain can be a reason for celebration.
A reminder that we are indeed, alive.
But also, a reminder of what it means to get knocked down, and to get back up.
It means we’ve been attacked, maligned, forgotten, and left for dead.
But hey, we’re still here.
Enough about you, back to me.
I have to keep reminding myself that this book is for my development.
The natural tendency when writing from a place of self reflection, especially when you know it will be read by eyes other than your own, is to embellish.
I don’t want to do that.
I want to be completely transparent with you, because I believe truth is the only thing we have left to offer each other.
The lies have been suffocating.
Time for a breath of fresh air.
Only, I need to get this story right first.
It’s a misnomer, that scars can be healed.
In fact, the Old Latin word for ‘trauma’ translates directly as ‘wound’ – not just psychological, but physical – and I’ve had my fair share.
Though, wounds can be healed.
You become whole, and can begin to function again.
But scars remain.
The surface records a story and remembers it though marks in skin.
Kind of like, a life tattoo.
Always giving perspective to its bearer.
Still; wanted to be free of all past associations. Though, I think I know better now.
Thus begins a journey back into the unknown.
Because, being poor is losing its appeal.
What was previously a symbol of my inflated sense of moral superiority, has become a hindrance to the aims I wish to accomplish in this life.
Poverty is not sexy.
And being poor doesn’t make you a good person.
Just one with fewer options.
One of the tough lessons I had to learn was the fact that I’m just as broken as you. Born into your shoes, I would have most likely made the same decisions.
This isn’t about judgement, or shame.
This is about getting down to the core of what makes you tick.
It’s a scary thought; to realise you embody both good and evil. The highest morality, and the lowest depravity; all rest in your soul.
It was Carl Jung who very rightly stated that people’s shadows reach all the way to hell. And that isn’t hyperbole.
You have the capacity for malevolence. Some of you already know this.
You have the potential to be base.
Vile. Corrupt. Evil.
(And recognise that this is often the default.)
We were built on biological hunting platforms.
Two eyes in front means, ‘seek and destroy.’
So how does this relate?
Life is duality.
Jeffery Dahmer, or Jeffery Ross.
If you’re in the middle, don’t congratulate yourself.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer
You don’t get points for being insignificant. Besides, being better is not the same as being good. Being weak is not the same as being good. Being indifferent is not the same thing as being good.
Let’s give you some power and connections.
Then see how you’d really act.
We exist on this spectrum of humanity that predates our most primitive ideas.
So for me, it becomes less about glorifying my apparent lack of apparent malevolent decision-making, and more about seeking clarity and direction as to the “why”.
I had to stop comparing myself to others, and begin measuring against my former selves, scoping out the reasons behind each habit formed and every action taken.
The ‘why’ is more important than the ‘what’; and the way my brain is set up…
I need to understand everything.
If April through October was a wrecking ball to the decaying structures of my life, November to now has been a sort of redevelopment project.
First order of business?
Create a new foundation.
My habits needed to serve me, and not the other way around.
This meant becoming more wary of my abusive relationship with marijuana.
It also meant performing a mental reset of everything that I came to believe about Toso, and redefining my past life in order to conceive of a better future one.
The good qualities; like intelligence and insight, I wanted to keep around.
The bad qualities; like laziness and arrogance, were to be sniped at will.
Now. To find the will.
Planning is cool, in fact it’s necessary. But, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face”, as I’ve become far too aware.
Therefore, it wasn’t enough to have a plan. Not even a SMART one, lol.
I needed a road map, or a blueprint. Something I could use in real time.
Figuring out the ‘why’ isn’t too difficult. It’s the ‘how’ that manages to trip me up. I’ve never been an operations guy.
I know who I want to be.
Not rich, but wealthy enough to give when I feel led.
Not malicious, but a force to be reckoned with nonetheless.
Not popular, but well respected and understood by those who matter.
Ultimately, I just want to be me.
Authentic, kind, intelligent, humble, loving.
This is my north star.
All else is futile.
So I figured, if I kept love in focus, everything else would fall in place.
I’d already recognised the pitfalls of settling too soon.
My past life taught me that.
Compromising is never a good idea.
In my humble opinion.
Because I sense a bunch of us are playing a game of ‘better’ vs ‘worse’.
A stupid game.
‘Better’ sounds good, until you take in that it doesn’t require much. All you have to do is find someone in a slightly worse position, and voilà, you’re off the hook.
But, are you?
Like aiming for the rim of a target, you’ll probably end up missing the thing entirely.
Being good means aiming for the middle.
Dead at the bullseye.
It’s okay if you miss, we all do.
But at least you’ll be in the vicinity.
(Or so the theory goes.)
If you don’t even try to aim at good… well, God help you.
Because you will likely end up far from it.
Our natural disposition is not toward peace and love.
At least, it’s not for me.
It requires work, and a level of intention.
Thus, I aim for perfection – knowing I won’t hit it.
Fortunately, a new year was on the horizon, giving great excuse to those still waiting to deploy a better strategy of becoming.
Because that’s what this is.
A continual process of re-vision.
Taking some steps, looking up, readjusting, and getting back to work.
There is no end, because perfection cannot be attained in these earthen vessels.
There is only becoming.
And like the long tail of exponential growth, we keep going. Getting closer to that 100% mark with each passing unit of time, but never reaching there completely.
Y’all know the graphs.
Except this is one curve you don’t want to flatten.
I recognise that for some, this year has been one chock-full of tumult and sorrow. I don’t want to discount your experiences, but I do want to relay my own.
It is an autobiography after all. And for me, the past 12 months have been filled with new perspectives, and grand revelations.
I’m on my way to being wealthier than I’ve ever been, with a vision that’s 20/20, and a God that keeps me on my toes, excited for what the future holds.
Time away has really been time inside. My soul, my mind, my spirit.
The ability to slow down and reconsider things has been a blessing.
Especially in a world that seems to be going a million miles an hour.
Now we’re closing in on 2021, and I have no plans of stopping what He’s started.
Collaboration is still something I desire, and learning to be more obedient in every season of life has been a struggle, but we keep it moving.
No more waiting on other people to ‘get it.’
So, I had to level up my thinking to match up with my destiny.
To spread love from a place of power, and not one of subservience.
I had to become brand new, and I’m not saying I’m there yet…
But, I’m on my way.