"Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?" Walt Whitman

Another year has come and gone, I cannot believe it. This year was definitely one to remember in a variety of ways. This posts marks the 7th birthday of this blog. 812 posts, 1.2M words, and just over 425K pageviews - it has been an absolute journey. I have learned a great deal through writing, and having this space to process through my experiences, what I glean from others, and the world in general has been remarkable. I cannot believe that I have stuck with this for so long, and even more so that I have no plans of stopping any time soon. This blog has meant so much to me. I don't really know who I would be without it to look back it, reflect, and see who I have become, and who I want to be. I am immensely grateful for this space to ju…


"What's wrong with being elitist if you are trying to encourage people to join the elite rather than being exclusive?" Richard Dawkins

I'm an elitist. There I said it. Being in a place where I have an even wider variety of people with differing experiences, life paths, belief systems, etc. has made me realize just how much my access to education and corresponding "pedigree" has impacted me. The way I talk, what I talk about, how I carry myself, why I dress the way I do, and everything in between communicates I am a product of an immense amount of privilege. There's nothing implicitly wrong with that per say but it can easily become a problem in snobbishness, snootiness, and unappealing arrogance. I don't think I'm better than other people but pretending I'm like other people is a falsity for us all. I have had a rare life experience with a lot of opportunity. I think for me it shows up most when people are intimidated by me, have difficulty c…


“Nothing will work unless you do.” Maya Angelou

Failure is a natural part of life but it's something that I have spent much of my life trying to avoid. For someone who spouts that he's invested in constantly learning and growing, I have not been challenged as of late. Then I was wrangled into working out. My biggest defense tactics have always been avoidance and humor, and this new endeavor had me deploying both. I have never worked out a day in my life. I have always been kind of scrawny and oddly disproportionate all over with the abnormal wingspan, massive feet, and exaggerated facial features. It has taken me pretty much the duration of my life to even to begin to be comfortable with my skin, let alone the rest of body in all its oddly shaped lackluster glory. Working out absolutely terrified me. I was self-conscious, constantly uncomfortable, and most of all felt stupid for not knowing anything that everyone else seemed to already now how to do. What kind of 24 year old ma…


"The people in your life fill two distinct roles ― fruit pickers and fertilizers. Fruit pickers require you to give of yourself. Fertilizers renew your spirits. In a healthy friendship or relationship, it’s normal for people to fill both roles. But sometimes, we become so comfortable in the roles we play with the people closest to us, we forget to occasionally switch roles." Kiara Imani Williams

Check on your checker. As someone who often spends much of their time checking on other people, ensuring their okay, being a listener, and giving others advice on how to solve the problems they face, I have come to realize that the relationships I sometimes form cannot actually be reciprocated. I mean to say that because I have established this dynamic of being a "fixer" of sorts, those that I am in relationship with play into it and/or forget to check on me. I think it's two-fold in that those I check on may not realize I too need to be cared for, and I myself do not al…


"Comparison is an act of violence against the self." Iyanla Vanzant

For people that live in a prolific society toting the ideals of individualism, bootstrap theory, or meritocracy we sure do find ourselves spending an exorbitant amount of time comparing ourselves to others. It's completely the antithesis of one of our most espoused values, and yet we are made to do so daily. Arguably, comparison is the root of much of our despair. We want things; we want to have what others have; we want to be like others because we compare ourselves to them. We think, why not me, instead of why am I where I am? It is a total disregard for our unique talents, experiences, and contributions to the world in favor of debilitating jealousy, intangible goals, and irrational aspirations. We circumvent the massive factors in play that give some people access to certain resources and opportunities, or the ability to do things that we cannot. Some people are set up for "success" (whateve…


"I'm lost in space and I want to find a way home. Nobody else can get me back to the planet,  so I have to do it myself.” Susan Vaught

Sometimes we have to save ourselves. Sometimes we have to be our own heroes. Sometimes we are the only ones capable of enacting our own rescue. To this day, I think one of my favorite moments in modern film history is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban when Harry casts the patronus charm to repel hundreds of dementors, and literally saves his past self. He even says he knew he could do it because he had already done it. Sometimes we are the only ones who can help us because we are the ones hurting us. Sometimes happiness, joy, peace, love, and light at least for us, ourselves, is a choice away. Sometimes the release from bondage, incarceration, solitude lies with us and us alone. What would you do if you had the key to saving yourself? Would you use it? It seems like a rhetorical question but people are complicated, and sometimes keeping o…


"I'm an off-the-charts introvert. To me, being around groups of strangers is exhausting. I've had to sort of train myself to think about two tactics: finding common ground  and invoking humor." Sam Yagan
There are times where I love being me - which more and more is my mode of operation, and for that unabashed self-love I am grateful - and there are times where I wish I could take on the qualities of others around me. Being social is one of those situations. From the outside people read me as comfortable, charismatic, and confident. I tell a lot of jokes, can light up a room, and connect with just about anyone, but what people don't see is how anxious, afraid, and awkward I am, or at least how I feel. I use humor as a defense mechanism, focus on other people to avoid talking about myself, and, worry constantly about whether or not people like me. I have spent so much of my life living in fear of not being liked, namely because of internalized racism and the sick th…