Can You Handle Uncomfortable Conversations?

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You are the company you are.

Being pessimistic is easy and does not require critical thinking. It barely requires thinking at all; just reacting. And in a constant state of reaction is where loose cannons are born.

Pessimism is a negative response to something that makes you feel a negative way.

Like I said, it’s easy. It’s aggressive, dismissive and addictive. Pessimism is like a drug. In the moment, it can feel good. Hell, it might even feel right, but pessimism is a slippery slope. It doesn’t take long to become a habitual pessimist, so proceed with caution.

If pessimism got anyone, anywhere, everyone in the world, would be on top of the world.

Before you know it, you’re living life in a perpetually foul mood, surrounded by other pessimists. That takes a toll, but you likely won’t care because misery loves company, and sometimes even bad company beats being alone.

Loose Cannon, Party of One, Your Table’s Ready

Now more than ever, I notice people are quick to react pessimistically to the topic of racism. I’ve witnessed meltdowns where people quickly go on a tirade declaring how not racist they are, without anyone calling them racist.

It’s bizarre psychology at work, but you can thank the history books for that.

When the topic of racism comes up, there is no reason to get mad about it. Racism is a real thing and we should be okay talking about it.

However, if the topic strikes a nerve deep inside, you need to ask yourself why.

It happens a lot with homophobia too, but that’s another discussion altogether.

For generations, rather than confront the why and how we feel a negative way about certain things, our instinct has been to shut it down, sweep it under a rug, and move on.

We can’t do that anymore. Those days are done.

We owe it to ourselves and everyone who comes after to address it now. It takes work to be a better person, and part of that work is acknowledging the problem to begin with.

I Feel Great Today

How’s that for optimism?

Actually, that’s not a lie. I feel pretty good today. But that’s a conscious decision I have to make, every day, to stay on the right side of a downward spiral.

At the end of the day, I have food on the table, a roof over my head, a bed to crawl in, and a dog to snuggle up to. All things considered, that’s not a bad place to be.

But I’ve Been Duped

For generations, we’ve all been duped in this country.

We all grew up with an easily digestible version of U.S. history where Columbus discovered America, pilgrims and Indians shared a meal, and white people saved the world from other white people and radical Islamic terrorists.

When I graduated high school in 1992, the Cold War was over. The Berlin Wall was coming down. The first Gulf War was done, and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was still nine months away.

As far as I knew, Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery after the Civil War, and racism, segregation, and discrimination ended in 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

I was blissfully ignorant about the prevalence of racism throughout this county. When it came to race, the major problems were between street gangs in the urban neighborhoods of large cities, Rodney King was a one-off event, and the N word was off limits.

If only it were that simple...

The White Bubble

I was born in 1974; you can’t get much more GenX than that.

For our entire lives, GenX has idolized black professional athletes, comedians, actors, and musicians. The list is endless.

For GenX (and beyond), pop culture was (and continues to be) heavily influenced by black culture. Racial tension was entertainment in movies. Primetime in the 80’s and 90’s featured some of the most successful and funny predominantly black television series ever made.

For decades, nobody had to leave their home to see successful black Americans.

That is the white bubble. It’s the bubble I grew up in. It takes effort to see beyond it, which only gets harder the more comfortable you are in it.

It was a privilege to be in.

It wasn’t a bad place to be, but it certainly skewed my view of the progress our society had actually made, and the work we, as a society, had ahead of us.

Juneteenth

How old were you when you learned about Juneteenth? I’m ashamed to say, but I had no idea Juneteenth even existed until I was in my early 20’s. I remember asking what’s that? Is it new? Honestly, it’s shameful.

As a society, we’re doing ourselves a disservice when overlooking opportunities to come together and unite over things that we agree on. Shouldn’t the official liberation of the last remaining slaves in this country be one of those things?

I don’t know why Juneteenth isn’t a more celebrated holiday. It should be on par with Independence Day. But no, every year Juneteenth comes and goes as ignorant Americans hear about it for the first time over and over again.

What was that you said? All lives matter? Ok.

Black Lives Matter

That’s why I have such a problem with people saying all lives matter.

My daily reality tells me that my life matters. I don’t feel the need to brag about it, especially not while friends of mine are in such obvious pain.

All Lives Matter isn’t about any cause. It only came to be after Black Lives Matter became a movement.

ALM was a reaction because BLM made people uncomfortable. That’s it.

If all lives truly mattered, the world would look a lot different than it does right now.

Think of it this way.

Black Lives Matter is to Merry Christmas what All Lives Matter is to Happy Holidays.

Chew on that for a minute. Take as long as you need.

Now, on to my final point.

Breakfast Brand Controversy

Aunt Jemima is a brand that has been around for 130 years. Recently, the Quaker Oats Company, owner of Aunt Jemima, announced it is retiring the name and imagery of Aunt Jemima and people are losing their minds.

Before wasting your energy getting upset about a decision that’s already been made, consider the following reasons why the Aunt Jemima stokes so much emotion.

  • The Aunt Jemima brand was 49 years old when Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for her role as “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind in 1939.
  • While people had been enjoying Aunt Jemima products for half a century, the first black woman to win an Oscar couldn’t attend the premiere of her movie at a whites-only theater. Ms. McDaniel was only allowed at the Oscar ceremony as a favor and she had to sit at a segregated table apart from her white co-stars. She wasn’t allowed to attend the celebrations afterwards.
  • When she died in 1952, Ms. McDaniel’s final wish was to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery, but was denied because the graveyard was restricted to dead whites only.
Meanwhile, Aunt Jemima was on pantry shelves in white home across this country.
  • Aunt Jemima was America’s Favorite Mammy
  • While Aunt Jemima was allowed in white households throughout America, black Americans weren’t allowed to use white bathrooms.
  • While Aunt Jemima provided warm and buttery pancakes to white families, black folks couldn’t drink from the same water fountains or swim in the same pools.
  • While Aunt Jemima smiled her pearly whites from her happy packaging, black Americans were not allowed to vote, and had to sit in the back of the bus.
  • While white kids went in for a double dose of Aunt Jemima’s sweet syrup, black kids weren’t allowed in the same schools.

Of course white people loved Aunt Jemima. That’s no accident. That’s by design. But it’s time to open our minds, eyes, and ears.

Liking Aunt Jemima products doesn’t make you racist, but denying that the Aunt Jemima brand is rooted in racism does.

Just because it makes you feel good doesn’t mean it makes everyone feel good. A big part of combating racism is being cognizant of others’ feelings.

Great, you loved Aunt Jemima, but this isn’t about you and your love for high fructose corn syrup and gluten. There’s a whole history at your fingertips that will explain how we got here. But the decision to learn is on you.

Empathy goes a long way when being an ally.

On that note…

Free at Last, Free at Last, Aunt Jemima is Free at Last

Happy Juneteenth Aunt Jemima. You’re free to go.

The Right Side of History

Racism is about more than expressed hate. Many of us know how to treat others with kindness and compassion. That’s not what the current discussion is about. It’s deeper than that, and it’s a problem that can only be dealt with through awareness, fundamental understanding, and a genuine, heartfelt desire for change.

The tide is turning and each of us have a decision to make. You can either swim with the current or against it, and I don’t recommend exhausting yourself swimming against it. It’s not a good look; it makes you look like an asshole.

Progress is good. Progress is always welcome, and it’s heartening when it happens. It’s never too late, but that’s up to you.

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United We Stand

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This is not about me.

This is about friends of mine who are in pain. And my friends’ friends. And their friends. And so on.

It is about millions of people who are in pain that I will never know. I do not have to know them to know they’re in pain because I don’t deny that their pain exists. I know it exists. I see it. I hear it, now more than ever, and it breaks my heart.

Black Lives Matter

The pain is real for people of color. It is a pain I cannot pretend to understand. For better or worse, it is a pain I will never know. I will never know their pain because I am white, and I was born this way.

White Privilege

I will never know their pain because being white comes with privilege. White privilege is a sentiment that makes some white people extremely uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, they get massively upset when confronted with the claim that they have it. They say that just because they’re white, doesn’t mean they don’t have problems. Yes, that’s true, we all have problems; I’ll give you that.

Think of it this way.

If you were not white, your problems would be a lot different.

Would you concede that the statement is true?

Here is another take.

Were you ever surrounded by kids on an elementary school playground, all of them teasing you and calling you chocolate chip?

That’s a true story, by the way. It happened to a girl in my third-grade class. It is one of my earliest life lessons that the color of my skin, something entirely out of my control, spared me from a specific type of ridicule.

That, my friends, is the bare minimum of white privilege, and it grows from there, in different ways, at different levels, for different people.

Own It

The playground incident was an impactful lesson about how wrong it is to be a heartless agitator.

Denying the prevalence of white privilege is heartless and agitating.

I have no shame admitting I have privilege because I do. That’s not to say my life is easy. One doesn’t automatically equate to the other. It’s just a simple fact that my life hasn’t encountered extra obstacles because of the color of my skin. That’s it.

I grew up with the benefit of seeing successful, high profile people of color influence the culture around me. That could be a contributing factor for why some people claim racism is a thing of the past, as if Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 magically ended racial tension.

Just because Beyoncé slays, and Obama served two presidential terms, does not mean that people of color are on any sort of level playing field. Despite their respective achievements, both are on the receiving end of some of the ugliest racist vitriol from people who exist among us. All because they are black.

Perspective

Throughout history, white people have been the oppressors and people of color have been the oppressed. I didn’t make the rules; the system was in place well ahead of my existence. There was a time when I never thought twice about it, but those days are long gone.

I think about it now, and I think about it a lot.

I want my friends, and my friends’ friends, and their friends, and so on, to know that I see you and I hear you, but above all, I want you to know you have an ally in me.

I commit to you to listen, learn, empathize, and adapt. I commit to communicating honestly and openly. I commit to actively attempting a deeper understanding.

Acknowledging my privilege and stepping back to prioritize the lives of my fellow humans, who are in enormous pain, is the least difficult step I can take toward an enormous mountain.

Nobody can speak racism out of existence. Denying its existence will not make it go away. Racism must be plucked from the fabric of society with intent and action. Being aware of it and adjusting how we behave toward each other does.

Open Your Eyes

It is impossible to ‘not see’ color. To ‘not see’ means to close your eyes.

The worst thing that happened to me in the last 48-hours is that my dog wet my bed and my feet got wet. I was stripping my sheets and doing laundry by 5:30 a.m.

I was not pinned to the ground, knee to neck, by a cop who had no business carrying a badge.

I have been pulled over by the cops more than five, but less than 10 times in my life. Not once was I ever afraid of the forthcoming encounter. Annoyed? Yes. Upset? Absolutely. But scared for my life? No. Never.

Most of those stops resulted in nothing more than a warning. I have received a couple speeding tickets, and only once did I wind up in handcuffs, but they allowed me to have my hands in front of me after complaining enough.

I did not get murdered.

George Floyd’s life did not matter to Derek Chauvin and the three other complicit officers – Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng.

To say that all lives matter is willfully ignorant. It is a spoon full of sugar to make a turd taste better. It is throwing a dry sheet over a mess on the floor and calling the room clean. It is outright denial. To say all lives matter is a lie. It’s bullshit avoidance of an uncomfortable topic.

Empathy and understanding are not terrorist organizations.

It is not painful to say.

It is not hard to say.

Black. Lives. Matter.

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The Good Old Days

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Back in My Day

Remember when the most major disruption to a classroom was an inconvenient case of chickenpox or headlice?

1980

In first grade, I was the kid with chickenpox. One morning, I showed up to school. By early afternoon, I was covered with itchy red dots, confused, and sent to the nurse’s office.

In the nurse’s office, I experienced a minor blip of panic. I understood that I was sick, contagious, and I had to leave the school as quickly as possible.

The school called my grandma to come get me, and even though the adults were calm, my wild imagination had me convinced I was going to die.

The nurse explained that I had to be removed from school to protect my classmates. My mind was eased as the nurse informed me that having chickenpox was common, and after having them once, I would never have them again.

My grandma picked me up from school and took care of me until I was well enough to return, and that was that.

Headlice, on the other hand, is a whole other beast. When someone in school had headlice, the kid went home immediately. Shortly after discovering a case of headlice, the school’s nurse visited all classrooms to inspect the students’ heads looking for additional cases.

As kids got the all clear, classes resumed. Eventually, the infected kid(s) would return without guarantees that the lice wouldn’t.

Ah, the good old days.

Fast Forward

It’s March 2020 and chances are your local schools are currently closed. Businesses are longing for days when a workplace hiccup was someone spreading a common cold, strep throat, or the latest strain of influenza throughout the office.

Enter coronavirus or, more specifically, COVID-19, and COVID-19 isn’t playing around.

However, it’s not the end of the world.

A Storm of Uncertainty

A lot has changed since the clock struck 2020. While rampant viruses are nothing new, COVID-19 has quickly captured the world’s attention.

In the past week, not a day has gone by without a new development that one-ups the previous day’s developments. In the past week, worldwide statistics continue to rise, while almost anything, everywhere, involving a crowd of 10 or more people, has effectively been shut down.

We’re witnessing measures we’ve not witnessed in our lifetime. Naturally, the wide-ranging responses from around the world are causing varying degrees of unease in communities everywhere.

People from all walks of life are weathering the same storm of uncertainty, and it’s the uncertainty swirling around COVID-19 is causing people to worry.

As such, people are reacting differently.

What’s the Big Deal?

Nobody wants to catch COVID-19.

It may not seem like a big deal to you, and that’s an incredibly fortunate space to be. Consider yourself lucky.

The measures being taken right now are proactive. Taking proactive measures is a better spot from which to combat COVID-19 than waiting for mandated reactive measures. That’s why we’re treating this like a big deal. Nobody wants this to become a bigger deal.

COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu. Unlike the flu, people don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 for several days after being exposed and they are contagious during that time.

COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu. In Italy, there simply aren’t enough ventilators to treat the amount of people who need them. That’s not where we want to be. However, without taking measures to prevent widespread infections, we could be.

There currently is no vaccine for COVID-19. This is more dangerous than the annual flu, folks. As we speak, countries around the world are working to develop a vaccine.

As of this writing, there are no guarantees that once you have had COVID-19, you’re immune to COVID-19. We’d like to believe that once our bodies resolve a COVID-19 infection, that we’d be immune. The fact is, at this point, that’s not a 100% guarantee.

That’s why this is a big deal, and nobody wants this to be a bigger deal than it already is.

What Can You Do?

Mitigating the spread is the ultimate goal.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on that’s it. That’s the thing. It’s time to strap on your commonsense cap and draft yourself to join the easiest call to action we’ve ever be called to do.

Limit yourself to only leaving home for what’s necessary. Some don’t have the luxury to adhere to voluntary house arrest without an ankle bracelet, but those who can, should.

If you must leave your home, adhere to social distancing guidelines.

This will end one day. The more who participate, the sooner that day will come. Until then, stay as safe and sanitary as possible.

This isn’t a drill. We all know someone who isn’t taking this seriously. Don’t let them shame you into making a fatal mistake.

Sure, it’s entirely possible you would fully recover from COVID-19, but the same cannot be said for others. It’s not about any of us individually. This is about others, and it’s on all of us to flatten the curve.

Behave like you have chickenpox with the risk of recurring headlice.

All any of us can do is play our small part in a bigger effort to get our daily lives restored to how they were before this mess began.

We’re all in this together.

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Getting Back on the Workout Wagon

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Down & Out

Even for the most athletically inclined, getting back into an exercise routine after being out of the game for an extended period of time is an obstacle.

In my case, that period of time has been over five years.

Actually writing that feels like failure. It doesn’t feel good to say, or read. That means it’s out there for anyone to see – strangers, family, friends, or otherwise.

It’s like admitting an addiction to complacency and laziness. But that’s the first step in any recovery, and that’s the purpose of this post: Personal accountability to myself.

All we are is how we behave (or respond) in any given moment.

Hi, my name is Travis, and my lazy game is on point!

I say that tongue-in-cheek; I’m not completely sedentary. I have a dog and she requires at least two walks per day. What I’m saying is, it’s been over five years since I’ve gone out of my way to workout.

It’s high time for that to change.

Physical Setback

In February 2014, I ruptured my Achilles tendon while playing volleyball. It happened on a Sunday night. By Wednesday afternoon, I was in surgery.

I had physical therapy, but I haven’t been back to a gym since. It took eight months to not limp anymore.

Mental Setback

Leading up to the injury, I had memberships at two gyms and had two personal trainers. I was in the best shape of my life and that all came crumbling down with one misstep on the court.

Three months later, I moved to Scottsdale and my life was flipped upside down.

I never climbed back on the workout wagon.

Suddenly, it’s 2019 and I’m left wondering, where has the time gone?

A New Goal

Metaphorically speaking, you can’t walk a mile in someone’s shoes until you run a marathon in your own. It just so happens, I’ve run actual marathons. Three, in fact.

I was about to turn 37 when I decided to run my first marathon. I wanted to accomplish something physical; something that required a certain level of discipline with a rigorous training schedule.

Plus I wanted a tangible reminder that I was capable of accomplishing something when I committed to and focused on a goal.

When people finish marathons, they get a medal. A marathon was an obvious choice. I wanted a medal, and I actually have four!

Between November 2010 and October 2011 I ran three full and two half marathons. The first was Seattle in November 2010, then Anchorage in June 2011. The third was Chicago in October 2011. Both half marathons were fit into my training schedules for Anchorage and Seattle.

Note that not all half marathons produce a medal. Plan accordingly.

There is a purpose to this marathon tangent. When I decided to run Seattle, I read an article that suggested to pick a destination, register, and announce your goal to your friends and family. First, you have a vacation on your calendar. Second, you’re committed, and any deviation from your goal results in having to go back on your word.

That’s one hell of a motivator.

A Labor Day to Thanksgiving Journey

That’s what this is; my public commitment to myself. Between now and December, I’m joining a gym and I’m going to milk the hell out of that membership.

Sadly, this commitment involves no vacation. It involves going to a pop-up gym that shares a parking lot with the grocery store I frequent.

Why Now?

I turn 45 in two weeks. On September 13, 2019 I’ll have completed my 45th lap around the Gregorian calendar.

No congratulations or apologies are necessary. That's not a goal I met. It's more of an achievement anyone can accomplish if they live this long.

Earlier this summer, I set a goal to join a gym by September 1. That’s tomorrow. I tried joining today, but discovered a minor set back straight out the gate.

This particular gym has 24 hour access, but not always staffed. It’s Saturday and they were already gone. Then, I noticed it isn’t staffed on Sundays, and Monday is a holiday.

F.M.L.

The Universe is testing my resolve. After five years of no workouts, the day I muster the energy to start, I couldn’t!

All that did was make me more determined than ever. So I wrote this story.

With any luck, come December, I will arrive at a renewed and improved mental space, which is usually the result of a vacation anyway.

That’s my ultimate goal.

Now I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

The benefits I reap are in direct proportion to the effort I give.

Who knows, after this experiment is complete, maybe I'll be back on board to give a marathon at 45 a shot.

Baby steps, Travis. For now let’s try fitting back into those suits you bought when you moved to Scottsdale in 2014.

That, my friends, is how you hold yourself accountable to a goal.

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No Application For This Job

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The Opportunity of a Lifetime

We’re all pioneers of our own unchartered path. We stumble, trip, fall, crawl, bitch, and argue our way through life’s present conditions every day.

Life is a job for which there’s no application. You are your own boss and that’s all you need to be. It’s a position that requires continual personal growth in order to succeed.

Opportunities knock all the time, but it’s not always easy to know which ones to grab. Right or wrong, every opportunity is a chance to learn.

The more we learn, the better we become. Sometimes, being better requires us to feel worse than ever before.

You’re the Boss, Applesauce

You’ll always hold the top spot in your personal business of being alive. It’s a lifelong position for which you were chosen to sit at the helm.

I can’t tell you much about life, but one thing is clear: Life gets infinitely better when you don’t go out of your way to make other people miserable.

Our minds are terribly complex, and they aren’t horribly difficult to use, but we have an uncanny ability to complicate the simplest things.

We should embrace and encourage a free and fair world as if it’s our collective purpose.

Newsflash! That is our collective purpose.

If you’re capable of leading by example, then lead by example. It’s your only job, after all, and you never know whose life you’ll touch.

First, the Good News

All of us have the ability to inspire others. Inspiration is powerful. We see, hear, touch, taste, feel, and draw inspiration from the people we meet and the passions we pursue.

Life is an adventure worth remembering and there’s a lot to miss. Pay attention to everything around you and notice the puzzle pieces hidden in plain sight every day.

Life is a puzzle without borders. No frame will ever contain the full picture, and you have a lifetime to create your masterpiece.

Remember the past, live in the present, and don't be future blind. Envision your future. Dream about your future. Imagine your potential.

Remember to watch your step. Keep your head up and your mouth closed. Look ahead with your eyes open.

Be aware of your surroundings. Listen carefully to others. Think before you speak. Listen deeply for your truth. Recognize opportunities. Know your options. Make decisions. Die another day. 

Now, the Bad News

Life is no ordinary puzzle. It isn’t built in a day and takes more than a week. Life can, however, fall the fuck apart in an hour.

A word of caution: The sadistic side of life constantly delivers blows of sadness, anger, pain (and others) that have the ability to break you, but only if you let them. 

Generally, we have ideas of what we want and where we’re headed, but it’s not always clear how we’ll get there.

All the while, we’re distracted by self-induced stress (of our own creation) and every other obstacle we cannot control. It’s up to you to know the difference. Detours are inevitable – a lot of them – and it’s easy to get lost.

Everyone gets lost.

It’s not a matter of if, but when. It’s going to happen – if it hasn’t already. When it does, you need to do the finding. Nobody else can do that for you.

Others may support you, but that’s the extent of what they can offer. You’re not their project and they aren’t yours. Care about others, but worry about yourself.

Feeling Alienated?

Communication is the heart of humanity. Bring that to every table when you pull up a chair.

I was pissed off, angry, and pessimistic for a minute. Pessimism has one benefit; it helped me understand how debilitating a bad attitude can be. It didn’t take log to realize I was becoming the type of person who irritates me.

That’s what underrepresented, overlooked, or ignored underdogs eventually realize.

If pessimism got anyone, anywhere, everyone in the world would be on top of the world!

We all have a lot more in common than we think. It just takes a little effort and a few questions, and a willingness to listen and learn.

It pains me when people summarily ignore entire groups – be it age, scene, politics, race, religion, whatever – all because they’re uncomfortable.

Poor things.

Learn to cope with being uncomfortable.

It isn't that hard; we were all twelve at one point.

Heartbreak and hardships are guaranteed in this life, but struggles develop your soul. Pain has a purpose.

Empathy enables us to unite in powerful ways.

Making connections is easier to do when you allow your true self to make first impressions. Anything less is a waste of time.

Show up to your own life and act accordingly.

I’m Feelin’ ’92!

I grew up in Alaska during the culmination of the Cold War. I was born a month after Nixon resigned. By the time I graduated high school, the Berlin Wall was mostly dismantled, and the Soviet Union had collapsed.

Later that year, I began my college experience. Bright eyed and full of hope, my generation was ready to change the world.

Optimism sure is cute until years become decades.

The American Dream halted construction and the crews were sent home.

News, news, words, news, fake news, satire, words, words, Twitter!

Good morning, America! In today’s news, distraction is the main attraction. Now, for our top story, “Politics prove the human capacity for hypocrisy.”

People can develop their most hateful opinions about issues that don’t affect them.

Painful events that remind us that life isn’t fair can be our most valuable teachers. When pain strikes, it’s debilitating, but it’s important to never give up.

Tragic events don’t feel beneficial at the time those events occur, but they help us prioritize what’s important to us, and can often bring clarity.

I’ve done a lot in my life I cannot shout proudly from a mountain top, but I continue learning from the culmination of my mistakes. As well, I can’t say I have any regrets.

Life has a way of correcting your alignment with its course.

I’ve faced, accepted, and owned the crazy things I’ve done. Meeting and getting to know others who open up about the things they’ve done, that society has no business judging, motivates the hell out of me to tell as many stories as I can.

I do what I do because I’m always evolving. I’ve changed my mind countless times about things I thought were true.

Creating a Wake

Life isn’t an accident; life happens on purpose. Some people cause a wake, and others leave an unsettled aftermath.

We crawl before walking, and walk before running. We leave tracks connecting where we’re at, where we’ve been and where we’re from.

Everyone has experience worth sharing. Some won’t, and others will, but nobody can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes until completing a marathon in their own.

You are your #1 priority. Timing is everything and your time is now. Always look after #1. Know how to put yourself first, without being selfish. The more you help yourself, the better you’ll be helping others.

Pay attention to your state of mind. Don’t lose sight of your goals, sacrifice your happiness, or devalue your worth.

Always exercise your mind. Spend your spare time doing things that make you feel something.

Be better than good. Good things happen to good people, but being good is only the beginning.

Actively participate in life. Stay aware of your surroundings. Treat others with kindness. Honesty is the best thing for sleeping well at night. Know yourself by being self aware at all times.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than getting caught up in some bullshit, so stay out of it.

Always ask why. Question everything to understand anything. Curiosity won’t kill you, but lacking it will.

Do everything with confidence. Confidence is sexy. There’s a difference between being confident, and being a dick.

Laugh. Every. Day.

Be someone you’re proud to promote. You have exactly until you die to become the person you’re proud to be.

Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk
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