The other night my girlfriend told me that I’m not doing enough with my life. She said I’m not creating anything; that I can’t just watch YouTube videos all day, reading books and wait to be inspired. She said I need to step out. DO something. Grow some balls! STOP procrastinating! BE A MAN!!
Well…at least, that’s how I heard it…in reality, what she actually said was:
“Jared, I love you, but I don’t want to have these convos w/ you anymore. You say that you want to create something for the world. You have these lofty goals and dreams for yourself and our family…and I believe in them. But you envy your friends who are artists because you see them creating things. You respect their talent and vulnerability. They create. They produce. You’ve had your computer fixed for a month now, and where is your website? Write something and share it.
You want to grow as a leader and have a positive impact on people’s lives? You need to start actually getting to know people. Understanding their needs, hopes, struggles, and dreams. And you must be willing to share yourself with people…You can only learn so much from those books and videos.
Oh, and one thing you could do for me and the baby is start investing your time in other relationships. It’ll help your social skills.”
Wow…well damn…that was painful even to write again.
Looking back over both what I heard and what she actually said – although it still stings a bit – I have to admit it is kind of amusing.
And all of that so kindly offered to me at 11:30pm as we were going to bed.
I took a minute to digest it all. A wave of heat flushed through my entire body. My mind started racing. Not just about what was said, but by who said it.
To have my love partner, the mother of my son, tell me that I’m falling short; that I’m not living up to my own standards…That I need to man up, and get with it.
To have the person that I’m the closest to, jolt me with this hard truth was like a glass of ice water to the balls. I mean, I’m supposed to be the man. A ‘King’ for the Queen. I’m supposed to lead our family into new horizons that will bring us everything we could imagine and more.
My confidence at that moment skyrocketed!!
Just kidding…making sure you’re paying attention.
I was so charged by her provocation that I shot out of bed, down the stairs, and out into the street. I justified this gut reaction by telling her that I needed to ‘get my computer out of my car’. I came back inside and still, my head was spinning and my body was buzzing.
So, I hopped on my bike and started riding.
I rode all over the Southside at midnight. Through the neighborhoods, the projects, the main streets. Fast. Trying to pass this ‘energy’ through my body.
It was almost like I was in shock. I tried to occupy my mind with other things. I tried to convince myself that she didn’t know what she was talking about..
‘She has no idea what I’m working on...what I’ve been cooking up, and what my plans for our future look like!! I can’t believe she doesn’t see the value in all I’m trying to do with my life!’
And that’s true. She doesn’t know what I have planned. But she does see. She can only go off of what she sees…or doesn’t see: Results. Output. Content. Execution. Action.
As I was biking, all I could think about was what I wasn’t doing. Things I have not completed. My broken promises, commitments, relationships.
Looking back, I think I was trying to escape this thought process and the accompanying feelings from overtaking me. I finally found myself at Lake Nokomis. I rode out to the end of a dock, and laid down. My mind was still racing. I felt energized from the bike ride, and completely paralyzed by her words ringing in my ears. About 2hrs later I woke up and it was 2:00am.
As I rode back home, I continued to beat myself up. I’ll never be good enough for this woman. She’ll never respect me as a man. She knows who I REALLY am, and will never accept me. Leave me for someone better. A bigger, better, stronger, smarter man.
How could I even dream of buying a house for them? Who did I think I was to be able to affect people’s lives for the better…to be a leader and a role model in my community, when my own woman doesn’t believe in me or respect me? She still sees me as a little boy. An adolescent that still hasn’t matured into the man she needs. She’s “stuck” with me.
These were my thoughts. Pretty bad, right?
Damn, so much self-pity. SO much self-doubt. And this is the stuff that I want to help people to overcome, and conquer?
And the good news is, that before I can help others…..what? I gotta help myself first!
If I’m gonna teach it, I have to learn it first, right?
So what? What can I learn from this?
1. Why am I grateful for this…
I have a woman in my life who cares about me enough to challenge me. To tell me the truth as she sees it. She doesn’t pity me or feel sorry for me. She said those things to me because she knows I have more to give. She believes in my gifts, and my contribution to the world. She just wants to see them.
My girl is about her business. A mentor, choreographer, teacher, amazing mother, and increadibly beautiful - inside and out. She has an amazing body already, 7 months after giving birth…ALL natural. She’s just a dope person.
She’s loyal. She is committed to Khalil and me, and willing to do whatever it takes to cultivate the best environment for our family to flourish – even if that means exploring non-traditional avenues.
2. What I need more of…
Accountability. This feeling I had. I felt beaten down, called out, slighted. Rage. But at the same time, I felt this sense of calm. A ‘knowing’. A thankfulness.
I knew that despite having her eviscerate my ego, I needed to hear it. It was something that only she could tell me, because she is the closest to me and therefore her words carry the most weight.
Despite the harsh reality check, I knew that this could be a catalyst. A white-hot iron under my ass to get me to act. To do something that was out of my comfort zone. To practice what I preach. To create. Not just talk about it.
3. What I can give or contribute from this…
So what? How can I use this swift kick in the ass to improve myself, challenge myself? What’s the next action?
Sharing in this experience with others. She challenged me to create something, to share something, to give of myself. To give myself. This is that. This public exploration of my ego’s execution. I choose to rise to her challenge and honor her with these words and actions. I reject self-pity & self-doubt and embrace action, execution and vulnerability.