Allow Myself to Reintroduce… Myself

Over the past four or five years I’ve been describing myself and revealing who I am every day in 140 characters or less. It’s become an art form for me and I’m pleased with my ability to pare down entire thoughts into bite-sized, easily-digestable quips. Writing about myself within that platform is a fun challenge but writing about myself at length feels almost impossible. Writing it down makes everything feel slightly more finite or less flexible and less flexible is something I never want to feel. I believe every person is a work-in-progress, ebbing and flowing with each new experience and lesson learned.

While it’s inevitable that everyone evolves over time it’s important to me that my principles are unwavering. For me, being a good, honest person is paramount and my main principle in life is to just try to make everyone’s days or lives a little easier or better, or at the very least, not worse. We’re all in this together, right?

Not only does this principle of compassion guide my everyday interactions with other people but it’s also something that applies in how I treat myself. Instead of stressing and making my day worse I choose to approach situations with a sense of level-headedness and attempt to work through them with aplomb. Working in a fast-paced environment taught me to not only make sense of the chaos but to remain unflappable in the face of monumental expectations.

Being able to roll with the punches is something I pride myself on. I rarely go anywhere or do anything without a plan but there’s beauty in spontaneity and often the results have been better than anything I could have ever imagined. Whether I’m working on a design project or going on a roadtrip with a friend I’ll lay out the destination but there’s no telling how I or we will get there. Life never goes according to plan and that’s okay, I just try to plot my path and see what happens along the way.

My career path is important to me but losing my job made me understand that paths have detours and it can sometimes take awhile before the destination starts to take shape and make sense again. I’m in a very unsure place in my life right now but I’ve never lost sight of my next goal. My tenacity (read: stubbornness) won’t let me settle so every day I strive to achieve what I set out for. My goal isn’t necessarily to be at the top. As long as I’m getting to be creative my goal is to be in a position where I can be part of something that matters to me and something I can be passionate about.

It’s really that simple.

I’m a passionate person and I think everyone should be passionate about something. “Passion” gets thrown around a lot and can start to sound like an empty sentiment but passion is truly what drives me. I’m the type of person that does my work with passion or not at all because anything worth doing is worth doing well.

In addition to my principles and the attributes that define my character, I’m also a person that enjoys not taking life too seriously. I really enjoy my life, the people in it, and the person I’ve grown into. I like being enthusiastic about my interests and sometimes talking about them ad nauseum. I like finding the beauty in everything and being inspired by anything. I like being trustworthy and a good person. I like helping, inspiring, and encouraging people. I like volunteering and I try not to shy away from trying new things or taking some (calculated) risks.

I value memories and experiences over material things. I don’t believe in being disingenious and I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I think we should all feel free to like what we like. I’m also fiercely independent and competitive and will stubbornly try to figure things out on my own before asking questions.

I get joy out of bringing joy to others. Laughing is one of my favorite activities and I like knowing that to other people I’ll always be the witty one, the one everyone can count on to make them laugh. I’ve always told myself that if I’ve made even one person laugh then the day was a success.

Being self-aware is both a blessing and a curse so while I can mention the positive attributes I possess I can also admit that at times I can be loud, brazen, and a little excitable. We all have faults and flaws but it’s what makes us complex, interesting human beings.

To put things a bit more succinctly: I’m someone who is both fun-loving and professional because like most things in life it’s a little of column A, and a little of column B.


Untitled is the Title of My Life

I don’t often delve into the part of me that harbors my insecurities because to acknowledge having them is fucking terrifying. Being vulnerable means I have the capacity to be hurt but recently I realized that repressing them isn’t doing me any favors either.

Below is something I wrote not that long ago during a brief time of some serious self-doubt. For someone who doesn’t believe in being disingenuous to other people, I sure spent some time lying to myself. I was angry. I was angry with myself and I felt I needed to put it down into words and in the end I think it truly helped me. For the most part anyway. These feelings weren’t something that completely consumed me but it would be irresponsible of me to pretend they didn’t and don’t still exist in some capacity. I wasn’t going to publish it but I felt I couldn’t move past it without letting some of you help me leave this behind.

Around four or five years ago I had an experience that led me to one of the most creative and inspired places I’ve ever mentally been in. It was incredible and it was the happiest I’ve ever been. It lasted for several years and while I do still grasp to portions of that mindset, these moments are coming fewer and farther in between and they tend to only last for maybe a day at most. I’m not sure. I just know it isn’t long before these fleeting moments pass and I’m back to feeling stagnant and devoid of not only creativity, but the motivation to even try. I truly feel like I’ve lost myself.

I never really considered this could be the byproduct of depression but the longer it sits in me the more I think it could be playing a part. Meaning, I knew I wasn’t motivated, I just never let myself think it could be depression.

I still don’t, actually. I have no idea what it is. Maybe it’s just me.

Many who know me would never know it because I spend a lot of time pretending like there’s nothing wrong; like there isn’t this creeping darkness that lives inside me that rears its ugly head from time to time. Most of the time I can keep the bulk of it locked away and aside from the little part that seems to constantly remain, it feels like I can control it.

But that little part. That little tiny piece that I can’t seem to shake is the one that periodically grips me tight and paralyzes me. This is the piece that for over a year has made me to believe I’m not good enough, that trying is hopeless and that I’m doomed to mediocrity and a lifetime of loneliness.

That’s stupid, you say? You are absolutely right. That is stupid. I tell myself I’m stupid every day; to snap out of it, to get off the couch, to do the things I once loved. That I’m worth it. That I WANT to be creative again. I want to being designing and sketching and printing.

But how do I find that motivation when I don’t know where to find it or even where it went? It has to still be in me right? It’s just being shrouded in a sea of self-doubt. Where has my confidence gone? Will I ever see it again? Can I kill the fucking demons who are holding it hostage?

I know this is something I have to and can find within myself. But how?

I’ve reached a point where being at a standstill is easier than taking a step in any direction for fear that life could truly be worse. Right now, by not doing anything, I’m not being criticized for my work. Right now, by not putting myself out there, I’m not being rejected by someone I could love. Life is safe right now but so very unrewarding.

I want to turn to someone to tell me what to do but this isn’t something that has a concrete solution. Last time I found my inspiration and confidence in not only my creativity but in MYSELF by being around the 3 most creative and brilliant people I’ve ever met, but they live in Los Angeles and this is something I have to find within me, not cultivate from someone else. This isn’t their problem. It’s mine.

So maybe this has to be another journey I take alone.

And I did. One step at a time, in the last few weeks I’ve been slowly pulling myself out of this sort of downward spiral and taking control of my life. I’m getting back to where I want to be and I’m trying to be be mindful of knowing and understanding what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I’m taking the time to differentiate between what truly makes me happy and what I was using as a crutch and distraction from myself. I always preach doing things to better yourself for yourself but realized I wasn’t practicing it.

I spent so much time trying to prove myself to other people that I forgot I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself.

And Sometimes You Stop Being a Lazy Piece of Shit

There are a lot of things I struggle with. One of the biggest things I struggle with is my inability to follow through and finish projects.  As a creative person this has become and currently is extremely frustrating. I have ideas, I have thousands upon thousands of ideas (some of them are even good) but for some reason I have such a problem focusing on one that it’s just easier to not do it. I know from experience I’m capable of doing it, I’m capable of just starting because that’s the first step to completion. Starting. Beginning. Why is this first step so difficult for me? It’s because before I begin I think of all the times I’m going to start and then start over and then start over and over and over. That’s a daunting task; failing. I have to fail so many times before I get it right and no matter how much I know and understand that, it’s still my biggest mental block. It took me 6 months to finally write a blog post for pete’s sake.

I’ve spent those last 6 months just trying to decide what this blog’s theme will be like it matters. What will I write about? Will it just be an extension of my Twitter feed where I expand on my snarky comments and my obsession with Chicago sports? Do I bare it all and let you all know that I’m not just what you see on Twitter? What if I’m not funny enough for more than 140 characters? WHAT WILL YOU THINK OF ME THEN?! I am consumed by an irrational fear of letting you guys beyond my witty façade.

Here’s a fun little nugget: I’ve actually been extremely self-conscious since middle school (about everything about me) and especially since that time in 8th grade I told a joke and no one laughed. I appreciate that life is full of these humbling moments but fuck you Mr. Teacher’s 8th grade math class, fuck all of you. I now use humor as a defense mechanism and a weapon. I have horrible upper body strength so it’s really all I have.

I’ve strayed a bit off topic but this is something you will come to find as normal behavior. In case any of you are still on the edge of your seat wondering, I’ve decided this blog is going to be about everything. How’s that for specific? I don’t go to therapy so I’m using this as my outlet. Good luck with that.

In short, I’ve decided to stop being lazy and just take those first steps I need to take to get shit done. I hope you all get to watch me overcome some of the roadblocks I’ve put up for myself over the years. Don’t worry, I’m not going to pretend I’m any more damaged than any of you. In fact, I’m probably less. I mean, the heaviest baggage I carry around with me is the fact that I’m a Cubs fan.

The Cubs are actually what inspired me to finally write this. I turned off my 7th marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to watch the Crosstown Classic between 2 of the worst teams in baseball.

Anything is more exciting.