Let’s have an honest moment with each other.
Be yourself – because you suck at being everybody else.
When I was in my teens, I spent a whole lot of time not trying to figure out who I was, but trying to be everyone else. I tried being the sports jock. I tried being the artsy guy. I tried being the guy who was in a band. I tried being the guy who was quiet and careful with his words so I could seem a little more interesting. I tried being the ladies man. I tried being one of the popular kids. I tried being…everyone else.
And to be real about it, I sucked at all of them.
This caused a whole lot of turmoil in my life when I finally lost the one thing that truly defined be: baseball. Going from student athlete to just…student…was a horrible transition. The days become a lot longer. For anyone that has played sports through high school and college they understand what I am talking about when sports end. You have a lot of time to yourself and you feel like a big piece of you is missing.
When I was a junior in college, after the foundations had all burnt to a crisp, I set out on a journey to figure out who I really was. It sounds kind of funny, but I had spent my entire life not knowing who I really was. All that time I tried being someone or something else landed me in the mud. I knew a few things about myself in terms of character traits, but as for the rest of the stuff, your guess would have been as good as mine.
So I started writing.
I wrote like crazy. I was smacked with adversity. I kept writing. Right from the start I had a pitcher of reality poured all over me. Sitting there soaked in daily realizations, I continued to type away. Those first few months, I learned something incredibly important about myself. I learned that I had this ability to open my heart up for the world to see, to express myself fully and to make connection with each person as if they were sitting right next to me. In fact, that is one of the things I appreciate the most about being given the opportunity to write every day…being able to connect with someone 1 on 1…no matter where they are.
Through this time, I learned how to deeply love, despite being deeply hurt. Alright hurt doesn’t cut it…legitimately…I was devastated. If you need an idea of what I was going through, listen to “Beautiful” by Eminem.
A few months in, I came up with this idea of going cave diving into my soul. I guess from the time I was little I have always loved having a visual with a saying…so that become my goal every day: to dive into my soul, no matter how black it got, and take something positive out of what I found. That little last nugget…the taking something positive out of something you have found…is crucial. Because I promise you, when you do this type of thing, you are going to find some deep dark blacker than black stuff. It’s going to get nasty, and you are going to be scared to death about what you found, but the thing is…if you can put some light on it – it becomes a lot less scarier.
Being yourself is incredibly underrated.
In this world, there is a constant pressure to fit in with everyone else. Not only do you have to fit in with everyone else, but you have to be trendy, cool, fit, popular, talkative, sexy, fashionable, smart, cultured, well-traveled…and everything else in between. You have to be everything that the media and the population pumps out to you, but yet when you try to be all of that, you come off as a…poser.
Because everyone else is trying to be everything as well…at least most everyone. Most everyone is chasing shadows and things that don’t actually matter. Think this is just now? Nope. Read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” if you need some old proof that it has always been this way…and will most likely always be.
But there are people who break free of this type of thinking and do the one thing that the world doesn’t actually want you to do…be yourself.
Because when you find yourself and you start acting like the one person you should act like…you…you become original. You become this beautiful thing. And once that seal cracks, oh boy do you start taking off in the other direction. You give yourself the ability to see past the skin you were wearing and you start seeing yourself and the world for what they truly are…big playgrounds for you to build totally unique sand castles on.
Which you will…big awesome gravity defying sand castles.
To take it a step further, when you become a man or woman who avoids being built on other people’s compliments, you avoid the risk of being destroyed by their criticisms.
That voice in your head telling you to do things, pulling you to be creative, admiring your efforts to accomplish your goals and pushing you to constantly be more than what you currently are…that little voice that we don’t fully understand but we love…is something special. When you can tune out the rest of the nonsense and change that channel to what is going on in your mind…that is a very very special day.
It takes work at first. Don’t be discouraged though, because the work always pays off in the end. You might not get exactly what you thought you were going to, but you always get what you need.
I got exactly what I needed…and I have never been happier. Every day, despite uncontrollable circumstances, I am always finding out new things about myself that I know I can take to the bank when I need them. My journey will never end by the way. I have given up the phrase “I made it” in terms of success. If I say “Man I made it” then that means I am done…that I have stopped “making it.”
I always want to be in the process of creating.
So here’s to the next slew of decades. Here’s to being yourself…to learning about yourself every day…to slaying dragons and building giant castles of sand…and to making more day after day.
– Evan Sanders