The Suck: Choice is Yours

Melancholy days. I still have them; usually they happen when life doesn’t live up to my expectations. 

There is, of course, the adage that, happiness is reality minus expectations. It follows then, that we are, for the most part, responsible for our own happiness or sadness; however, I find value in all emotional states: the sour is a valuable part of life. 

Some days pain is going to visit you, and you will look in the mirror and know that you are better than this. Now, whatever this is, it’s what your life happens to be at the present moment.

Does that mean there is no changing it? No. You can change it, but you’re going to need to be honest with yourself about what needs to be changed and what is going to be required of you. 

What do you want? Remind yourself. Never forget; even if those expectations cast a thunderstorm above life as it stands today. You musn’t scale down your expectations because they aren’t met. That’s resignation. 

I think the path to mediocrity is an easy one: it’s the path most are on. They resign themselves to life as it is. I, on the other hand, would rather have days like this, knowing that they are reminders of what I want, what I deserve, and what I am capable of creating. 

As John Mayer sings on The Heart of Life, “Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood”. So too is sadness, melancholy, and pain. These things are the feedback system within us, designed to let us know that shit sucks. 

Because sometimes – contrary to what your Facebook feed might lead you to believe – life can suck – and that’s okay, not just normal, but healthy. For without days like this, how are we ever to grow, to evolve. We need days like this. In fact, I would argue that without days like this, we aren’t living full and honest lives. 

Sure, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am neither disputing nor forgetting that. Fact is, anyone who has been through what I have gone through does not forget to count their blessings. I am a fortunate fellow. I’ve got youth, health, passion, intellect, and a wellspring of potential, which I am fully aware of. It’s just X, Y, and Z – the flies in the ointment – that really upset me. 

So I have two choices: I can let the suck cripple me, essentially relegating me to my bed as the suck tends to do – or, I can make a plan to change the suck.

Life is a game of potentials but it is won by wills. You cannot allow the suck to break your will or to weaken your resolve. It has to fuel it, it has to embolden your cause, serving to act as nature’s reminder that life can be more than this. So put pen to paper as I am today. Make a plan to change X, Y, and Z. It’s either that or you accept it. The choice is all yours but the suck is here regardless. It’s what you do with it, what meaning you allow it, and how it changes you. So use it. Let it push you forward. Let it spur you to change what you can, which is either the cause of the suck, your beliefs about the suck, or how the suck makes you feel. Chances are, however, that the latter element is futile: it sucks. There is no changing that. That’s what the suck is. But it’s not all it is. The suck presents an invaluable opportunity to change your circumstances, to refuse to accept what is, and to grow and evolve. 

As Henry Ford said, “Most people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. 

That’s kind of what the suck is like. But, if we can look past it and we can see things honestly for what they are, we might just be looking at the chance we have been waiting for, which we ought to be grateful fortune has bestowed upon us. 

So no, I won’t embrace the suck – but I will welcome it as an opportunity, seeing pain as a messenger, and I will turn adversity to my advantage. This is how the hero plays the game. As I always say, you are either the hero of your story or the victim. Choice is yours. 

Thoughts on The Journey: Beginning Again

I cannot tell you how long a journey it has been; I thought I was on the right path in love and life, time and again, only to watch each little plan, hope, and dream die – positively disintegrating me into the billion little bits that lie here tonight, beginning again. 

I heard something once about honoring your story, about how, when you do that, it elevates you to the level of authentic and honors everyone else’s story in the process. I suppose that’s what I am doing tonight. Because I haven’t give up. 

It was Steve Jobs who said, you can only connect the dots looking backwards

I have done my best to do so; picking up the pearl of great price from every abyss and stringing each onto the thread of my own destiny in an attempt to make sense of an otherwise senseless world – for the world devoid of my story is a world without meaning. 

When I was seventeen, I got the letters N.G.U tattooed on my right forearm. They stand for Never Give Up. Today, at thirty-one, never giving up means not giving up my story, not forgetting; remembering who I am, what I want, and why I am here. 

I am Lawrence Black, and I desire to own my time, to have abundance and security, and to become the person I already am: the writer, the lover – the boy who only wanted to feel okay, but now I want more. Because why limit myself to being a cog in someone else’s machine. Why kill myself with 15 hour and 20 hour days to please people who would just as soon replace me. 

So I’m taking a bet again, shifting my plans professionally, and casting my pearls into the sea – allowing them to fall where they may. This, of course, means letting people down; for there are two people you must let down: yourself or others; try to please others and you will invariably let yourself down – but, swallow the bitter pill of letting the right people down, as the dictates of your soul command, and you earn the right to look in the mirror and say: I live for me; I am the hero of my story, the victim of none but me. My excuses my own, mine to take responsibility for. 

For me. For Sarah. And for the future we are building. Because, as I once heard, you can also fail at what you don’t want. So, I’ll deploy my resources accordingly – adjusting my plans as I always have – betting on what I think best. Sure, I’ve lost, made mistakes, ended up flat on my ass, but I am not there now. I am here; my course to date having taken me this far. What’s next, well, I am looking forward to seeing.