Thursday, October 28, 2010

Identity Crisis, Purpose Found

You ever have one of those moments where you have to look at yourself in the mirror and reassess who you are? Just in the past 6 days I've had several make-or-break moments that challenged me and helped me better see who I want to be.

People have always seen more for me because I was blessed to be a smart young man who blew older folks away. It was almost a given that I'd be an outstanding student who'd go on to make something big of himself. It was unintentional pressure I didn't realize until I left home and got tested in college by my peers.

My life can be broken up into 3 phases. Pre-11th grade, 11th grade-college, Post-college. Phase 1 was all about not rocking the boat and being the good kid everyone wanted me to be. Phase 2 was realizing I was in Phase 1 and fighting to grow up into a independent person who left that behind. And Phase 3 is now. Bringing that independent person back to L.A. to facing the challenges of adulthood and grow even more while retaining that essence of Phase 2.

It's been a hard challenge but I see some changes. I became hardened and less tolerant of incompetence after my time at my last job. I became more direct in my focus (i.e. If something needs to be done, let's do it.). I took a few risks (started this blog, resigned from the job, said no to a few positions at church). I'm slowly letting go off the fears I had as a kid and interacting with people on Twitter has helped me discover my voice.

The last four months have been difficult as I've struggled with my "2nd graduation experience." - I've struggled financially like never before. I faced more job questions than I have in 4 years and a reality that finding work is  harder than I thought. I enjoyed the summer in spots but I also saw that I couldn't do what I wanted at times because my friends had different ideas. I wanted to travel more but finances crippled that idea.

Call the summer of my discontent. I liked it when I was satisfied and when I wasn't? It drove me nuts because I wanted to take advantage of my freedom. Then I had a friend give me great advice - "Suck the fun out of life.  Don't let others hold you back from living life to the fullest."

Since then, I'm forcing myself to go for dolo - I feel like an old 26 but I'm still young. There's so much that I want to experience in LA, the United States and the world. It's time to just do it and not have any regrets.

Now flash forward to now.

This week, I saw parts of my personality challenged. I faced questions about my work ethic. Were they done in ignorance? Were they done to hurt me? Not at all, they were real questions and the people who asked about them were people I care about. It's questions I've asked of myself and others have done as well. But it sunk in because it was unexpected.

I've also been a called a safe writer - someone who thinks a lot before he speaks. It's a very good practice in conversation but it's also led to blogs that didn't go far enough compared to what I've said in person about those topics. I know this all too well, I fear my audience at times on topics because I pride myself on being an inviting writer, one who seeks to engage people while not being afraid to challenge them. Yet it's possible to be both - respectful yet bold. Passionate yet biased with a purpose.

(One of my favorite lines from The Untouchables: "What are you prepared to do?")

I didn't think I'd take them hard. I didn't think I'd react like a right jab from Manny Pacquiao (well that last one, I wasn't stunned as much as I was reassured I can do better). But now that I can see clearly, this was just more wakeup calls to make sure people know what I'm feeling. No more second guessing or assuming, this is who I am and you're not going to wonder anymore.

I said before in this space that the journey inspires me more than the destination. The journey to being fully myself has been sparked in great ways this year. Things get shaped in the fire and I'm ready to keep being shaped, challenged and molded into who I'm supposed to be and who God wants me to be. Not for anybody else but for me.

Call this Virgo 2.0. A Work In Progress. Building Myself Faster, One Day at a Time.


  1. Wow- great piece my man.
    Our lives have had a similar course along different paths.
    When I was 25, I found myself with similar choices regarding growth or complancy. Honesty with self through artistic expression continues to be a challenge and the more I go from the gut, the easier my blood flows.

    I also had pre-11th grade, and then a switch. My switch was probably more drastic and volatile, but all parties involved appreciate that it was part of my course. I believe you have the same support system. It will go a very long way in this phase of your journey.

    This is my fave blog entry of yours. If it's Virgo 2.0, I'm bout it bout it.

  2. Thanks bro. I'm striving to that point but it's like I've been given a wakeup call to start on that goal. This blog was almost an explosion of anger yet introspection. I oughta save it/print it and frame it to remind me.

    One day, we'll chop it up about our similar pasts. The journey teaches us, hurts us but it makes us better. One day at a time, I'm ignoring that fear and following my gut.

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