Tag Archives: self-help

Father’s Day Hangover Pt. 2

One of the cards I received Sunday…

​Maybe one of my favorite all-time movie dads, King Jaffe Jofer was right when he said “There is a thin line between love and nausea.” I wake up with a hangover every Monday after Father’s Day. I wonder if I’m the only person who feels like this. It’s possible so much recognition causes my body to go into shock and it needs to recover.
The gifts, the BBQ’s, brunches, and what have you are all cool (I’m jealous of you rare dads that get to have alone time that weekend). The reason why Father’s Day means so much to us patriarchs is very simple: validation for our work.

In spite of some issues, Father’s Day was amazing. My daughter Cydney wanted to have a barbeque for me and my favorite people-unfortunately my dad couldn’t make it-in attendance. My nephew wanted to try lemon pepper wings; I made that happen and he loved them. I taught Cydney how to ride a two-wheel bike. I got cards with handwritten notes from my kids and my best friend…and I contributed to a video for Attn: that racked over 100k views. My work was working.

Over the past week, I have been giving the word validation a substantial amount of thought. My good friend, K-Star made a joke in our group chat and it resonated with me. After every clever quip he made, he followed with “Good one, K-Star.” I thought it was brilliant.

K went on to say that he had been giving himself hi-fives all week and it made him feel great. Somewhere between finding it funny and believing my friend, I gave it a shot. I first tried it in the group chat and it felt pretty good. I then tried it out in real life. While working at my desk at a job I’m not too enthralled about, I gave myself these little hi-fives after completing each task. 

K-Star pointed out the elusive obvious, or the thing that was right in front of us and we didn’t see it. How often do we validate ourselves? More often than not, people tend to let their insecurities drive them. Our brains are wired to unconsciously push us into circumstances for us to say “I knew I was _____! See?!” The balance to this is that people have a slightly exaggerated viewpoint of themselves as well. For as much as we try to coerce ourselves into thinking we aren’t good enough, we do the same to say “I am great.”

More often than not, we look outward for this validation. There is nothing wrong with that because we are human creatures. However, we tend to neglect the person who matters the most: us. 

An hour after K shared his epiphany, I felt amazing. As a very competitive person, I wanted to keep finding things to do to tell myself “Good one, Chad.” My mood changed. I began to ask better questions and finish tasks in record time at work. My writer’s block completely went away and I began to pen a fairly ambitious project. Something as simple as giving myself an inner hi-five was the beginning of a paradigm shift.

By the time Sunday came along, external validation had greater intrinsic value. Maybe I felt hungover because my body was in shock from all of the validation. Good one, Chad. Good one, K-Star.

I think all of you reading this should give this a shot. Do it for a day and let me know how it made you feel.

If You Could Describe Yourself in One Word…

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Just now I posted this picture to my Insragram. That’s who I am. Uncompromisingly forthright and for the most part I unapologetic for being this way.

I either sugarcoat the hell out of things or I keep it too real. I care too much about how others feel so I’ll either tell them what they want to hear, say what I really want to say in a nice way, or I come off like an unexpected punch to the stomach. I wouldn’t say that I lack empathy, I just internalize the feeling because I don’t know how to express it. Some may say that I’m aggressive, I’m an asshole, or being inconsiderate of one’s feelings when I am. However, what no one can say about me is that I’m dishonest.

For the most part, people associate blunt with having a negative connotation. Not necessarily. My being this way makes me hilarious. I throw around one liners with random references and my friends can’t help but laugh because I’m normally saying something that is true or I’m asking the question many are afraid to ask…but they’re thinking it. I’ll address the proverbial elephant in the room in a light hearted manner. If I can make you laugh I can earn your trust. Once I’ve earned your trust my being honest makes me loyal. One can trust I’m going to give objective advice and love unconditionally because there’s no hiding.

The truth is that if I am frank with someone that means I hold you to the highest regard. I respect and see you as someone who can handle the truth. On a deeper level, I am revealing who I’m: guarded. I am blunt because by nature I am a very shy person. I hide behind my sense of humor and wit because it’s my wall. How people respond allows me to extrapolate how they will act in extreme circumstances and I know where to place them in my life. I’m reactive so my facade of sarcasm gives me an avenue to assess one’s character and personality. I’m looking for the unconscious knee-jerk response in which people reveal who they really are.  My defense and coping mechanism is also a simple psychological test. Because I’m reading body language, looks in one’s eyes, the speed or lack of response to a text message I’m always right. No, I’m always right. I can’t be hurt by someone who revealed who they are and they didn’t notice it. With that said, the way that I use being blunt isn’t aggressive; it’s passive.

In friendship, my direct approach is what makes me a good friend. I have a friend who had one foot in the door and one out in a relationship. She loved her boyfriend dearly; she wad just afraid to fully allow herself to fall in love. When they would get together and drink she would often get into fights and the insecure teenage girl would come out. So she was en route to to visiting him and was looking forward to it. I told her she’s going to have a good time until she’s had a drink and get mad at him about it. She said “You’re just going to pull my card like that?” Yes. What I did was tell her without telling her was to keep in mind this pattern of behavior because it could potentially be a hindrance on their relationship. Sure enough it happened. But she was aware of the pattern and was able to make what could have been a breakup a teachable moment. For the most part, people don’t like blunt behavior because it holds a mirror of one’s self up and they have to face their own fears, phobias, and shortcomings. The other side of that is that while one may be mad at the messenger they are on the road to self – improvement which is much easier to do when you have someone to be there with you. And that’s where the loyalty kicks in. I also treat people how I want to be treated: be honest with me. The truth may hurt but it’ll also set you free.

In love I’m the opposite. I don’t communicate at all. I’ll let a few infractions slide and then comes “Where keeping it real goes wrong.” I’m very forgiving so I usually get over being hurt very quickly. Yet, I’m going to hold one accountable and eventually once things have blown over I will say “Hey, this hurt me feelings.” Well, it doesn’t always come off that way and even when it does a fight usually will ensue.

Accountability is the reason I am blunt. In being loyal I’m going to let someone I care about know how they affect me so that they are aware of their actions. It is never for a guilt trip and for the most part it isn’t for me. In fact, the being direct is so that they are conscientious of how they treat others. Why? Because as a jerk I should be able to take what I dish out.

I’m also blunt with myself. I constantly put myself under the microscope in an effort to continuously tweak my own shortcomings. I’m actually my harshest critic so I welcome such honesty to strive to be the best person that I can be.

I love that I’m blunt. I owe my successes to it. No matter how compelling my story may be; what has made me good writer has been that I do so candidly. And to be frank I have the numbers to back that up.

…for the sake of humor I left the informal definition of blunt being a hollowed out cigar for marijuana purposes intentionally.

Fear vs. Phobia: An Incredibly Transparent Piece

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I thought this was a dope picture of Aquemeni getting 5 Mics in The Source in 1998.

As I have stated and have proven on a few Tuesdays: I am a huge OutKast fan.  This may be my third or fourth post with regards to their music and my life.  I still have one more in my head and will probably post it in a few weeks just to give the ‘Kast motif a rest (Unless I have writer’s block…Then you will can expect a musical post based around a selection from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below). 

I forgot all about this song.  In the fall of 2010, I burned a few CD’s and was driving from New York to Buffalo for the first time.  At five months pregnant, Timile was staying up there with family for a couple of weeks before traveling would become much more difficult.  I made a double-disc set of some of my favorite OutKast songs and hurried out of the door at the last minute.  I was rushing because a couple of days before that Timile told me that she felt our baby kick for the first time.  I wanted to see my lady because I missed her and was eager to feel who would later be the piece of work that is kicking me right now in her sleep.

Phobia came on as soon as I got off of the Suffolk Ave exit on the expressway that runs through Buffalo.  I was listening to Big Rube’s poem at the beginning of the song and what he said has stuck with me ever since:

Many of us mistake Phobia for true fear. Whereas fear is a gift from
God to be used for self-preservation. Phobia are obstacles strategically
placed in society by opposers of positive existence. Through
stereotyping, innuendo, false documentation, and glorification they’ll
turn your fear switch to a permanent on. We can change this by changing
the small truth within’ the lie. 

The difference between fear and being phobic is something that people often misconstrue.  Fear heightens senses and will make one act in a manner that they did not know that were able to: a fight or flight reflex, seeing a child under a car and out of nowhere being able to lift up part of the car to save them, or even working up the courage to sing your heart out when you have stage fright.  Phobia is crippling: chronomentrophobia is the fear of clocks (OutKast fans see what I did there?).

Most people do not believe me when I say that I am a shy person.  I talk very casually about anything in my life and act in a manner that is bold and even audacious.  When talking with a friend of mine earlier today they asked me if I was assertive.  I responded “Very.  Maybe even aggressive.”  I am bold because I am shy.  I don’t believe in letting my fear of people or being accepted hold me back.  Mentally, I back myself into a corner and eventually whatever I have to say, think, or do comes out.  A mini adrenaline rush if anything.  

My friend and I were talking within the context of relationships.  They just went through a breakup and I was explaining to them the difference between fear and phobias.  Some people don’t like to be alone.  They are afraid of that or there is a fear of being and feeling “unloveable” that they jump from relationship to relationship in which the same things keep happening over and over again.  Self-worth dwindles and as the patterns keep repeating themselves, the experiences they have been through often confirm their irrational fear of not feeling loved.  That becomes paralyzing and turns into a phobia.

While it is a work in progress, I am still cynical.  I think the absolute worst of people and in the context of relationships I am phobic of commitment.  Other than Timile, I can only think of one other girl I ever called a girlfriend and that hardly counted because it was for like two weeks in high school and I didn’t like the girl anyway; I was trying to be nice.  Its the reason I don’t let too many people into my inner circle, why I keep a poker face on just about all of the time, and I’m incredibly hard to read. In fact, no one person living (and I have a twin) can say that they know everything about me.  It’s that deep.  Thank God I am the father to a little girl because raising her means working on breaking down this phobia little by little.  

To ensure that I don’t get too close to people just about everyone I have dated in my adult life was in a relationship.  I have become an expert at it.  Their boyfriends (or husband) was my safety net that things wouldn’t get too serious because after a while they would go back to their significant others.  If they wanted to actually pursue our courtship even farther I wouldn’t be interested because they were the type of person that would break off a seemingly happy relationship: theoretically they could do that to me.  As bad as this may sound, my expertise came in handy when Timile and I broke up and she had another boyfriend at one time: I got rid of him and talked her into moving back to Georgia from Virginia.  

After she passed away, I went back to the only thing I knew and tried to figure and fix my internal problems along the way.  With that said, I was okay with dating people in relationships because I wasn’t ready for anything else.  These situations were a practice of some sort to see if and how much I was really ready to move on.   

At this point I’ve dated and “talked to” someone who was actually single.  Am I still phobic?  Absolutely.  I actually tried for the first time since Timile.  Whether it works/ed out many steps that I did take in actually opening up, being patient through another’s flaws, fears, and phobias, and all that comes along to me are in fact a big deal and have required taking large steps out of my comfort zone.  One day, it may be as simple as charming someone who has a boyfriend; but that isn’t the case right now.  I am in the process of turning my phobia into a healthy fear and maybe one day just an anecdote in a chapter of my life.  Understanding the difference between fears and phobias means that I can compartmentalize actions of mine into one or the other.  Recognizing a behavior that has been stifling means I can turn it into something less threatening.  When my friend earlier today asked me how am I able to actually try again I told them “It can’t end as bad as my last relationship.”

That’s how I push through it.