I will be attempting to encourage you to take that journal — that contains your deepest darkest secrets; — that contains coarse words about people you love; and share it with those you love.
I am sure the initial expectation is that I am about to tell you to make your journal public like me.
Nope. I won’t advise that.
I am doing mine out of an extreme correction from a severe case of two facedness.
Maybe I should give myself some grace. I don’t think it was as severe by comparison to most people I have encountered in my journey of life. But it was severe enough for me especially considering the timeframe I wanted to see tangible growth.
I need radical accountability and knowing myself, the very source of my personality cancer had to be the very agent of correction.
I know myself enough to know that I don’t succeed often or quickly in fighting my logic or fighting my desires. There are people that can say to themselves:
Stop eating that food!
Stop reaching out to that lady!
I have tried this for 32 year, oh umm… dang! It’s 33 now. Anyways, yes… 33 years of my life. And I never succeeded once. I tried it with porn, I tried it with many ladies that I had infatuation for. By infatuation I mean, we were never in a relationship, Infact for most of my first 25 years of life, most of the girls that I felt deep affection for, I did not date. I mostly fantasized about how lovely it would be to be their man.
Infact, I don’t think it mattered to me who they were, really. I was engulfed with the picture I had created of them walking next to me. The attention of it all, knowing I had a catch that was rare. I had spotted a rare fish in the ocean. And everyone was gonna come to terms with my fishing skills.
The obsession hence, was strong. I couldn’t command myself to stop because the seed was no longer floating in the ocean. It has germinated, found soil, and sprung into a 40 year old tree with tap roots that a tsunami won’t fell.
The problem is, it doesn’t take me too long to build a most around any desire. Whether it be a desire for a particular meal or a taste, a desire for an emotion, a desire for hormonal secretion, and even a desire to live in an imagination that I have sculpted.
The last one, imagination, has consistently been my greatest strength and my deepest weakness. I can see the world very clearly. I paint very vivid pictures in my mind.
This is the cornerstone of what makes me excel at anything I do in life. Anything that I have done well has it’s origins in a use or misuse of my imagination.
Before jumping into conclusions, I have to admit. This imagination is not always God centered. Infact my most constant tussle is to surrender what I build in my mind to the gentle hands of my maker to both mold, originate and shape. Because I have a tendency like a restless copilot to wanna be in control, and to be the architect.
This is my form of god complex. I have heard it used to describe surgeons that have to go in everyday knowing someone’s life is in their hands literally. That intoxicating feeling when you meet a dying person and you decipher what course of action purely through a synthesis of information about the patient, the facility, your competence and a sprinkle of probability through the lens of outcome and result.
On top of all that, you now get to execute and dynamically update your route to the outcome base on the evolution of factors especially the response of the patient to your imagination and your decisions.
I live that life often except there is no blood on my hands. I live with when I go to work and get to listen to what we are given to do for the next two weeks.
I live that life when I talk to my team at Charisol, and I get to be the chief imagination officer. I get to live and play in a world that doesn’t Exists yet and figure out who is next to pull into what I see so we can build legos together in the future. This future is not 3D, it’s not oculus. It’s not confined by the legos and bricks someone else has created. This future is not confined by any laws even though outcomes eventually mandate encapsulating it by the limitations of reality.
All this to say, my imagination is so strong and so vivid; so much of what I do is intertwined with it. Most of my decisions and actions are tethered to a simple question:
Does this decision get me closer to the world I envision?
Every meal I eat, every hug I give, every way I spend money, every place I go. This question is a common thread.
For certain things, the decision is preloaded ie I don’t need to decide to eat dinner because I know dinner keeps me alive which I need to be in order to be part of reimagining a better world or executing on tangible ways to contribute towards a better world.
If this is true, if every decision is a part of a choreography towards a vision. You can imagine why it’s not so simple to say:
Stopeeeeet! Stop that! Stop doing that!
The mere utterance of stopping doesn’t do anything. There is a spaghetti that just first be detangled. The question is often, is that one speck, that one strand of black spaghetti worth taking this painstaking time to remove it ? I often first have to find a reason not just to remove one strand of black spaghetti but instead of detangle and count every strand of spaghetti.
Let me restate that. For most people, especially the OCD driven folks. A black spaghetti is enough to stop the Sun and get it removed! For me, I have to justify to myself that I need a spaghetti census which then requires counting straightening every strand of spaghetti. This is the cover justifies spending the time to remove the black spaghetti. The removal is a by product of a larger more meaningful assignment or course of action.
Because by definition, imagination is not true. It is not perfect. It doesn’t need to be. It’s merely the best approximation of a mathematical equation that encapsulates the relationship between the various factors at play.
When I see my life as an infinite journey to perfection. There is a problematic lack or urgency to make micro changes. It’s sexier to fix America’s problems in my head than to stop my addiction to biting my nails.
Now that you know how my brain works, you can imagine when I realized that my pattern of thought and being has created an unhealthy gulf between who I project myself to be, especially based on where I am and what I can adapt to, and who I can sustainably live comfortably as.
We can explore the idea of sustainably-live-as later but simply put:
I didn’t know who I was, so I became whoever fit; and more dangerously I projected core values but didn’t bother living by them.
This discrepancy though was critical to the world I had built. My freedom to continue imagining a better world, depended on this structure that was void of accountability. I could be seen as a devout Christian because no one will see me with women and know that I had an addiction to lust. My fav was that I could just speak to women I met online as objects because I never intended to actually meet them.
So I can go to church and be the thoughtful caring brother in Christ that gave warm hugs and wanted nothing else in return because I was gonna spew my lustful mind to the next person that matched with me on bumble. I didn’t care that she unmatched me, meeting her even after all my brain dump would have been icing on the cake. I already got my release just having a space for a short or long while to process my thoughts.
Things needed to change. I needed to find out if I was the lustful guy or the Christian brother, I needed to find out. But how do you find that out ?
For me, it started not by trying to become one of the other but instead by opening the curtain and allowing light shine through the window and reveal what IS.
“What IS” has not been pretty or kind to me. But it has changed my life. Isolation did one thing very well. It allowed the darker, meaner, less desirable version of myself thrive at a faster rate than my core values could whack its mole.
My thoughts were isolated, they had no consequences. And when they became actions, they only were words. Words that
were void of empathy. They weren’t necessarily wicked, they just could be but primarily they were words that did not prioritize it’s recipient — which is very fertile grounds for the germinating the very opposite of the seeds that formed the man I wanna become.
We are out of time! I set out to convince you about sharing your deepest thoughts with those you love. I might just have to come back to make the connection for you but I’ll summarize thus:
The thoughts in your journal are not NOT you, they are very much a part of you. They need to be accepted, they need to be heard, they need to not be isolated. While it’s healthy to be intentional about who you reveal then to, it’s also essential that you don’t discriminate based on how you expect them to respond.
The first law of vulnerability: thou shaky act independent of how they will react.