Confidence and How I Got It

I questioned this post long before I began to write it. I had this little whisper in my ear telling me not to because it was going to make me come off as conceited and full of myself. I didn’t know the words to say to not offend anybody and also not have people think about me in a negative kind of way. Well just a few days ago I started to hear another voice. A voice that started to get louder and louder. Eventually louder than the other whispers. A voice saying “You earned it!”. I did. So here it goes.

I am going to be completely transparent with you. It was hard to open up like this but I cant tell you the story of how I got confidence without telling you who I was before.

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother and my twin brother Austin. Austin and I were always around our many aunts and few uncles. You can see that we were raised by only woman for the most part. I tend to pick up habits from my environment just like when you start hanging around somebody new and you then start to mimic some of the things they say on accident. Well I was around females most of my life and tended to have feminine qualities. Sometimes it was my posture. Sometimes it was the way I thought and the things that I said.

So coming from a child who was in the stage of self identity, it was extremely hard for me when people would laugh and say that I was a girl. I would get picked on regularly and called names that I didn’t even know what they were until I got older. I got picked on and I didn’t understand why.

During middle school I started liking girls and girls started liking me but it was still a constant battle because at that age I realized how horrible bullying could be. The girls that I liked would like me when I was alone with them but treat me horrible when their was an audience because they didnt want to be made fun of for liking the “gay boy” in school. That was the first time I contemplated suicide but that will be another story. It built one of the worst insecurities I have ever had in my life.

Once I reached high-school I thought that things would be easier. I had my first girlfriend during my freshman year. Due to my morals, I refused to be intimate with her and after a year I found out that the whole time I was a side piece when her “girlfriend” wasn’t around. Yeah that destroyed me considering that once the school found out, the bullying was 10x’s harder. Sophomore year I dated another girl and she was honestly my first love. I never felt a love like this and I knew for a fact that she would be the one.

Well right before summer break she wanted to take a “break” and see other people until school started. Yet again, I was crushed. I went through an extreme depression where I fought for her to open up and tell me why. I later found out that she also left me to be with a girl that she lied and said her name was Nate just so that I wouldn’t find out. Well many people new before me and the bullying intensified to the point that I didn’t have confidence in anything. I didn’t think that I was ever going to be man enough to be with a woman. I never thought that I would be strong enough to be good at any sports. I never thought that I would be smart enough to ever become anything and I was drowning in pain.

Drowning so deep in pain that I began cutting myself and other forms of self harm. I figured that if I was going to feel pain, I might as well be in control of some of it. Questioning myself “Why are you like this Adam? Why do you only hang out with only women? Why can’t you get along with many guys? Why are you so weak? Why can’t you be like everybody else?”

Well one day about a year after I graduated high-school, my twin brother and I were invited to go to the club with six of our female friends. They liked to bring us to occasions like that to keep the guys from harassing them. After a few hours of dancing and underage drinking, we decided to start heading to the car where our sober friends were waiting for us. Told you I was going to be transparent.

On the way to the car we passed a group of guys posted up on the wall. One of the guys laughed and said “Look at these fags!” while pointing at my brother and I. With a little bit of liquid courage in my system I turned and asked if he was talking to me. He replied “Yes” while snickering with his boys. “Yall have to be gay hanging around only girls.”

That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was never a fighter but I was always good at hurting with my words and dammit I was fed up. So I flamboyantly did 2 snaps and said “Im going home with six beautiful woman while you are going home with a group of guys. That actually seems a little more suspect than me and my brother right now, and to answer your questoin. No we are not gay, not that it matters anyways. We were actually invited here specifically to keep guys like you from stealing away these beautiful women’s joy. And now that I’ve looked at yall, a few of your friends were actually hitting on some of my friends earlier tonight. So although I have nothing against gay people, you clearly do, so let me get something straight. Me hanging out going home with woman will always be more masculine than another man like yourself trying to show off how tough and hard you are to make your homeboys, other men, feel that you are more of a man. So I am going to finish my night on good terms and you can continue trying to impress your guy friends.”.

I just knew that we were going to get jumped that night but what actually happened is the dudes only said a few more jabs trying to piss us off. Nothing they said could change the facts that I just threw into their faces and myself and my lovely friends walked back to the car and had a great rest of the night. That night taught me that at the end of the day, I can only be who I am and I can only impress the ones that truly care for me. That night I overcame the insecurity of people thinking that i was gay and I actually used that same response many times after. The more I responded that way, the easier it was for me. That’s when a lightbulb clicked on.

If my worst insecurity could be destroyed just by putting myself into the situation to beat it, then what happens if i put myself into other uncomfortable situations. I remember sitting down and thinking about all of the events that, at one point, hurt my feelings or had me thinking that I wasnt good enough. I wrote them down and figured out what I could possibly do to fix it. Before I knew it, my insecurity of being weak was killed simply by going to the gym and pushing myself. My insecurity of my weight and how skinny I was was simply erased by leaving the house in tight fitting clothes or even all spandex.

In doing so, I have made it a goal to face my fears and insecurities to the point that i joined the military, jumped out of planes, swam with sharks, nude modeled in front of strangers in art classes, had some of the best times of my life in some of the roughest parts of town and even faced my fears of wasp and heights as a tower climber. So if you made it this far understand that this is why I said that I earned the right sound conceited or full of myself by explaining how i got confidence. It was a hard journey that I had to fight everyday, completely alone. Now that I was able to find the secret, I am now sharing it with you.

If you dont have confidence in yourself, simply sit down, evaluate what you are insecure about and why. Once you find your “why”, jump into the fire. If you are scared to talk to a man or woman, take a breath and say hello. If you are insecure about your looks, step outside without makeup. If you are scared of being on stage, sing karaoke with a group of friends. Who knows? I felt like insecure to write this but this isn’t me bragging. This is me celebrating my success at overcoming the hardest obstacle I have ever had to face. Finding my confidence. Never be afraid to celebrate things that you have overcome. Finding out who you are and building confidence will bring peace and happiness in your life.

If you have a story like this that you would love to share, feel free to write me or send me an email. I would really love to read it.

It is OKAY

Todays society has brainwashed us all to believe that we have to please everybody. Brainwashed us to believe that we need to make everybody happy. Brainwashed us to put others before ourselves, but for us to be able to give anything, we must first have it ourselves. It is beyond impossible to make everybody happy and there are times when people that we always make happy wont be and all I am here to say is that it is okay.

It is okay to be frustrated at times. It is okay to want to be alone sometimes. Just as it is okay for you to be happy, it is just as okay for you to be sad. People will try to shame you for feeling emotions at times because it doesn’t help what they are going through and it is okay. Do not allow the selfish wants and needs from other people deter you from your growth.

It is okay for the class clown to be quiet sometimes. It doesn’t mean that something has to be wrong with him/her. Its probably just that he/she doesn’t have anything to say. Its okay to try ask if everything is alright but once they give you the answer, don’t try and force them to be the person that you want them to be for you because it will only add frustration and eventually resentment in the long run and create a negative emotion that wasn’t their to begin with.

It tends to be extremely hard if you are in relationships as well, whether its a spouse or a friendship but know that its okay to have your individual emotions. Society has created this rule saying that if you are best friends or an intimate relationship that you have to do everything together and I have one simple question. Why? Simple right. Why, when you are in a relationship that you have to be connected by the hip and if you aren’t then they can’t be a best friend or a loving spouse. It is okay to run errands alone so that you can clear your head. It is okay to do an activity with friends. It is okay. Do not allow people to make you feel obligated to do things that go against what you want and need to do for yourself. If you need space, take it. If you need to change your environment, change it.

Many times people will try and push their emotions onto you. They may think that something is wrong even though nothing is wrong at all and then create that feeling through their actions only to validate their initial accusation when nothing was wrong to begin with. You alone are the only person who can change your outcome and its okay to be selfish with your means of healing or progression in life.

If you want to wear the shirt, wear the shirt. Don’t let outside voices create insecurities in yourself because of what something looks like or how people might talk about you. If you want to do the activity, don’t let outsiders dictate you to move in another direction. Do what makes you happy and always remember that its okay to tell people “No” as well. Don’t let the emotions and beliefs of somebody else make you feel obligated to do anything and everything they tell you, or ask you, to do. You are in control and from me to you, just know that whatever you choose, it is OKAY.

Dead man walking

During a eulogy at a funeral, a young woman speaks about her late husband. While she was on the podium she was describing who the man was. With tears rolling down her face she explains how he was the most loving person that she has ever met. That he would give the shirt off his back and give it to an enemy if need be. How he didn’t believe that people from anybodies past should automatically be somebody to throw away. He saw great things in everybody whether it was an ex, an old friend, a coworker and even strangers.

She elaborated on how he was always the life of the party and that everybody always loved when he was around. He complimented people and always had to make people feel good and be happy. That he was a people person and could honestly talk to anybody. How his words could deescalate any negative situation and turn an uncomfortable environment into an inviting one.

He was a helper and motivator. He was a comedian. He was a teacher and a therapist. He would inspire people to be great. He was strong an hardworking. He was smart and open minded. Always gave every situation a positive perspective. He was one of a kind. He was always doing something to help others and one of his biggest flaws is that it was hard for him to say “No.” He was amazing.

At the end of the funeral the woman went home and went through an old photo album and reminisced about the past. The happy times as well as the bad and that’s when it hit her.

The majority of their arguments was derived from him simply being him and the perception of his qualities being a form of disrespect. She went back to what she said in the eulogy and replayed it in her head.

“He was loving and would give his enemy the shirt off his back if need be.” If that was so, then why did I force him to throw away pictures of people he shared memories with in his past. Memories that made him happy. If that was so, why did I tell him he had to remove and block people on his social media.

“He was always the life of the party.”, but I would give him hell and guilt trip him knowing that he would stay home if it would keep me happy. Slowly his phone notifications lessened. He stopped getting invited to hang out because they already knew the answer would be no.

“He complimented everybody and wanted to always put put a smile on peoples faces.” How dare he disrespect our relationship by lifting her up by telling her that she was beautiful, but in his eyes maybe he saw something that I didn’t and noticed that she was having a bad day and wanted to make her feel better.

Going through the memories, she realized that her husband died a long time ago. That person she described was not the man in the coffin. He was not the therapist. He was not the motivator. He was not the life of the party. He was not the uplifting man that helped people who were down.

The moral of this story is that we are all unique. We are all different. Our personalities are what make us who we are and I believe that everybody should be allowed to be who they are. I do not agree with forcing people to stop being who they are because the end result is just an empty shell. A dead man walking!

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Years ago when I attended college, my professor wanted to see where our head was before she started the class. She asked all of us to introduce ourselves and once we were done, she wrote a quote on the white board.

“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

She looked around the room and told us that this quote was going to be our first homework assignment. It was not going to be graded so there was no pressure on getting the wrong answer. All she wanted us to do is give us a few sentences of what we believed this quote meant to us.

The following morning, all of the students were seated with their papers out and the professor was standing at the front, quietly, with a smile on her face. Nobody said a word and she just looked around. After a few minutes, she pointed at a young man and asked him to stand up and explain what the quote meant to him. He had probably the simplest of answers. His response was a few sentences about how it referred to air, and that even though we can’t see it, its extremely important.

The professor gave him a nod of approval and then picked somebody else. This time it was a young female. Her response was very different but still had the same meaning. Air. By now I was feeling extremely self conscious. Fearful that I did what I always did, overthought the question. So I knelt in my seat and hoped that she wouldn’t call on me. Of course, I was the next that she called on. Standing up, this is what I said.

“What is essential is invisible to the eye” means a lot more than air. Yes it is very important and yes we can’t see it but I don’t think that the quote meant it. What I feel that quote means is that everything that is essential to life can’t be physically seen. You can show love but you cant see it like an actual object. You can show confidence but you can’t physically look and see it like a parked car. Everything that we need in life can be shown but none of it can be seen physically through your eyes. Essentials such as self-growth, having morals, integrity, honesty, confidence, happiness, etc. Without any of these invisible traits, who would we be as a race?

It was extremely hard to do but she had a wide smile and said that that was the response that she was looking for. Ever since that day, I have lived by that quote. I have actually planned on eventually getting it tattooed on me for a reminder but haven’t because its embedded in my head but the meaning still sticks.

We wouldn’t be much of anything if we didn’t realize what is essential if you think about it. Ask yourself that question and look in the mirror. What are some essentials that you have always needed in your life that you can’t physically see? Have you gone through traumas and overcome them in ways that you never expected until you looked back and thought about it? Have you made some internal changes that helped you become a better person? Were there things that you have done that didn’t fit your morals, whether it was an action or even a thought?

Now lets change the tone a little bit. What we can physically see is rarely an essential need. Today people are going through a rough time. Why is that? Is it because they are chasing money? The nice cars? The people? The objects that we can physically see tend to come far from what we need. I can name quite a few people who have money for days and aren’t happy. People who have nice cars and houses but don’t have morals. Many of these people actually got their money because of the lack of integrity and honesty and in a blink of an eye it all can be taken away whether it was from somebody who they thought they could trust, who is now rich or a simple contract tha

Once the objects are gone, the essentials will still remain out of sight and remain internally. Work on the essentials that you can not see and everything that you want will come into your physical view.