You Have to Earn The Right To Feel Good About Yourself

I feel a lot of guilt, sadness, regret and anger. Much of it is related to the past. It’s not constant. It comes in waves, but it hits hard.

Once you learn to accept that the past is the past and that it can’t be changed, you set a precedent to move forward with your life.

But, no matter what, I’ve learned from one of my role models — Andy Frisella — that you have to earn the right to feel good about yourself.


Some people might disagree with that and spew insipid platitudes like, “happiness is a choice regardless of your situation!” but the truth is, happiness is a choice… yes… but “regardless of your situation”? No. While I believe in making the best of every situation and using it as an opportunity, if you are poor, struggling to scrape by in life and hardly able to live paycheck to paycheck, you might be able to take solace in that you have your physical health and are still able to live your life, counting your true blessings, but I highly doubt you are happy, or at least as happy as you could be.

I don’t remember if I wrote it here or elsewhere, but I also believe that action cures fear.

In the way you earn the right to feel good about yourself, you do so by taking action and doing something that yields that result.

2010-2013 were blunders in my life. Those were four wasted years where I did not advance in my life. I did have some good moments in 2010 and on a lesser scale in 2011, but I accomplished nothing in regards to building a better and brighter future for myself. I spent much of my time bitching, moaning, groaning and crying (to myself only) about missing my ex, who was a crazy, dirty, lying, cheating, childish human being, and doing nothing about it.

I could have made myself busy. I could have strode to keep myself busy by working out more and reading, but no. I spent a lot of lonely nights jacking off to erotica on Lush Stories, intermittently playing video games, reading inane bullshit on the internet and doing nothing to ‘level up’ in life.

In 2014, I went back to college. It was at a community college, but still, it’s college. It was a huge milestone for me. Right off the bat, I took public speaking despite hardly being around a whole lot of people for a few years. I knew I had to make this choice in order to grow. It’s funny how one of the girls in that class remarked near the end of the semester that I was “so calm and collected” even though I was nervous as fuck. I always went first in class, because my theory always is, in public speaking, people are too busy  worrying about their upcoming speech to truly pay a whole lot of attention to yours, and besides, even if they do key in on you, they’ll forget about you soon enough!

I felt great. I was building confidence.

I continued another school year in 2015-2016. I took a shitty chemistry class, and I hated my lab teacher. I also made a great friend, at least for that time period, named Dillon. If that was the 2009-2013 version of me, I would have quit going to school just like I did when I first tried college in the fall of 2009.

This past year, I completed my final year at the community college. I think I would have finished up in 2015-2016 had I not been forced to take developmental math for a few semesters. I took a year of math this past school year and made an A last fall and a B this past spring semester. I’ve been accepted to a university this fall as a junior. I’m mostly taking online classes, but I will be taking a night class at the same community college for five weeks through the university.

I’ve built confidence and, in many ways, I feel great about myself.

But you can’t just do the right thing a few times and expect it to last… you have to keep the momentum going by continuously doing what you need to do. Don’t feel like working out? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like studying? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like writing that paper? Do it now! Do it, anyway!

Because when you are done, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself than you will if you procrastinate and watch shitty YouTube videos instead.

I heard somebody say, elsewhere, I think on Reddit, that you “should find enjoyment in everything, even if you dislike it”… BULLSHIT. That is nice, in theory, but truthfully, some things just suck! And no matter what, through whatever positive thinking channel your mind goes through, you will never enjoy it, and sometimes it’s best to put your head down and grind through it. Once you start something, sometimes you realize it’s not as bad as you conceive it to be.

If I work out every single day for 90 days, I will feel better about myself than what I would if I kept procrastinating.

By doing so, you earn the right to feel good about yourself.

I struggle almost daily to stay on track.

It’s fucking hard. But that’s OK. Because nothing worth doing or accomplishing in life comes easy!

Sometimes I procrastinate. Not as much as I used to, but I’m still working on it. It happens. No excuses. It’s easy to be suckered into doing things that are not apropos to what you should be doing.

But man, when you get into that flow of doing the thing you need to be doing, accomplishing tasks that need to be done, and you complete them, it feels good. It’s liberating.

You have to earn the right to feel good about yourself. I think that is an undisputed truth. I appreciate Andy Frisella for talking about this on one of his podcasts. If you don’t know who he is, Google him and thank me later.

I’m sure there are antagonists out there who exist that will be antagonists of this mentality, but that’s their thought process and not mine.

I didn’t start feeling better about myself until I started doing shit that made me feel uncomfortable, stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting to achieve a modicum of success.

If I kept sitting in my bedroom, on my computer, jerking off to sluts on Tumblr and not doing anything, no matter how badly I want to feel great about myself, I’d still — deep down — always feel depressed and awful about myself.

Whenever you go out and do something that you feel needs to be done in regards to accomplishing your tasks and goals, you feel good. I believe that’s an undisputed truth as well. But you have to do it day in and day out and build that perpetual momentum to consistently feel good about yourself.

No, not every day will you feel like a million bucks. This is life and we are all human beings, prone to difficult days, but you can’t have sunshine without a little rain.

Keep grinding, keep hustling, do what you need to do. Embrace the suck. Consume some caffeine (or not) and bulldoze ahead. I believe in you. If I can go through hell, you can, too.

Fuck Walmart

I’m not sure there’s anything that yields more anxiety — for me, personally — than going to my local Wal-Mart. It’s a dump. My favorite time to go, if there is such a thing, is either early in the morning (6-8) or late at night (12-1). I used to consider 10pm late at night for a Walmart run, but the last two times my girlfriend and I have gone, it’s been fucking mayhem!

I live in a small, rural town. We have two McDonald’s (trash), two Wendy’s, a Burger King, three Subways, etc. Not just in my town, but overall, in my area. It’s methhead central. I’ll be here for another couple of years before hopefully moving to the midway point between my girlfriend’s family and my own.

For some reason, Walmart brings out the rudest, trashiest people on the planet. I hate going.

Haaaaaaaaaaaate going.

But they do have prices on several products that can’t be beaten elsewhere. My favorite grocery store to go to is my town’s Food Lion. My girlfriend scores us so many deals with her couponing, and going there late in the evening typically nets us some killer meat markdowns occasionally. I bought a rack of beef back ribs at Food Lion last night that were marked down from $12 to $6. I’ll be smoking those soon. I digress.

I guess it’s the cheap prices that bring out the bottom dwellers to Walmart. I don’t know what it is. A ‘pretty good’ Walmart a couple of towns away from me is usually OK. But fuck. I hate it when Walmart is crowded. People won’t move nor say excuse me. They walk out of aisles without looking. As a person who was raised to wield manners and had their ass whipped if they didn’t show ’em, this drives me bonkers. I fucking hate all these goddamn morons out there who lack basic civilized social skills.

Fuck me.

It’s funny. Public speaking is said to be the number one, most feared activity in the world. It doesn’t really bother me. I’m confident in my voice, speaking and all that jazz. However, I do have social anxiety that rears its head every now and again, and that usually comes from being at fucking Walmart.

If I had a ton of disposable income and didn’t care about prices, I’d never go to Wally World! I’d go to Target (which is an hour away) or anywhere else.

I can only imagine how high my blood pressure gets when I go to Wal-Mart.

For now on, I’ll consider 6-8am to be the prime times to go.

Of course, we fucked up last night, going on a Friday night, but my girlfriend needed to get a new pair of khakis for work, and she’s working second shift the next couple of nights.

I’m glad that experience is over with. I try to think more positive about dealing with the folks at Wally World, but there are so many trashy, rude idiots that come out. I even try to ignore them, but holy fuck!

Also, how many employees does this place have? They are coming out like ant nests under a rock!

At least one guy was nice last night. A worker from there. Some old dude. We spoke and both complained about the heat level in the store.

You Will Face Criticism No Matter What You Do

In every walk of life, you will find detractors who will criticize anything you do. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you are a veritable scumbag or honorable citizen, someone will say something ignorant and judgmental.

The truth is, unless they are watching your every move, they will forget about you soon enough.

This is my personal way to combat social anxiety. You might feel like someone is judging every step you make, and maybe they are; some people like to people-watch. But they will forget about it in a few moments. We are all inherently selfish (it’s not a good or bad thing — it just is) as we have too much on our mind to care about what other people — particularly strangers — are doing.

Some food for thought. Something to remember if you feel anxious and/or monitored while in public.

The other day I wrote about living at home despite being 26. An old man (relative to my age), 52, from Australia, made a snide comment: “Move out of your mothers. 26, seriously?” Yes, seriously. Go fuck yourself.

Fear is a Double Edged Sword: Drive or Die

I was with my ex-girlfriend Bekki in the fall of 2009 when I was a student at a local community college. I was 18-years-old, didn’t manage my priorities correctly and ultimately finished the semester with a 1.9 GPA, only completing one of my five classes (while not properly dropping the other four and receiving F’s). The one class I completed was an 8am Tuesday/Thursday English class, the only time of the day I felt like I could relax, because my relationship with Bekki was a colossal shitbag disaster. Yeah, that one class I completed, I only made a C in there when I should have made an A, but my dumb ass didn’t turn in the final term paper and I half-assed the final exam.

After a five year hiatus away from college, I returned to that same local community college in 2014. Now, in 2017, I’ve managed to take that 1.9 GPA and raise it to a 3.3/borderline 3.4. Redemption has been mine, but damn, it was a long, painful journey!

In a nutshell, I’ll tell you what happened in the fall of 2009: I was an in-love 18-year-old dating an immature girl that was still in high school. I prioritized that relationship over my personal goals and mental health. I got myself so wrapped up in making sure she was happy, I lost sight of what was going on in my life. I didn’t consider the consequences of my choices at that community college at the time.

You can read about my experience with Bekki in another post. I linked to it in the first line of this post.

2010-2013 were the biggest wastes of time in my life. Especially 2012 and 2013. I did not accomplish a single thing in those years.

I was handicapped by fear. I knew I had to return to college and make things right. But how? But when? I’d say “now“, every time, but I was so scared. I remember, back in April or May 2013, it was a late night, and I had my TV set to TNT. I was watching the NBA playoffs featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies. I loaded up my local community college’s website. I was so nervous… I had to go use the bathroom, so I did, and when I came back I closed the page, closed my laptop and ate six Snickers ice cream bars instead. Complete and total avoidance.

On June 1, 2013 I walked to the top of a pretty big mountain at a park here, alone, and I talked to myself out loud. “I will give my self one year. One year. One year to get my shit together and go back to [my local community college]. It’s now or never.”

I’m not so sure I got my shit together in 2014, but I signed up for classes about two weeks before they began in August 2014, and here I am.

Fear is a bitch. Fear is a friend. Fear is a two-faced motherfucker. I mean what I wrote in the title of this post. It is absolutely a double edged sword that can either drive you to do great things or paralyze you with complete and utter inactivity. I’ve been on both sides.

I knew I had to return to college in 2014. I had to make things right. I wanted to, deep down, but I was so goddamn against wanting to be around new people. Specifically, younger students. Nowadays, I don’t care about that, but back then, I didn’t want to be judged for being an older guy, even though I was only 23 in 2014. It’s funny, thinking back, about how silly that insecurity was.

I used Nike’s “Just do it” slogan to fuel me, I reckon. Also a dash of, “What’s the worst that can happen?” in my mindset. “You fail? Fuck it; everybody fails”. Everybody makes fools of themselves. Everybody is a error-makin’, failure-havin’ human being.

When I signed up for classes, I decided to go ahead and do public speaking. Get it out of the way. I’ve always had a narcissistic enjoyment for my voice. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a sportswriter and a sports broadcaster. In 11th grade, my sports marketing teacher — she was a babe — told me I had a hypnotizing sportscaster voice. That got to my head. I knew that deciding to get public speaking out of the way would push me out of my comfort zone. I was hardly around unfamiliar people in 2010-2013, so putting myself out there and doing public speaking after barely being around anybody was a fucking huge, but fucking awesome, challenge.

The best part about it, and I’ll never forget this because it makes me smirk, is that the two girls I sat next to — Alexis and Whitley — told me that I was just so calm and that envied that about me, when it came to speeches in class. I always volunteered to go first whenever we had our speaking days. Because, my theory was always, if you go first, nobody is really going to pay attention to what you are saying, because they are going to be too worried and anxiety-riddled about their own speeches. I never understood the people who tried to stave off doing it! You have to do it, anyway, so why not get it over with so you can relax!? I’ll never forget — right before Thanksgiving break in 2014, we had a speaking day, and a few people didn’t want to get their speech over with, so our instructor said they’d have to do it after our holiday break was over with. Are you fucking kidding me? You’d rather stew over it during your entire break rather than get it out of the way?!

Most of the students in there were second year students that were just about ready to graduate; they had put that class off until the last minute.

Anyway, the “calm” comments they made about me? Yeah, inside, my heart was pounding, but despite my heart pounding with anxiety, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could do it. I guess that’s why I appeared calm. It was nerve racking, but I knew had the ability to stand in front of a group and talk.

Fear paralyzed me in 2010-2013 when I’d spend all day crying/stewing over Bekki or otherwise wasting my time in other useless endeavors.

Fear drove me to return to my local community college in 2014.

I have a lot to do and a lot to work on. But when you are faced with fear, you have a choice to either do nothing or to take action. If you take action, typically you’ll face your fear and figure out if it’s just a phony — and 99.9% of the time it is. When you doing, you never find out and you only stay in one place, never moving or growing or evolving.

Life without pain is a life without challenge and a life without challenge is a life without growth.

Hindsight is Always 20/20: Don’t Let a Failed Relationship Hinder Your Future

Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.

I wrote in this post that I was in an online relationship once upon a time. I was. She was my first love. Bekki. It all started in June 2008 in the books & authors section of Yahoo! Answers. Around that time, the Twilight book series was on the rise in popularity. I was 16, a couple months away from turning 17 and starting my senior year of high school. I saw a girl making comical contents about the Twilight series, bashing it sardonically. I thought she was charming. We answered each others questions on the site. She had a link to her MySpace on her profile and I added her.

In late July, I sent her a message entitled, “That Twilight Junk”. It started off with yours truly complaining about the popularity and oversaturation (in society) of the Twilight series. She agreed with me. A common interest (or should I say disinterest?) joined us together. Soon, we were talking about our lives, interests, hopes and dreams. She was 14, and a freshman in high school. Again, I was about to be a senior. She was from Florida; I was/am from a different state.

In October 2008, we started talking on the phone, and it began a daily ritual of us talking every single night (and some days) for two years and two months, all the way up until late December 2010.

Her parents attempted to stop her from talking to me. Looking back, I can see why they did that. She was talking to someone she met online, and they were concerned I was some old man, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Regardless — again, looking back — if I were in their position, I would do the same thing.

Despite her parents doing their best to nix our relationship, she found ways to go behind their back and talk to me every single damn night. It was an amazing time. I still contend — not out loud, but this is the way I feel — that 2008 and 2009 have been the best years of my life so far. She and I had the perfect chemistry. We would talk about every and anything you can imagine. She was a music fanatic, and to this day I still believe she knew more about music than any person I’ve met (that’s not in the music industry).

So, you might be wondering, what happened?

Well, we never met in person.

Looking back, it’s easy to tell what happened. She was young, and still mentally and emotionally growing up. Her parents began to separate in 2010. That’s when Bekki changed, too. Her friends made fun of her for being in an online relationship; I think that was the kiss of death to our relationship, because for a teenage girl, for your peers to make fun of you, that’s huge.

On December 28, 2010 we Skyped for a few hours, everything seemed normal, and then I didn’t hear from her again until September 4, 2011.

Just like that, she ended all contact with me. Do you know how it feels to go from contact each and every single day for two years and about five months to no contact at all?

I had a delayed emotional response to what happened. I didn’t grieve at all in January 2011. I was in shock, I think. I watched the TV series, “Rescue Me” on Netflix, was on a ketogenic diet (bullshit diet; I mean if it works for you, great, but it’s not the best thing ever or anything, which I’ll discuss in a different, future post) and watched the Green Bay Packers steamroll their way to the Super Bowl.

But in February, when I was alone at my aunt’s house, after I finished watching a recent episode of Californication, I began bawling my eyes out, thinking about Bekki and how much I missed her. I genuinely spent the entire month of February 2011 crying. I spent that entire year depressed. There were many days I didn’t want to leave the bed. I was in so much pain.

You might ask, “Well, why didn’t you contact her or check on her? What if something happened to her?” I didn’t want to look her Facebook up or Google her, because I feared the inevitable that she’d gotten with somebody else. I knew she’d ended things a couple days after that fateful day in December 2010, because I’d logged into Skype and saw that she’d set a status, and she logged out when I tried to contact her at that point. That day, I just had a pit in my stomach. In April 2011, I checked again, and she’d once again had a different status/post on Skype.

On September 4, 2011 she sent me a Facebook message that I didn’t see until September 7th. She started out by saying, “Hello, you. I owe you a billion dollars for the damage I caused to your mind and heart”. She told me that she started seeing someone in person in late 2010, and it was a breath of fresh air to have actually been treated nice by her parents.

In hindsight, I should have told her, “Alright. Thank you for explaining to me what happened. I appreciate the closure.” and never spoke to her again. Except… we began talking again. This time, we Skyped every single night until 12:29 AM on December 8th, when she did the same thing as the last time, except this time I knew I’d never hear from her again, and I didn’t.

It’s funny how life turns out. 2012 was a horrific year. My last remaining grandparent — my grandmother; my mom’s mom — died, and I was bitter, angry and carried an awful attitude towards everything. 2013 was a bit better, but unproductive. I was still depressed.

However, I’m over Bekki now. I wanted to write this post today, because I know somewhere out there that another person has gone through hell and back when it comes to a relationship like this. I never talked to anybody about it (outside of my current girlfriend, Dana) for all these years. I just bottled it up and let out the sadness and incandescent rage whenever I was alone.

It’s unfortunate, too, that I never talked to anybody about it (outside of the internet and, again, my current girlfriend, which wasn’t until 2014). 2012 was the lowest point in my life. I remember spending an entire day in my bedroom in 2012 when my family from South Carolina came to visit, and I didn’t even come out to see or talk to them. What an asshole, right? But I was depressed. I’d stay up all night and sleep all day.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back, it’s not surprising how things went down. She was a teenage girl going through the motions of finishing high school and gaining wisdom through experiences. She was evolving and changing fast. Peer pressure is real.

I’m over her now, but the pain put a chokehold on my life, and I wasted a few years of it.

If you would’ve asked me about the year 2011 during the years 2012 or 2013, I would have told you it was an awful year, but now that time has passed and I have a broader perspective, I can genuinely say that 2011 was an amazing year. I had some incredible times with my best friends. We made a horde of memories. However, when 2011 was occurring, I wasted a lot of time being depressed over Bekki. Even in 2010, I was so concentrated on making her happy when her parents were separating that I missed out on some awesome experiences.

Now, 2012 and 2013 were still atrocious, wasted years, but 2011 was not as bad as I originally felt it was.

I’m in a better place now. I’ve been with my girlfriend, Dana, for over two years and six months. We, too, met online. Hell, I met Dana on Lush Stories, an erotica website! We encountered one another on there right before my grandmother passed away in 2012, but we didn’t become close until January 2014. I was truly an asshole in 2012. I didn’t know how to process my emotions, and I shut a lot of people out.

It’s funny how things work out… I met Dana on Lush, she was from a different state, we met officially on August 3, 2014 and then in May 2015, I visited her and her family, and now? We live together. Dana moved in with me on June 6, 2016.

If everything that happened with Bekki never occurred, I would have probably never met Dana.

I’m not religious, but count your blessings, folks. I’m not an “everything happens for a reason” type of guy, but those past events led me to today.

Another thing: I originally started college in the fall of 2009 at a community college. I allowed myself to be distracted by my relationship with Bekki and didn’t prioritize my classes. I ended up not going to my classes and I never properly dropped them. I didn’t re-enroll in 2010. After almost five years of inactivity, I returned to the same community college in 2014 and I’ve taken my paltry 1.9 GPA and moved it up to a 3.3/borderline 3.4.

Why does the post title say not to let a failed relationship hinder your future even though I wrote that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the aforementioned past events? Well, I still mean what I titled the post with.

Even though who I am today is derived from the past, I still wasted years of my life. Even though I said I had some awesome times in 2011, there was never any growth in regards to something to expand on in my life. I didn’t accomplish a single, solitary thing in 2012 and 2013. In the first eight months of 2014, I didn’t accomplish jack squat either.

I used to want those years back, so that I could rectify ’em, but I can’t.

That’s why I say to not let a failed relationship hinder your future.

Once the relationship is dead, in your mind the other person should be dead to you, as well. That’s not sound mean or macabre, but when it’s over, it’s over. A breakup is called a breakup because it’s broken. No matter what happens, the world keeps spinning. The roosters keep cockle-doodle-dooing. Life is short and there are so many experiences and lessons to be learned and had.

It took so long for me to get over Bekki because 1.) she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, and 2.) we had incredible chemistry. But I looked her up a couple weeks ago and saw that she now has two children. A daughter that’s a few years old, and now a newborn son from a different man. She might be doing well in her professional career, but it looks like I dodged a bullet, since I know who she turned out to be (I don’t know now, but in 2010 and 2011 she was a molecular structured liar and cheater).

If I would have stayed with Bekki, I would have had a tumultuous relationship with the in-laws. Fortunately, Dana’s family loves me to death and her parents treat me as if I was her son. They are so sweet o me. They actually gave me their old smoker for Christmas, to cook incredible barbecued meats and bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapenos in.

Go through hell in life. Experience it. But don’t let a past, failed relationship hold you back for as long as I allowed mine to do me.