Blogpost, self-reliance

Parade Float Existence

You’re not supposed to see the wheels of a parade float. The entire idea behind the “float” is that it gives off the illusion that it is above the ground, a piece of art suspended in the air. The right circumstances need to be in place to make a float viable. A relatively straight road that has been blocked off from regular traffic is paramount to a float’s functionality. There’s a reason why we don’t see floats on a daily basis. They are an impractical sham of existence that cannot persist much longer after the parade is over.

Despite these facts about floats, many of us try to drive our own float down the streets of our daily lives. We primp ourselves to hide all scars, blemishes, effort and fatigue. The systems that hold us up are well hidden from the world to give the illusion that we might be floating. Social media is the stop in front of Macy’s where we need to pause and pose or sing and dance like Mario Lopez. Realizing of course that it’s a sham, you’re only there because you don’t have anything more important to do. Millions of people might be “watching” but in all honesty no one is truly watching. You scroll by with the other people pretending to be pitch perfect and are barely noticed or remembered.

There is nothing wrong floats or parades but they should not be daily experiences. As individuals we need to be much more agile and fast moving. Maintaining the facade is at best impractical and at worst dangerous. When life demands more of us than a parade route, we will fall apart at the seams if we’re made of tissue paper and flowers. Keeping it together is impossible in that unnatural state. So only bring out the float on special occasions. There are so many other parade participants to be:

  • The balloon that need eight people to keep it from floating off into the ski.
  • The classic cars that would love nothing more than to ditch the parade for the open road.
  • The tanks that could take out a building if the situation called for it.
  • The high school band who had to compete to get there and are REALLY playing their instruments.

So if you’re trying to be a float, please remember that you’re not fooling anyone. We all know that underneath, you’re a type of farm vehicle. Unless it’s a special occasion, you can ditch the facade and be the real you. Just because we put a camera in everyone’s pocket, doesn’t mean we’re all on TV or need to act like second class stars. Our daily lives require people of true substance! We need the real you!

Show off your wheels!


Blogpost, self-reliance

Dollar Store Self-Esteem

It’s everywhere right now and it’s a real problem! I’m speaking from personal experience because I’ve been using this product for years. Dollar Store Self-Esteem! One of the biggest issues with Dollar Store Self-Esteem is that it’s not just sold in Dollar Stores. It’s sold everywhere! You can get it at Gucci, Walmart or even Tiffany’s. You don’t even have to get it at a store. It’s basically everywhere you look. Sometimes you have to pay more but the product is basically the same. It’s a cheap (or expensive) knock-off that tries to act like the real thing but it’s nothing of the sort. If we just look at the label then we can see that we’ve been sold crap but usually we just stick with it because it’s easier. The people who sell it are everywhere too. The ad campaigns are hitting us in the face all the time. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not 100% positive if most people can tell the difference anymore. Now is the time to figure it out!

If you break it down, self-esteem should be a pretty simple concept. It’s confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Unfortunately many of us (including me) have mangled this definition. Notice that the definition of self-esteem has nothing to do with other people, things or ideas. It is all about the confidence that the individual has in themselves. At the moment, it is so much easier to extract the “self” from the equation. Rather than accomplish something or move toward a personal goal, the order of the day seems to be finding the fault in everyone and everything else in the world. That’s Dollar Store Self-Esteem! It’s nothing more than a sugar coated air bubble. It may feel good for a moment but it’s empty and unsatisfying. No matter how many you eat, it will not sustain you.

So if you notice yourself about to buy another dose of Dollar Store Self-Esteem, STOP! Take a moment and do something that might actually make you feel better about yourself. Rather than attacking that stranger whose opinion is different to yours on Facebook, send a message to someone you love. When you see the latest picture of Karen, Tom, Dick or Harry; acting in a way that you think is abhorrent. Don’t comment, go do something that you’ve been putting off for a long time. It’s not as easy I know and that comment, Tweet or like was probably going to change something (tongue in cheek).

The world is in a pretty messed up place at the moment. If you want to, there are plenty of people and situations that you can blame. More blame isn’t the way out of this situation. More action is. Each and every one of us has the ability to impact the world that we touch everyday. As we are seeing with the present Pandemic, we are all connected. So doing good things in your own little world is not futile. It will do two things! 1) It will make you feel good about you. 2) It will ripple outward. Spiral out, keep going!

Have a great day people!



Webster’s and Facebook Identity Polls

What does the New Year bring you?  Which Greek god are you?  Which Star Wars villain are you?  What character from classic literature are you?  What state should you live in? These are all Polls that I’ve seen on Facebook at one time or another.  They can be an interesting diversion for five minutes but why do we see so many pop up on our news-feed?  They show up because they are popular and people take them regularly.  But why?

Identity is something that is extremely important to people.  We want to know who we are and be sure that others see us that way.  One of the most difficult periods of a person’s life is often called an “identity crisis”.  People realize that they are no longer what they once were.  This can result in major life upheaval.  Consistency in identity is extremely important to most of us.

One of the best examples that I have of this is my cousin Kerry.  He is a distance runner, exercise enthusiast and pretty strict about his diet.  Despite all of his healthful choices, he had used chewing tobacco since he was in college.  The chewing tobacco was a long standing habit, even longer than the running and exercising.  Kerry knew it was bad for him and had tried to quit it several times but the bad habit persisted until I made an random comment to him.  “If you’re the ‘fitness guy’, then why do you still dip?”  That question changed everything.  In order to keep in line with his identity, he had to quit tobacco and he did.  His identity was being questioned by someone else and therefore he had to decide who he really was.

The thing that scares me about the FB polls and online forums is that we seem to be looking for others to define us.  “Tell me who I am because I don’t know.”  As a teacher, I see this too often with my students.  Clothes, hair, opinions, and everything else seems to change with the whims of what is popular.  With the echo chamber of the internet, it exponentially increases the scenario of the blind leading the blind.  The way to know if you’re doing the right thing is if everyone else is doing the same or at least someone famous.  At least if you’re following the crowd, it’s someone else’s fault.  No it’s not, you DECIDED to follow.

Rather than following the crowd or having Facebook or even Webster’s Dictionary define you, do it yourself.  Go to a quiet space with a pen and a paper.  Write down who you are.  Or even better, write down who you want to be, in every area.  Physically, mentally, emotionally and etc.  Feel free to get input from trusted people but don’t ask random people walking down the street.  Even this paper will not be the end of it.  Your identity is work in progress just like your life.  Examine both and define them with your own terms.