Real Steel

Hey. So I’ve decided to take a leaf out of James Clear’s life and update this blog biweekly, on Mondays and Thursdays. This will give me the opportunity to read more and add invaluable, researched content and not just opinions on this blog. It will also give you the opportunity to reflect and apply anything that impresses you. Till Monday, stay awesome.


‘There could be a freak accident
There could be a fatal disease
I know we hate to think about it
But it’s as real as you and me
It’s as real as you and me’

-Prophetess Rihanna

I’ll give props where they’re due, I heard the prophet Riri joke from Michael Todd first. However, the joke isn’t the focus but the lyrics. Can we sing those without any hypocrisy? When I ask this question I have to zoom in on “as real as you and me.” How real are you? Are you like the machine from Real Steel where actual props were created computer graphics served only as an embellishment?

To cap off the discussion we’ve had about being vulnerable I’d like to urge you to take a look at yourself… and then make a change!

-MJ

No, that’s not it. I mean to take a deep, introspective look at yourself. Go on a self date. Sounds mad odd but with quarantine in place that should be easy right? Find out what you really like, what your pet peeves are. What shows do you enjoy watching? What would you do when no one was there to pressure you or shame you into doing something else. When I was 10 I had the immense privilege of sharing 2 hours a day on a bus ride with someone I looked up to. I guess it was just pure awe at how well they adapted to the environment and at the way popularity appeared to wrap around them like a second skin. This person had an annoying habit though. (Insert petty Ayanda here.) They always seemed to know every lyric of every song that came out that week. That’s perfectly fine. What was irritating was the apparent, irresistible compulsion to ask me if I had heard the songs in question. I wasn’t one to keep up to date with music. I have no idea what spirit would possess them whenever I said this, which was perhaps 97% of the time, but it drove them to do that undoubtedly annoying thing that’s probably happened to you at least once.

“Don’t you know this song?” they would ask.

“Nope,” I’d respond, candid and more than a little uninterested.

“But surely, you know it?” they would ask again.

This is when I would think to myself, How bad am I at communicating? I’m sure I was straightforward in my acknowledgement of not knowing the song.

“Never heard of it. Don’t know a single word.”

“HoW cOUld yOu NOt kNOW thIs SoNG?” they’d conclude and then go on to recite the whole thing splendidly.

In retrospect, I find myself truly hoping that they enjoyed listening to music in their spare time and didn’t spend countless hours watching TRACE with a notebook in hand to impress others by their knowledge of lyrics. I truly hope that this was a manifestation of their authentic self (even though it was more than slightly annoying at the time), and not a try-hard imitation.

Does this story have a point? Uhm… sure. I hope so! Oh yes, it’s come back to me now.

I was so firm in my identity as a non-music lover that for three years on the same bus, Mr Music finally stopped badgering me perhaps after one too many occasions where the stunt didn’t have the desired effect. I assume he relented when it finally dawned on him that I was significantly more passionate about Animorphs, Goosebumps or any other work of fiction I had in hand every single day.

I had the option to change from my real self to fit in with the purveyor of swag (in the form of lyrics) but even then, as a 10-year-old boy, I knew that such a change would be inauthentic and therefore, not worth it.

That was one instance. My goal is to make that ubiquitous throughout my life.

In the words of popular comedian Andrew Schulz, renowned for his ability to tell jokes with hard punchlines while flying in the face of being politically correct:

By being truly authentic you do not need to gravitate to the world, the world will gravitate to you.

Check out the last 5 minutes of his TedX talk here: Andrew Schulz On Authenticity

Image source: WallpaperAccess

Thanks for reading! See you on Monday.

Kryptonite Tolerant

Vulnerability is akin to shedding off armour, sliding off the carapace that shrouds a soft centre or prying apart the ribcage surrounding the fragile heart. It’s potentially, devastatingly torturous and no one likes pain.

This right here encapsulates the majority of the overwhelming response to yesterday’s post ‘Pride Barrier‘. I encourage more of you to comment below as I feel your responses add so much more to the discussion.

In the previous post, we also pointed out that to form real deep and meaningful relationships that a shedding needs to occur. We need to disassemble the impenetrable aura around us to be better able to cleave to others. It’s dangerous. However, the possible results are amazing.

Imagine an environment where your authentic self is loved and accepted, where your gifts and talents are not envied but supported and perhaps even honed by those around you. Imagine crying without the fear of looking foolish, laughing as goofily as you desire knowing that you won’t be turned away. That is the beautiful alternative.

Yes, unfortunately, the people around us are human. That means they will make mistakes and be prejudiced. That means they’ll be hypocritical and exercise their free will even when it is detrimental to you, me or themselves. If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll realise we have the same tendencies, if not on the surface deep down that we may have to fight against; I for one definitely do.

Some people will say no. They will reject your true self because you’re not their cup of tea. Maybe they are a coffee person or a milkshake addict or whatever… but if you are authentic rejection will happen at some point and that’s ok.

What if… what if we embrace the rejection(s) because they will ultimately point us to where we will be accepted? If we looked at rejection and the pain that comes with it in the sphere of relationships as a signpost pointing us in another direction, could we possibly develop stronger hearts? I’m not talking about hearts sheathed in ice or hearts of stone but something akin to a muscle you’ve worked out several times, tearing those fibres and replacing them with multiple, stronger and tougher ones. Like salespeople who have come to understand that they will not make the sale every time, is it not possible for us to be able to overcome this seemingly immense hurdle, this emotional kryptonite and become (you guessed it) kryptonite tolerant? At the very least it’s something I believe is worth trying. Do you?

I’ve heard this too often, “Ayanda, I’m sick of these phoney friendships man. People don’t really care. Everyone out here is fake.”

Maybe it’s time to take a stand and start being the real people in our circles. Authentic not just as an act but as part of our identity.

I don’t want to be disingenuous any longer. I hate the fruits of it. There’s this graphic proverb that states: As a dog returns to its vomit so a fool repeats his folly. If I hate the fruit of invulnerability it only makes sense that I stop doing so. A way of looking at insanity is repeating the same thing over and over while expecting different results. (The irony is that I have an amazing topic titled ‘The Power Of Monotony’ in the pipeline.) Even though it feels insane choosing vulnerability in this instance perhaps it’s time to change.

To quote Batman in the dreadful Justice League movie as he tried to motivate a mortified Barry Allen, “Save one. Save one person.”

Similarly, when you’ve made the decision to be vulnerable, start with one person and see where it goes.

Just do it.

-Nike

Image source Batman-News