How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel? For this average white guy, countless.

If I could go back, all those years, and stand next to twelve year old me, would I have the courage and strength to tell that nervous boy watching all the other children, swimming, laughing, and running—playing shirts v.s. skins—to quit worrying and join in, that it doesn’t matter how chubby you feel, or how different you look, that as long as you love and accept yourself, no words from another can harm you, or would I just sit back and watch, still the observer unable to join the party?

It’s funny how something so simple as taking your shirt off to swim can be so detrimental to a young child’s self esteem and yet as adults we often forget what that was like or rather what external forces beyond our control led us to believe ourselves unworthy of such a simple, yet harrowing task.

As in childhood, so as in adulthood, what we allow to harm us will.

Commercials show us long, slender, sleek models who seem to effortlessly fit in to their surroundings while being rewarded with warm smiles and admiration for seeming perfect.

Television shows and movies give us well manicured, quintessential versions of ourselves that often seem more like science fiction than what actually is.

Billboard ads and magazines are placed conveniently to fill all our psyche with blemish-less detail to promote this false sense of unattainable beauty that even when met, there’s ultimately an even whiter teeth formula, or wax to whisk away our imperfection.

It’s a cycle that even before the mind has time to develop, stunts it’s growth and like a cavity begins to decay all sense of self worth.

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel?

For this average white guy, countless.

But it’s taken all those countless times to figure out that it doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially as a child who’s developing.

So would I tell that twelve year old me to take his shirt off and go swimming with the rest of the lot?

I don’t think there is a clear answer other than that instead of telling him what he should or shouldn’t do like all the rest of the world, I’d allow him the opportunity to listen to my story and decide for himself.

But I would say this. Chances are that boy or girl over there thinks there nose is too big or there ears are too small. Chances are that kid who cringes to put on his glasses everyday feels just like you do now, wondering what others will think of what makes him human.

Perhaps I’d reassure him that everybody has stretch marks, even the biggest, strongest athletes. Even his mother, and what could be more beautiful than sacrificing your physical form to grant another life?

But we all figure it out in our own time.

I know he did.

Clearwater Beach Florida

the difference

There is a fine line

between

kicking the habit

and kicking yourself

but don’t kick yourself,

kick the habit.

And if you can’t

then kick this can.

Kick it as far as you wish

but understand

that a can is just a can

and a habit is just a habit

but you, yourself, and I

are much stronger

than all that, and well

it’s so strange how

we are so much more

than we care to admit.

Ugh it makes me sick.

But there’s a fine line and

it all just depends

on who’s who

and what you choose

to live for.

The habit?

or

Yourself?

What’s important though

is to recognize

the difference in both.

Some of us need kids or find God.

Some of us need kids,

or find God,

to straighten out our lives.

Empowerment comes

in many forms,

shapes, and rituals.

The world is full

of newly rich people,

though right now I am not one of them.

And your optimism

that chokes up my thought

is to blame.

Success can’t be found

on the discount rack,

when everyone is buying it.

You can believe

in anything you want, yes

but that doesn’t make it so.

Self help comes in many forms,

all of which are from within,

without a price tag.

Open your fucking eyes Tulip,

and figure it out…

It’s natural for the bough to bend before it breaks.