High Heels, Harleys, and Sexual Frustration

I’ve been a little frustrated lately. I’m reaching that age–ladies, you know the one–there’s a great internal war going on. One side demands that I dominate the world as a bold and capable woman, the other insists that I get married and make beautiful babies that grow up to dominate the world as bold and capable men or women.

This debate makes it nearly impossible for me to date. Each side is afraid to commit to dating a man who might pull me to the other side, and so I go back and forth, trying to figure out what “my type” is.

Liberal or conservative? Spontaneous or stable? Wildly adventurous or deeply rooted? Harley or crotch rocket? Ok, so we all know my answer to that one, but trying to figure out what kind of men I’m attracted to is like trying to figure out what pair of heels to wear. There is an absurd number of them, all completely different, the pair I want to wear doesn’t at all match the outfit I want to wear, and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t want to wear shoes in the first place! So what’s a girl to do?

And then I actually have to walk in them–all day, step by step, over and over again. It’s a lot of pressure trying to convince a guy that he should keep going on dates over and over again! And friend, I don’t know how well you know me, but there is one key thing that regularly interrupts this date sequence for me: sex.

I make men wait.

And wait.

And wait.

FYI – men suck at waiting.

After being continuously rejected over the sex factor, it’s impossible not to doubt myself. It’s the 21st century. Sex is na20150208-230259-82979574.jpgtural. There are studies that prove it’s good for your health for Pete’s sake! Why am I letting good and beautiful men get away over something as simple as sex?!

My little sister called me last weekend. Actually, she texted me “Rach :(” which sent me into an immediate panic. Assuming my whole family just died, I called her.

Her boyfriend broke up with her unexpectedly. I could tell she was crushed and confused, but listening to her tell me the heartbreaking details, I was beaming. I mean glowing smile from ear to ear, there might have been tears of joy at one point.

My sister is an amazing woman. She’s been through a lot of really unfair shit in her life and somehow still has a heart of gold, ridiculously gentle and sweet. She gives her love so freely to anyone who needs it. Unfortunately, she developed a bad habit, I think around 12 or 13, maybe earlier. She started defining her worth in others’ desire for her love, particularly in men’s desire for her love.

She’s handed pieces of her heart to people who didn’t know how to protect it and she’s suffered greatly for it.

On the phone that day, she started recounting her typical arguments with her boyfriend, which had recently grown increasingly common. She told him that she wouldn’t move in with him, that his grabbing her ass in public made her uncomfortable and insecure, that she didn’t want to sit around while he got high with his buddies, that she wanted conversation and time together instead of jumping to sex at every available opportunity.

I sat there in awe as my baby sister taught me what it means to be a woman of value. How to demand respect. How to believe in the value of the individual and of intimacy. And then to have the strength to maintain the standards based on those beliefs, despite the awful ridicule and rejection it brings from the world.

Prude, naive, ignorant, judgmental, self-righteous, “a fucking waste of time,” I’ve heard it all. It’s lonely and disheartening, over and over and over again. But there was something so beautiful about my sister demanding more for herself. There was something so beautiful about her rejection of what the world told her to be.

I realize now what that something so beautiful is – it’s truth.

It doesn’t really matter what stereotype the men I date fall under. It doesn’t matter if I spend the next 10 years conquering the world or spend next summer on my honeymoon. (Like next next summer obviously, next summer would be ridiculous.) What matters is that in whatever company or situation I find myself in, I know the truth of who I am. Because if I lose sight of truth, I become who the world wants me to be and my value is diminished to the latest trend or cultural norm.

I’m too good for that.

I will live my life in strength and in love. I’ll conquer whatever part of the world I’m exploring at the moment and I’ll marry a man who seeks truth because that’s who I am.

And that man better be in damn good shape, all this pent up sexual frustration has to go somewhere.

Status Update (Ya, Another One of Those New Year Posts)

Happy New Year!

I’m not at all prepared for a new year. I don’t have any resolutions or big life goals. I don’t have an exhilarating feeling of renewal and opportunity. I don’t even have one of those things that you blow on where the little paper tube unrolls and makes a dying squeaky toy sound.

I do have a new dart board; that’s pretty exciting.

A lot has changed in the past few months, and if I really sit down and think about it, these changes have some significant implications for the coming year. So I thought I’d ramble about them a bit..

My Big Six of 2015

1. Fear is Stupid

It’s amazing that we are all so limited by fear when we are all so capable of amazing things. We have different fears that manifest in different ways, limiting our ability to understand others’ fears and their manifestations. We create a great big mess for each other, but are too afraid to be vulnerable enough to clean it up.

My fears are pretty easy to identify. Or at least I thought they were until I started actually telling people what they are. The general reaction is genuine surprise. People are surprised that my confidence is accompanied by fear of failure. ee32d794963183999cf0199638430990They’re surprised that though I believe I’m a woman worth catching, no man would want to catch me. They’re surprised that despite my bold pursuit of greatness and my childlike love for life, I am crippled by the fear of disappointing the people who love me.

These fears then send me into an awful state of laziness and I do nothing for fear of doing something disappointing.

The goofy thing of it all is that if we could just step forward in spite of our fears, we’d probably end up a lot closer to the awesome people we so desperately long to be.

2. I Live With A Female

I live in a little two-bedroom apartment with a wonderful little lady named Haley. I don’t know her at all, we met on the day she moved in, but she’s wonderful and our dogs are best friends.

Now I didn’t realize this until just a few weeks ago, but I haven’t lived with just females in almost four years. My past five living situations (I’ll just roll past how ridiculous it is that I’ve lived in five different places in four years…) have included men. A couple gay, a couple straight, an occasional woman mixed in, but always men.

I don’t have anything significant to say about this, just an interesting observation. I’ll let you know if I have some sort magnificent revelation about my inner woman.

3. Goodbye Camel, Hello Fox

I moved to Nashville after being offered a job at cj Advertising, a full-service agency serving personal injury attorneys. It had its ups and downs, I could list the good things or rant about the bad, but instead I’ll just acknowledge that I learned a lot, loved the beer camels, met some wonderful people, and I’m glad to be gone.

One day as I was standing at my desk, I got a phone call.

“Hey Rach, I have a series of questions I want you to answer, they’re all yes or no so that no one around you will get suspicious.”

I was immediately annoyed. I was in the middle of something, but it was a friend and I’m a good friend so I listened.

Me: “Hey Colton, I’m great, thanks for asking! How are you?”

Colton: “I’m good. Are you happy at your job?”

Me: “Am I happy…”

Colton: “Ya, just generally speaking, are you satisfied, do you feel like you’re accomplishing all you could accomplish, [insert 10 minutes of asking the same question in different ways]?”

Me: “No.”

He spent the next 45 minutes telling me about something he wanted to do with some company and a possible position that didn’t actually exist yet but might exist and that I might be a good candidate and that it was all top secret.

I hung up the phone and laughed as I told my coworker about how crazy my friends are.

After a few other conversations, an interview, and about a week on the new job, I finally figured out what it was he was trying to communicate.

I am now a proud employee of FoxFuel Creative, LLC. A strategic digital agency in Nashville, TN, founded by three brilliant men, one of which is my friend and boss, Colton Mulligan.

4. The Lady in the Fox Den

Did I mention that it’s me and a bunch of dudes?

10377237_10205479861856601_6851326808687808052_nFoxFuel has five employees, four of which are men. I love them all, they’re crazy brilliant and kind men who care about other people. Also, they’re men.

I’ve never had trouble being “a woman in a man’s world”, I can hold my own pretty well. But I have to admit, this little chapter is a bit more challenging. I’m wrestling through this internal battle of being gentle and compassionate and being a feminist. I know the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but it’s a tough balance to build. Two character traits of mine make it particularly difficult: I tend to take on the weight of others, and I have an innate ability to see the heart behind someone’s actions, which is what I then base my own actions on.

These are both wonderful and awful traits to have. They’re particularly difficult to manage in the business world because I’m a woman surrounded by men who equate meekness with weakness and submission with surrender. I’m quite confident that many have doubted me, have discredited me, have ignored me entirely.And while they can’t understand why I care more about them as individuals than I ever will about their profit, I’m also confident that in time, I will earn the respect and trust of my coworkers and clients.

Because ultimately, the next big thing always ends up the last old thing, and the greatest victory is shadowed by the smallest failure. The only consistent and unwavering truth in any field is that we need each other. From the blue collar mechanic to the 1% CEO, without other people, you have nothing.

5. But Really, My View of Men Sucks

Right before the whole fox thing popped up, I realized that I have a pretty terrible view of men. Which is funny because I like men. I tend to get along with men better than women and I like that I don’t have to talk about my feelings or body image or The Bachelor.

It may be more accurate to say that I have a terrible view of what my role is as a woman in relation to men. I’m a motivator, a rock, the elephant that carries the world. I carry the weight of others without reservation.

The problem is that I’m a really tiny elephant and I’m really bad at balancing an entire globe on my back.

6. The Peach Inside

Once I got past the elephant thing, I started asking other people who I am. Their responses were encouraging, flattering, ego-boosting, and all those warm fuzzies you expect. However, I have friends who are just as blunt and bull-shit-intolerant as I am.

There was one warning that I received from every individual I asked in one form or another: I am a soft fuzzy peachy person, until you reach the core.

I will give anyone almost all of me. Sweet and nourishing, tender and pleasant. But there is something in the pit of me that is hard and jagged. It’s not bitter or dangerous, but it is a fortress. It grew and hardened through life’s challenges and for a time, it was necessary in order to protect what is held within it. It didn’t seem to have an impact, I could keep it hidden beneath the luscious fruit with no real consequence, and I succeeded in sustaining others for quite some time.

In 2014, I ran out of fruit. The tender skin torn away, the sweet nectar depleted. My hardened core was left exposed. I couldn’t hide the anger and bitterness I held for people in the church. I couldn’t hide the guard and resistance that I built from my family’s destruction. I couldn’t hide the little hermit cave I built with weird scary things hanging at the entrance of my heart to deter anyone who might find it. I was terrified, humiliated, ashamed that I couldn’t offer more. And then I discovered people.

These people aren’t here to ask me for more. They aren’t here to ridicule my pit or tell me how to hide it. They don’t give a damn about the pit. They want to release what it holds inside.

Inside? I’ve been so focused on the pit, that I forgot what it was there to protect.

dscn0636There’s something amazing in that pit. A seed that at one time was small and vulnerable and needed protected. And now, it waits. Ready to grow and bloom, creating not just one little peach, but a magnificent tree that produces life season after season. That provides protection in the hurt of the world and sustenance in a starving culture.

I have life within me and yes, it is vulnerable, and yes it is small, but if I can just have the courage to break away the pit and face the sun, I will become a new fortress.

No longer sustained by my own fruit, this fortress will be a temple. A place of everlasting hope, life, and love.

And yes, you are invited to sit in the shade of my branches, but know that I won’t let you stay there–you have your own fortress to build.

10 Things I’ve Learned As A Nashville Noob

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So I’ve been in Nashville for a year and I’ve managed to learn a few things…

1. The smallest amount of precipitation sends the entire city into a panic.

This is not an exaggeration. We had less than an inch of snow and every major highway into the city was shut down. Schools all closed, government offices closed, news stations were urging people to stay in their homes unless it was absolutely unavoidable…I went to Target and tried on shoes. Had the whole place to myself.

2. It’s awkward when your best friend in the state thinks of you as “that new girl who’s around sometimes.” 

When you don’t know anyone in a brand new place, your first friend is automatically your best friend because they’re your only friend. For a while there, I’m pretty sure my best friend in TN didn’t know my first name.

3. It’s nearly impossible not to be insecure in your first big kid job.

I know how to do my job and I do it well, but I can’t keep track of how many times I let others fill me with doubt. I like to make people happy and I try to take others’ views into consideration, but sometimes people just suck. They’ll tear you down, throw you under the bus, manipulate you – and for no good reason. My default setting is to believe that everyone is wonderful. It’ll knock the wind out of you when you realize that isn’t always true.

4. Loneliness is an awful feeling.

I don’t have a very good concept of time or distance so I’ve never been homesick or missed certain individuals to any extreme extent. It offends people at times, giving them the impression that I don’t care about them which isn’t at all true. I’m just very confident in the fact that I have people who love me. I don’t need to constantly be in touch with them to remember that.

However, I’ve discovered that I very much undervalued the physical presence of people who know me. It’s intimidating to be in a world where no one knows anything about you. It sounds freeing initially, having the ability to be whoever you want. But I found it slightly terrifying. I think I feared that if I didn’t have people around me who could remind me of who I am, that I might forget myself. Turns out that’s not so bad – there were pieces of me that I needed to let go of.

5. Dogs don’t do well on wood floors.

For the second half of last year, I lived in a house that had wood flooring at the bottom of the stairs. In this house, my awesome dog would develop a severe limp about every two weeks. I eventually figured out that the two were related. He’d go plummeting down the stairs, hit the wood floor and BOOM, spread eagle.

This also revealed that I am certain to be a terrible parent. Not once did I take my poor dog to the vet to make sure he was ok. My philosophy was to wait it out. I wasn’t about to pay for a vet to tell me he pulled a muscle. So I waited out the 2-3 weeks of his barely being able to walk, confident that he’d be fine. So far so good.

6. My dad is not invincible.

If you read my post on figleaf back in July, you know that my dad hit a deer on his motorcycle that summer. This was the most difficult time of my life. I was physically sick and emotionally, a complete wreck. I wanted so much to be with him, but I didn’t go home. I still don’t know if it was over-rationalization, fear or if I was just a bad daughter in the moment.

He walked away with wicked raspberries and a concussion that made him sound very much like Dori the fish, but was otherwise fine.

7. I’m more country than most people in Nashville.

There are a few buzz words that get tossed around down here: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, pickup truck, fishin’, beer, honky tonk, cutoff jeans, cowboy boots, redneck, yeehaw, the list goes on. However, I’ve found that most of these individuals have no idea what I mean when I talk about mudding, a 154 muley, or 10′ bonfires. (By the way, anything less than 5 feet tall is a campfire. Not a bonfire.)

8. People drive big trucks for absolutely no reason.

I just don’t really get this one.

9. It’s very unlikely that I’ll marry Dierks Bentley or Josh Turner.

This one had me pretty upset for a while. I suppose they’re both a bit old for me anyway and very much unavailable. Still, I had hoped.

10. I belong here (at the moment).

Nashville is an amazing city. There’s incredible talent around every corner, good old southern hospitality, and the food… the food.

All around, this is the change and challenge I needed. Whether it’s a forever city or a for now city, Nashvegas is perfect in the moment.

 

Blunt and Obnoxious

I’ve found myself giving uninvited advice again. A freshman at Lipscomb was talking about what to do with her life. She doesn’t feel she fits in the college student mold, she has some ideas about what she might want to do at some point in the future, but for the most part, doesn’t have the financial capacity to do them now. She wants definitive direction and assurance. Cute, right?

I can remember being in the same place. I knew I didn’t “belong” in Athens half way through my freshman year. I was there for five more. I always knew I was capable of “more” than what I was doing in school. Now, I’m working for one of the top ad agencies in Nashville, on salary, full benefits, and a crazy fun atmosphere. I’m still not satisfied. I want to do more.

I think we place too much value on satisfaction. To be completely satisfied is to be complacent, eventually apathetic. We limit ourselves with this idea of a “calling” or with responsibility, believing we have to commit to stability to be happy. What if we re-focused our “calling” on a mindset or lifestyle rather than an occupation? Not too long ago I wrote that I need to do something that makes others happy and makes myself happy. I want to inspire people, to ignite them in helping them discover their passion and ability. What if that’s my vocation? My calling? What if I get to choose my job, my home, my life roles and in whatever I choose, I fulfill my calling in simply building into the people and situations around me in awesome ways?

Well shit. I’ve been wasting so much time! I’m always trying to be what I’m expected to be, but true greatness isn’t a label you can earn from the world, it’s a choice.

20131025-083018.jpg Each day at about 2 o’clock I make a list of the key things I want to accomplish in life. Each day at 2 o’clock, I choose to be great. Sometimes it’s a list of big things, set in the future. Other days, it’s a list of how to keep my mouth shut when everything within me is urging me to tell that coworker to grow a pair and confront the problem so we can move on. Items on the list may vary drastically, but they are all key elements of my deliberate choice to be great. Not in the future, but now, immediately and continuously. I will accomplish great things in the future, I will be great in the present.

So I proceeded to dump all of this revolutionary wisdom on this poor freshman who just wanted to know what to be when she grows up. She nodded her head and thanked me for the advice. I hope she didn’t understand me, not fully. I hope she understood just enough to take a risk, do something outside of the cycle she’s in. But, I hope that the risk she takes leads to greater risk and greater adventure. I hope that she experiences relationships and failures and successes that challenge her ideas and perspective.

I’m a blunt and often obnoxious person. But I believe in people. I want so much for them to believe in themselves, to discover the joy in knowing that they do in fact hold significance, to be free from fear’s limitations. I want them to choose to be great.

Roommates, Choices, and Craig Morgan

Well it’s official. I’m a post-college white kid. I’m living on beans and rice this week because I don’t get paid until Friday and I had to buy dog food. I got a letter from the hospital today saying that the insurance company denied my claim for my surgery in February. My car hesitates to turn over each morning and hasn’t been washed in months. My poor roommate hates my dog because he wakes her up at six every morning. I’m already finding reasons to complain about my job and I haven’t been on a single date since I moved to Nashville!

Uh, can you say spoiled little white girl much?

I don’t have money because I spend it on unnecessary things, mostly Mexican food and craft beer. I am currently covered under three different medical insurance plans, it’s just a matter of getting them the right info. I have a car that gets me from point A to point B and with decent gas mileage. Both of my roommates are awesome and put up with my bringing home a very large (very energetic) puppy. I have a salary position with full benefits and the dating thing, well we’ve been over that. Life is rough, am I right?

I think I’m actually frustrated with myself. I know that I can do better, that I can be better. I have so much potential and opportunity, if I would just get my shit together and focus, I could dominate everything. I don’t like that in order to put more time and effort into perfecting one thing, I have to sacrifice time and effort somewhere else. I can’t be great at everything and I can’t make everyone happy, and I don’t like it.

So, now what? How do I come to terms with my limitations? How do I decide what to pour my life into and what to let go of?

I don’t have an answer, but I do have a starting point. Or maybe it’s more of a self-check to revisit periodically. I think I should be doing things that 1) make other people happy and 2) make me happy. Doing only things that make others happy will inevitably suck me dry, leaving me bitter and lonely. Doing only things that make me happy will inevitably come at the expense of others, pissing them off, leaving me bitter and lonely. If I’m not making anyone happy, what in the world am I doing?

I have to find a way to accept that I can’t possibly be great at everything and that I can’t possibly make everyone happy in life. I need others and they need me, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I sat on this overnight and waited to post, and I’m so glad I did. On my way to my morning coffee spot, I heard a story on the radio about a comment Craig Morgan wrote on his Facebook page in rebuttal to a snide tweet by one of his fans. You should read it:

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“Not being as good at one thing is the price we sometimes pay for attempting to be great at others.”

We grab at all these different things in and throughout life, fumbling to hold onto it all. Eventually, our hands are full and we have to decide what to hold onto and what to live without. Sometimes the choice is obvious, but more often, it’s incredibly difficult to discern. Our generation is so burdened with responsibility; student loans, preparing to support a family, making decisions that will provide you with stability. There is little room left for dreams and adventure.

I have every opportunity in the world and am incredibly blessed. I have several things that I enjoy doing, opportunities to establish security, purposes and movements I enjoy supporting. I have the means to create stability, truths I enjoy discovering, dreams I enjoy chasing. But I just can’t have it all. I have to stop wasting my time in mediocre limbo. I’m at a turning point and desperately need to make a decision. I have to let go of some of these things. I have to make a choice. It blows.

My Top 5 Insecurities

I like today’s weather. It reminds me of fall. It makes me excited for scarves and colors and coffee. Well, I drink coffee all the time, but now everyone else will be drinking it with me. It’s much more enjoyable that way.

I’ve always loved fall, but I think this year’s will be particularly pleasant. I’m tied to it this year. You know, like all those cheesy analogies. I’m in a time of change and transition, full of color and the anticipation of the challenges of winter and the promises of spring. And Tennessee is supposed to be freaking gorgeous in the fall.

I’m also excited for people to wear pants. Im not sure when it became acceptable for girls to wear shorts shorter than their shirt, or for guys to wear cross-country shorts in public, but I don’t approve. Also, I have ridiculous tan lines across the middle of my shins (some advice: don’t wear capris kayaking), so I’ve been wearing pants all summer to hide them. It will be nice to fit in again.

I do worry as I settle in that I might blend in too well. I’ve already found myself in a rut of meaningless repetition in some ways. I’ve also found myself pretty insecure which is new for me. I don’t like it. I question my ability to do my job well, my ability to lead, to socialize, and even worry bout how I look. If you know me, you know that’s not normal. 90% of my life is jeans, t-shirts, and in un-brushed hair. It might be in a ponytail if I have the energy to pull it up.

I’ve been trying to figure out what this new self-doubt is rooted in. My first thought was my typical default: people. That it’s because I don’t have my support system, no one telling me how great or beautiful I am or that everyone loves me and I’ll be famous one day. Then I realized that I still talk to my mom on a regular basis so that must not be it.

Maybe the difference is that I have time to think about it now. I’m not used to my workload ending at 5, I’m not sure what to do with the time. Then that makes me wonder if I’ve always been insecure and just too busy to notice. No, my confidence has been borderline arrogance for as long as I remember. Something has changed and I need to figure out what.

I’m going to tell you the symptoms and you’re going to diagnose. Ready? My insecurities…

Note that I am not good at admitting my shortcomings and I hate looking weak so this is incredibly uncomfortable for me. But I’m strong so I can do it.

1. I have bubbly knees: I think I have twice the knee skin on regular knee bone. They’re weird and one of the key reasons I don’t wear dresses. (The other is that I can’t sit dress-appropriately for more than ten minutes.)

2. I have teacher arms: You know, the flab that hangs when the teacher writes on the chalkboard. My parents are both teachers so I blame heredity. I have discovered that putting my hands on my hips in pictures helps significantly, so that’s encouraging.

3. I’m not girly enough: This seems like a dating thing, and that’s part of it, but it really stretches across the entirety of my life. I like dark beer, whiskey, classic rock, Harleys, and college football. Few girls can relate to it, most guys are intimidated by it, mom asked me if I was a lesbian in high school, it’s presented some challenges. (I’m not a lesbian if you’re wondering.)

4. Everyone and their little brother is getting married: This one is a dating thing. The majority of my friends are married. Not only that, but my little sister’s friends are starting to get married. All of my older cousins are married, I’m supposed to be next in line. I don’t know how to get married.

5. I look arrogant: This is probably my greatest fear. I hate the idea of looking cocky or arrogant. I want to be bold and confident, but I don’t want people to misinterpret my confidence for conceit. And so I lock up, keep my thoughts, talents, and dreams to myself. I never play or sing unless I’m asked. I shut down in the middle of a conversation when I get the slightest feeling that I’m speaking too much or too boldly. I feel uncomfortable in an outfit that makes me feel attractive because I don’t want people to think I’m looking for attention. My outgoing personality suddenly sends me inward, if that makes sense.

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Well, there you have it; my 5 greatest insecurities in a nutshell. This is your chance to get in touch with your inner Dr. Phil. I’d recommend skipping the mustache though, it kinda creeps me out.

The Fear of Becoming a Band Aid

I know! I’m a terrible blogger. I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I’ve been up to. I’m afraid I don’t have much to tell, but what I do have has me pretty excited. Once again, it’s entirely centered around people.

I had a conversation with a new friend last week (I know, it’s exciting; my friend count is almost in the double digits). I mentioned that I think one of our greatest weaknesses as a culture is our contentment with mediocrity and that we allow fear to keep us from greatness. It’s something I’ve been claiming for some time and so when he asked me what it is we’re afraid of, I was pretty frustrated that I didn’t have an answer.

Since then, I’ve been trying to figure it out. Though they vary from person to person, I could name some fairly common fears: failure and disappointment, the unknown, lack of control, physical or emotional pain, social exile. I can pinpoint a particular source of fear in nearly every individual I’ve discovered it in, but I wonder if there is some commonality. I wonder if these fears that lead us to contentment in mediocrity are all rooted in some greater fear or condition.

Monday evening I found myself in extreme doubt regarding my job. There are particular things that led up to this doubt, but it was primarily rooted in passion. I couldn’t find where my passions aligned with the vision of the company and it had me close to downright anger.

Well, that night I was in a conversation with my new friend along with a few others, chatting about justice. I sat with the group, frustrated and pissed off. These people were doing it right, they were all helping homeless people and doing cool justice things; I’m working at an ad agency with sonic ice and beer camels, making money for personal injury attorneys [insert sarcastic remark about the supposed value of social media].

Then, toward the end of the evening, someone mentioned the need for change in government policy. My head nearly exploded.

In college, I used to spout off what I called my “media spiel” to anyone who asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I’ll give you an abridged version.

I like strategy. I like defining a problem and developing a plan to solve it. I like establishing a vision and creating a structured means of accomplishing it. So, when I look at a humongous and intimidating issue like poverty or human trafficking, I don’t like the band-aid approach. Sure, it’s great to serve a meal to the local homeless, and it’s great to visit with prostitutes and offer them free friendship. But it’s not enough. We have to tackle the source of the problem.

So, I started looking at influence. Who are the influencers in our culture? Government was my first thought, but I hate politics. I hate them because I want to care about them but I don’t understand them and I don’t enjoy trying to understand. Education was next, but my parents are both teachers and they both remarried teachers; I’m daring and different, I can’t do the same thing. Then, I landed on media. Oh the media, what a beast. I’m going to assume that you are at least vaguely familiar with the power of media and skip to the end of my spiel.

My ‘vocation’ if you will, is to influence the influencers. Not to serve homeless people dinner or play with inner-city children. I do those things because they bring joy to me, to those I’m serving, and to those I’m serving with. But that’s not why I’m here.

I have the desire to challenge and transform the minds of those content with ignorance, seeking the world’s success, oblivious to its desperate need. I want to understand the mind of the world in which they live and how they’ve defined success. I want to speak the language and earn their respect as an equal so that I can communicate the need for change in a way that makes them want to listen. I want to accomplish justice by inviting these people of influence to accomplish it with me.

And so I discovered the root of my fear. I feared I had lost myself. I feared that committing to the path I was on might lead me to discover someone I didn’t want to be, and in that fear, in being focused entirely on myself, I became content with band-aids.

Don’t get me wrong, band-aids are great things and are most definitely needed. But my hope is that as we continue to apply band-aids, we are also seeking a cure.
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That group of people discussing justice; they are seeking a cure. (I was momentarily blinded by my own frustration in thinking our goals were different that Monday.) They look beyond themselves and the quick fix. They spend time evaluating the problem, defining the cause, taking action, and refining their strategy based on the outcome.

These people don’t have time to be afraid, they’re too busy making an impact. I hope so much that I can join them.