Today's Boys 2 Men Speaker luncheon went well. These guys were enthusiastic, receptive and all around nice. I remember when fifth-graders were scary. Course, I was in second-grade then. But now they seem like babies. I'm getting old!
While I re-organized my slides and while they ate lunch, I chatted with them. Then I began by talking about my career and having the pleasure of drawing pictures all day. They thought that was cool, though some thought software programming was even cooler. Ak! But I didn't say that.
After the slide presentation, I reflected upon my pre-teen and teenage years. The word of the day: inadequate. It's the only word I could think of that totally defined how I felt about myself at age 12. I figured everyone could relate to feelings of inadequacy at times. I was right.
I talked about how we all feel at times like we don't measure up to the expectations of others — parents, teachers, peers, and even to ourselves. And how we often seek out ways to boost our self-esteem, to feel powerful, big.
I shared with them how some people seek power through belittling or bullying others. Or how others steal, or drink or act out in other ways, all in the name of trying to be men. Then I shared some of my own stories where I made bad, self-destructive decisions in an effort to boost my own self-esteem. Some of these stories weren't easy to share because I still feel ashamed having done certain things.
On the flip side, I painted examples of where I made good decisions as a teenager. Like when I worked with my grandfather in his maintenance company and saved enough money to buy my own school clothes and a moped. I told them how I sketched and drew pictures everyday and polished my skills, entered art contests and won a national art competition. The message I hoped to convey was that by working hard, helping others and developing skills, they would boost their self-esteem, and find power. That's how real men do it. Probably didn't come out that smooth, but I think they got it based upon the stories they shared with me.
Me brilliant? I can dig that.
An editor (newspaper) where I work sat me down and said that a blog post I wrote and posted was too controversial, and possibly libelous. So, he sorta censored it, took it down. I was dumbfounded. The post was meant to be a nostalgic, a feel-good piece. I've written things that were meant to stir the stew, and this wasn't one of em.
In the same breath, he said that my writing is "just brilliant" and makes him laugh. He said that my commentary "converts people." I'm not sure what he meant by that. He also said that if somebody were smart, they'd publish me outside the blogosphere (He's in a position to do that, but I held my tongue and didn't say anything).
His compliment was bitter sweet, considering the censorship thing. But regardless, his words made my day.