I’m scared. I have been for a really long time. Reeeeaaally long. I’m scared because my heart is full of desires it seems my head just can’t fulfill.
I’m a grown man, but I fear I’m ridiculously immature because I haven’t yet figured out how to do the things I expect grown men to do, like provide for my family’s financial needs, create the relationships I want, and write simple sentences. More than that, I’m afraid I might be a little crazy, because often when I tell people about these fears, they tell me I’m already doing the things I’m so afraid I haven’t learned to do… in my own way. Why don’t I see it?
Nevermind. What I do see is that it’s time to do something different. I won’t be that kind of crazy where I steadily repeat what hasn’t been working. Anymore, anyway. I’m going to stop putting myself through the wringer, trying to figure out how to get it, get it. Instead, I’m just gonna give what I got.
This website, kwamekamau.com, like so many things in my life, has been very slow to mature. It’s barely a seedling, even though it’s old enough to be a tree that would tower over any of us by now. One of the main reasons for this is that I wanted—I kept hearing that I needed—to make it pay.
“This is your big chance! The revolution is here! The internet has made it possible for people to escape the rat race and live life own their own terms!”
I need that—life on my own terms. But I keep discovering that I don’t exactly understand what “my own terms” are. I have some basic ideas, of course, but whenever I try to construe them with the kind of specificity required for web designs or business plans, I lose sight of the values I was striving for. Whenever I’ve tried to translate “meeting my human needs” into “business rules” the result has been, ultimately, unsatisfying.
So I’m trying something different. I’m suspending, for now, my need to understand how my actions will pay off for me. Instead, I am just giving you all the thing I most want to share: this one man’s perspective, perhaps expressed somewhat creatively in words or music or pictures (and always with at least a few superfluous-seeming flourishes… just for the fun of it). I trust that, with each other’s help, we will all come to some clarity about what this is really worth.
How can I be so sure? Well, I do feel better already about this effort than I have about my priors. Giving first, without concern for receiving, is so much more satisfying to me than withholding what’s mine until I can see that you will give me what I think it’s worth. And I don’t just mean giving first chronologically, but also making giving a priority over receiving. Reciprocity (i.e., karma) is real, I know; I will get what’s coming to me. I’m just not gonna trip so hard on knowing exactly what’s coming to me anymore. Something, no doubt. We’ll see.
This much I know: I am not merely my own. The work I’ve done, the insights I’ve become aware of, the person I have become aren’t worth much of anything unless I’m sharing them with the rest of you. Many people have contributed to these developments, over many years, and mostly without demanding any reward from me for their service. Teachers, friends, and family have all provided the resources for me to have the things I have today. They made no demands, but their generosity inspires me to continue to pay it forward, which feels, not just fair, but elegant. It strikes me as a beautiful little bit of evidence that, ultimately, we all belong to each other.
Blogging etiquette, I’ve heard, demands that before I finish here I make some request of you all—a “call to action.” Having yet to work out any business model, I can’t very well use the CTA to prod you another step along my sales funnel. What I can do is take this moment to thank you for being interested enough in my ramblings to read this far—thank you—and to ask you a kinda personal question: what would you do, if you could only get out of your own way?
Let me know in the comments. Maybe we can all help each other see things from some new angles.