Fearless and Beautiful You

One comment my recent friends made is that from a number of my posts on this personal blog is that I come off as a morose individual. I can appreciate that. But keeping in mind that I’m pretty transparent here and a hypersensitive person, this is indeed who I am, but not necessarily the totality of me. For those who know me in real life, until reading this blog, they wouldn’t know some of the challenges of living through the experiences I’ve had because I usually give off the impression that I’m just a quirky individual with a good taste in music and literature. I wear a vest and tank top, necklace, wrist bracelets, have a faux hawk and bangs, and dance walk a lot. I’m the model employee at my job right now, coming in early and leaving late usually, and getting everything in by the deadlines, and I’m doing great work, not just good. That’s all only a part of the individual whom I, Johnny C, happen to be.

So why does this blog give off the impression of me being morose and why do I not want to hide any of that from prospective employers, friends, and strangers on the web? I am a firm believer of giving 100% of myself, no more, no less. I don’t pretend to be anyone else but me. You’ll get my worst side and my bad side, and if my worst side is that I’m an emotionally vulnerable individual who has had some sadness in life, it’s a lot better than dealing with a lot of the immaturity on the Internet. I write gonzo articles on one site because the demographic there doesn’t appreciate thoughtful writing, and it’s the only way to package that material in a way they won’t get bored. I write exciting releases for work about the help we give children, and it’s both formulaic and not a problem. As honest as I am, I am also a professional, which to me means “putting my best and my all into it” rather than “putting on a mask to convince people that I’m actually better than the person I really am”.

Here was a letter I read recently that reminded me that it’s okay to be you, whomever you are, from Hunter S. Thompson:

To Jack Scott, Vancouver Sun

October 1, 1958

57 Perry Street

New York City

Sir,

I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.

Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley. By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand.

And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you. I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.) Nothing beats having good references.

Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers. If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.

The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews. I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations. I would rather be on the dole than work for a paper I was ashamed of.

It’s a long way from here to British Columbia, but I think I’d enjoy the trip. If you think you can use me, drop me a line. If not, good luck anyway.

Sincerely,

Hunter S. Thompson

published in The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967 (Ballantine, 1997).

I’m an employee, I’m a writer, I’m a traveler, I’m a humanitarian, but above all, I’m a human being. I agree with Hunter S. Thompson’s approach to life: do everything with a shot of rum, meaning to go for extremes and push yourself beyond them.

My friendships are an example of this philosophy: I can make a lifelong friend within five minutes as I did yesterday when a guest came into the office and from our talk, I determined he was a driven and passionate humanitarian, and it’s easier to see the more you travel rather than getting stuck with the weak, wounded, and lost exiles, or the opportunists and hedonists. I make friends as I travel by giving them books I carry with me once I finish reading them, because a good book is like a close friend. I offer to help people out if they’re carrying heavy objects, and I am good with kids and animals. I love kids and animals, I’m happiest being a big brother and good role model (re: bad influence).

They say the real test of a man’s character is at his worst, and if my worst is that I am self-reflective about my past mistakes and my sorrows on this blog, I say that’s a strength, because I can see patterns and my own personal growth.

Sure, right now I do have my struggles–but don’t we all? I have my shortcomings, but you have to wonder why some of the biggest sociopaths end up in charge of lucrative enterprises at times. Zuckerberg. Trump. Murdoch. There’s a certain drive that can make people succeed. My drive is my honesty and openness, and willingness to seek help and advice to be a better person. For that reason, I find it a strength more than a weakness, and why I will continue to post as I do. This is my journey, and if you want to be part of the ride, know that I’ll have my ups and downs. But I’ll always get the job done, whatever I’m doing.

After all, I’m not just living life, I’m dancing: flowing with it, riding the ups and downs, experiencing the joys and the pains, taking in all that existence offers. That is the way to experience the fullness of life. I leave you with a song that has sad, reflective lyrics, but a catchy, dancing beat and is one of my all-time favorites, “Human” by The Killers. The juxtaposition of dance melody and thoughtful lyrics is distinctly me.

And for good measure, Phoenix’s equally danceable song with downtrodden lyrics.

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2 responses to “Fearless and Beautiful You

  1. You rock. And continue to inspire me to keep being who I am. I’ve fluctuated back and forth for so long about being candid and open because it leaves a lot of room for ridicule and judgement….but we have one life to live. Why not be all of who we were created to be? Keep rockin’ out, Johnny C 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks Megan, I’d rather the people know who I am upfront and from me rather than finding something out through someone else, because it’s _how_ they find out that can be much worse than _what_ they find out. But from my perspective, everything I write here is mostly pretty innocuous and nothing but the genuine, heartfelt emotions of a guy who somehow still cares even when the world has left enough burning bags of dog crap in nicely wrapped gift boxes to drive anyone over the hills of damnation. Me, I just send back pictures of me having fun and let that be the final word.

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