Here's a picture of me, which I am not smiling in, but in which I personally think I look cool. I don't know - it reminds me of a music video opening or something. Like I'm one of the stock characters that flashes before your eyes for like 2 seconds and not the main event. I also like this picture because my friend Tyler took it and he was super generous with helping me out when I got asked to do some Frank + Oak promo this month. So the clothes I'm wearing were free. Pretty sweet. I also like my glasses and my hair and my earrings and hey it's also a summery picture, which is nice, because that is my favourite season.
To be real, subconsciously, the thing I like most about this photo is probably the sense of control I had when I saw the final version of it. It was pretty close to exactly what I was envisioning. That kind of thing makes anyone feel good. Even up-keeping something like this website and nit-picking the details makes me feel great. I pride myself in staying on top of friendships, goals, and deadlines, and usually I'm pretty good at it. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that if you're as Type A as me, but there is something I think less of you can relate to that I've always felt kind of strange about. That thing is that I like keeping my achievements, and the paths I've taken to get there, a secret. Not because I don't want to share them - but because I like to give off this sense that it is all luck of the draw. I know, it's silly. I don't really know why I am like this and why I want to hold my cards close to my chest, but what I do recognize is that it is actually a weakness. I am fully aware that this pattern of behaviour actually stems from my insecurities. Sometimes in those uncertain and chaotic seasons of my life, I actually provide more work and task-oriented things for myself to accomplish so that I feel better about myself. And excluding people from that, I realize now, is so unhealthy. Definitely a bandaid solution if there ever were one.
The fun thing about that kind of self-protection is that on the outside, it looks great. "Wow! Your life is always so interesting, Josiah!" is a comment I have received a lot these past 7 months. All the while, it was one of the roughest times I've been in. I didn't feel like I was successful, thriving, or doing what I wanted to be doing. Unless you're in one of my inside circles, this may have been hard to perceive, but almost everything I put my hand to recently has not rendered success. In fact, the ironic thing about when this "perfectly envisioned" picture was taken is that during this point in my life, I felt like I actually had no control. At all. I've had so many rejections nearing the end of my degree that I have had to really dig deep into myself and work things through with God to understand the directions I actually wanted to go in. I felt like I had a pretty simple and achievable goal coming out of school this summer, but even that was put on hold so many times. Only just now is the clarity of that timing becoming apparent. It makes me feel kind of ridiculous looking back on the past while and all the complaints and confusion I've given to people around me - when deep down I also knew that I should have just given up control.
Another thing I've learned in this process is that you need to let people who want to share in your successes actually share in them. Otherwise when things aren't going your way, people will not be able to empathize or understand - and you may even come across as condescending or standoffish. The people around you are your greatest tools, especially those who you can trust. And too often this past while, I have neglected those around me because I was so desperate to follow and lean on my belief that I was able to do it all on my own. Again, I think that probably ties back to having a sense of control. The more control you think you need to have, the more you actually stop yourself from moving forward.
Through all this, I am so excited to finally announce that I am in a place to begin working on a very important side project of mine, a cultural podcast. The concept of the podcast is pretty solidified - you can read more about it and subscribe for updates here. But, more information will be revealed in time. I have already started work on episode one and have found a select group of interviewees, which I will begin putting together shortly. I felt like this idea was recently downloaded to me, and I am so excited to pursue it while I am in this strange post-degree purgatory. I would appreciate your support and questions as they come! Please make sure you subscribe for updates which will be on the way!
My vision for this podcast is quite large, and I expect it will take a couple years to properly have a set of 10 episodes fully produced...but I promise it will be worth it! Essentially, the premise stems from my culturally ambiguous background and how being a mixed-race individual in a North American society has really diminished the cultural bias that I have in comparison to those who are accustomed to having one. That approach has really opened my eyes to the conclusions we draw about those around us, without providing an opportunity to ask about their stories. I want to challenge this concept of "culture" and expose stories of individuals that you may have never heard from otherwise. It is going to be a great journey - and whether it takes off or not - I am so excited to work on something like this and explore the world around me in greater depth as I prepare for my future stages of life.
I also created a new section of my website, named Affiliates. I found that over this past year I have been involved in a variety of movements and organizations, and instead of creating pages for all of them, I wanted a single space so that my family and friends could see what I'm involved in. Check that out too! I also plan to update my Video/Photo page shortly in addition - as I have tons of content I would love to have on here!
Thank you so much to those of you who read up to this point, I appreciate you all so much!
Until next time,
- j o s i a h