Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fear and Loathing and Me

ART: "Track & Field" By Unknown Artist

I heard someone giving a speech the other day and they were saying how love motivated them to do everything major in their life that was even remotely successful. The audience applauded, looked at each other, nodded, and smiled. I was standing there with a huge smirk on my face and saying to myself, bullsh--! Well, okay... not quite that but, I was thinking it. Then, a part of me was saying... maybe that worked for him but, it's certainly not what worked in my life. I thought about practically everything major in my life that I achieved and two words kept floating around in my sub-conscious mind... "fear" and "loathing".

If I go back to high school, I ran track and I was pretty good at what I did too. I ran the 220 yard sprint and the 440 yard sprint. I rarely lost and the reason why? I had this deep fear of losing... this deep fear that if I lost, I would face further humiliation from my peers. Truth be told, not a lot of people in our high school cared about track and field but, in my mind, they did and if I lost, they would know. This fear of losing is why at the beginning of every race, my emotions were high and my senses were razor sharp. I could literally smell, taste, feel, see, and hear everything around me.

Once the race began, I was gone! I believed that I had to win for the sake of my life and that carried me over the finish line ahead of the others most of the time. It also made me cocky. I was good at boasting and bragging to whoever would listen about how fast I was and this usually brought a good crowd of people to our track meets... just to see me lose. This always upped the ante and made me that more determined to win at all costs. Most of the time, I gave a good show. I lost a few times but, never by much and never badly. The fear brought out a need in me to win and it was as if my life depended on it. You use whatever you have to use to motivate yourself and fear was my motivation.

As a young man, my fear motivated me to succeed in college because I was the oldest boy in the house and the first to go to college so, I couldn't come home a failure. I just couldn't. The fear motivated me to study, even when I didn't want to do it. I also took remedial math (i.e. high school Algebra) my freshmen year (because I had done so poorly in math in high school) in order to keep up with the rest of my class and not be a failure.

I don't recall ever being afraid of women. I always talked to women just as easily as I would talk to a guy and never had a problem asking for what I wanted. Yet, deep inside of me was a horrible fear or rejection. The fear brought out a crazy need in me to try and be all things to all women. More times than not, it wound up with me standing in my own way to happiness. The fear made me wildly competitive and nearly every relationship was viewed (by me) as some type of sporting event that I would either win or lose. I suppose I have my championship ring now but, I wouldn't want to be the Michael Jordan of marriage. Six marriages? Come on now! In that game, you should only need to win once.

Now, I'll tell you what loathing did for me. I hated every single low paying job I had to take after I left college. I loathed the idea of being afraid to answer the phone (this was before Caller ID) and telling a bill collector that the check was in the mail or I will "try to get it to you as soon as possible." Soon, I got to the point that I didn't care what I said to them... "Sir, when can we expect to get our payment?" I would respond, "You can expect to get it at anytime... that doesn't mean that I'll be able to give it to you." This motivated me to go into the Air Force.

Once I was in the Air Force, I hated taking orders from every man with a stripe on his sleeve, including some guys that I was visibly smarter than. In turn, that motivated me to study harder and work harder to make Staff Sergeant and then, Technical Sergeant in near record time. I did this so that I could give some orders to somebody. I still had to take orders but, not from as many people. It motivated me to become a supervisor of the two units I was involved in and later on, an instructor. It was the fear of being on the bottom and loathing of most authority. So, fear and loathing did that for me.

In civilian life, my loathing of low paying jobs and dealing with the public in retail jobs (same thing) led me to find a job that was more (let's say) compatible with the education I had nearly bankrupted myself to acquire. Not only that, the fear of being a washout and a bad husband and father motivated me to save money (along with my wife) to put my family in a home as soon as possible. Yeah, it wasn't love but, fear and loathing of my condition in life that made me fight to get to a higher plane.

My grandfather hated the "Jim Crow" south and all that "yes sir, boss" and "yes, ma’am" crap that he had to live through so much that he took his young bride and moved up north to New York City and later, to Philadelphia, where he started the family that eventually birthed the Maverick of All Bloggers. It wasn't his love of the North that made him settle in Philadelphia. It was his hatred of the racial climate in South Florida that made him come up here. That's where I got it from... him.

That's what fear and loathing motivated me to do. Not one time did I mention love, did I? I doubt that love would have gotten me out of bed to go to work or made me as fiercely competitive as I had to be to get the things I wanted in life. Don't get me wrong... love is a beautiful thing but, for me... fear and loathing were better motivators.

22 comments:

Toni said...

Wow...That's what I love about this blog...you let it all hang out. You just leave it all out there..I love this post..and I love this blog.

Angie B. said...

This is so raw man...you are the realest guy out here in the blogosphere next to maybe Go Zack..
That's why I always read your blogs.

Sunflower said...

I read a lot of blogposts...None quite as original as this and the other topics you raise.

Sean said...

Never Fall off Brother..Never Fall off.

James Perkins said...

Fear and loathing motivates everybody Keith, only you are honest enough to admit it.

Halo said...

That was so raw...I loved this post.

Simon Bastion said...

You are right keith, Fear and Loathing are great motivators...but much can be said for love too!

Lisa said...

An interesting psychological study could be made of you with what you wrote in this post. Great insight..not a whole lot of people would venture into their psyche like you have and put it out there the way you did. Great Post as usual.

Vanessa said...

You ran track Keith? So did I...The same two events you ran.

Cheryl said...

Interesting post...

Jazzy said...

You never cease to amaze good brother... I couldn't put myself out there like you do...I applaud your courage. You open doors to yourself that most of us have to have a drink to escape from. Most of the bloggers do this,That's why I love reading.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Man this made me sit up and take note. I suppose Fear motivates us all in some way.

Tate2 said...

Good Post. I know that I hate being broke..and that makes me go to work everyday...and I'm afraid of being homeless and that motivates me to stay at my job...I totally get this post.

Swaggie said...

Good Post and True too.

Captain Jack said...

This is so true...Fear and Loathing is the prime motivator of everybody...but nobody wants to admit this.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Fear of struggling and trying to make ends meet for the rest of my life is enough to motivate me to accomplish my goals.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

i have never had a fear of rejection
and in science, i work with folks who fold and get depressesed because of it (not getting a grant funded, or havibng a paper rejected for pub) never understood how one could be afraid of being rejected

RiPPa said...

At the end of the day Keith, though you don't realize it, love was your motivation. It was the love of yourself that was truly the motivator. It wasn't fear or loathing, it was all love big brother. If you didn't love yourself you wouldn't want the best for yourself, and subsequently your family.

Untouched Jewel said...

This was wonderful Keith. I've always thought about things like the whole fear and loathing type thing in my mind, but never have I put it down on paper, blog, etc. That was gutsy.

*Track Runners Activate!* LOL.
I used to run track, too. The 400 was my event.

The Dreamy One said...

wow i wished that worked for me. i think what motivates me is when people tell me i cant do something. it angers me and make me want to prove them wrong.

thats what motivates me, when people say Dreamy you cant do this or that. plus i am a competitive person anyway,lol.

great post Keith!

ninamm said...

Great read. Hmmm...what motivates me? Vanity, I guess. I really DO think I'm the best. In everything. LOL

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

I think life is shaped by numerous motivators and, I agree, love isn't the first one that comes to my mind either. But, I will say that your success as a father, granddad and husband are a result of your motivation to love and provide :-).

Ooops, just read RiPPa's comment...great minds think alike....lol




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