PHILADELPHIA (JSC) — Good Friday morning, Everyone! It’s time, once again, for the JSC Words of Wisdom, a.k.a. #JSCWOW. As always, this will drop every Friday morning, more often than not, at 6:00 am Eastern Time. Feel free to share this on your favorite social media outlet with the hashtag — #JSCWOW.
For this week’s Edition: I go from the highs of talking about awards to the root of why so many of us do the things we do in the first place. We attack life for a multitude of reasons and often the things we do are driven by something. What has become glaringly clear over the last few years is that a lot of us — myself included — have been driven by pain, rejection, and failure. In short: We’ve been Hurt. And as the above quote says, that can cause more problems than what it’s worth and you likely don’t realize why you’re doing it. Let’s get a little deep on this Friday.
For the sake of this blog, the word “Hurt” will be treated as a noun. You can substitute the word “pain” in if you’d like. Everybody has been hurt. Every one of us has some unaddressed hurt in our lives and it leads to us often making very dumb, counterproductive, and — ultimately — self-destructive decisions. Previously on JSC, I’ve talked about my struggles with depression and anxiety as well as the aftermath of being fired a little more than two years ago in New Jersey. Rather than rehash that entire thing, feel free to read up on that here. The focal point of this is dealing with the corresponding hurt that lingers after personally traumatic events and how that can spur both enduring insecurity and failure, as well as (temporarily) spur one to success. Here’s the thing about “Hurt” though: You’re never really winning if you’re still hurting.
I’ve been hurt numerous times in my life. Some of it personally, some of it professionally. Some instances were of my own doing, while a lot was from external factors. But each example of hurt affects my judgment, will lead me to pause, or hesitate, or question things that are normally no-brainers.
Professionally, April 1, 2015 was f—ing devastating to my personal psyche. It still lingers over my shoulder; haunting me like the ghost of jobs past. This picture that you see to the left was taken as I stood on the beach in Asbury Park about 45 minutes after it happened. I drove straight there. Steaming. Fuming. Angrier than I had been in more than a decade. I was so mad that I couldn’t see straight. Couldn’t speak. Hands shook with rage. I actually composed and then deleted (before sending) a profanity laced tweet from my work Twitter Account. I raged out. I drove aimlessly for a few hours that day. In the weeks that followed, I had numerous sleepless and difficult nights. The anger hung over me like the dirt cloud that follows Pigpen around. Even after I got a new job and got back on my feet 80 days later, I was still harboring that hurt.
I spent the next calendar year looking over my shoulder. In constant fear that if I did TOO WELL that I would piss the wrong person off. If I did even one minute thing wrong, I would get ambushed again. It led me to spend the first few months here in somewhat withdrawn from co-workers. I had grown tentative about establishing a lot of connections out here because I was afraid of what could be looming. That damn “hurt” had my ass in a choke hold. I’m naturally introverted, but what hurt does is prey on that and feed off of it. It wasn’t until April 1, 2016 — the one year anniversary of the firing — that I finally was able to breathe mentally. It’s like I cleared a mental hurdle. What I did was I stopped allowing that hurt — that guilt, and rage, and anger — dictate how I was going to see myself and my work. Since then, I have taken an inventory of what I’ve done since April 1, 2016 and, shit, if I wasn’t magically inspired to do work after shedding that hurt, I don’t know what to call it:
- I started JSC Radio (Subscribe now, Dammit!)
- I covered the Democratic National Convention
- I was able to fully launch this website
- I was elected one of the 2 VPs of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
- I’ve been able to lead classes helping kids in Philly with becoming journalists
- And, lastly, See Last Friday’s #JSCWOW
When someone is irrationally angry or clearly upset for some unforeseen reason, the thing to do on social media is to sarcastically ask them “Who Hurt You!?” in a way to mock whatever issues they’re having. I know I’ve done it. But if you’re like me and you harbor some Hurt on your psyche, legitimately ask yourself that question. Who hurt you and what can you do to alleviate that pain? Because being hurt may be why we’re afraid to open up to others. Being hurt may be why we’re too scared to take a big leap into a new job. Being hurt may keep you from apologizing to a loved one. Being Hurt can stunt your success. So how do you do it? Take time and reflect on why and what hurt you. Does being angry and tentative and obstinate do anything to hurt them? No. It hurts you. It compounds the hurt. It’s EXPONENTIAL HURT! Getting to the root of the pain will help clear out all that Hurt.
In closing, people can always point to situation where being hurt spurred them on to bigger success. They will point to Michael Jordan not making his high school varsity team on the first try and use that as a prime example of turning Hurt into success. That’s an outlier. You may be able to temporarily channel that hurt into a win, but the hurt is still there. Looking at you like “Nah, B.” Take some time to think about some of your insecurities and see if you can’t trace that back to a point where someone hurt you. Hurt takes ownership of your soul, if you allow it. It’s OK to be hurt. It’s not good to stay hurt. I’m still working through my Hurt and I still have a ways to go. On your path to whatever you call success, you’re going to experience a lot and a lot of things will be apart of life’s learning experiences. You will experience bad times and you will occasionally get hurt. I had to shed that hurt and all the baggage it carries in order move forward. Remember, you may be going through tough shit and you have clearly gone through pain. Pain can be temporary but Hurt is forever. Don’t let hurt be that anchor on you.
Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Friday, June 9, 2017.
Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ