The Grind :

Hi Hi Y’all,

I think I’ve met another situation where appreciation doesn’t equal the true understanding of emotional strength in a situation until one’s been in it before: the grind.

I grew up in a middle class family with typical crazy ass middle class problems. My biggest worries were always emotional and based on social dynamics. It’s the sort of crazy that seems particularly less of a problem for those of lower economic status. Where, food, shelter and education tend to be the more prominent concerns. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say I’m approaching that line. Mostly due to fear of a verbal smack down from a friend the first time my thoughts started to head in that direction.

What I will tell you is that for the first time I really am participating in needing to grind through to maintain a semblance of your former economic status.

Let me explain:

(1) Many people know the roots of many of my issues stem from family. This will not ever change. However, there is a way to relieve some of the stress in its most basic attachment, money dependency. If you cut strings that hold you dependent you can find room to breathe. The thought alone is nice, but it isn’t an immediate practical step for the majority kids in my possession. We were never taught to work, budget, or accept basic life style choices others have had to make.

(2) This is were the transition phase starts. Research on what you are exactly dependent on begins. Calculations are made and beautiful word documents created to try and summarize your life by numbers. From there you look at that scary truth and start to try and formulate a plan to afford to pay them. You get your first proper part time job. You start side hustles or free lance work here and there to get the few extra bits of cash. You even maybe get more than one credit card so you can do a new form of balancing act.

(3) Now, we’ve arrived at stage three. You’ve been really at this for awhile. You can sort of do the routine, but it isn’t perfect yet. Your life has become multiple part time jobs/freelancing, school and work comes first mentality, some of your old enjoyments are overpriced unnecessary goods and your new tittle has become minimum payment queen. Your natural 700s credit score is in the 600s because of choices you made to learn how to be an adult… Stage 3.

(4) This is what I mean when I say I am more than just appreciative towards those who are in the grind, because I am now in one as well. It doesn’t matter that my voice is cracked as hell, that my school assigned me a shit ton of work, that I wanted to write a book, or that I wanted to spend more time on myself. If it doesn’t fit in with the flow of the grind of the week it doesn’t fit in. It’s a no.

Yes, I am luckier than most. Yes, I probably shouldn’t ever say I have to live this life when I have people who will be there to catch me when I fall. HOWEVER, what I can say is that I am living a life that makes me my own person. I am living the life an adult. These tough decisions and annoying thought processes are now on my shoulders.

Living your life independent of attachments to others or of your own insecurities is a challenge. I think it is important to take a moment to realize all that you are doing to achieve the goal. You have to admit sometimes it sucks, your tired and you don’t want to do it. Then you need to be proud of yourself for still showing up for the fight.

That’s the grind…

Getting up over and over again.

Ain’t going to let anything stop me from standing up in the morning.

I.L. Knight

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Working Man Blues – Merle Haggard

Hometowns

 I’m sitting here in the middle of a Nordstrom’s shoe section looking at an angry mom waiting for her sister to show up and a herd of thirteen year old’s “OMG. These are shoes are only 198$. I can totally afford these and still buy concert tickets with my allowance.” I remembered why I always felt alone-different. The motivation I haven’t had for awhile was stagnant in the mall’s air. This is what inspired me years ago. The desire to not be anything like the hometown bubble I grew up in. I never wanted to be someone just pretty on the outside. Similarly,  I never wanted to be someone just pretty on the inside. Growing up in nouveau-riche South Florida taught me the importance of both a pretty well liked packaging and the need for an equally pretty content on the inside. My motivation was to be a complete package and to be one in a town that wouldn’t turn future me or my future kids into the very same people I grew up with. 
Thinking back to a conversation I had with a friend the other night, I can only agree with him more. Hometowns aren’t always the best to return too. Especially, hometowns like Boca Raton.  When we came home three things happened: (i) nostalgia, (ii) reminiscing and (iii) thoughts of the future. If I have ever listened any words of wisdom from therapists, online blog, buddhist monks, friends or family it’s that happiness comes from living in the moments. If you dwell in the past or the future you can never be happy. Returning home for me is a dangerous cancer. It is a set back to growth.
There was the sudden logic to my anxiety and chaotic dislike for being present  anywhere in this town. I came to a war barely being able to hold my sword. Just as only Arthur could pull the sword from the stone, not everybody can come back to their hometown and be happy. If I spent my whole life admiring birds for being free, how in the hell can I then find happiness by returning to the same nest I was born to? It is impossible. If I ever fully want to grow up and learn to move on, to get past trials and tribulations, or even just become an adult. I need to accept the fact that all I’ve ever wanted to do was leave the nest. That my decision to admire freedom was never something wrong in the first place.
Motivation is something that will never come easy for me. Biology works against me. However, maybe just remembering what I came from will be a guide to keeping little pieces of it along my road. After all, I am looking at everything I never wanted to become and realizing that yes I may not be the shiny convertible everyone wants to buy, but I am allowing myself to be the beat up Toyota with 60,000+ miles that can’t be fixed up. The person I was and aim to be has aspirations.


Tonight will be a night to try and not think. Since I was kicked out of my house I will do what I always like to do. I will look up at the night sky, listen to the crickets, and imagine a fantastical adventure in the starry landscape I longed to see again.


Tired, Sad and Strangely Motivated,
I.L. Knight

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Last Dance- One Ok Rock