Describe your path up until what you’re doing now?
I grew up in Milwaukee, WI. Contrary to popular belief, black people do live in Wisconsin. I grew up in the middle class. My parents were both college-educated. They, like most college-educated well-meaning parents, wanted me to be a good kid, get good grades, go to a nice college, get a good job, and be happy.
I had other things in mind. I constantly underachieved in school. I was asked not to return to my grade school because I was “disruptive.” I got kicked out of two different high schools. In short, I think I always had deep-seated issues with authority, but mostly I was a jackass and lived in an environment conducive to being a jackass.
No matter how badly the people around me wanted me to succeed, I’d fall short. I was always told I was bright, had potential, was going to do great things, etc, but for the large majority of my life, I did the opposite. My first run-in with the law was at age 17, and it wouldn’t be the last. Even though
I grew up middle class and never wanted for anything, I found my way into the wrong crowds and started doing some seriously illegal stuff. Fortunately for me, the consequences didn’t match what I did.
I made it through high school and went to college, where I took underachieving to a new level. One semester in college I had a 0.00 GPA because I drank seven days a week and got high at the same rate. During that time, when I did stumble into class, I actually enjoyed it. I’d take part in discussions and had a genuine appetite to learn, but often I felt like the way school was set up didn’t make sense.
Everyone would struggle to get these perfect grades that I didn’t think would matter in the long run. They’d take tests and then forget everything. I always had the nagging sense that perhaps we should be learning more about how to navigate the real world. So there was always this undertone of “maybe people in authority don’t have my best interests at heart,” coupled with me royally fucking up.
These two factors also led to where I am today. My bad choices in the past led to me reaching a point where I hit rock bottom. After that point, I decided I wanted to do something different with my life. My appetite for learning was still there and slowly but surely I started making changes. I read more, watched Ted Talks, and listened to interviews with successful people. Around that same time, I stumbled into writing. A friend noticed my positive attitude and thought I’d be a good fit to write for his website.
That was a few years ago. I’ve been writing incessantly since then. My past experiences and my inner worldviews can be reflected in what I write now. I’m actually glad I got in a lot of trouble and didn’t do well in school because if I had I might have ended up getting an M.B.A and being a management consultant, which is my definition of hell. That answer seems long.[Content protected for Subcribers members only]