On your hike up the steep mountain trail that is your life, you will encounter many fellow travelers. Some will cheer you on, encouraging your rise. Others will throw rocks and sticks at your feet looking to trip you up and slow you down. And others yet, are so focused on every step that they take, that they don’t have the ability or inclination to care about your climb. That’s life.
But as you prepare for the most monumental ascent toward a dream hovering above the clouds, to your face, everyone will wish you well. They will offer their services and help. Their unwavering support. Their undying loyalty. Their distinguished network of contacts and the allegiance of their sphere of influence. But when it comes time to face up to the rock, to sink your fingernails into the dirt and inch toward the edge, it doesn’t take long to realize a sobering, yet undeniable fact… You’re on your motherfuckin own, pal.
I once mused that if I had a nickel for every person who had promised me “the hook up” over the years, I wouldn’t need a hook-up. As always, folks talk a big game all the way up to the big game, but when it comes time to lace em up, there are often very few gamers ready to back up the chatter. So I keep that in mind and take every offer with a grain of salt. The truth is, you will have to make your own breaks and be your own hook-up. And by the time the day arrives that you get all the sweet hook-ups, you won’t need a hook-up anymore. Holla if ya hear me.
Along the way on my quest, I managed to develop an uncanny ability to take many of the negative forces in my life and synthesize them into fuel. Processing the shit that destroys many–filtering doubt, pain, rejection, loss, disappointment and frustration through the sieve in my soul until all that was left was pure gasoline to power the machine. I did the same with empty promises… My defiant confidence propping me up, assuring me that I didn’t need anybody’s fucking help. That what was within was so undeniable, it would find its way, one way or another, whether you were on board or not. My inner dialogue urging me on, chanting my name… My loudest cheering section was always between my ears.
I write this well aware of my need for other people in my process, understanding the integral role my inner circle has played in my life to date. It was my folks first, and a handful of family members. Friends who over time built bonds beyond blood. My muse. My daughters. And a core of believers in my extended cipher who for whatever reason, had faith in the future, since before there was any obvious evidence that they should. These people are priceless. This is the sort of support group that a plan worthy of the man demands. A crew to be counted on. As they read these words, they know who they are.
Among the many sterling reputations to have on this planet, few are of a more exalted status than to be a person who can be depended on. To be a man of your word. For your word to be your bond. To do what you say and let others say what you do. That is your charge… To be the one to be counted on when the shit hits the fan and the chips are down. To be the first to reach in his pocket, but to take no handouts. To be the first to lend a hand to a brother in need, for only the rewards inherent to doing the right thing. Imagine that.
An old friend and mentor once shared an insight with me about the barriers of entry to the entertainment industry. As he characterized it, people in places of power or influence are often so insecure about their position, they are very hesitant to open the door to anyone talented for fear they will one day take their spot. That story stuck with me… A reminder of what I wanted most, but more importantly. of who I never could abide becoming.
For most of my adult life, I have set my mind to kicking in the door to my dreams. Not only for me and my cohorts, and our individual and collective benefit, but for my eighteen-year-old kindred spirit somewhere out there, paying dues in silence, breaking his back to get a break. It is for him too that I fight. So that he can bask in the glorious glow of his own grind. To owe no one. To be owned by no one. No disingenuous glad-handing. No hollow promises. No small-peckered pettiness. No feigned interest. No fair-weather friends. No faking. No fronting. No favors.