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I’m a Work in Progress

Sheridan Taylor

In which our hero reminds you, dear reader, that anybody who lies to you is not your friend. Including you. 

Our brains hold a hidden enemy. It comes from judgement, and we inherit it. It preys on us in our sleep. It causes us to doubt. It tells us we’re “not as good as,” the we’re “less than.” It constantly tries to beat us down.

We gotta fight that sonofabitch. We have to occupy our entire selves, like, our body, mind, and soul, with something we feel is important. It has to be intensely important to us, and it has to be hard. Now, I can’t tell you what that is for you. Maybe it’s ecology, maybe it’s politics, maybe it’s religion, maybe it’s being the best parent and partner you can be… You gotta figure it out; it’s your thing. But you gotta have it.

It’s like the bumper sticker from the ‘70s: “You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” (Yes, I remember the ‘70s, kiss my tattooed ass.) I don’t care what you believe in, I just need you to believe in it with everything you have, and work hard at it. The hard part’s important. We need to feel we’re struggling against something, and more importantly, towards something, to feel spiritual and emotional fulfillment.

It sounds corny and shit, but it’s fucking true. And I can’t prove it to you, you have to prove it to yourself. If you won’t try, you’ll never know. It’s like what Louis Armstrong said about jazz: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” and “There are some people that if they don’t know, you can’t tell them.” (Smart man, Ol’ Satchmo.)

For myself, this sort of happened organically. As I recovered and healed from my own illness, I began to experience empathy for others who were as lost and trapped as I was, and began to seek out ways to help them. It eventually became a calling and even an obsession (so much so I’m writing books and spending fucking fortunes publishing them). I’ve devoted my entire self to promoting mental health and explaining what it means, and more importantly, how I found it so others can use it as a road map to their own well-being.

When I’d wake up in the middle of the night and the snakes in my head would start whispering … just remembering them gives me shivers. I came so close to checking out because of those fuckers and their lies. Anyway, lying there awake and terrified, with the snakes in my head whispering lies about my worthlessness, I could fight back with fact and faith.

“Yes, I’m flawed, but I have value because I’m trying to help others. I’m flawed, but I have worth because I’m trying to be a good dad. I’m flawed, but I have value and worth because I’m doing my best. I’m flawed, but I cannot be beaten because I will not surrender. I have value and worth because I have a purpose. I have responsibility. I have hope. Molon labe, motherfucker. Come get some.”