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18

18 was the age. The most memorable. Finally legal in my country, but that wasn’t the distinction that forced me into adulthood. 18 was the age. I dropped out of high school, paid rent for the first time, felt broke for the first time.

18 was the age my daughter was conceived.

It was the first time I felt real fear, real insecurity about my abilities to be a father. All I wanted to do was play ball, chase girls, laugh with my friends. Instead I was nervous, anxious, dealing with family split between being unforgiving and empathetic.

Either way, 18 was the age I trained myself to not be sensitive. To know that from here on in I had to be strong. My existence wasn’t all that was at stake, my ego wasn’t the only thing to be scarred.

18 was the year I became a father. A child myself, but who had time to think about that. Who had time to try to make sense of what that word really meant.

Father.

Didn’t have one myself, but vowed to be better. Didn’t care that he was never there because I would be.

And I was.

And I still am.

18 was the first time I looked into my daughter’s eyes. First time I held her. First time I heard her cry.

13 years later and I can’t help but reminisce sometimes.

18...

#PassionAndPaper

Read "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul."

 

Take a Break

  I had one of my readers unsubscribe from my mailing list the other day. This was someone who found me over social media and became a heavy supporter of all of my writing. So I reached out to ask them why they decided to leave.

“I just need a break,” was the answer.

It was that simple. Just needed a break. They went on to say that they still very much supported me, and would catch back up with me in due time. But they really just needed a break from social media, emails, and other things happening in the digital world so many of us call home.

And I had no hard feelings. As much as I love most of the engagement on social media and online overall, I get it. It’s a lot. And it’s non-stop. Literally non-stop. Between the emails, notifications, and endless stream of content from whatever platforms you prefer, it seems like an infinite wave of information.

So just take a break. Regardless of if you do it during the holidays or not, take a break. Stop looking at life through a screen for a little while and see what happens.

And I’m not saying go away on vacation or anything that extreme. Limit the smartphone to phone calls and text messages. Limit the laptop to only what has to get done. With the way we consume pretty much everything right now, it could make a real difference in how you function day to day.

Being a writer, I know I need to take breaks. I write about real life stuff, and so if I’m not aware, not observing, not being present, my writing suffers. And while the irony of this post isn't lost on me, I really do hope everyone reading this finds some time to step away for a little bit. 

#HistoryOrNothing

Read my novella "Thoughts of a Fractured Soul," 

Dealing with Expectation

I had a tough act to follow. Playing runner up to an older brother that excelled on the classroom and on the football field, earned a full athletic scholarship to Stanford University and then went on to play four years in the NFL was no small task. I remember the first time I got caught skipping class in high school. The first thing the teacher said while she ushered me to the office was "I don't expect this type of behaviour from you, Kern."  It’s a phrase I would hear countless amounts of time during my teenage years. At first I took it as a compliment; that my defiance against how I was supposed to behave in some strange way made me cool. And in high school, who doesn't want that title?
But as I matured and the opinions of my acquaintances mattered less and less, I learned how to handle that expectation. Actually, it went beyond that; I craved that expectation. I stole those preconceived ideas of me being intelligent and talented with a gift for expression and focused all of that into my passion for writing.

"EXPECTATIONS ARE DANGEROUS ONLY IF YOU LET OTHER PEOPLE CONTROL WHAT THOSE EXPECTATIONS SHOULD BE."

Now I had new standards, and instead of worrying about fitting in, I concerned myself with meeting the enormous expectations I placed on myself. Today the standards people place on me is not based on familial affiliations. Instead they are based on the standards I created for myself. The way I carry myself, the way I speak, the quality of my writing are all expectations people instinctively (seemingly) place on me only because I have placed them on myself.

 

Reflecting back I realize that expectations are dangerous only if you let other people control what those expectations should be. If you create your own standards, your own set of beliefs, and then live everyday by those measures, people will come to expect what you already demand of yourself. Meeting those demands..well that's another post.
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Website: www.kerncarter.com
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My book Thoughts of a Fractured Soul is available for purchase now at www.kerncarter.com in print or e-book format.

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