“What am I if not the better version of everyone else?”

(A lovely quote teased out of me by the lovely Ben Goresky last night at the Samurai Brotherhood quarterly open house during a post-open-house impromptu hang. Boy, do good things happen by being around great men.)

I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I want.

Heck, I have no idea who I am.

Sure, I’ve written three books, got a degree, a car, moved out. Woo-hoo.

At best, I see these moves as defense mechanisms to maintain the image that everything is going well, when it’s not.

  • I still look in the mirror and see my fat tummy

  • I still feel suffocated when I see women - filled with desire and overwhelmed with the phrase “not for you” being yelled in my head

  • I still have a negative net worth

  • I still don’t have a full-time income writing (two years after starting)

  • I’m still scared to be around men and feel uncomfortable whenever I’m with anyone I am not fixing or being fixed by

  • I feel controlled by other people, because I have trouble saying no to anyone who even slight resembles my dad

I don’t have my shit together at all!

It’s the truth and I want my self to hear it.

I also want the truth to come out that it’s okay not to have my shit together.

Don’t they say that your problems never go away, they just change?

Well, these are the problems I’m having right now, good or bad.

Up until now the sounds of these phrases echoed my head with no reply or control:

“you’re not good enough”

“you have to do more.”

“You’re not beating them. Try harder.”

“Sleep is for the lazy. Get back to work you little bitch.”

As I’ve been dodging the gunfire, I’ve come to realize this:



It’s what I’m used to, familiar with. It’s safe. It’s how I’ve always treated myself, which makes it habitual, which makes it comfortable.

Now, over the past year of spending time with men in a capacity that extends beyond business, being on a team, or fixing each other in some other way (like every other relationship I’ve had with men) - just being with each other - I’m starting to see some space between myself and these thoughts.

And as I slowly reveal these parts of my mind to other people, I start to see these thoughts for what they are:


For the first time in my life, I feel myself momentarily - just slightly - being okay with being human.

But it’s one day at a time.

We’re not going to be changing after this article, or next week, or next month. And we’re not going to feel behind when this happens.

Maybe, if we’re lucky enough to be living in ten years, we’ll be a slightly different person - maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be a slightly improved man.

As I slowly go down this journey, I realize a couple things:

  • I am responsible for changing myself, but the majority of the changing is done by being exposed to other people.

  • I am okay if I never change at all, and don’t need to approach the challenge of personal development with such desperation to earn my place on earth.

  • Eventually, this is going to pass away. And I have the ability to accept progress of any type - no matter the speed. So I will.

It feels weird to say it, but I guess I’m a pretty great guy.

A couple qualities I’m confident in about myself:

  • honesty

  • generosity

  • physical strength

  • determination and resilience

  • the ability to talk comfortably with anyone

  • discipline

  • emotional strength

  • courage

And no, mind, this isn’t a self-indulgent load of bullshit. This is me. It is you. And we’re fucking awesome.


We’re fucking awesome.

Much love,

Sam Gray, Currently in a relationship with his own mind.