“Three life lessons I learned that led to happiness, peace, and true success…….
because I found out they were a LIE!”
“Success is only the mechanics of achievement. But true success involves being true to yourself. Without this even success is a failure.”
I was born to two beautiful, kind, good hearted parents who were drug addicts. Because of this we lived in poverty. I often went days without eating, dressed in old dirty clothes, and my toys were the ones I created in my imagination. But worse than this was the fact that they just weren’t there. They weren’t there when they were there, and often they just left. I was a 2 year old boy sitting alone at home in an empty apartment. Often I would leave and wander the streets. I would be picked up by strangers who fortunately would call the police. More times than I’d like to remember I was returned to my parents in a police car.
What did I learn? I learned that I was not worthy. In the mind of a child, if your parents care more about drugs than you, the message is that you’re just not worth it.
At 4 years old, my mom, after a failed suicide attempt, realized we were in trouble. She put me and my brother in a foster home and checked herself into a live-in drug rehabilitation facility.
Our foster home had everything a child could want! A huge house filled to the brim with food, cakes, pies, candy, and lots and lots of toys! We had a swimming pool and a boat! We went on fabulous vacations! But this was all for show. When they closed the shutters and in the dark when no one could see, they would beat us. Me and my little brother.
You see they were a church going family and believed in doing things by the book. They called it the “good” book. There was one scripture in particular that they worshipped.
“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”
According to them, me and my little brother were born into original sin. They seemed to take it as their personal responsibility to beat “the sin” out of us. Keep in mind I was 4 years old and my brother was only one.
What did I learn? I learned I needed to be ashamed of who I was. I learned to pretend to be something I wasn’t, to hide my flaws, and lie to protect myself.
When I was 8 years old my mother returned and regained custody of us. We moved into her live-in drug rehabilitation facility. A place called Synanon. By now they called it a lifestyle community and it soon became a cult. In Synanon individuality was not encouraged. You needed to be what they wanted you to be. The good of the community overruled your own. I fell into but eventually escaped from this toxic “group think” environment.
What did I learn? To fit in and be what others want you to be, or risk being an outcast…. not normal…a weirdo!
These three lessons soon became the driving force in my ambition to succeed and “make something of myself.” To prove that I was worthy, to cover my flaws and shame and to finally fit in. The Holy Grail was to be accepted.
The beginning of my journey into empowerment through Kung Fu, finding my voice, becoming a teacher, etc. was to prove myself and perhaps most importantly to prove myself to myself. Believing in myself, was for me believing in the ego I was creating to prove to the world that I was good enough.
What did I learn? I came to realize that my empowerment and drive to succeed was all built on LIES!
I am worthy! I don’t need to be ashamed! And the last thing I need to do is try to fit in! If I were to do this, I would miss the opportunity to give to the world the unique, somewhat strange, and misfit gift of myself. The real me, the one that was hiding inside like a small defenseless child, was afraid to rise up in power and sit on his own throne. You see I was not born in original sin, but original glory! I have come back to my own heart to reclaim the original spirit God placed within me. The one that is made in the image of a greater love, and is the essence and truth of all that I Am!
In this case believing in myself means believing in the truth of myself, the one who is worthy. The one who can own his flaws and mistakes before they own him. The one who can tell the truth as a new form of self-protection and who is glad to not fit in….except in my own skin. The stamp of approval from normal people to me has become like the kiss of death. So I join Wanda Sykes to say “I’m a be me!”
So my friend remember…. You are worthy! Live that! You don’t need to be ashamed. By all means learn from your mistakes, it will help you become a better person. But don’t let liars and phonies intimidated you from telling the truth and being who you are. And whatever you do, don’t waste your life trying to fit in! You are wonderfully, uniquely, and creatively made! You possess a gift that only you can give, by having the courage to be yourself!
Just keeping it real, Si Gong