Journal #4 – All Investments Aren’t Business Related

As I’ve probably mentioned in a previous journal entry, I’ve had numerous lengthy discussions with my Sensei. I refer to him as such for multiple reasons. Referring back to my competitive gaming life, he is by far one of the best in this city. It’s not so much that he is ONE of the best in fighting games (most notably Street Fighter), but I tell people that he comes from the battle. The guy is a legit martial artist outside of competitive gaming. His approaches to fighting games practically parallel with some teachings he’s picked up in his many years learning martial arts. Whenever I’m looking for some major provokes on my mind, he’s one of the top people I’ll contact. In the discussion I mentioned in the last journal concerning the importance of progressing and uplifting one another by connecting with one another, there was something else he said that changed my outlook on something that often occurred throughout my life.

I’ll provide some backstory first. In the early and later times in my college career, I’ve been unemployed. Occasionally, I’d win a little tournament or get a bit of money from Mom whenever she could give some to me and my little sister. Other than that and other moments of fortune, I was broke. I figured I’d have to go home to eat after class rather than the cafe or any nearby restaurants. In the earlier times, my friends loved eating out on the weekends at spots like Applebee’s, Wild Wings, etc. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to go. Also worth noting, when I wasn’t accompanied by friends or family and wanted/needed to go somewhere, I was traveling on foot. As a matter of fact, I presently still walk to the campus on Mondays.

So what happened on those days when I’d be stranded and starving on campus waiting for the next class or just hanging with my friends? Occasionally, they’d buy something for me. As a matter of fact, the very first person to give me money for food while in college was not a friend but a stranger. It was a day in which we were all leaving the school rather late after having one of our long discussions (shaping up to be kind of a trademark of most of the people I know huh?). We got dinner at a nearby McDonald’s. Well…everyone except me. I told my friends I couldn’t get jack and decided I’d grab us a table instead. As I turned to walk away from the line, a lady standing in front of us stopped me.

“Here,” she said with this sunny grin whilst handing me five bucks.


“No stranger ever gives me money…”

Still a super-animated young man (still kinda am, but I’ve toned it down since hehe), I looked alarmed. However, I was able to smile and thank her. She told me she knew how difficult it is to struggle financially during college. She also encouraged me to take every step of my college career seriously. I nodded and promised to do so, as I turned back to get in the line with my friends. I wouldn’t get a job until the next year, writing and doing the layout design for the school paper. The year after, I began a seasonal temp stint at the campus bookstore. I would work the spring, fall, and summer seasons for the next two years.

Before I worked any of those jobs, my friends would cover me for food and sometimes movie tickets. I always appreciated it, but at the same time, I always felt like a freeloader. I felt like out of everyone in the group, I was the only needy one. I even expressed the sentiment of being the only lingering unemployed person among my peers to my Mom. She responded by saying, “There must be something special about you for them to do such things”. I was down in the dumps when we were talking, so naturally I didn’t pay as much attention to that statement as I should have. I would tell Sensei about this discussion and he agreed that I should have been listening better. He reminded me that no one likes a freeloader and that eventually people will no longer invest in them. When he would tell his Mom that he’s going to a tournament, she would give him money before he left.

“She does that because she’s invested in my craft,” he explained. “People are willing to invest in you if they see something special and promising within you.”

It was then that I appreciated those things my friends did for me all the more. Knowing how most of my friends dislike freeloaders and drama, it should be obvious they aren’t just going to do stuff like this for anybody. It always made me feel kinda guilty because I was brought up around people that would always give like debt collectors. You know what I mean…always wanting to be paid back. Never any charity. Now I’m not saying go all out giving freebies, but sheesh…would one really damage you? Coming up around that mentality, there would come points where I’d openly refuse to eat around friends and they would relentlessly be like “Boy…tell me what you want off this menu.”

Sonic 175

Guess there’s no sensible comeback to someone trying to feed you, huh?

Sensei’s words even reminded me of some things people have done for me in competitive gaming. Not having enough money to enter one of local venue Prime Time Gaming’s tournaments, one of the staff members put me in the tournament anyways. At first, I figured I had fulfilled a stipulation that allegedly claimed to give a person free entry for every 3 or 4 tournaments. However, this was early when we just started having weeklies and it was only the second one. I later on found out the staff covered my entry fee. This also happened yesterday, when I went to Warner Robins with a teammate to a tournament. I was there for support and just to catch the action. Another friend of ours showed up, much to our surprise. I told him was there for spectating, but insisted I play. I told him another reason I wasn’t entering was due to lack of funds. He marched to the counter and paid my entry fee, despite shrugging when he asked if I wanted to play.

I look back at all these things with knowing what I know now and feel so much better. In my heart and spirit, I know I’m no freeloader. Whenever someone does something for me, I always try to passionately return the favor in one way or another. It reminded me of another thing my uncle once told me:

If you can’t pay a person back with money, do it with some sort of labor”. 

My friend who paid for my tournament entry yesterday asked me to pay him back by teaching and sparring with him in Mortal Kombat X some more. That’s some paying back I’m always glad to give.  I recall once after getting some awesome pay from my bookstore job, I held a pizza party to say thanks to all my friends for putting up with me for all the years before. I bought all of the pizza. I don’t even think the amount I paid for the pizza would even cover how much they’ve done for me, but they loved and appreciated it much.

My friends know of the struggles I’ve gone through with finding work after the jobs I previously had. They even sometimes remind me that its a great thing that I’m still in college rather than wasting any potential or just expecting something to pop out of the ground. Always keep a bright, vibrant spirit about yourself. Don’t get so down that you’ll miss what someone is trying to show you. Had I paid closer attention to what my Mom tried to tell me, I’d be less subconscious and more driven to be someone others would want to invest in. It’s things like this that further prove two things to me that we’ve all heard. The first being, its not always the material things that matter. The other being that, the work that you do will speak prodigiously of you.



Journal #2 – Just Throw Me Off The Cliff

If there’s one thing about me I can say has improved throughout my college years, its social skills. Granted I still think they need work, I’m much better off than I was around my late middle-high school times. Around those times, I paid big time for my naivete in thinking that every person I crossed was my friend. I was never the type to gossip, spread rumors, or any of that infamous, scandalous crap. When someone would tell me a secret, my lips were sealed, locked, and cemented shut. I knew how it felt to entrust someone to something secret, have them swear on whom or whatever, aaand then turn around and spill it like poorly screwed pipes. The end result was a bloated, embarrassing mess that buried me further down the totem pole. After that, I became much more darker and reclusive. Though my open attitude was “screw people, you all suck”, there was something inside me that screamed and cried for a real friend. After school, it was just me, schoolwork, video games, books, poetry, drawing and Cash Cab. Wasn’t going out to parties and hanging with friends. Pretty much, I was a heavy introvert around that time.

Upon getting into college, I transformed into more of an ambivert. I was more willing and comfortable with being sociable. I was more introverted when it came to me just not being in the mood to deal with people or when I was working on one of a thousand of my personal non-school related projects. Sure, I ran into some high school style drama here and there, but overall the community and being surrounded by awesome friends who taught me much practically boosted my confidence.

The purpose behind this little backstory about my internal conflicts with introversion, ambiversion, and extroversion is…well…I’m right back at it again. Yeah…I feel like I’m turning back into my old, cold, broody, reclusive self. I won’t go into detail but point blank straight to the point, I was recently betrayed by some “friends”. Ditched, abandoned, left out to dry on a rainy day…of all days. I didn’t hear back from them at all. Not later that day. Not the next day. Not EVER. The people in question know where I live and have a crap-ton of ways to contact me. The thing that hit me the most was that this wasn’t the first time someone has done this to me. I’m sure you at one time or another have been stood up before whether it was friends or even a lover. What I’m getting at here is that this had been done to me thrice in high school. Even more, I eventually found out that the people that had done this to me did so for the same reason: They didnt want me around. They were apparently trying to “send me a message” or something.

I have a pretty weird and rather psychotic outlook on betrayal. It amazes me how we live in a society that apparently LOVES and VALUES honesty…especially if its “brutal honestly”. I’m sure you’ve heard it all before:

“I’m gonna tell it like it is!”

“I’m not gonna sugar-coat the truth!”

“I’m gonna tell ’em the truth straight to their face!”

Yeah, yeah…shut up. For one, some people just claim “brutal honesty” in their words as a cop-out for just being nasty, hurtful, and anything but honest. Look, I’m not saying just give someone a slap on the wrist or be all cuddly with them, but if you’re gonna knock someone down, pick them back up and help put some ice on the wounds.

Second of all, I’ve heard some of the very same people who have pulled crap like misleading, abandoning, and standing someone up say this and other forms of this crap before. If you claim to be so big, bad, and bold, then how about doing as you say and tell someone up to their face. In this case, I’d preferred that if these individuals did not want me around them, that they would’ve just straight up told me. At least I wouldn’t have wasted any of my time and crazy as it sounds, I would at least respect that more. Yeah, as insane as it sounds, I’d rather someone looking to backstab me actually stab me in the back instead of giving me a fake pat on it. You’re not doing some goodwill or charity by dragging someone along. Additionally, as much as you supposedly claim to be bold, real and honest, by doing so you’re actually being really feeble and fake.

If you despise me enough to want to throw me off a cliff, then just throw me off. Again…as insane as it sounds, I’ll at least respect you.