A Search for an Identity

in life •  6 months ago

This is the second of a two-part Birthday series of posts. It was my birthday yesterday, but today it's @randomli's. Yes, we were born hours apart from each other, destiny and all that :D As such, I'm out and won't be able to respond to your comments for a few days. This is a scheduled post, so I aplogize for the delay in my replies.


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After that shot of positivity yesterday, I wanted to use that as a launching pad to unearth my true purpose here on Steemit. I oscillate between life lessons and fiction and other stuff, but in my one year here, I feel like I haven't fully established an identity. Other users are known for specific things, that's why they have an audience. Me? I have some supportive friends who are all kinds of awesome. You know, those people I thanked in my post yesterday. But, if I want to build a better following, I need to branch out and step up my game. I owe it to myself and the people who support me.


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But, before we tackle the deep stuff, first I want to scratch the surface. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about...


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Since the cover images was made available a week ago, I think this is a good a time as any to be posting something like this. I guess you could say that I'm searching for my "brand," but then I'll have the urge to punch you in your throat for talking like a marketing guru (if you aren't, that is, but if you are, then that's cool too). Nobody has asked me about why I haven't inserted a cover photo there. Perhaps nobody checks my page, perhaps nobody thinks I'll make one. Whatever the reason, I was online when the update was made, and I've been racking my brain trying to think about how to best convey myself to potential readers. It's a work-in-progress, but I have uploaded something a few days ago. If you want to check it out and tell me what you think, I'll be highly appreciative.

As for the profile picture, I've had this for a while and I'm in two minds whether or not this is the right time to change it. I've had a few I've made, but I haven't fully decided whether I should change my profile picture. Maybe I will change it in the coming months, but I guess just not right now.

While we're on the subject of branding finding one's own identity, I wanted to briefly mention my post signature. I say briefly because I want to draw people in because it's concise, but really this will be the longest of the aesthe... SIGNATURE!


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Astute observers may notice that I don't have a signature, but that wasn't always the case. I used the one that @steemverify provided back when I was writing A Day in the Clouds and SILVER LINING, but I modified it to give it a bit more of patriotic flavor. Sure, it's a bit lackluster, but I just wanted to wave our flag so that other Filipinos will know where to look. Cue the harp and blur the screen, we're going to a nostalgic trance, people! This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.


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Harp Source

It was a time when there were few Filipinos here on Steemit, and we were only just beginning to organize. Along with @hulkbuster, @surpassinggoogle and others, we were tasked to spread the word about Steemit to the country. I was the contrarian of the group (of course), but I fully supported whatever they came up with. I'm not really a joiner, mostly because I've always had bad experiences with groups. For some reason, I always find myself in the outs even though I have never really rubbed people the wrong way, to the best of my knowledge. I'm often just forgotten or expected to participate more than what other people give. It's hard to explain, and even I don't fully get it myself. It's like people think I don't give that much effort to the group, when in reality I give more than most. I always try to make everyone feel included, but in the end it's me who becomes excluded. It always happens, no matter what approach I take.

So, I only had one stipulation—to never be excluded from the list. I guess you could say I'm a dive when it comes to that, but that was my only request. Everyone agreed, discussions were made and everything was good. However, that was cut short because of Steemit's streamlined marketing push, and while @hulkbuster remained tasked with the initiative, the group eventually folded.

After a few months, I happened upon a post that purported to be the official representative for the country. At first, I was excited. Finally we were getting organized. Watch out Steemit! Then I saw the list of all the Filipinos on Steemit, the same one from a few months back. As I went through the list, I could see a lot of familiar names. There were some that I haven't seen before, but I guess that's the result of the deluge of new users. After all, the more, the better. I checked off everyone I knew, and they were all there. As I was finished going through the list, there was only one name that I noticed was missing—mine.

Suffice to say, what followed was a surge of negative emotions. It was happening yet again. I was being forgotten yet again. Now, this new group has thrived, and definitely surpassed what the old one even hoped to achieve. While I'm happy for them, yet again I find myself on the outs. This isn't something new. I've become so used to this, I'm practically numb haha! Do I feel any resentment? I did, of course, but that's why I posted the post I posted yesterday, on my birthday. I don't want to be misinterpreted as being resentful, because I'm not. Right now, I'm in a good place, I just try to avoid things that would bring me negative emotions. I'm not a joiner, and even though it's nice to feel included, this is why I avoid groups like the plague. Though, I'm happy with the fellowship of writers that I find myself a part of. No complaints there.

With all that being said, I find myself, this time, a man without country. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but, once you're kept off a list you specifically requested to not be kept off of, there's no other option than to wave a different flag. In this case, I guess I'm waving no flag this time around. I'm a man without a country. As such, I have since dumped my old signature to search for a more appropriate one. I'm a free agent, and if any other country needs a storyteller, then sign me up :D

Since we're already, on the deep end, peeling back layer by layer, might as well throw out the header...


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While we're on the subject of groups, I was also part of a number of groups that mostly dealt with fiction here on Steemit. I was part of the group that brought the Descriptions on the Spot a little less than a year ago, and even though it was lively in its heyday, it didn't last that long. I was also part of @fiction-trail after I was invited by @baerdric and interviewed as part of the Author Smackdown by @meesterboom (yes, Big Daddy Boom himself), joining the ranks of (and I don't know if I'm at liberty to divulge their names so I'll obfuscate them by saying things that sound like their name) spinsterroom, shockoya and swishelbent. While it's under new management now, it was a fun time and I've definitely continued with some of the friendships I built from there.

I'm a fiction storyteller, and I envision Steemit as a place where fiction stories could thrive. Imagine being paid for every chapter of your story. Some chapters could even potentially make more than what most other books make in their lifetime! That's why I'm all for supporting original Steemit fiction. But again, I had mixed feelings when I discovered that there was another established group dedicated to fiction. I was happy that fiction was thriving, but then I discovered I knew some of the people that were already part of it, and I couldn't help but feel left out yet again.

Sure, I could just shut off my emotions and worm myself in, but that would defeat the lone wolf persona that I've already discussed. We can't have that now, can't we? I did bite the bullet and submitted some entries though. You can check it out here. I don't know @rhondak that much, but from our limited interaction, I could see that she is an awesome person and a fine leader for the burgeoning @sft! I wish them the best of luck, and I'm happy for the success they have already attained. For my part, I will still continue to add to the fiction community here on Steemit in whatever capacity I can.

Okay, so what do we have so far? Storyteller who doesn't have a country and can't keep his place in groups. Sounds about right. Doesn't sound too appealing, doesn't it? Maybe that's why I have yet to find a stable audience. Time to examine...


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As I mentioned before, I primarily write fiction. I write life stuff from time to time, but I mostly express that through fiction. Sure, I understand that fiction isn't the most appealing type here since it takes a few minutes to digest, as opposed to poetry or art. I do venture into different media from time to time. My photos have so far bombed, so that's a bummer. Craft projects haven't received much love either, but I've only uploaded one, so it's hard to judge it. With the way things are going, it seems like fiction is my best bet, even though my name doesn't attract much attention. Or perhaps my Steem Power is what drives people away.

Before my first hiatus, I ran wild commenting left and right. It was time consuming because I'm a slow reader but I digest everything I read. I make it a point to leave thoughtful comments every time, so that surely didn't help with efficiency. It didn't matter though. I operated under the "do unto others" mentality. Suffice to say, I quickly became exhausted with it and the chat, and everything related to Steemit. When I came back, I made it a point to taper down the number of comments I give. I take quality over quantity every day anyway, so even though I don't make a huge amount, I make sure that I don't compromise the quality of my work.

Nowadays, whenever someone leaves a thoughtful comment on my post, I make sure to respond to it in kind, and read and comment on their post as well. I vote and respond to every comment I get, even to bots. Most importantly, I don't care if a person has 25 rep or 75 rep, 10 SP or 50,000 SP, if you reply to comments and you take the time to leave thoughtful comments on my post, you're an awesome person, and you have my unwavering support.

How's that working out for me? I had hoped you wouldn't ask, but since you did, I might as well respond. It's not working out so well. I mean, yeah, I was lucky enough to stumble upon the spectacular Steemians I thanked in my post yesterday, but my strategy doesn't really help in getting hundreds of readers. Should I perhaps prioritize quantity and post every day even if my posts are pointless? Should I focus on schmoozing up to whales instead of taking the time to thoughtfully respond to minnows?

Since I'm currently looking for an identity, should I just emulate what seems to work for others? It goes against everything I stand for, but what if I stand for the wrong thing? I've always been a contrarian, I've always been a lone wolf, is tribalism the answer? I haven't had much luck with what I've been doing anyway, so maybe it's time for a different approach.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not waving the white flag. As you may remember, I'm waving no flags. I just feel very fluid right now, very experimental. In my mind, I have a destination with different forking paths. Every path I have taken doesn't seem to lead me closer to it. I just hope that every step I take is towards the right direction.


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Much like on Steemit, the same thing happens to me in real life. I'm a writer, software developer, acupuncturist, researcher, tutor, and the list goes on. I wear so many hats, that people don't even recognize me most of the time. I'm lucky to have stumbled upon my fiancée when I did, but I don't have a lot of friends. Don't get me wrong, I'm an introvert through and through who prefers few close friends, but still. As I age, all those close ties seem to drift farther apart.

As I said yesterday, I used to write life lesson posts based on my experiences, but this is different. This time I'm asking for advice. I'm all ears and I'm appreciative of whatever insight you guys provide. I just want to reiterate that I'm in a good place, and not at all as pessimistic or as resentful as I was a year ago. Will Steemit even be here next year? Will I be here next year? Who knows. Only time will tell. I just want to make the most of every moment I'm afforded. That's why I want to establish an identity, to jumpstart my progress and to leave a mark here... and now :D

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And tomorrow It's my birthday!

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Oh man, what a crazy coincidence! Now I know at least one person who has a birthday in August haha! Legends are born in August!

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It's us and Caesar!

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All hail ... us!

this is why I avoid groups like the plague

Seems like people are giving you what you want. Maybe that's the trouble. Maybe you don't know what you want. I think you're right about needing to find who you are. You can't build a brand before you build you identity. You have to find yourself before others will find you.

I was surprised to see my auto vote didn't pick up your post. Steem voter must be down. Happy birthday Jed (sorry I'm a day late). I'll read your other post now. Been busy. :)

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Seems like people are giving you what you want.

I'm not sure I get what you mean, Luke. Are you saying that it's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I guess the way I worded it makes it seem so haha! Good eye :) But, what I meant is to just feel included without having to exert extra effort just to maintain my status in groups. I've had the worst luck with it, that's why whenever I see the warning signs, I gird myself. It's hard to explain what exactly goes on. But, I can narrate a specific scenario if needed.

Maybe you don't know what you want.

I guess you're right here. Everything's still a jumble. When I eventually get to my 30s I hope everything will be more stable, but for now I'm just trying to appreciate the chaos :D

I agree with your sentiment about finding myself first, that's why I'm on a search ;)

Steemvoter has been wonky for me as well. I was advised to update my posting key, I hope that solves your problem as well. Thanks for the greeting, Luke! It would've been better if you read the other post first :D

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But, what I meant is to just feel included without having to exert extra effort just to maintain my status in groups.

I think you might be narrowing in on something important here.

What if no-one gets that? What if everyone has to continually work to be noticed, remembered, valued, and understood within a group setting? Further, what if they subconsciously resent those who aren't willing to put in the same effort as everyone else? In a way, it sounds like entitlement again. Like wanting your friends to always call you and ask if you want to go do something instead of being the one to call your friends as well.

I hope that makes sense. You seem to have a very individualist view which is against being part of a group and yet the language you use suggests you're sad for not being included in the groups. I hope that's helpful. You're still young. I'm confident you'll get it figured out. :)

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I don't doubt that there are a lot of other people who are the same way. And yeah, there is some resentment that builds up. Surely there are a lot of contradictions, and I appreciate you taking the time as always to break them down. It does sound like entitlement from a third-party perspective, but this time, I'm more sure that it isn't--at least not fully. It's hard for people to get what people like me experience, if they haven't gone through the same thing.

Here's a scenario (a bit long, so I'll understand if you won't be able to read it in its entirety): it's a friend's birthday, the same friend I always help out in times of need (for which there are many) but who doesn't help me the same way. I never complained about it, because it was my decision to help out without expecting anything in return. To some extent, every member of the group has somewhat a similar one-sided relationship with me. I guess, in a way, my inclusion in the group seems like the payment for all the help that I give. Anyway, so this friend's birthday is coming up, but it just so happens that my fiancée's (when she was still just my girlfriend) father had died a month before overseas. Oh you know what, I don't know if you remember it, but I was still with Foxy during all of this. I think I've told you guys about it before. Anyway, I digress again.

Because of personal stuff I don't want to get into, the funeral was decided to last just one day, which coincidentally was the same day as my friend's birthday. Suffice to say, I told the group in the last minute that I wouldn't be able to come. The celebration was supposed to take place 2 hours away from where I was, and I wasn't really in a celebratory mood. I did manage to get more than 2 hours in for Foxy, until you guys urged me to take the day. I had been up for more that 24 hours, being the one who helped identify and escort the body from the airport. So, yeah, they resented me for not being able to make it. To this day, I think they're convinced that I just made everything up as an excuse.

I was always there when they needed me, and all they could offer is a line text to offer condolences. What's worse is that scenario is par for the course in terms of all the groups that I had been a part of. It's not just about not being invited to do stuff, it's much more than that. That kind of scenario always happens to me, and while we already cleared out the expectations aspect in one of our talks, it doesn't help me avoid these things from happening. Haha! One year anniversary of that thread too!

I hope that helps clarify my stance. It's not that I don't want to be a part of a group, it's just that I've been in too many exhausting scenarios.

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Maybe you need to be needed? The person you described doesn't sound like a good friend at all to me. They sound like someone I'd personally avoid. I do remember that situation. I remember being confused that you were trying to work at all. Why were you trying to work?

I don't mean to come down on you, but I think these introspective questions may be good for you. I hope you find groups of real friends who will reciprocate.

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No, no, no. This is great, man. I'm extremely grateful that you even take the time to indulge me with my musings. Just goes to show you're a great guy, Luke! It's funny if this would really turn out to be a yearly thing. Don't get me wrong though, I'm in a totally opposite place from where I was a year ago. It may sound like I have some resentment in me, but really I'm in a good place right now.

That's the thing though, every group I've been a part of always has those moments. It's not that I hate being part of groups, it's just that, with my track record, it's kind of hard to hope. Adjusting expectations and all that. Do I need to be needed? I guess. I mean, I have though about it quite a few times before. Though, I'm not really searching for it.

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I think we attract certain types of people around us. If we're surprised about that, we should be the ones to change to attract different people and different groups, right?

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Yeah, I agree. Hence my search for an identity :D I'm glad the discussion came full circle like that haha! Really though, I'm just trying to be genuine and true to my nature, in hopes of attracting like-minded individuals. I'm happy that I make baby steps toward reaching that goal.

Oh, and I forgot to answer your earlier question! I'm so sorry about that. I was trying to work to distract myself from the grief. No one was able to sleep during the morning, and all the people were just reminiscing about the recently departed. I felt relieved that I was productive during that brief time. There were no conflicts, and I helped solve a number of problems during that period.

Hey @jedau, this is the first post of yours that I've read, and I love it. I love how open, honest and thoughtful you have been about your feelings. I also completely relate to the whole 'searching for an identity' thing.

I knew years back that I wanted to make my living online. I did various courses, and, as I have various skills I found that I could write ebooks. create courses, coach etc etc.

But the number one advice to be successful online was always Brand Yourself!!

And I've just never been able to get to grips with this!

I'm also pretty introverted at heart... although most people tend to see me as more outgoing. I don't have many friends - I find it difficult to let people in.

But I do have a lot to say!!

I used look at other people who are 'branded' and think, ok what are they doing? What is it that means they have this universally known identity? And I would try to apply whatever I found to myself. And that never works, because, you know - that's them, not me!

But one thing I do know is, it's about speaking with your own voice... Just as you have done here.

When you are asking 'who am I?' The answer is - You are the one who is asking the question. No more, no less.

I think we can over think this whole identity thing. I mean, we have identities... it's impossible not to!

I guess the trick is, to not be ashamed, afraid or in any way hold back from using your own voice and speaking your mind. Speak it loudly and proudly - whatever it is.

I've come to believe that this 'branding' or 'identity' is something that appears as opposed to being found. That's what I'm hoping anyways!

As I haven't read any of your other stuff yet, I won't presume to offer any advice on this whole matter. These are just a few of my thoughts!

You gained a follower in me anyhow. And happy belated birthday! :)

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Awww this is such a great sentiment! You know, it's funny how I said the similar thing in one of my comments to your posts even if I haven't read your reply. Super freaky!! Is it because introverts think similarly?

I'm glad this was the first post you've read of me, because I usually post the opposite of truth, and I try my best to not be honest. I'm a fiction writer, that's why haha! Right back at you! I don't know if I mentioned that in my comment to your post. I really like how your writing flowed, the way you tell a story.

You can rest assured that I will take all these pieces of advice to heart. Wonderful, wonderful sentiments. Thank you for the greeting, and for sharing your thoughts! I'm looking forward to our future interactions :D

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Haha, I know! Yes perhaps it's a like-minded introvert thing. :)

Oh I am glad you likes the sentiments here... you know sometimes you read a post and it really makes you think and kind of switches on a part of your brain haha! That's what yours did. :)

Thank you too and really lovely to interact with you @jedau!

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That's what I always try to do--start a discussion. But, I'm not fortunate to be able to so 100% of the time. I'm just happy that I'm able to from time to time :D

Happy birthday @randomli! :D

I can make you upgoats? XD Though your current sig is pretty cool XP Probably not much consolation but I've been kicking around a few places forever and still haven't found a niche. Perhaps we're just not niche kinda people :) Or (additional thought AFTER I hit post) perhaps we have niches but they're not insanely profitable XD

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Let's see how this signature is received first :) As the days would go by, you'll eventually see why I made it this way. Think of it as a year-long art experiment haha! Maybe you're right about our niches not being insanely profitable. I'm cool with that as long as people find some use from what I do :D

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Thank you @ryivhnn! Maraming salamat sa iyong pagbati! :D

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Uhm, good grief. Sama-sama? I don't think you're speaking Malay even though it kind of looks like it XD

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It's actually Filipino :D There are lots of similarities so it's alright to be confused about it :D

A lot of this sounds familiar, and I can relate, I always wonder what kind of content I am, or should be creating here. I think if I have an identity, or a description of what I offer to steemit, I might call it a uniform inconsistency, with persistent variety but hopefully entertaining. Maybe I'm an opportunist, posting about whatever pops onto the screen and makes itself handy to me. I don't think it's an effective business model, but I'm really here to play, not work. It suits me to be a variety page-- it's how I am anyway. It would stink to have an audience if they demanded that I always post photos, or that I always write fiction pieces, or any pidgeon-hole imaginable, I prefer the freedom of movement-- ya can't hit a moving target!

At first glance I was scrolling down and saw your graphic 'Life Imitates Art', and I read it as "LIFE Imitates RAT", which might be like a peek into my psyche so I'll change subjects: Flags? Those are potent mind-control devices, it's good that you are questioning any allegiance to one, I think. Those things actually encourage a sort of group-think, or gang mentality, to the extent that individuals can be persuaded to do rotten things based on a single flag's presence.

This is happy birthday to you: part two!

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This was actually posted on my fiancée's birthday haha! Uniform inconsistency, I like it! I guess that's how I view myself as well, but the difference is I haven't acknowledged it the way you do. I just hope that my acceptance of it would elevate my engagement to the same level that you operate in. You can't hit a moving target indeed! That is, if your opponent doesn't have homing missiles. In that case, I, for one welcome our new overlords.

LIFE imitates RAT! Now that's something to behold! We should indeed follow the rat. It's able to scavenge for food and live in the most derelict conditions. Yet, it doesn't get discouraged by its lot in life. We should all be more like rats haha! :D

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So that was an appropriate 'happy birthday' to the fiancee, too, I hope you had good one(s) ;)

Rats would do well just about anywhere, and I was born in the year of the rat, so this all works for me!

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Definitely tiring, but ultimately rewarding :) Oh wow! Didn't the rat win the zodiac race? My fiancee and I are dragons, so we're cool with it ;)

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I did not know there was a race, but I would almost expect the rat to win if there was one.

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You know, right after I replied to you about this yesterday, as I was walking outside the house, soaking in the sunset, I came across a a rat, chasing after a cat, of which it was the same size of. Good times.

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lol that sounds like a rough neighborhood! "Gimme back my cheese ya bastard, I stole it fair and square! Man, you can't trust anyone!"

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I live in the province, so I guess anything goes. Maybe they found some meteorite somewhere and decided to have a go at it. Screwy food chain here, I tell you!

Well, you are me and I am you. That is to say I have no specific identity, I am a renaissance man who likes art, who likes writing short stories and poetry, who enjoys photography, travel and presenting motivational ideas. As to groups, I avoid them. I simply enjoy what I do, being alone (Simon & Garfunkel, I am a rock I am an island) and I like conversing with those I am comfortable with, so I don't always try to fit in. So let me say a few cliches, be true to yourself, don't try to be something you're not. My best posts are in poetry, but I know there are very few readers on steemit that really understand it or appreciate the words I present. So I see myself as an ambassador for modern poetry, and find pleasure in that. It's like being back in school, where some of the most interesting kids never get to sit and eat lunch with the so called cool kids.

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Wonderfully said! You know, I used to refer to myself as a Renaissance Man, but I feel undeserving of the title. I dabble in a lot of things, so jack-of-all-trades apply to me as well. As much as I can, I do try to be true to myself, even if that's a detriment at times. I like your analogy about high school, it really does seem like that sometimes. I guess we should all just try to enjoy ourselves while we're here. Thanks for the reminders! :D

First up, and I've been meaning to say this but never have for some reason - your designs and design skills are awesome. I get so caught up in paying attention to your words that I let that part just slide. Sorry about that.

Which makes me wonder if i should commission your help for my main page banner. And a banner to end my posts. If you're interested in that sort of thing in exchange for SBD.

As for schmoozing whales, I wouldn't bother. Keep your dignity and write, or whatever it is you choose to do. Just keep doing it well. That's just my opinion, to be taken with a grain of salt, as they say.

And yes, having a theme to your blog helps I think. When I started here I was a little all over the place. Then I got into a lot of poetry. But I wanted to write fiction, which I did some of also. But it seemed to be 50/50. Since getting back that is my thing. The Notes series is a large part of my focus, but its theme is writing. And then short stories. I probably wont post any novel parts here, not before completing a full draft and editing. But that gives me time to focus on short stories for my posts here.

Whatever you choose, I'll keep reading. Resteeming as I can. And I can be reached via DM at steemit.chat anytime you need :)

PS - happy birthday to your lovely fiance.

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Thank you for the greeting, @naquoya! :D I hear that you're celebrating your own birthday soon, so advanced happy birthday! :D In case I won't be able to greet you on the day itself.

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Hello @randomli, you're most welcome. My birthday isn't until the middle of the month. It's interesting to hear you and @jedau are 1 day apart. My wife and I are are 3 days apart (12th, and 15th).

All the best :)

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Oh wow! That's so cool! Couples born days apart from each other seem like they get along really well. We often joke that we're twins born hours apart because there are some angles where we look like siblings. Oh wait...

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lol, my wife and I have had similar conversations.

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Awww man, that's so nice of you to say! I think you're only the 2nd or 3rd person to ever comment about the art haha! While it's not up to par to what I hope it would be, I still try to give it my best. I know I shouldn't complain that the content is what people are focused on, but I do spend quite a lot of time customizing the art haha! It's nice for it to get some attention some times.

It's an honor to be considered for such a task! But, as much as I want to wholeheartedly accept, I feel like there are tons of other better talents suited for the job. I never had any training, I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys to DIY everything. My skill isn't at a level I hope it would be, but I guess the heart really carries the load for me. I feel like even if I will try my best, I'm nervous that I won't meet your standards or won't be able to do justice to what you want to achieve. But, if you want to take a risk, then I'm all for it :)

You do a great job with everything you post, and I'm glad that more and more people take notice of it. Your example is one of those that I follow here, I'm sure you've noticed :D

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Well I think you'd be up to it, but that's cool either way. I like the art work I've been seeing, the design qualities of it. I'm in no hurry anyway to get those things sorted, but at some point I will look into putting in a main page banner, and a post end banner.

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If you're up to it, I'm up to it :D I just hope I don't disappoint!

When I think about identity, I think about how our repeated actions determine our identities. We are who we are. The you that can be described is not the eternal you. :D

I also thought of this scene from Sister Act 2 might be relevant:

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Oh shoot!! That scene couldn't have come at a better time :'( So fitting!! Wow! I didn't remember that scene. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it at the time. I keep repeating and repeating this clip thinking I'm Lauryn Hill and you're Whoopi haha! My eyes are glazing a bit, I don't know why. Downloading the Letters as we speak. Hopefully I get to read it soon.

I never thought of it that way, talking about repeated actions determining our identity. Now, that you mentioned it, it makes total sense! So much win!! I really need to re-evaluate my life based on that. What an eye-opening nugget of wisdom. Thank you so much for that!

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That's one of my favorite scenes in any movie. I also sought out a copy of Letters afterward. I hope you enjoy it, too.

You're totally welcome. I hope it comes to good use for you. Good luck on your journey!

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Unfortunately, I was only halfway through it when I suddenly became busy. I'll try to pick up where I left off on the weekend :D

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Dude! That's awesome, you've gotten half way through. What do you think so far?

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I wasn't able to get back to it over the weekend, but I'm hoping to get back into it later. It's great! Definitely an awesome recommendation. I have to admit, my eyes glazed up a bit a few times. Definitely heart rending!

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I hear that! I've got a few things on my reading list that I'm in the midst of, so I know well how it happens. Everything in time!

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Yes, yes! There are some things that one simply cannot rush :)

I'm a bit late, so I hope you read this. Anyway, here is my birthday gift for you. Have you maybe considered running construction koans or work koans. I could have some interesting contributions, some from new, some from experience.
Hey, not so long ago some story from Nigeria hit the news: Their government has put up a saving program. And, guess what they did. They downsized. Whom? 50,000 non-existing, already dead people, who were getting salaries and I guess, even pensions plans.

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Thanks, man! Better late than never :)

I actually created Traffic Koans because of its similar sound to Traffic Cones. If I were to do work or construction, that would be a whole different thing. Plus, I wanted to use driving because it's something that's done globally. Even if the traffic rules are different, people can still relate to many of the koans. Since I don't have much experience in construction, and my work is too broad, I don't know if I could create tons of content in those areas. Maybe you could since you already have some interesting contributions :D Just create a series about them, and I'm sure people who can relate would comment.

There was a recent issue that's eerily similar to what you just said that happened here. Ghost employees consisting of dead people, gardeners, etc were being paid large amounts of money. Corrupt government is corrupt.

I like the signature, the only thing I would do differently, but this is a personal preference, is put some color in it. But that's because I really like color. Except in tattoos for some reason, I prefer either just black or blue...not that I have one LOL, I mean the look of it on others :) Come to think of it, that signature looks a bit like a tattoo...I really love the cover photo, that I don't think needs color for some reason. It looks awesome as is.
I've tried out a couple things for my cover too, and I'm not sure I've settled just yet.
I read quite a bit of this comment section. I'm so glad you and @johleen hit it off, she's so much fun :) And I'm beginning to get know @naquoya who is also awesome.
Of course you must know that I'm ecstatic over you and Paul's burgeoning friendship! He had told me at one point that he felt like it was too late to start reaching out to people, as he is an introvert and it's already difficult for him. I convinced him otherwise and I'm pretty sure you're the first person he started giving it a try with. Good choice!
Even though I don't have the same trouble as you do with groups, I actually do understand where you're coming from because of my friend I told you about (Jenna lol) My question would be, what does @randomli think? I read everything Luke had to say, and although I found myself cringing a bit at how harsh it sounded, one thing it made me think of was, again 'Jenna', how she would always put a hundred fifty percent into things and eventually it would burn her out and make her feel unappreciated because others did not have the same dedication. She did do things without expectation at the moment of whatever it was she was doing, but when she needed people and they weren't there for her after all she had done..that's when it would make her feel as though she was overlooked and taken for granted. It's a conundrum. When you are very selfless and people around you are mostly selfish, eventually there comes a point where you almost have to decide to become more selfish, unless you truly do not care if others reciprocate anything at all.

Anyway, I hope you two had the best birthday(s) ever!

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OHOHO! I have a bigger plan for the signature. The black one is just the beginning. Eventually there will be color. Think of it as a year-long art project :D Thanks for noticing it though! Not many people commented on it.

Oh yeah @johleen seems great! I'm glad that we're folding our separate friends into our overarching group. It's always nice to grow the Fellowship! I remember you telling me that about Paul, and I'm the same way. Maybe that's why we hit it off. I'm so glad he listened to your advice. I never gave up on him though, I still commented on some of his posts before even though he didn't reciprocate. Now, I can't even remember how that feels like haha! If @ezzy was the starting point, you are the glue that binds everyone together! I couldn't think of a better person for the task :D

Yeah, no, that's okay. It's Luke being Luke. He was my boss, so I've gotten used to the straight demeanor. That kind of no-nonsense approach is what I've come to know him for. I appreciate it.

Oh, Li and I have talked about that topic for what amounts to days. She was more forgiving of it, but has since soured on them as well. You know, we keep thinking that my friends think that Li was the one that drove me away from them, when in reality it was their own fault. All of it. I just tolerated it when I was single, I guess. Now that I was speaking for two people, I could see everything from a 3rd party perspective.

Now you're making me feel bad about how I've been commenting about Jenna's sidestory. To be clear though, I'm commenting on her dynamic with Mathias, and not in any way about her. She's my surrogate in the story so I would never think of her badly. You're 100% on point about this though:

how she would always put a hundred fifty percent into things and eventually it would burn her out and make her feel unappreciated because others did not have the same dedication. She did do things without expectation at the moment of whatever it was she was doing, but when she needed people and they weren't there for her after all she had done..that's when it would make her feel as though she was overlooked and taken for granted. It's a conundrum. When you are very selfless and people around you are mostly selfish, eventually there comes a point where you almost have to decide to become more selfish, unless you truly do not care if others reciprocate anything at all.

I wish that was how I could explain it. So eloquently put! I put my heart on my sleeve every time. I really don't expect anything in return, and I most certainly don't expect that anyone could return the same exact favor. But, to be accused of not doing enough by people who don't do anything at all? That's just absurd. As you said, there's a time to decide to become more selfish. There's a breaking point. I don't think that true altruism exists, and I would never consider myself as such.

We had a blast! Since I won't be posting about it here on Steemit, allow me to briefly narrate the events. We went to Camp N, this sort of outdoor nature obstacle course, then the day after we got massages and had a day of relaxation. It rained both days, as it normally does during our birthdays haha! I might post the pics on Facebook though haha!

This post received a 1.5% upvote from @randowhale thanks to @jedau! For more information, click here!

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Thanks!

@jedau got you a $1.5 @minnowbooster upgoat, nice!
@jedau got you a $1.5 @minnowbooster upgoat, nice! (Image: pixabay.com)


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Awesomeeeeeeh!