Recently, I visited my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. A family-centric loving mid-western city by most accounts, but at times, can be a brutally cold place to come up. It was here that I learned many valuable lessons that I use on a daily basis to grow my company and continue my personal development. This is the story of how I became my surroundings, both cold and loving.
As far as I can remember, I’ve always felt like an outcast. The type that wanted to fit in and be appreciated, but it never really worked out that way. I used to think to myself “why is it so difficult to fit in”, but never was able to find a resolution. As I grow and evolve, the cause has become more evident, my surroundings.
In elementary school, kids would get out of class to participate in holiday activities. I was forced to stay back in a boring classroom because of my religion. See, I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness, we could not participate in much at all. I really believe this is where my isolation, or the cold side of Floyd began. We were taught to isolate ourselves from non-believers. So, going forward, it wasn’t anything new to me that I was always too short, too skinny, too blind (wore glasses), too poor or just flat out too black to be included. At least, that’s how I felt. So I set out to be everything I wasn’t. I just wanted to be happy.
During high school, I would save up my money to buy name-brand clothes, popular shoes, and a really nice car (by a 16 year old’s standards lol).
After graduating high school, I set out to become Pretty Boy Floyd. A popular, well dressed, extroverted DJ/Entertainer who would entertain the ladies and be respected by the guys. Obviously, a persona that was not the norm for me. It was an act that I perfected over the course of a decade. I sold mixtapes into the millions, toured with popular artists, all while still maintaining that brutally cold exterior. I wasn’t happy at all.
One day I sat back and asked myself, why? Who am I? What do I want to be? My thirst for happiness hadn’t been quenched. My answer to myself was, “not who I have become”. To myself, on the surface I had become Cleveland; no real identity, just another dot on the map. I had become a place no one wants to visit, many don’t even want to live there. I became average, and that was a terrible feeling to have.
After sitting down with close family and friends, and spending countless hours looking introspectively at myself, I finally realized what I needed to do. I needed to focus on my passion, what I loved. My responsibility isn’t to make other people happy, my responsibility is to make myself happy first, then I could share that feeling with others. You can only imagine the change in demeanor after having this life-changing moment. See, the brutally cold side of Cleveland is only the exterior, it’s not until you remove that cloak of grey that you can uncover the vast amounts of love underneath. And that’s what really counts. When I finally realized what value had been there all along, I found that being myself (and appreciating who I am) truly is the most unique and satisfying option available. And that’s the brutally cold truth!
Yes, I’m from Cleveland, and the cold winter weather is extremely brutal. But, when I come home I can truly feel the love, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
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