Showing Up # 4: Every Single Day…
By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Two weeks ago I sat at the edge of my bed with my head hung low and feeling lethargic. Doing a video for my Friday post was the last thing I wanted to do. But it is what I do. This is who I am. I am a poet, essayist, journalist, blogger, and vlogger.
Thoughts of low views on my site crept in: “Is anyone gonna watch it? Are people that interested in this?”
Then I remembered: I have made a schedule and a commitment to myself, my site, and my readers to have a video every Friday that people can view.
A quote by MMA fighter Chael Sonnen, who I respect, came to mind. To be more accurate, I respect Sonnen’s work ethic and drive. The guy is a great fighter but he’s a prick. Still, he shows up and gives it his all in the cage and in life.
Three weeks ago Sonnen fought the most important fight of his life. He fought the number one fighter in the world: UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
Sonnen had fought him two years ago and almost won. This was his second chance. Most people don’t get second chances. Sonnen was not going to fuck this up.
But he did.
After winning the first round convincingly by overpowering Silva, throwing the champion on the ground, punching him relentlessly, keeping him on this back, a new Silva came out for round two.
Sonnen failed to take Silva down, got the worst of fist exchanges, and made a vital mistake: he missed a punch, fell, and had Silva capitalize by knocking him out.
Sonnen showed up for the fight and lost.
Whether you win or lose in a cage or ring your night is not done. There is a press conference after. Some losers do not show up. Sonnen did.
The number 2 fighter in the world showed number 1 qualities. He did not complain, make excuses, rant or rave. He accepted that the better fighter won.
And he said something that I wrote down and that I’ve been saying over and over to myself:
Always work hard. You get knocked down sometimes in life and you got to just put one foot in front of the other. You got to learn to shake things off and you got to keep your eye on the ball. You can’t get depressed. You can’t look down. Every single day you got get up and you got to make the most of it.
I was impressed!
Sonnen just got KOd and embarrassed; he was forced to eat his words, and he still showed up afterward and displayed character, smarts, and humility.
For the last three weeks I have carried a cue card with Sonnen’s quote on it. For the most part I walk small streets in my city to reach where I am going; these streets are where I think about life, pray, and say affirmations. Now I walk them while saying Sonnen’s quote out loud. I hold my head up high with my cue card in front of my face and read it with confidence.
You should see the stares that I get!
But such mental work, saying daily affirmations, is a big part of what keeps me going.
I have been asked the same question by many folk about my website:
“How do you do it?”
They are referring to my discipline of posting 3 times a week. One person followed up their question with: “I can’t keep up!” He meant keeping up with reading my posts.
My friend Cindy has asked me the same question over the last year:
“Are you tired of doing blackcoffeepoet.com?”
It can be tough running a website on your own, and that makes no money. For the most part people I have featured have been very kind, co-operative, and appreciative. Two or three have been people I won’t work with again. And there are a few people I do not want to work with at all, ever.
It has been almost two years since I started blackcoffeepoet.com. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I post something. It’s usually the same format: review, interview, and video. Then there are weeks where I write my own stuff at request of many of my loyal readers:
“Where is the Black Coffee Poet? We want to know more about you. We want to see some of your writing.”
But most of my writers will never see what really goes on behind the site: writing, reading, connecting with people, emailing writers and publishers, setting things up and having them fail, being lied to and disrespected, running around the city to record folk, uploading videos…
It’s a lot.
I love it.
While sitting at the edge of my bed I grabbed Sonnen’s quote and read it out loud. I looked in the mirror. I read it again. I read it again louder. I stood up.
Little by little things started to fall into place. I grabbed my tripod and camera and set things up. I took a blank cue card and wrote down what I was going to say in my vlog. And I pressed record.
Every single day you got to get up and you got to make the most of it.
I truly enjoy reading and watching your work. To be honest, I don’t read everything, however, what I do read is truly enlightening. Although we have not met, I like you, and I recognize a real spirit of camaraderie that you so willingly and energetically give to the writing and arts community. You are valued, and I for one learn a lot from your site (though I must admit I have yet to procure the book, “Vanishing” by Chrystos, which I’m sure will appear before me one day, and the first thing I’ll think of is your amazing work!). I can really sense that you give your work real soul and heart. That is much needed ANYWHERE. Please continue to inspire us.
In solidarity, with great respect.
I second what Rusty has said so beautifully above. I hope you can continue to tap into your sources of strength, for your writing inspires/provokes/challenges/encourages so many others.
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