In a previous post, I highlighted that within the black community and in my own experiences, there are a number of covertly destructive philosophies that can either slow down or completely prohibit forward momentum. As of late, one such philosophy that I have been battling against in my mind is the concept of being “self-made”. For the purpose of this post, the working definition of “self-made” is when a person propels themselves out of their inherited social position and acquires success on their own, thereby creating a new identity of higher stature for themselves. The definition of success is subjective. In reading this post, it can be viewed as holistically or narrowly based on your own perspective.
Growing up, I feel like there was always some level of romanticism with the idea of the person who came up from nothing, fought against all odds and built an empire from the ground up. All accomplished without having to lean on anyone for support. To a large extent, I know that I have fallen in love with that idea as well. In many cases, I have pushed away people could have helped me get to the next level if they appeared to threaten the notion that I “made it” without someone’s help. I wanted to build a record of achievement that was bullet-proof. I didn’t want to provide an opportunity for detractors to suggest that “Andrel only got that because _____”. However, in talking with my wife and other wise people I’ve had the pleasure to know, it’s clear to me now that this perspective is idiotic at best. One insane example is our moving day in 2016. Kryzia still makes fun of me for it to this day.
At the end of 2016, Kryzia was living in a 1-bedroom apartment in Edmonton when she got got another job opportunity out of town. That meant she had to go through the aggravation of moving. In reality, her move meant a painful day of loading and unloading a lot of heavy things for what would feel like an eternity. For most people, moving day would entail calling a couple of friends over to help or hiring a moving company to do it all for you. It’s that simple…unless you’re me.
I decided that I didn’t want to spend the money to hire someone, but I also did not want to owe anyone any favours. So, I figured out I could just move everything myself. Although Kryzia tried to help as much as possible, moving a leather futon or a queen bed isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I made our lives ten times harder, causing me to become exasperated to the point that I initiated a dispute with Kryzia. Then, I tried to make it appear like it was her fault, but it was really born out of my own foolish decision making. I’d say that’s toxic masculinity at it’s finest.
Anyone who has achieved any true level of success will note that it was a product of their own discipline, hard work, AND the help of a few significant people along the way. To this point in my life, my pride and a false paradigm has kept me from either reaching out to people for help or accepting help when it’s been offered. As I’ve recognized and verbalized this as a weakness, my wife has been a major help in getting me to see moments where I’ve gotten in the way of reaching my own goals.
If you’ve been blinded by a similar false perspective that you’re better served facing the world alone with no help, I encourage you to realize that we’re stronger and smarter for taking a hand when it’s required. At the end of the day, we only stunt our own growth failing to accept that reality. I had made that realization in 2016, I would’ve avoided some serious back pains, 8 hours of a senseless argument, and 4 hours of maddening silence from my wife.