My Mom & Tenacity (just won’t quit)

NOTE: This is not an attack on my mother by any means, as many of you know I’m a fan of hers (as well as my father’s)… she has had a FULL life of marriage (50 years), children (5), love and close family… All goals of my parents. The following is simply an explanation to her… And the reason I’m making it public, is well… I’ll leave that up to you.

Back in October, my mother wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday… Yes, she’s cute that way,  Mrs. Claus, June Cleaver, and Helen Seinfeld put into one… And yes, I wrote about that in another post.

[READ HERE: “You Want What? (a birthday gift)”]

Basically, the conversation went something like, “Honestly mom, I don’t need anything, if I want something I tend to just go buy it, but if you want to get me something, I guess what I could use is more tenacity.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 1.08.46 PMSince she couldn’t ACTUALLY give that to me, she laughed, after she had me clarify what tenacity actually meant, just in case one of us was mistaken on the meaning…

“Don’t quit, keep going, work hard, grit, mental toughness…”

“I think you already have a lot of that,” she said…

“I don’t disagree, but… who couldn’t use more…”

“How can I give you more tenacity?” she asked.

“Well, if you want to get me a sign that says the word ‘tenacity,’ I’d be happy to have that. As a reminder. I’ll put it on my wall.”

She sent me a shirt.

photoHowever, a few weeks later, when we were talking on the phone she mentioned she had been looking, but hadn’t been able to find any signs that said “tenacity.”

I told her I was flattered that she had tried, and not to worry about it.

A few more weeks passed and she called, telling me me how she had talked to a craftsman at an art fair, and how she was considering having him make me something… Again, I told her a sign wasn’t really important, and she had already gotten me a shirt… Besides it seemed what he was going to make, wouldn’t be something I would want on my wall, and costly.

Well, it’s been all crickets (silence) about the subject of “tenacity” from my mom since then… That is till today…

This morning we chatted about the weather, and our individual day ahead, and five minutes after we hung up, she called back, however, now she was on the edge of tears… “I know you don’t want me to say anything negative about your career…” she said, “Or try to get you to change careers… And I know you’ve been successful… And I promised I would just be supportive… But I know how frustrating it must be for you to be so smart and talented and keep feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall… Wishing you had people pushing harder for you… Wishing you could get bigger breaks… And… And… I just want you to know that we all love you, and we’ll all love you if you decide to do something else… That you can decide to do something else and no one will think any less of you… We all know how hard it is…”

I was sort of taken back, as she was in full sobs, the second sentence in… In my very caring and delicate way I asked…

“Mom, what the hell are you talking about?”

Yeah, sometimes, I’m abrupt… Something had set her off, something had her feeling sorry for me, thinking I was a victim of my own tenacity and semi-success…

She attempted to hold back her emotion, and briefly got a handle on her tears… But soon enough she fell right back into it… “When you left for California, you said something about you might only be there for two or three weeks, and I said, ‘it might take longer than that…’ and I just think maybe I said something that made you think that you couldn’t quit… That we wouldn’t be proud of you…”

Again, “Abrupt Tom” came out…

“Mom, I hate to say this, but my life has very little to do with you at this point… I love you, and everyone… But, really, my life is really, truly, simply my life… And I would think less of myself if I decided to quit because something was too frustrating or too hard… I know you’re saying this out of love, but really where is this coming from today?”

That’s when she brought the word “tenacity” up.

Apparently my mother had recently bought all sorts of materials to make me, her son, a tenacity sign of her own… And I’m guessing that she had been living with this sign, encouraging my tenacity for who knows how long… Staring at her, staring her right in the face… My tenacity… My sign tenacity… My “don’t you quit.” And also looking at her somehow perceived guilt that she might be responsible in part for my tenacity… My frustration… My perceived unhappiness.

I couldn’t help but smile a little at the humor of it all.

She continued, “I just don’t want you to think that you can’t get out of it if you don’t want to do it any longer… If you aren’t happy… If you don’t like where you live… If you’re not happy with how people are seeing you… If you’re not happy with the roles…”

“Mom, I’m 46 years old… And if you believe I’m intelligent, and hard working… And talented, and all those wonderful things, then you also have to believe that I’m doing what I want to be doing, because I’m doing it… I make a decent living doing what I want to do, and I do what I want to do at least most days… Am I striving for more… Yes… Am I content… No… But if Thomas Edison’s mom called him, after his 997th failure, well, I’m not sure she could’ve, but if she told him, ‘You’ve been at this light bulb thing for so long now… Maybe you should do something else… You seem so frustrated…’ And he quit and became something else… He would have never discovered the light bulb… Someone probably would’ve, but not him… I don’t work a job I hate… I have money in the bank… Health insurance… And I BELIEVE… I still believe. I believe it’s possible. It’s not easy. But I believe it’s possible for me to succeed on the level I want to succeed. I want to be a person who goes for what they want… Not someone that simply does what’s easy… Or someone that does what everyone else does… Because that’s what everyone else does…  I want to be an individual… I want to be true to myself… I quit too many things a child mom… For the wrong reasons… I’m not a kid any more… I don’t want to quit anything as an adult. I don’t ever want to quit again. If I make a conscious decision to walk away from things at some point, because I don’t love them anymore, or because I don’t like it, or I get completely fed up, or even better, the best reason, if I find something else I’d rather do… Then I’ll walk away, on my terms. Because I want to… Because something else makes me happier… Then I will. That’s the person I want to be. That’s who I want to be. If Edison died while pursuing his goals, before he became successful, then he would have never known that he wasn’t successful at creating a functioning light-bulb… He would have simply died believing he could… And not knowing that he didn’t, that he quit.”

Publicly, let me state that I honestly don’t know exactly “WHAT” I want to be yet, I don’t know “HOW” it will come about, I don’t know “WHEN” it will happen or even if it will ever really happen… So many things are outside of my control…

However, I do think I know “WHO” I want to be. I believe I know “HOW” I want to think of myself.

Do I want to be an actor, a singer, a screenwriter, a poet, a novelist, an interviewer, an editor, a photographer, a whatever…? Yes and I don’t really know… Today, yes. Yesterday, yes. Tomorrow, I’ve no idea.

Do I wish I had more control over my career at times… Do I wish I had more “important” and “bigger” parts on TV shows & movies… Do I wish more people made a bigger deal over my little passion projects… Do I wish I was on the best seller list AND up for an Academy Award… Do I wish I owned a house in the Los Feliz hills, a ranch on a huge plot of land under the wide open sky, a five-story brownstone in Manhattan off Central Park on the Upper West Side, and could jet set off to vacations of exotic lands without the fear of missing out on “a big break…” Do I want to live an exceptional life… Do I want to make a difference… Hell yeah. Hell yeah. HELL YEAH! But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy a good portion of my living… That doesn’t mean I’m not doing what I want most of the time, it doesn’t mean that I’m not discovering and uncovering more of who I am, more of WHO I want to be, and bringing out more and more of what I’m able to contribute to this world… I love being creative. LOVE IT. ABSOLUTELY. I love (hopefully) inspiring others. LOVE IT. I love communicating… LOVE IT. I love getting people to think about things in new ways… I love shedding light on new and old things… I love digging and playing and researching and writing and singing, bending minds, twisting ideas… Feeling, touching… expressing. Helping… Laugh, cry… Love.

Ah “tenacity,” you have become the best birthday wish I’ve ever asked for, and what a story you’ve already become… And again mom, it’s totally okay if some silly sign never comes… You’ve already given me so much.

Below are two YouTube videos… I want you to watch both of them… I had nothing to do with either, but, I’ve listened to both many times… Perhaps the videos will explain more of what I’m trying to say, better than I can…

The first one is Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking… It’s a pretty awesome. Yeah, Arnold speaking… The second speech I’m not sure who wrote it or is delivering it… But it’s even more powerful. And below both videos are transcriptions I found on various web-pages.

Love you mom…

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 1.02.52 PM
Not sure who “owns” this image, but I hope they don’t mind me borrowing it… And thank you Arnold for the motivation.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Motivational Speech: “I didn’t want to be just a body building champion; I wanted to be the best body builder of all times. Deep, deep down ask yourself, “Who do you want to be?” Not what, but who. I’m talking about figuring it out for yourselves, ‘What makes you happy?’ You have to think outside the box. That’s what I believe after all. What’s the point of being on this Earth if all you want to be is be liked and avoid trouble? We have so many rules in life about everything. I say break the rules, not the law, but break the rules. I remember that after I was finished with my body building career I wanted to do acting, I wanted to be a star in films. Everyone had the same mind that it can’t be done. They said, “Look at this body, you have this huge monstrous body, you’re overly developed.” This doesn’t fit into the movies. But yer, I didn’t listen to all this, that was their rules. I was convinced I could do it. Then I got the big break, Conan The Barbarian. Trust yourself no matter what anyone else thinks. And there the directors said, “If we didn’t have Schwarzenegger, we would have to build one.” Then when I did Terminator, “I’ll be back…” One of the most famous lines in the movie history, all because of my crazy accent. It just shows you, you never should listen to those who say you can’t do something. Don’t be afraid to fail. Anything that I have always attempted, I was always willing to fail. Don’t be afraid of making decisions; you can’t be paralysed with the fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You can push because you believe in yourself and your vision. You know it’s the right thing to do and success will come. Don’t be afraid to fail. I mean, how many times have you heard, ‘you can’t do this, or you can’t do that because it’s never been done before.’ So pay no attention to the people who say it can never be done. If I would have listened to the naysayers, I would still be in the Austrian Alps yodelling. I would never have come to America. I always listen to myself and say, “Yes.You.Can.” You never want to fail because you never worked hard enough. Work your butt off. I always believed in leaving no stone unturned. No Pain, No Gain. While you’re out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard, someone out there is getting smarter, someone is winning — just remember that. You can’t climb the ladder of success with the hands in the pockets.”

SECOND VIDEO: Again, maybe someone can tell me who is speaking in this one, so I can quote him… I didn’t find that information anywhere, and he deserves to be credited/quoted.

“There are two types of people in this world when it comes to attitude and thought process.  Now the first set of people, these are the ones who wait for opportunities to come to them, so that they can, “Take them.”  They wait endlessly for some mirage or oasis to magically appear.  Yet it never comes to fruition, and they end up in some job they had no intention of being in.  Doing some miniscule task that they have no desire doing.  All because they weren’t willing to risk it.  The second set of people – these are the ones who find a way to create opportunities for themselves.  These are the ones who make their own luck, so to speak.  These people are your Fortune 500 CEO types.  These are the ones who live life on their terms.  These are the ones that live the life that they wanted to, that they intended, that they envisioned.  The difference between the two sets of people comes down to this concept of fear. The only fear that you should have in this life is fear itself… Because those who aren’t afraid to go after what they want in life, are the ones who turn out to be successful.  And every successful person has conditioned their mind to think they are going to succeed in anything that they do. Success is often a result of not being afraid to accomplish anything that you want to, because anything is possible.  A lot of people just disregard it, and they say to themselves that successful people exist because they were lucky, or they were a product of good circumstance. You are your own driving engine, and you are your own brake.  You are the only one who can determine you own fate.  We can look a laundry load of billionaires who started with absolutely nothing, and ultimately got to where they wanted to be.  Sam Walton, Ralph Lauren, Harold Hamm, David Murdock, Howard Schultz, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Ellison, John Paul DeJoria.  All these people started with nothing, and built their empires through a gradual process by putting in the hours and time every single day to get there. John Paul started Paul Mitchell hair products with $700 in his pocket.  All he had was $700, but this ridiculous, obsessive, sickening work ethic to turn his $700 into something more.  He was willing to put it all on the line to do venture after venture, in what he believed, to turn it into something powerful, and eventually it led to being a goldmine. And still he hasn’t stopped once he got there, because it’s just about never being satisfied with your past performances, and not being afraid to just go out there and do the damn thing. No one got to where they were without brick walls or stumbles along the way.  Because no matter how good your idea is, or how much work you’re willing to put into it, there are always going to be those dream killers.  There’s always going to be those people who say it can’t be done.  But the only one who can prove them right or wrong is you. The only one holding you back is yourself.  Any brick walls that come your way, you just have to ask yourself, are you willing to get past the wall or are you going to let it stop you.  Because these brick walls exist for one reason only – to signify how bad you want something. No business or endeavor was magically produced overnight.  It is a result of getting past brick wall after brick wall.  It all comes down to how you’re willing to see your idea and your endeavor through to the end.  You can always point the finger at somebody else or something and say that was the reason why you didn’t get to where you wanted to be. People make excuses about the economy, and say that’s why they’re not successful.  Yet, in the 1980’s inflation and unemployment were worse than they are today.  You can always point the finger at someone else and say that’s the reason.  But in reality it’s all up to you. You have a choice every single day with what you’re going to do with your life.  Who you’re going to spend it with, or where you going to spend your money.  But if you just go out and do what you’re passionate about, and what you believe in, you’re going to be amazed at how far it’s going to take you. You just need to believe enough in what you are doing.  You’ve got to believe that your cause is worth making as many sacrifices as it may possibly take to get there. The successful people in this world, those future business leaders of tomorrow.  Those future professional athletes, musicians, and actors, and community leaders – the future president of the United States – they are not afraid to create their own opportunities.  They know where they are going in this world.  They know where they are going to end up.  Do you?”

– Quiche Out

16 Comments »

  1. I’m sure you’ve heard the Lennon quotation that “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” When I see you singing or videotaping, it seems to me that you are right where you should be and happy in your skin as they say in French. But above all that talent you have, what a gift to have a mother who loves you so much. You lucky boy. Tell her we all think you’re terrific and that we don’t want to lose you.

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  2. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question which
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find
    out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Kudos!

    Like

    • i would not avoid it. See it like a yoga exercise – which is done to be able to sit in meditation for a longer time without being bothered by physical distractions. those minutes are not wasted at all. most things you do for being clear you have to practice as well or they take some time. so needing 15 minutes to get into your personal flow is already very good. appreciate it. and yes practice… brings you closer to be clear and aware ALL the time.

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    • I’ve been published as a essayist and poet… produced as a screenwriter and a playwright… Paid as a blogger for a publication in the past… I have been around for a little while. Thank you. Poke around the site if you like. Kick ass this weekend.

      Like

    • I don’t even know what I discuss on my blog… 😉
      Guest authoring? Never really thought about. But I’d be open.
      E-book? Yeah, I’ve thought of it, have two novels published available via Amazon.

      Like

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