LA Week #4: Struggle

Mi Temple (📸📸📸 by Leonhart)

“Without struggle, there can be no progress.” — Frederick Douglas.

It’s been a month since I left New Jersey and there hasn’t been a single day that I regretted ever making that move. As each day goes by I notice what my strengths and weaknesses are as well as the opportunities that present itself. I feel more in control of my life than I did back home and i’m looking forward to the growth that’s expected in the next months ahead. Of course when I planned on moving to LA I didn’t expect it to be rainbows n sunshine, sun tans on the beach, nightlife/partying till 4 am, and unlimited amount of tempura sushi n ramen you can eat. Nah B. There’s always going to be some struggle whether it’s internal or external that’ll test you to see how committed you really are on the path you’re headed.

For the most part, as of now i’ve been searching for jobs online at Starbucks and that has been a great place to 1) be productive 2) connect with new people (see previous post for more) 3) get unlimited amount of hot water for tea making and 4) play Pokemon Go using their wifi. (There’s other perks too.) There was one day I was walking into a local Starbucks and I had my Naruto headband hanging around my neck and I ended up having a small conversation with the person next to me. Around the same age and also interested in Naruto we chatted a bit about the first episode of Boruto. (Should of gave a warning to all the non-nerdy people reading this. Actually that’s a oxymoron, nvm.) After a couple minutes of talking I find out a few things about him:

1) He makes music (Cool)

2) He works in a studio and has worked with Mixed By Ali (Dope)

3) He also lives in his van (Wait, what?)

Not getting into details but after him explaining his situation and only being 18/19 years old it made me reevaluate my own struggles and blessings as well. At a young age being by himself trying to make something out of nothing with little support I had to respect his hustle. I ended up giving him some suggestions and advice on how he can be a more valuable artist; don’t just rap, make beats as well, learn about the business of music, gain some insight on marketing, connect with people don’t just “network”, tell people what you’re doing and what you need, “chase a check, never chase a chick”- Future, etc. With the money I had left on my Starbucks card I bought him a tall iced drink just to show that I applaud him for his focus and determination, it was the least I can do for the dude trying to make it in this city. I’m sure there’s more to what he told me but everyone is struggling in some way, some are overcoming them day by day and making the most out of it while others aren’t doing so and letting life take control of them.

“Anything worth pursuing comes at the cost of something else” — Anonymous.

In order for me to be here I had to give up major things that I had back at home; comfort, support, homies, cheap rent, 9–5 job, “mi old ting”, and some other important stuff. I had to downsize, restart and now i’m the new kid on the block making a name for himself with every longboard ride I make back and forth to Starbucks.

“Oh I wish I was where you’re at now.” “Congrats bro on the move!” “You must be living the life.”

Even though I appreciate those kind words I gotta say this, fam i’m basically living like i’m on a camping trip. I am not living the life, don’t congratulate me just yet, this is not even the beginning. There’s little to nothing fancy in what i’m doing. (Those Boy Scout years came in handy.)

Exhibit A (of my room):

Exhibit B (of my room):

Exhibit C (of my room):

In a year from now this room will have a better set up, furniture is a priority but not the biggest one now. I came with a mindset to pack anything that I felt I needed into my Honda Civic and just leave without looking back. I’m not ballin’ one bit, i’m in the gym now practicing my dribbling and fucking lay ups. I force myself to wake up 4:30/5 in the morning (7:30 the latest) to focus on working out and getting ready to leave the house at 8:15 to check off the tasks I have for the day even though I don’t have a job. I’m not carelessly spending money on fast food joints, instead I buy groceries and cook for myself which is enough for me to last for a couple weeks. I’m strategizing, planning n hustling. I’m here for the long term not just for 2–5 years. I’m “struggling” but I know it’s temporary, I know it’s helping me grow for the long run and i’ll continue doing this until i’m in a better position, job wise, money wise, music wise, people wise etc. I guess when it comes to being successful you gotta ask yourself what are you willing to give up to get what you want.

Even though this is just a small example of a external “struggle” i’m facing, majority of my struggles I go through are internal. The biggest struggle i’ve been dealing with is not knowing how long my (many) struggles will occur. Will I always have this feeling that i’m not good enough and I just have to endure it? Will I reach success? Do struggles resolve themselves as you reach a higher tier or with every tier you end up in you only deal with a new struggle. (“New levels, new devils.” — Nas.) It’s tough to explain but it feels like i’m on a marathon without knowing when the race is over and it’s not the body that i’m worried about giving up on me but the mind. Do I have the mental and emotional stamina to deal with the pressures i’m faced with without knowing when this race is finished? (Let me stop ranting.) In a bittersweet way I think i’ll never know which is why I embrace the unknown and still continue this path. I’m either brave or crazy (or both). Only time will tell how these struggles will make us.

Embrace the struggles as much as the successes.

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