Integrity in the Follow-Up


I start stuff I don’t finish an awful lot.

Like the 30 day YouTube challenge. Got to day four maybe?

On my blog, I have abandoned my series on going raw vegan, the one about weekly money reports, and the history of my relationship with industrial mega-legends, KMFDM.

Oh, and then, of course, bass guitar lessons.

Maybe abandoned isn’t the right word… But after a couple entries on those topics, I didn’t follow up yet.

In the case of going raw vegan and the weekly money reports, I simply failed so hard with what I was trying to do, that I wanted to disappear.

My best intentions get twisted into comically disastrous behemoths.

Like going raw vegan for a couple days, and then binge-eating myself into a coma on foods that are out of alignment with my own ethics.

That is actually not very comical to me, when it’s my life in real-time. It’s horrid. And although with much of my writing I have been able to be transparent and genuine and humor-finding even in the most desolate of times, other times it’s all too much. Even for me.

So, I’ve moved on from certain embarrassments without an explanation. And no one asked…

Which brings me to another thing.

It’s easy to blame readership or lack thereof for abandoning these projects. It’s easy to tell myself, “No one cares about this.” Or to think no one will notice when I don’t follow through.

Haha. Memories… In 2015, I decided I was going to trek across the United States on foot. I didn’t anticipate that this endeavor would amplify my blog readership and engagement considerably. People were coming out of the woodwork to show their support and interest.

Well, I only made it about 90 miles before heading back home. The reasons don’t matter right now. Point being, nobody said they were disappointed in me. People didn’t say much of anything. They just sorta disappeared…

Lesson being? I don’t know. You never know who is watching. You never know who is taking mental notes, and keeping track of all the times I said I would do something, then didn’t.

And it does not matter, anyway. To me, integrity is about keeping my words and actions aligned. No matter who is or is not paying attention.

You might not care about these words. These words might only be for me. But these words are important somehow, trust me. Because irregardless of who keeps score and who doesn’t, I know that I certainly keep track of my own lapses in integrity. And each time, the burden becomes heavier and heavier.

And it all stacks up to the point it’s just too heavy to hold anymore.

All the failures… All the misfires… Every promise I’ve ever broken…

All the people I’ve hurt, lied to, or abandoned…

Heh, may as well keep going…

Every job I’ve been unable to sustain… Every person I’ve used, life-form I’ve exploited… Every dollar I’ve sacrificed to the gods of hedonism and compulsion…

All the broken dreams… All the times I swore I was in it for the long haul but my mental, physical, and spiritual muscles gave out…

I remember everything. Thoughts are energy. These kinds of thoughts are dense energy.

Some people have told me I hold myself to too high of a standard.

It feels that way sometimes. But no…

The standard isn’t the problem.

I know damn well I can meet my own standard.

It requires finagling. It requires a constant cycle of living and learning.

Right now, when I look back on all I have started and not finished.

There is so much data there about what went wrong. So much to learn. So much to apply.

It starts right here. With actually acknowledging the loose ends.

If I’d done that a while back, the loose ends would not have contributed so much to that increasingly heavy burden.

Ignoring loose ends is a consistent tactic for screwing myself over.

As for integrity. It’s important to place immense value into my own words. If I say I am going to do something, the value of my words is diminished if I do not follow through. But when I do follow through, my words increase in value.

It’s like an integrity stock market…

So, when I say I am going to do something…

It is integral to abundantly organize my life around a commitment to that course of action.

When it comes to major lifestyle changes like raw veganism, there are many factors that potentially interfere with my success. But as a writer, it is my duty to be honest, even when I fuck up. Instead of just hoping it’ll all go away…

(It won’t.)

Self-forgiveness and acceptance are powerful here. It’s not about being my own dictator and punishing myself endlessly.

It’s just about shining a light on what I’ve been carrying around. Seeing it. Acknowledging it. Reducing the load.

Because everything in the past that I started and didn’t follow through with?

That has no hold over me now. Because I say so. And my words are powerful. While writing this post, there was an 800% increase in the HICKSU integrity stock.

I’m taking a few days to re-calibrate myself and sort through priorities. Then I’ll decide which loose ends to tie into neat little bows, and which ones to formally incinerate.

I’ll leave you with a question.

What does integrity mean to you?

How would you describe integrity? How vital is it to your own self-perception and sense of others?

Originally published at Andrew L. Hicks.