In a previous life, I did sports and talk radio. I did this for more than ten years. I did a lot of radio play by play. And I was on many, many talk shows.
One of the hackiest sports talk radio conversation starters is “what is your Mt. Rushmore” of…whatever. College football coaches, baseball managers, left-handed starting college quarterbacks from Hawaii – its time filler is what it is.
However strangely, I find myself thinking a lot about the Mt. Rushmore of certain things in my life.
I’ve spoken before about my Mt. Rushmore of movie dialogue.
- “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” (That’s a popular one in life coach circles.)
- “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
- “You can’t handle the truth!”
- “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”
As a writer, I appreciate the killer turn of phrase or devastating monologue.
Music lyrics are a different story. Since I relate to music so deeply (remember, I’m writing a novel about a musician after all) lines in a song hit me differently. I have to be in a certain mood for a certain song.
If I DID have a music lyric Mt. Rushmore, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, ‘let it be’” is the undisputed George Washington.
But there is a close second.
In 1971, Carole King released her magnum opus album Tapestry. Seriously, it’s one of the finest albums ever recorded. I listened to it in its entirety on the morning I wrote this piece.
But there’s one song on that album that hits me harder than others. And it includes the Thomas Jefferson of my music lyric Mt. Rushmore.
- “Winter, spring, summer, or fall. All you have to do is call, and I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.”
One of the few songs who have won Grammys for multiple artists – perhaps you’ve heard James Taylor’s version – You’ve Got a Friend is one of those songs that’ll pull tears every time I listen to it.
“Perhaps you’ve heard James Taylor’s version?” King Ryan asks sarcastically. By the way, James and I share a birthday…different years but still a source of pride for me.
Anyway, back to that song and why it’s so impactful right now. And believe it or not, there’s a life coaching lesson it in for all of y’all.
The last few months of my have chewed me up, spit me out, and stepped on me. And that’s being gentle about it!
I’ve documented in this space a lot of what’s happened. But to recap…y’know, for giggles.
- I survived a holiday season working as a cashier at a big box retailer. A store where they’ve invited me to continue working and moving up.
- Financial instability and fears of losing my apartment because of that instability. To say nothing of a call to the suicide hotline because of scary and disturbing things I said on the phone with a friend of mine about my financial instability and fears of losing my apartment.
- And the latest…I got a bit of news from back home in Alabama that kicked me in the soul. My sister Ivy was diagnosed with throat cancer. Highly treatable and superficial, but still. That f****** word, man! She’s the only immediate blood family I have left. I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose her!
This is combined with having no money for gas or food for either me or my dog Pete, and I was cooking with rocket fuel. This past Friday, February 8th, I just had enough. My financial situation wasn’t going to change any time soon. February 8 is the anniversary of losing my mom. And 2019 is the 10-year anniversary…so yeah, lots of heavy energy.
That morning, I found myself frozen to my bed. Frozen with fear. Frozen with anxiety. And scared to do anything or move a muscle. I hadn’t eaten much of anything in days. Pete hadn’t eaten in several days either. And I was fit to be tied.
I took the courageous step and I got real and vulnerable on social media. “I need help.” I put my Cash App ID on social media asking for help. I did so, figuring that I’d get ridiculed and laughed at.
And for all I know, I might’ve had people making fun of me. “I knew his dumb a** couldn’t succeed in New York. Loser.”
But the response and support to my face has been nothing short of miraculous. I’ve gotten phone calls from people who I haven’t heard from in ages. To say nothing of financial and food support for both me and Pete.
Writing this article is my process of releasing a little gratitude overwhelm and processing exactly what the next steps are.
But it’s also helped to reinforce just how blessed I am to have such amazing friends.
I share all this to illustrate a point. This point could save your life, your career, your projects, and your wellbeing.
Just to let y’all know, I’m sharing this from a “note to self” place.
Never – and I do mean never – be afraid to let people in and see what’s going on under the surface.
I’m a walking example of this.
Look, y’all; I’m a prideful man. I want people to see the me that I want them to see. The powerful, funny, gentle man that I am.
BUT…that’s not always the case of who I actually am.
I got real and vulnerable with a big audience, and the universe responded with kindness and love. More kindness and love than I’ve been showing myself lately, that’s for sure!
We all need people to lift us up. We all need people to help us when we’re going through times of trouble. We all need people to help us through fire.
But I think the biggest realization of them all is this. There are people in my life who care, and this is legitimately surprising to me. And those people have always been there, I’ve been too blind and self-loathing to see it.
It’s like my coach said to me one time: “Ryan, one of these days, people are going to see you how others see you.”
If you read this and you’re going through troubles, drop the mask. Let the world inside. And ask for help. It may just save you.
“If the sky above you, should turn dark and full of clouds, and that old north wind should begin to blow. Keep your head together. And call my name out loud now. Soon I’ll be knocking upon your door.”
To answer Carole’s and James’ question: yes. It’s beyond good to know I’ve got a friend.
Many, many, many friends…
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