Over the last couple months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my next steps with this online life. If you’ve been following along, it seems like I’m all over the place. I’m running track and talking the healthy life. I’m writing relationship articles. I’m talking about career and personal development. I’m writing a lot then writing a little and making promises on post frequency that I haven’t been able to keep. But with all that I’ve been involved in, good things have continued to happen for me. I’ve been given the opportunity to write for online magazines and have been recognized for all the blood, sweat, and tears that I’ve put in over the last four years. I’ve been nominated for awards, had video features, and had plaques and trophies on my bookshelf that I didn’t even know were possible when I started out. But the one question I keep coming back to is what does all this mean?
For all the things I’ve accomplished, I still don’t feel completely satisfied. I still have a lot further to go. I still have a message that needs to be heard and purpose that remains unfulfilled. Writing about relationships was something that fell in my lap. When I first started blogging, it seemed like a good idea. It was something that I was interested in and had a lot of thoughts I wanted to share. But over time, it became something else. Something challenging. Something cliché. Something that opportunistic men chose to discuss when they had bigger ambitions they hadn’t disclosed. The idea of writing about relationships became a dishonest pursuit that was the internet’s version of being a used car salesman.
I grew tired of it. I grew frustrated by it. It didn’t matter if my intentions were good. People saw me a certain way and I didn’t like it. I felt like I’d been relegated to playing a role.
I remember having a decent “following” and feeling appreciative that people supported me. I also remember what happened the first time I disclosed that I was in a relationship. Twitter followers disappeared. Many of the readers on my blog post day disappeared. Things changed. It was both disheartening and intriguing. I had to work twice as hard to get the same response. And the worst part for me was that I felt nothing was different about me other than my relationship status.
So I made a promise to myself that I would no longer talk about my relationships. I’d no longer let people know what was going on in that department of my life — no matter how happy I was. The pageviews went back up, but I felt unhappy being unable to disclose some of the happier moments of my life. To keep it real, it f*cking sucked.
You could say that these were self-imposed standards, but the numbers didn’t lie. The more single I appeared, the better things got for me and the more opportunities presented themselves. The more my opinion suddenly appeared to matter, as if a man who’s just in a relationship that has an opinion is automatically less valid than a man that’s engaged or married.
I guess it makes sense, but my experience and progress should be part of my story. You know, the stuff that makes me, me. But I’ve found over time that women don’t care to hear about that in the present tense. They want to hear about it in the future or the past. To have hope or to see that I’ve committed to vows. But to have current happiness with someone of the opposite sex is to be someone less credible unless there’s a ring on it. Quite backwards if you ask me, but that’s what the internet has shown me.
So what exactly does Slim Jackson mean today?
It means personal development, growth, experience and realism. It means that I’m not the elusive man every woman is trying to catch. It means that I’m for some people and not for others. Slim Jackson is mature. Slim doesn’t believe in capitalizing on singledom and telling women what they need to do to find a man. That’s actually never been my steeze, but a lot of people haven’t interpreted it that way.
Slim means hard work and dedication to pursuing whatever it is you’re most passionate about. Slim supports being the best you and accepting all your faults and recognizing how they’re your greatest strengths. And as my meaning has changed, so has the number of people that pay attention to what I have to say. It bothered me at first, but I’ve realized that if you can’t identify with my trials and tribulations, you aren’t meant to transcribe my message. What’s the bigger picture to me may be a channel you don’t care to watch. And quite honestly, that’s okay.
I can write this and know that most of the people reading here get it. But I needed to get this out. It’s something that had to be conveyed for where I plan to go in the future. I’m not concerned with how it damages this brand or causes me to lose people. I’m concerned with those that are willing to stick around and accept where I’m going and where I’ll be happiest. I’ll continue to talk about the myriad of topics that interest me. I’ll reintroduce the personal happiness that comes with relationships. I’ll continue to be the best me that I’ve always been with no concern for who falls off along the way. I won’t be a slave to a Klout score, follower count, or arbitrary metric that makes my passion feel like a job.
I just want to broadcast my general happiness. There’s a lot to the puzzle. What good am I doing if I’m hiding the pieces?