The Fame Monster.

With Thanksgiving over and the Christmas tree(s) adorned and at full mast, I find myself in a reflective mood that signals the end of the year is upon me. Whether tipping my hat to my victories or cringing at the memories of my missteps over the last year, I find it time to count some blessings and time to grant some forgiveness not only to others but myself as well.

This time last year I realized my weight/eating issues (or let’s call a spade a spade and say it was an eating disorder) had reached a point where I was out of control. It was time for a change. I read Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat To Live and it basically made me rethink everything I was putting into my body. It was less about weight loss and more about making a difference in my food choices that would not only change my health, but my entire life.

It wasn’t a ‘diet,’ it was a lifestyle change. Truly, it was difficult but I could tell the difference in my physical appearance but also in my overall mood. Less junk and more natural choices made me feel healthier and better overall. To date I’ve lost 30lbs. No, I wasn’t overweight before but there was just excess baggage (emotionally as well, which manifested itself in a unhealthy relationship with food) that was doing me no favors. This journey isn’t over and I am amazed and proud that I reached this point.

I’ve given myself over to the passion for running that has come to me ‘later’ in life, having never ran before the age of 22 or so. It’s become a major teacher and a major litmus test for myself in what I can do.

While working on my own self, I can’t help but acknowledge that over the last year many new people came into my life. Some aren’t here that were this time last year. But I’ve come to realize that you can’t get hung up in the ebb and flow of people within your life. If people want to go, let them. If you want people around, open yourself up to them. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

I have to thank all the people who’ve been teachers to me this last year. Whether the time was amazing or amazingly challenging, it was all for a purpose. Some friendships have been rekindled and for that I am absolutely thrilled. Some have fizzled out without anyone to blame – and for those people, I still find love within myself for you. Some friendships were never meant to work and that’s okay.

The course of the last year has had me push my personal boundaries as far as having social anxiety. I feel more free and more comfortable in my skin than I have in years past and I cherish the new people and new experiences that I have and will continue to have on a personal level, whether in terms of friendships or even in relationships.

Speaking of new experiences, let’s talk about this website. Since December of last year, this website was a place where I talked and talked and talked about everything – life, work, music, entertainment, etc. I decided that while I could put my heart on my sleeve in real life and on this blog, I wanted to commit to living more in the present – away from the blog. As well, I wanted to take a chance to branch out and take the passion I have for writing in conjunction with my crazy imagination and use it for freelance or consulting opportunities wherein I can assist other people in enhancing their voice, their visions. Collaboration is truly my goal in 2010. Not only professionally, but personally as well. I believe that nothing I do on my own can’t be made better by someone else’s input and vice versa.

2009 – What a year to start such a venture, right? While the financial world went topsy turvy this year, many people found themselves out of work, found themselves struggling to make it. I am grateful and thankful to have the stability of my current position and I figured that in such a time, when many people don’t have the budgets or the resources to bring their visions to fruition, why not take this chance to offer myself up?

I look for inspiration and want to be inspired all the time. I want to commit fully to something I love and am constantly looking for things to pour myself into. So why should this be any different? 2010 is going to be a major year professionally. Has it ever been wrong to just keep asking for more?

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “Why is this post entitled ‘The Fame Monster?'” First, I wanted to finally admit my appreciation for Lady Gaga…yes, finally. I wasn’t sold on her for a long while and over time her creativity, passion, intelligence, wit and musicianship won me over. She’s shaking the foundation of what we all expect in entertainment and performance, mashing message into art into meaningless artifice. The breaking of rules and boundaries is truly what I am enamored with. I also enjoy the message that when you stick to your guns and just pursue being yourself, you do carve out a niche for yourself in the world. And again, none of us are islands unto ourselves.

The other reason for the title had to do with the theme of Gaga’s latest album. In interviews, she’s revealed that the inspiration was to come to terms with all her fears. Well, at year’s end isn’t that essentially what everyone does when making a New Year’s resolution? You make a commitment to overcome something in your life that you’ve not yet faced head on. You look toward a brand new start, with brand new confidence, brand new resolve, brand new wisdom and brand new faith. In this next year, I will face my own ‘monsters.’ I’m ready to continue this journey of redefining and reconstructing myself.

So, I have only one thing left to say: Show me your teeth.

A brave new world.

A little less than a year ago justinyourmind.com was born. It was to be my ‘real’ attempt at blogging, whatever that meant. In my head, I knew it would be a place where I could talk about things I loved, things that drove me nuts and of course the people that swim around me in this life. I should first say that none of that would have happened without the help of my friend, Shan Parker, who is a great designer and web developer.

With the venue built, I was ready to unleash a plethora of words upon the world, hoping that some would be inspiring, others would incite laughter, a few would be eye-opening and most, of course, would go unnoticed into the world.

First off – for anyone who says blogging isn’t a challenge unto itself, they haven’t done it.  It is certainly requires more work than one would think. If your goal is to attain millions of hits, you must provide interesting and captivating new content on a consistent basis that can be devoured by the masses.

I never started blogging as a means to gain notoriety or anything like that. I was writing before the term ‘emo’ was ever even coined – from stream of consciousness style a la Virginia Woolf, to really shitty poetry, to songs with basic piano chord progressions and later with basic guitar progressions, to letters to publications or congressional representatives. No matter what the mode, writing has become a staple of my existence. It’s my way of working through any thought or emotion in my life.

Now over the last year I surely hosted my share of pity parties and emotional breakdowns in this space but have recently been more focused on providing a positive space for people to touch base with. To see the struggle pulled apart and turned into a path for victory.

As I started to recreate justinyourmind.com with Brandon Quigley, another friend who is also an insanely talented graphic designer and web guru, I knew I wanted to focus more on how I can utilize my ability and talent and skill to help others find success within their own lives and businesses.

But what did that mean for the blog? Well, what once were random diatribes with occasional videos and songs are now going to be more editorial in nature. Monthly essays or notes on relevant topics to my business, my life, my friends, my society – that’s what this space will contain.

Essentially I want to take the micro events of my life and see how those lessons are mirrored in the macro of the world at large. The thing about blogs is that they all point to one simple truth – we’re all more alike than we’ll ever really know. Anthropologists will look back on all these documented lives to paint a picture of what life was like as a whole during this time. I just hope that they’ll take into account that there was more going on than Lady Gaga’s hermaphroditic rumors, Miley’s Vanity Fair pics and the Jon & Kate Plus 8 debacle.

Hopefully those who look back to this time will see that each of us strives to be a success in our own way, that we’re all in a time where we’re given the power to have a voice and while I feel we’re caught up in the illusion that these platforms afford each of us a right to ‘celebrity’ status, hopefully they’ll see that we realized the power of our ‘I’m talking’ mentality was no match for our ‘I’m listening’ one.

Please feel free to share what’s on your mind. I’m listening.