I have spent the majority of my time over the past seven years sitting and existing behind closed doors. While writing, recording and collaborating with other creative types, my journey hasn’t provided many opportunities to form new, close relationships. I have created a space for myself, consciously and subconsciously where I am forced to rely on the random contact with friends who have been a part of my life since Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski reigned over Saturday mornings. It makes me feel good knowing that the individuals who fill the positions in my circle are people who listen to me, share with me, and like me as I AM – even as I have grown and changed into someone who isn’t as publicly social. In my daily struggle to reach mainstream media success, I have chosen to remain in regular contact with those who give me good advice when I ask for it, assists in taking action that will help me reach my goals, and works alongside me to help figure out what to do next in moments where I am facing difficult times. My goal is to maintain a crew I can tell anything to and know they will not betray my confidence.
In many circumstances, this generation has lost sight of the significance and supreme purpose of surrounding themselves with a group of people who can truly be considered friends. Instead, many teens and twenty-something’s have opted to simply hang out with individuals who engage in constant fun when out and about, while in the process — looking good standing together for group shots. The “MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” slogan dictates a contemporary, collective status of surface qualities: pseudo notoriety and second hand loyalty amongst the ranks. Many young people are choosing their friends based on convenient connections that have very little to do with creating a circle where the interactions enrich their individual lives. Everyone wants to be accepted by the “cool kids” – even if that top tier of the social paradigm only provides temporary self worth and gratification. It has seemingly become enough however — in a world where including non-talent related booking information in an online bio has replaced the honor of listing degrees, certifications and other substantial achievements.
“MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” should be measured on the basis of collective accomplishments and group success if indeed one circle is even to be compared to another. Are the majority of the people you call your “crew” involved in daily tasks and activities that somehow contribute to the growth and productivity of the communities from where they stem? When others see your “crew” walking into a venue or standing side-by-side at a Sunday, rooftop party, are you all being greeted with looks of admiration and handshakes gripped in respect? There’s a huge difference between a crowd being physically attracted to most or all members that comprise a crew and that same crowd feeling drawn to each member as a result of their positive energy and personal vibes. This generation sometimes confuses the surface attention their circle of friends receives, with the levels of high regard that is often afforded to those who are making great, individual strides.
It’s so easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of group praise and adulation when people don’t fully understand who they are behind closed doors or what their purpose is in the world at large.
People who are constantly attaching themselves to other social groups, unable to walk outside alone or attend events without being seen with a slew of others are often dealing with issues of inferiority. Somehow, they don’t feel confident enough to face the world as a solo entity — in fear that their insecurities and weaknesses will be exposed on the front lines. It’s easier to hide our lack of confidence or pride in self behind the names and reputations that others have built and established for themselves. Individuals who often jump between social circles, hanging with this group today and that crew tomorrow – are usually in search of their own identity. Because they are unknowingly confused about what they want to do with their lives or how to create a plan to reach certain goals, they constantly ride the coattails of people who are seemingly powerful & revered. “MY CREW IS BETTER THAN YOUR CREW” is only as relevant as ones perception. When each person who comprises the crew isn’t able to stand on their own accomplishments and ride the wave of their solo merit, it echoes a very empty reality. When someone has to rely on the company they keep to cushion the shattered framework of their self-esteem, that individual has to begin building their internal strength.
When we force ourselves to engage in public and private activities that don’t involve the distractions of television, music, the internet or the presence of other people, we begin figuring out who we are at the core. The silent time we spend with ourselves allows buried thoughts to rise to the surface of our minds and hidden feelings to pump their way through the largest vessels in our hearts. We give ourselves the space and time to not only identify some of our pain, confusion, frustration and self-doubt, but we allow our minds to process methods in dealing with these internal battles. Constantly hanging out with the “crew” only creates a situation where we train ourselves to only feel comfortable and confident within group settings. Alone time then becomes a nightmare of sorts – igniting a fear of being with our own struggles and demons behind closed doors.
WHO ARE YOU WITHOUT YOUR CREW? Sit by the water for two to three hours on a Sunday afternoon with no ipod, ipad or partner alongside you. Patiently wait and allow the tides to turn on your mind. The answer can only be uncovered when an individual separates themselves from the outside world, and deals with the mental and emotional layers of their stripped down character. It may be uncomfortable but it IS necessary.