Sacrificing Love for Success.
I’m in the train, on my way to Toronto, thinking about family.
Well, I’m actually thinking about women, about one woman. No face or name, just a mix of what my brain has fantasized about all these years.
This usually comes when I get a minute to think, to look outside the window, and here, I see nothing but land, empty fields that I could’ve conquered if I was on a horse swinging swords in the 1600s. These fantasies makes me want to own land, save the princess, start a family and carry my values to the next generation.
I’m 32 now, and I’ve been hustling for quite some time. From wrapping bags at the grocery store to rapping my heart out on rap records, from working in banks to bartending and washing dishes in dirty restaurants, from call-centers to community centers, from installing gyprock on construction sites to things you don’t even want to know… Man, the things I did for that damn dollar sign, the number of things I sacrificed to get a glimpse of success is outstanding, but one of the things I managed to destroy the most along the way is love.
Love between a man and a woman.
I remember almost 10 years ago when I left Montreal to live with this girl in Europe. She was good to me, helpful, supportive, but being in another country, it became apparent that my task to accomplish something up to my moral standards was going to be difficult. And I struggled, I couldn’t find significant work, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and it was slowly breaking me. Draining me. I decided to come back to my city because she wanted to go back home to Denmark and I just couldn’t do it. I loved her but I had a higher calling and she wouldn’t come to Canada.
Btw, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Panzini family for taking me in for 4 months as I had nowhere to go and no money.
The night before we split, she asked me what was wrong, why I was so silent during the last few weeks and truth be told, I couldn’t speak. I could only cry. I wasn’t even crying because we were splitting but because I felt like a failure. Feeling that I let her and myself down based on not accomplishing what I came here to do. For a man, not being able to provide for the family is a horrible feeling; it’s something that I do not wish upon anyone. It was really hard to digest but in the end, it just made me stronger.
I now think about this woman I met a few years after, we moved in together after 2 months of dating and the following month, I started the business canvas to my first company. Around the same week, I get hit with this: Lennie, baby, I’m pregnant.
You can say what you want about what a person would or wouldn’t do in this position, but you’ll have to be inside my head to truly understand the final decision of not keeping the baby. Trust me, I definitely think about it sometimes. I think about it because I don’t know how or when this will or will not happen again. And with who? As your brain probably connected the dots, we are not together anymore. Not necessarily because of that but there was some other complications that ensued with time, distance and the feeling that both our ships were not sailing in the same direction.
I’ve dated since. Here and there. Back and forth. Never long, never focused on building a relationship, never opening up fully, replying to a text message 4 hours later, sometimes 2 days later, sometimes never. One thing I realized recently is that this non-committal pattern became something normal but only normal since I became an entrepreneur and i need a driving force stronger than myself.
I get to think about where I’m living: A bed that pulls itself from the wall at the office where the first employee arrives at 9 and the last one leaves at 11pm. Really? Yeah, really. Oh, and they work weekends too. I look around and all of my friends are engaged, married or already proud parents owning their first or second property.
When I look at myself in the mirror trying to find neutrality, the purest feeling I can find is contentment of not being in that situation at the moment. It’s a weird mix of sadness, happiness, and hardcore determination. As I’m writing, I’m self-medicating so don’t trip if I go off-road.
I remember being in another relationship long before that one: we would share an apartment, furniture, a pet and hopes for a family. She liked the simple things, she wanted me to be an average man, average worker, average everything. "Let’s go try this restaurant, let’s go to the movies, let’s go to the zoo, let’s have a picnic”... We always needed to do something.
Am I the only one feeling like I’m wasting my time and feeling out of place during these “need for entertainment relationships”. I even remember that we’ve watched all 82 Habs games during a season. I still can’t believe I did that. When the Habs were not on, the Miami Heat was on. We were just getting drowned in entertainment: having celebrity debates and real conversations about hockey player’s statistics. Why talk about another person’s life when you can live your own to the fullest?
Why talk about their accomplishments when you could be making your own? Shit, life is so damn short, why would you focus on somebody else’s life? Someone you will never meet and if you do meet them, you’ll have nothing in common and nothing to say. You’ll simply bow before them showing respect like a peasant to his king. Winners will think about winning and losers will usually think about winners.
You know how people like to associate themselves with celebrities, saying they know them or hung out with them…maybe they feel some sort of validation in the process? Maybe it makes them feel good for a certain period of time, whatever. Anyways, let’s stick to the script.
I’m not against all of this but when you’re an entrepreneur at heart, the fire’s burning and sometimes it’s burning with blazing flames and an unparalleled intensity. I remember feeling like a failure in my relationships, many times, not being able to bring the success that our home deserved. Wanting to be the superstar myself. Inspire others myself. I was caught between dreaming big, money problems and the average living. One thing remains certain: logic always told me that I must not be an instrument of “old money” controlling you from the strings up top. If you got that one, I applaud you. If you're hearing the applauds at the moment, it means you realized how our society works and what are the real motivations behind churches, diamond rings, banks, religion, wars, public opinion, media, news etc… I’ll get to that subject one day but that’s part of the reason why I do not watch any award shows or regular season hockey games anymore. Truth is, I don’t even have cable. There you go, I said it.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s difficult to dedicate yourself in a relationship and build something from scratch at the same time. Not impossible. But difficult. The amount of energy needed to support a relationship that has nothing to do with your personal goals can be extremely draining. I learned that if you want to be in the spotlight, you’ll need someone that can deal with that. Someone that will encourage that. Someone that will understand that you’re a free spirit wanting to do great things in life.
If you really want to build a strong relationship when you’re a dedicated business person, you’ll need to find someone that will give you the support you’ll need and work together. If both your boats are not sailing in the same direction, there’s no point in wasting time. If you’re not ready to give the right amount of attention/love/care/energy in the relationship, do your partner a favor and leave, don’t think about your selfish needs and think about what that person could be missing: a dedicated lover and a solid family. Some people can manage time very well, have a solid relationship and a solid business but they will never reach their full personal potential if their lover is not a driving force behind them.
For my part, that feeling of hopelessness ended up driving me. If my heart hurts, I dive deeper in the world of accomplishments. I often feel that it’s through anger that I can make peace with myself. The angrier I get, the more inspiring things I want to do. It is however important to differentiate anger and violence. Anger is something you can control through calm and meditation to create good. It’s the anger I have towards seeing myself or others struggle that gives me the power to inspire them as well as myself. In the end, it’s all about controlling the energy. If I can channel my personal anger/sadness of not having a family/relationship at this point, I can certainly transition it into something productive and inspiring.
If you can find someone that can help you channel this energy into doing things you really want to do using their love, support, and understanding, it will become the driving force behind all of your accomplishments and you will never have to sacrifice <#lovelovelforsssssuccess.