Real Talk With Raze - Mental Health and The Struggles of Disagreement & Acceptance

If there was ever a single frustration, that has consistently plagued my life...from childhood through's disagreeing with people. It was a very tough thing growing up, seeing the world so starkly different than others. Putting it into words was often impossible for me when I was younger, because my education just wasn't mature enough. But, once I got older and out of high school I started to see even more why I hated voicing my opinions to friends and acquaintances alike: People typically don't like the guy who goes against the grain.

Now, before going any further I gotta let you in on a secret about me: I don't care about outside opinions and they very, VERY rarely, ever have an impact on my own thoughts. I also, have no problem owning my emotions. I am an emotional person, but somehow, don't allow my emotions to steer me. To describe myself best, I'd say I'm the most emotional cyborg alive that has absolute trust in my own perspective. With that said, let's move on....

Being a kid who was bullied for a number of reasons (small/short guy, outspoken & "arrogant" dude, cute guy that girls liked, etc), acceptance was a major struggle of my early adult years. In spite of my popularity, I had spent my entire high school career fighting for the acceptance of many crowds...from the black kids that I identified with most, to the white teammates that I'd hoped were truly 'friends'. Neither of those crowds ever truly felt comfortable to be around.


....because I rarely ever agreed with any of them.

I'm the type of person that looks internally for solutions before EVER going outside, because change for anyone or any group, must originate honestly from within. So I've spent countless portions of my young adult life ultimately figuring out "Is it me...or is it THEM?". Which finally came to the conclusion of 26yr old me ceasing to give a f*ck. I stopped worrying about what the source of my discomforts was because a very true statement, courtesy of my Big Bro, resonated with me deeply:

"People are gonna think and believe whatever they matter how wild and unbelievable the idea might be. Plus, it's not our job to MAKE no f*ckin' body like us. The ones that do, will LOVE us. They'll fight for us and with us. And the people that don't....? F*CK 'EM."

Is that dismissive? Sure is. Does it change the dynamic of social interaction and value of other people's opinions? ABSOLUTELY. And it's exactly what people like myself NEED, in order to get and maintain any semblance of mental health.

Insider info about Raze: I'm the most introverted extrovert alive. I was told once, that I'm 'reluctantly extroverted'; meaning I'm truly an introvert but since I love people and have strong empathetic qualities, I'm far more social than typical introverts are. I the nuance of what makes us all unique. But at the same time, a majority of MFs are at their most comfortable when within the confines of The Herd. From the anonymity of online monikers to hide their true selves behind, to just preferring to be surrounded by like-minded people in an attempt to avoid the discomfort of disagreement on pretty much anything.

I am NOT that guy. I enjoy disagreeing with people. I LOVE debating (no, arguing is NOT the same thing). I actually find myself more uncomfortable when people DO agree with me en masse. It doesn't logically seem or emotionally feel, genuine. This makes my day to day interactions probably more tedious than need be, because I'm ALWAYS ANALYZING...instead of just haphazardly throwing stuff out there in hope that it will stick positively with the people I'm engaging or endearing myself to.

So, in a nutshell, the duality of myself is simultaneously my greatest strength and struggle. I love and value people's perspectives, but am 100% comfortable with my perspective not aligning with them. I embrace the things that differ between myself and others...but not enough for them to change ME. And lastly, I'm incredibly comfortable on my own, but love little more than to be surrounded by respected peers.

It's taken me a very long time to achieve this comfort, and with absolutely zero trepidation, there's a large part of me that embraces it. I don't NEED anyone's acceptance or desire. I don't need anyone's companionship, props or high fives. I feel, and have felt, quite a bit how Dr. Manhattan (re: Watchmen) must have felt after his accident. I see and analyze the world in a unique way and have no problem with speaking on it...and more importantly, I'm finally able to accept MYSELF and that uniqueness. This more often than not causes some social conflicts...but I'm fine with that too. Why? Because acceptance, like confidence, comes from WITHIN.