Mindful

Good people do bad things. Bad people do good things. The world is complicated and so are people. My best friend growing up committed CTE related suicide at 21. We all saw the signs but ultimately felt powerless. Self-destruction is a painful thing to watch and to see those around him suffer made matters worse.

I was a paid consultant in Calabasas but I kept my distance from the hype. I had no intention of giving up my community work in NYC to relocate to LA so I helped build an infrastructure that could grow without me. Along the way we made shoes and talked about family. His was on display. Mine was not.

With intent I avoided every camera and meeting I didn’t need to be a part of. Fanfare wasn’t why I joined the party. At first he thought that meant I didn’t want to help. Who doesn’t want fame? But he realized I was happy to help from behind the scenes and he accommodated that wish. He went out of his way to do that.

But as the rhetoric grew louder I focused on NYC because that mental health thing became part of the show and too difficult to control. At one meeting he obviously realized I was there because he asked me to come, not because I wanted to be there. He wanted help with shoes. I wanted to help in other ways. When it was just a job, I lost interest in shoes. He had a bigger team for that. I couldn’t cosign the rest.

Powerless.

Celebrity is a double edged sword. Cultivating a public persona that pays you for people’s investment in your story doesn’t turn off when the story gets out of control. The power to sell shoes is no different than the power to offend the legacy of legends. How you use it matters. When it gets bad that powerless feeling is amplified. What felt exploitive before turns rancid quickly.

I tend to keep those 3.5 years to myself and those folks who were on the same ride. But when I read the word ‘powerless’ after watching a friend’s visit turn into a PR opportunity I saw something I connected with. I saw an awkward support that has little alternative. I realized I keep those moments of powerlessness in the same box that I rarely open and realize that others live in that box daily.

Good or bad.

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