This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP {Man In Progress}. After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life {my physical well-being, my writing career, and my romantic relationships}. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one we inevitably have to improve the other.

It’s been almost 8 months since I made my pledge to improve my physical well-being, my romantic relationships, and my writing career. So, after 8 months of some highs and some lows in this pursuit, what do I have to show for it? Eh…  Not as much as I would like.

I kept my exercise routine consistent for some time, but recently, it’s become more sporadic.

My romantic life fizzled after I went on few dates. Whenever I knew that me and a guy wouldn’t work well together as partners, I had to end my brief time with him, and I hated myself for it. I don’t like bringing pain to anyone. Call me a wimp, but I just don’t have the heart to size-up a whole bunch of strangers after two or three times seeing them, and then make a crucial, potentially life-altering decision as to whether or not they’ll be the next love of my life.

To tell you the truth, the whole process makes me feel too much like I’m a judge on the OG version of American Idol.

(Simon:  “Your taste in music is simply dreadful. Dreadful. That’s my honest opinion. Honestly.”

Randy:  “Dog, you know, dog. I liked the way you complimented me on my outfit, dog, but when you said my shirt brought out my eyes your voice was a little pitchy. That’s my only complaint. But I thought that the rest of the date was okay.”

Paula:  “You were amazing. You’re beautiful, stunning, and have so much charisma. You have so much potential, you really do. But I want you to know that even if I dump you today, your dating career isn’t over. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You were great.”)

Finally, as for my writing career, it’s progressing…  at an achingly slow pace. (I mean, I got it:  slow and steady wins the race—but really? This slow? Come on!)

In general, it feels like I’m 100 pegs below where I should be.

These days, I often find myself retreating. I see that my body isn’t where I think it should be, and so I skip a day or two of running. I see my career is not progressing as fast as I think it should, so I might avoid taking any more big risks, because I wonder if trying or working harder is even worth it. I see that a dating relationship doesn’t end with both people feeling totally great about themselves, so I might avoid making another effort to call someone, because I hate having to deal with all the disappointment.

Then, when the time comes to write, I just sit at my desk, flick open my laptop, and scroll through the pages of my manuscript. I see all the paragraphs that still need so much work, and I feel exasperated at just how long, and how frustrating the writing process can be.

My eyes fall on the curtain on my window. I think about how this curtain’s too thin and doesn’t effectively block out the neighbor’s porch light at night. I think about how my desk chair doesn’t support my back as much as it should. My finger brushes across the the scar on my mouth (the one I got from years of absent mindedly chewing on my lips whenever I got anxious), and wonder if one day I should get laser surgery to get rid of it. I think of the bags under my eyes that first appeared after several sleepless nights in college. Even after college, the bags never left, no matter how many night’s of great sleep I had. There’s my super thin wrists that are as wide as a half-dollar, my eyes that look more bloodshot than they did a decade ago, my palms that sweat so much that two years ago, when I inadvertently moistened a student’s worksheet, the 10-year-old student pointed to my sweaty palm and said with sincere wonderment:

“Wow, Mr. Morales. It’s like you have a superpower!”

Yes, the list of things that I can’t accept about me goes on and on. But I am realizing that not being able to accept these things is what is keeping me from just letting everything unfold at its own time and pace. When I deny reality, I don’t solve the problem, I just take my focus away from the necessary steps I need to take to address the problem.

So, instead of refusing reality, today I choose to accept myself.

I accept that I cannot bear having to break bad news to another guy I’m dating. I accept that there will be days when my strong desire to exercise in the early morning will evaporate, and my hand will land lazily on the “snooze” button. I accept the fact that my career will continue to progress drip-by- drip, inch-by-inch, baby step-by-baby step.

I accept the fact that my novel is still at its beginning stages and will be for some time.

I accept me. All of me.

I accept the world around me.

I accept that building up resilience requires that I easily accept anything that appears to me as ugly or unfinished. Instead of trying to “fix” reality, I will choose to accept the subtle, unique way in which life chooses to unfold for each of us.

I will accept the 10-year-old boy who revealed to me a hidden super power I didn’t even know I had. I accept this boy, and when I accept him, I can finally hear what he has to tell me:  that I should accept my sweaty palms, allow them to drip as much as they want to, and then go out and save the world.

much acceptance,


What do you have trouble accepting? How do you work to accept yourself and the world around you?

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Categories: MIP (Man in Progress)