My little brother wrote an amazing response to last week’s “Dear Johnny” letter.
Here’s what he had to say:
I have loved being your younger brother. Ever since I was young I wanted to be like you. When you started writing spoken word, I wanted to write spoken word. When you played goalie on the soccer team, I tried playing goalie with a rec league team. When you got into dancing, I was breaking it DOWN in my room in front of my mirror. And though I was five years younger, I tried my best to fit in with you and your friends. You see, I loved being called “Victor’s little brother“. It made me feel cool. People immediately treated me differently, and now I know that was a direct reflection of how you treated them. You have always had a way with people and I really love that.
After you went off to college…
I began trying to carve out my own space, but it was tough. I was a goofy, chubby, not-so-confident teenager that liked to play the drums and hang with my friends. Like you, I was friendly; but I quickly found that I wasn’t nearly as ambitious. After high school, I pursued my passion with music and that was an integral time in my life. As I began to see different parts of the world and meet new people from all walks of life, I began to question a lot in my own life. My beliefs were challenged and a new perspective came about, but that didn’t really bother you. You always encouraged me to think for myself and learn through my experiences.
Through it all, I did find a great girl that has stuck with me and become one of my very best friends. On top of that, I have a very close community of friends who’ve been my foundation – they are family. We’ve been through some incredible ups and downs, but we’ve always stuck together.
With our friends and family here…
things are comfortable for me. Almost too comfortable. When you told me you were going to start EI, I was so stoked. I knew from the beginning that this endeavor was going to be special and I wanted to be a part of it in some way, but I wasn’t sure when or if the time would come. I knew I needed to get outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. I was excited to be part of the founding class of the 3-month program this summer, but as you stated, dad got really sick. I felt it was important for me to stick around to be here for mom and dad. With dad’s condition, now more than ever, I’m reminded just how precious life is. I know I need to spend my days working with people, giving to my community, and staying near my passions.
As I press forward to finish college, I look back on what I’ve learned. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like much. Sure biology, chemistry, physics and the other pre-med courses are really important, but my college experience hasn’t really resonated with me. When it comes to college, my intentions are good, but my work feels empty. I’m a hands-on learner. I like to be engaged in projects that are important and useful to my peers. Education should be more than just retaining information and spitting it out onto a piece of paper, only to forget it the next day. I understand that college is what you make it, but there’s something missing. That’s what I love about the concept of EI. At times, I glance over at all of you and simply say, “Wow, how cool is that?!” So let’s just say I’m better at basketball, but you’re way better at this creativity stuff. Deal?
I want to make something, but what?
You’re right – I have a fire in my eye. I want to make or be a part of something. Like many others, I struggle with taking taking that first leap. That’s why I like your style. I truly appreciate your willingness to try things without letting the fear of failure change your course of action. As opposed to seeing failure as a setback, you see it as a stepping stone. This is key because it stems from a deeply rooted perspective that can often be a roadblock to trying and learning new things.
For me, I constantly have to meditate on a particular thought as I try to find a place to plant my first step in my own journey. What is that thought?
Love is greater than fear.
When I’m not afraid, I’m not complacent; when I don’t feel fear, I’m not overly critical of my work and I don’t over analyze things. When fear isn’t a factor, I see failure as a part of the process. And when I dwell in love (the kind that unifies all people and transcends race, religion, and nationality), I know I can conquer anything. Through this perspective I gain my confidence and creativity.
In today’s world, fear is pretty prevalent. And truthfully, that’s a lot of my problem. That fear can cause me to stop my progress in the middle of a project and give up on a good idea before really working on it and giving it the time of day it deserves. But I see a new way. Nothing worthwhile is easy. It takes perspective, grit, patience, and a will that is not easily shaken.
In the meantime…
Well, I’m not at EI but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean it can’t be go time. Count me in for Leap Course. It seems perfect for me. I’ll be prepping to work on a podcast with two close friends. Through this podcast we will learn a lot about our community, journalism, and ourselves. I really don’t have much experience with this but I’m going to do my best.
Is the thought of doing this kind of project a little nerve wracking? Yup. Will it be hard at times? Sure. Will there be naysayers? There already are. But who cares?
I’ll give it all I got.
Thanks for showing me the way bro.