Friday, January 4, 2019

Encountering doubt...#MerryNewYear

Show of hands, who thought I wouldn’t publish a New Year post? If you raised your hand, you would’ve been right, because I wasn’t :) But, just like Batman rose from The Pit to save Gotham, so must I rise from my hiatus to uphold the New Year tradition.

So, why the potential lapse in this not-so-long held tradition? Well, after multiple un-productive brainstorming sessions and several failed attempts at composing a post, I gave up. So much happened last year, but unlike previous years, I was unable to compose a concise recap that highlighted the progression of my journey to success or come up with an applicable theme.

But, the more I thought about the year, the more one theme stood out—doubt. Last year was filled with major decisions, significant milestones, and realization of goals I had set. While these changes brought excitement, walking in this new realization exposed me to a level of stress and doubt that I had not envisioned. Reading my previous New Year posts, I wondered if the old me would’ve spoken with the excitement he did if he knew the consequences his desires would bring—a level of doubt that would challenge his core values and basic approach to life. Boy, I am being dramatic.

Anyways, I will stop rambling and pose this question: If you died in this moment, what would be your final thought? Would it be some consoling thought affirming your presence and the decisions you made leading to that moment? Or would it be disappointment, a regretful reflection on what could have been, if the sacrifices you made were really worth the end-product?

In 2017, I wrote enthusiastically, correction, I wrote with certainty the path to success was filled with challenges and fulfillment, but not doubt—I don’t think I ever mentioned doubt. 2018 was a year. I am actually writing this sentence with 3 minutes left to midnight. 2 hours before I wrote that sentence, I was leaving work. That sucked, especially considering I was sitting by a fireplace sipping wine a year prior. Still, the doubt was a far sight in the distance that I had to squint at. Then I called my sister (I moved last year) who was at my brother's home with the rest of my siblings and my nieces and nephews; you know when you turn a corner and bump into someone? Well, waiting for me after I got off the phone was doubts smirk, looking at me like the Willy Wonka meme.

I can’t help but ponder that question more these days—what would my thoughts be if I died? Would I be okay with the sacrifices I made to get to the point I was? 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Does it get easier?

I was invited to speak to a group of elementary school kids by an ex-patient of mine. She stated they were trying to motivate these kids to be excited about school, and highlighting my journey to college could help. Easy decision. I accepted, after all, I have an entire blog dedicated to this. I gave my talk and afterward, one student asked me if school gets harder. I paused.

"Good question, give me a moment," I said, trying to find a better answer than "lol, I wish. Sandpaper to eyeball rough is more accurate."

To tell him school gets harder would be true, but these students had already been mislabeled as unmotivated and poor academic performers. Telling them school got harder would've killed any spark of curiosity that could have been fostered through the education system. But I couldn't lie to them--I mean, they're kids, and they would easily read through my poor acting skills.

So, I finally responded, "it depends"... just kidding!

"Not really," I eventually said, still unsure of the words that would come out of my mouth next.

"But it doesn't get easier either. It kind of stays the same. It's like when a baby first starts walking, they fall a lot and it's challenging, but it is probably just as challenging as when they were learning to crawl. Things in life don't become easier, you just get better at handling them."

"YO, THAT WAS DEEEEEP SON!" I said in my head, impressed by my impromptu answer.

What the kid was really asking was if he will be able to succeed academically as he advances through school. He was concerned because the challenges he was currently facing seemed like giants and the thought of the next step was scary. How do I know this, you ask? I can read this narrative plays well with my post. Speaking of which, corny moral conclusion coming up in 3, 2, 1...

So what am I saying here? Advancing in life, taking on new opportunities, traveling, these are all things that take people out of their comfort zones, and they wonder, "can I be successful in this new territory?" They are like that kid, scared and even paralyzed by the thought of challenges greater than what they currently face. I can't guarantee things will get easier, but I can guarantee that your goals are achievable and making it through your current position will prepare you for the next step.

Umm, okaybye.

One love.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Light at the End of the Tunnel... #MerryNewYear

...sort of. More like the light at the end of this tunnel but I have to go into another tunnel. * Bane voice* “You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man…” * Batman voice* “I was a boy, but now, I’m a bat!” Did I have a Batman reference on my previous New Year post? Maybe I should make it a thing… Alrighty then, let’s get to the annual New Year post.
First and foremost, I am thankful for the opportunity to share another post with you guys, it is a blessing that can be forgotten amidst the pursuit for self-growth. I am also grateful to be sharing this New Year with an additional member to my family, my second nephew. For the 2017 year, there are many things that I am grateful for. I set many goals and went into the year with high expectations for myself. If I was to rate my performance, I would say that I met 65% of my expectations. Although, I did not completely meet my mark, I experienced success and achievements far greater than I have experienced in my past, and for that, I am grateful.

In my previous New Year post, I recalled my journey chasing success, my days in the tunnel. As 2017 ends, I am able to see the light at the end of my current tunnel as I have just one more clinical rotation left until I get my DPT degree. I am going into 2018 with a clear vision and an attainable path before me. 2017 placed me in new territories as I stretched myself beyond my comfort zone, personally and professionally, and tried new ventures in search of self-growth and becoming accustomed to greater stress and work demands. These are the areas I struggled with and ways I am working to improve in each:

1)    Communication: My communication skills are turrible (big ups Charles Barkley). I recently finished reading the book “the 5 love languages.” Although this book is geared towards couples, I couldn’t help but insert my personal/professional interactions into the different scenarios. In 2017, I had goals that involved collaborative efforts, which I pursued, but failed. I was frustrated, even angry, blaming people for being flaky, lacking drive and ambition. Reading the book, I got a different perspective on my approach to collaboration. Co-workers, collaborators, and the likes have their own motivational languages. Some are motivated intrinsically, others externally. I realized I was speaking in ways that made sense to me and I expected others to respond like I would. This proved to be unproductive as I could not communicate my point across or get the response I sought. Not only was I not communicating in a way that would motivate them but I was presenting a task that had no tangible benefits to them. I now know that my approach should have been one that best matched their motivational language. I haven’t had much time to practice speaking other people’s motivational languages but this is something I will be practicing in 2018 as I hope to enter territories that may put me in positions of collaboration. Like other goals, I will start with small attainable goals and progress to larger ones.  
2)    Low stamina: Low stamina refers to my inability to maintain mental focus and high level of drive for extended periods. I fatigue quickly and become discouraged and distracted, which leads me to switching to another task or abandoning the task at hand. I have many projects begging for my attention and completion to no avail. This is a problem I have been facing and frequent readers of this blog know. I set targets to keep myself on track such as posting a blog entry at least once a month. I start then stop after a week or two, falling victim to fatigue. To overcome this, I have been exercising more, specifically doing more intense bouts of exercise that take me to fatigue. Exercising has become my form of meditation, especially in this intense form. By enduring and overcoming the physical deficits that fatigue causes, I progressively allow my body to manage stressors better. More importantly, overcoming fatigue is a process that builds mental fortitude. I think it was during a lecture that my professor stated that people will quit well before reaching their physical limits as a protective mechanism e.g. the inability to bite through one’s own skin even though it is well within the physical capacity of our teeth to do so. There is a cognitive barrier that limits humans and is difficult to overcome. Placing my body through progressively increased levels of stress, theoretically, allows me to overcome my cognitive barrier. I don’t have research to back this up but the body has the tremendous capacity to adapt to many circumstances as long as the right stimulus is provided. Hence, I will be running my first marathon in 2018 and enduring the training that comes with it! I have also picked up leisure reading, a pastime I once dismissed as being an idle activity. The sustained concentration required to read books is one that could be beneficial. Put simply, I will be engaging in any activity that requires high levels of concentration.
3)    Time management: Where do I start with this? God, my time management skills are terrible! I had the goal of improving my time management skills this year but did not fully commit to it as I had other goals. If I rated my performance this year, it was probably 10% of where I want to be. The goal for this year will be 80%, meaning timeliness for appointments and engagements, deadlines for submissions, and personal deadlines for blogs and such. As you guys know, producing consistent products on this blog is a recurring goal of mine that I get off to a good start with then fall behind schedule and eventually abandon (see stamina). Each attempt at a blog series was my attempt to get myself on a schedule to work on timeliness. As I will be making this goal a priority of mine this year, I will be doing the following: at least one blog entry (total 12) to this blog this year, releasing four projects (once a quarter), and redesigning my website and implementing a routine series that will be posted to on a regular basis (weekly). * thinks to myself* “WEEKLY POSTS??? BRUH, DELETE THAT, DELETE ALL THAT” (see reference:  
In 2016, I got a taste of accomplishment and in 2017 I got a taste of success. For 2018, I will be loosening my belt because appetizer time is over. I plan on making more mistakes but I plan on being better than I was this year. Like The Rock said, “big dogs eat, little dogs…something something.” Don’t leave your plate around because the old Chuks is back.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Moment of enliiightenment

I was eating dinner the other day while the television was running in the background. A CNN special, about what I assumed was on Trump supporters, was on. I caught a glimpse of a question from the host, asking why they supported Trump and what they expect him to change--my full attention was now on the television. Unsurprisingly, there were no tangible reasons for their support, just the same rhetoric reworded to avoid being flagged by Turnitin (yes, plagiarism joke, har har).
This is the picture I had drawn of Trump supporters; uninformed fanatics easily swooned by the unbridled, chest puffing, uncompromising temperament that is associated with American patriotism. In order to entertain myself, I decided to switch my focus to the host. "Alright, bring on the leading questions, the condescending response to the interviewee's opinions?" I thought to myself. Again, I was expecting this interviewer to validate my prejudiced opinion, one of a liberal media that condescends and criticizes conservatives for committing crimes that they are also guilty of. But none of that happened. Besides occasional facial shifts, the host managed to stay neutral, allowing the story of these individuals to flourish, which was extremely refreshing, seeing that this approach is nonexistent in modern journalism. The interviewee's responses made me reminisce of Obama's presidential run in 2008. These individuals have a passion that was ignited by a candidate. Trump gave these individuals hope. It was the same hope Obama invoked that got me and millions of other young people interested and involved in politics. We were enticed by his rhetoric, his demeanor, the passion and intent that filled each sentence he spoke--he represented our desires and spoke the words we longed for the world to hear.
Hearing these stories made me realize I was similar to these individuals that I had ignorantly generalized in the past. How could I have become so closed-minded to dismiss the passion that has been ignited in the millions of people following Trump? Do they not deserve to have their voices heard as well? In that moment I realized I was not the enliiightened and open minded individual I thought I was and decided to take on a new perspective and appreciation for a topic I had made up my mind on.

If you want a moral lesson, I guess the takeaway is that you should seek the FULL perspective of others, preferably from the source--you don't have to agree with them, but at least understand them first.

"Real insightful lesson there, captain obvious!"

"Hey, no problem my dudes!"

One love

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lessons From the Past: How to Achieve Success in A New Year

****Originally written for The Undergrad****

Oh hey guys,

Look at that, It's a New Year and I'm still the same bum (joking, but not really joking). On this post, I will reflect on my journey to where I currently am and give you guys some advice based on my successes and failures (For similar posts, click these links: here and here, and here). Skip to the bullet points at the end if you just want a summarized version minus my mumbo jumbo. Either way, let's go!

This last New Year's Eve, December 31st, 2016 was a unique one. While prior New Year's had been filled with deep contemplation and uncertainty, this time around, I found myself in an unusually calm state. This was a first for me since adulthood. At first, I could not understand why I felt the way I did, all I knew was that it was different. I had just submitted the final draft of my capstone project for my doctoral program three days ago, a burden that had consumed my mind and body most of the year. I had no deadlines to meet nor any pending decisions from an application. I soon came to realize this was the first time I was going into the New Year burden free. Not only was my plate free of obligations and pending decisions, but it had been replaced with opportunities and certainty. I chuckled upon this realization and thought to myself, "so this is what a sense of accomplishment feels like." If you can't already tell, this had not always been the case.

To be honest, I never really liked the New Year, especially for this reason. It was a reminder of failed attempts--a reminder that I was not where I wanted to be. No matter how hard I tried to ignore these thoughts or have a positive outlook on the situation, my failures always plagued my mind. It was not until I got accepted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Northern Arizona University in 2015 that my doubts began to lift. It took almost four years for this change to occur. Tired of repeated failures during this period, I made a decision one New Year that I would not physically rest until I became successful, which I wrote down. On this same note, I wrote down specific areas in my life that I wanted to become successful at, what that success would look like and steps I needed to take towards attaining that success. I will make mention that my definition of success is based on the accomplishment of goals and self-growth, with no monetary implications. This pact set me on a journey of self-discovery and growth, filled with many, many, many rejections. But this period taught me many great lessons.

First lesson, time is EVERYTHING, respect it.
I've had my fair share of mourning and feeling sorry for myself, but at the end of the day, that never changed my situation. I quickly came to detach myself from self-pity and developed an obsession for time. I was on a mission for success and time was not in my favor--EVERY minute had to have purpose in attaining my success. I found myself agitated with activities that consumed my time and didn't get me any closer to attaining my goals. I gave up activities that squandered my time, such as going out to the clubs or binge movie watching. As obsessive as it may seem, I learned to respect and value my time. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy bumming out on shows every now and then and enjoying other leisure activities, but now I am more intentional with my time.

Second, opportunity isn't always around, sometimes you have to make it.
An entrepreneur by my definition is one that takes destiny into their hands. Utilizing my time more wisely allowed me to be more productive and apply for more positions and programs but this did not materialize into any opportunities. Following my motto of seeking solutions and not problems, I examined myself as an applicant and asked what ways I could improve--I needed experience. I was not taught this in my undergraduate--I assumed I would have the world at my hands after graduating, after all, I had a college degree. The world did not care for my degree, or my volunteer and internship positions. I faced the plight of a young applicant, I had no experience and no one was giving me the opportunity to gain experience. I decided I would forge my own destiny with or without the assistance of anyone or any programs acceptance. I did this by writing my strengths, weaknesses, skills, and accomplishments, essentially making a curriculum vitae. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a huge advocate of writing things down--your mind will trick you into overestimating or underestimating situations! In essence, my list was summarized to "college graduate with training in biological research and critical analysis with some life experience." These were the tangible skills I was bringing to the table. From this, I chose what I could work on with the resources available to me (money, equipment, infrastructure). This blog and my other blog are a result of this. On The Gist, I use my critical analysis skill to discuss topical issues that interest me. On The Undergrad, I give advice on matters concerning college and how to make the most of your undergraduate career. Both blogs are free to run and I could promote them through social media. Many people have gone down this route and have made successful careers from blogging--maybe my blog will blow up one day as well, help a brotha out. My reason for starting the blogs was not to seek fame or money. I put a lot of effort into my writings and did the research necessary to support my articles, producing, in my opinion, quality products reflecting my skills and capacity. While there was no opportunity for me to gain experience and build accomplishments, I found a way to produce concrete products that I can, and do add to my resumé. Blogging served as a unique platform to showcase my competency and was a great addition to my resumé, which always seemed to impress interviewers. I also improved on some of my weaknesses through blogging; I became a better writer and communicator. So, in the midst of scarce opportunities, I was able to create an opportunity, essentially hiring myself and adding that experience to my resumé.

Third, accept and even appreciate rejection.
I learned that rejection was not a reflection of my ability but a result of improper fit between two parties. I don't think anyone took rejection harder than I did and it made me question and doubt myself. Of course, there was still room for me to grow, but like Kanye said, "man, are these dudes that much better than me?" Was I really this bad? But like most stimuli, the effects slowly tapered and with this tapering off came a moment of enlightenment. Due to my desperation, I applied to jobs and programs that make me cringe now that I look back. Although desperate, I soon realized my goal was not to just get accepted but to get accepted where I needed to be. In essence, my rejections kept me on the right track and consequently gave me confidence when I was applying for programs and doing interviews. I stopped stressing so much on trying to portray what I thought programs wanted in an applicant and began telling my story and expressing myself. I was Ochuko, and if you were going to accept me, it would be based on every part of me, including my failures. This approach reduced the chances of false positives. Through rejections, my path was made clearer and my confidence was restored.

In the words of my mother, "so, what am I saying?" My success in 2016 and the subsequent peace I experienced going into the New Year was not the result of what I did in 2016--it was the culmination of experiences and my decision to chase success years ago. I went into 2017 with a peace and confidence I had never had before. I am certain this year is going to be even better and I credit the journey I have endured and opportunities I have seized. Those experiences have formed the foundation and enabled me to handle the opportunities presented to me now. I have started my year on fire, kicking off my photography business, I have a series of photography exhibitions planned, I landed two promising internships for the year, and I am in the process of developing a publication platform for my DPT program at NAU where I will be writing more focused articles, amongst other things.

I graduated from my undergraduate program in December 2012 and started my graduate program in August 2015. Of the four years of uncertainty I faced, this period from undergraduate to graduate school were the hardest and most challenging but also the most impactful on who I am today. The hardship of that period cultivated behaviors and skills that manifested themselves in 2016. I hate to give the cliché phrase of "work hard and never give up." We all know this. Instead, I will leave with this summary of things I learned from my past that you can use to start your journey to success.

1) Time is scarce, respect and value it.

2) An entrepreneur is one that takes their destiny into their hands. Don't wait for opportunities, harness the mentality of an entrepreneur and create your own--sometimes your skills and ideas might be beyond the scope of established norms.

3) Find a platform to utilize and strengthen your skills. Social media is a great platform and it is FREE!

4) When it comes to a resumé, nothing is insignificant as long as you can tie it in appropriately and it is of high quality, except meme page manager; that might be harder to sell.

5) Rejections are not a reflection of you or your abilities, but rather a result of improper fit between two parties. Embrace rejections, they will guide you to where you need to be and let you know where you shouldn't be. Time is too precious to spend in the wrong place or doing the wrong things.

6) ALWAYS learn from your experiences. Only a fool goes into a situation and comes out saying that it was a waste of time. Like I said, your time is precious, if you're going to do something, make sure you learn something from it. Listen more than you speak and ask questions. Ask that interviewer, whether you got the position or not, what areas of strength you displayed and MORE importantly, areas that you can improve upon.

7) WRITE THINGS DOWN. Your mind will deceive you but the ink never will.

Choose to be successful from this year on. Happy New Year,

One love

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Rise of Unlikely Heroes


A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.


a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.
Any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.

Season one of Daredevil was released on Netflix on April, 2015. Upon its release, comic enthusiasts devoured the season, giving it a rise in popularity, even amongst critics. My friend was among this group and recommended I watch it. I was never into comics nor did I know anything about Daredevil besides the movie adaptation featuring Ben Affleck, so it should be no surprise that I was slow to act on his recommendation. Over a year later, the second season has been released, and I was on the front-line of devours this round. Season two brought about a new character, The Punisher, a crowd favorite and my favorite as well--dude is badass. Suffice it to say, I was interested in the show, especially after season two.

Before continuing, I will give a brief synopsis of the show, familiarizing those unfamiliar with the franchise--skip to the next paragraph if you are familiarized already. The main character, Daredevil, is a lawyer by day and a crime-fighting hero by night. Motivated by the wave of violence that filled his city, which played a role in the death of his father, his goal is to rid the city of criminals. The new character, the Punisher, was a highly skilled military personnel and now a full-time crime-fighting "hero", whose only mission in life is retribution, following the brutal killing of his family. Both characters share a similar mission for justice but vary in their method. Daredevil finds perpetrators and apprehends them in a manner that is usually forceful but never fatal. Punisher, on the other hand, takes a less "conservative" approach compared to daredevil--he locates perpetrators and decides their fate, which is usually death. Dealing with the same groups of people, bad guys, naturally, both characters paths crossed and brought about opposition. This opposition was a major point of emphasis during the second season but will not be as relevant to this discussion.

So, why take the time to explain the plot of this show? And what does this fictional show have to do with democracy? Nothing really--I just think Daredevil is a cool show and I want you guys to feel that way too... Kidding! A little comedic relief to lighten this post (I shouldn't write when I'm hungry, so serious!) Anyways, the point of detailing the show is to make sure we have a mutual understanding before embarking on this leap in comparison I will be making, emphasis on leap. Strap on your seatbelts...

This presidential election period has been novel in many ways. For one, history was made with Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presidential nominee and Donald Trump becoming the first non-political nominee in recent times, as far as I know. Also, both nominees are from the same state. In the words of Future Hendrix, "what a time to be alive." Before continuing with the candidates, let's revisit our heroes.

Both characters force the viewer to question the definition of law, order, and justice. As I've mentioned, both share the same ultimate goal of ridding the city of crime but differ in their methods. Another quality they share is their status as vigilantes, which is unlawful. They also share similar admiration from the public, many of whom feel that they are doing the job that the police cannot do, hence donning them the title, hero, regardless of their tactics.

Amidst the vigilantism and crime is the law enforcement, which I will now address. Even though the heroes were received by the city, the police did not take a liking to them. In fact, the heroes were wanted, which makes sense seeing that they are breaking the law. So, even though the system opposes these heroes, the city has come to appreciate them because they feel the heroes are not bound by the system, allowing them to get things done.

Back to the election. While this election period has brought about novelties, it has also exposed the frustration and distrust Americans have for politicians and the system. Arguably, the two most popular candidates were Bernie Sanders and now republican nominee Donald Trump. These two candidates ran on extreme messages that would traditionally be career suicide in politics but garnered admiration from millions. One preached socialism, another is preaching extreme nationalism, amongst other things. Unlike Trump, Bernie Sanders is a seasoned politician, but similarly, their appeal comes largely from their genuineness and dissociation from the political system and traditional politicians. This sentiment is especially emphasized in the republican party, where a seemingly deviant and renegade bested other seasoned politicians by a landslide. Unlike other politicians, people feel these two are genuine and will actually work to accomplish the promises they make. Similar to our heroes, these candidates are polarizing in the public, some favoring them wholeheartedly while others find them disastrous. As we have seen from the email leaks that showed a lack of support from the Democratic National Committee on Sanders' side, and the lack of endorsement and opposition to Trump by Republicans, it is evident the system is not favorable towards them either.

Cool story, but what exactly does this have to do with democracy? Like Hell's Kitchen, America is in a place of uneasiness and frustration--frustration from unresolved racial, socioeconomic, diplomatic, and a whole lot of other issues, causing Americans to feel desperate. Many feel these issues stemmed from or involved the government and this election period has provided candidates that embody the frustration and desires many feel, hence, leading to the rise of unlikely candidates.

These unlikely candidates are like our vigilantes, providing alternatives that the system would not provide or support.

All of these things taken into consideration, I will leave with a final food for thought. Daredevil and The Punisher did not spawn randomly or haphazardly--the perception of an inadequate system, incapable of addressing the issues of their society was the catalyst that brought about those characters. As the New York Post publishes material to taint the image of a candidate, as other news outlets unashamedly display bias and obvious favoritism, as people on social media voice their distaste for the presidential candidates, so do I urge them to channel that same passion and zeal in criticizing the system that has fostered these candidates, because good or bad, presidential candidates are merely a reflection of a democratic society.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The story behind my bike...

First off, I would like to warn you of the nature of this post before proceeding; it is going to be... busy? Cluttered? Take your pick!

"But aren't all of your posts like that?"

Ah, but this one is different! Follow me and witness the method to my madness... or just my madness *Chrissy Teigen face*

Anyways, if you follow me on social media, you're a real one, if you don't, you're playing yourself (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) #ShamelessPlug #IsItAppropriateToUseHashtagsInThisManner #WelpIt'sHappening #MyBlogMyRules #StopRambling.

The point is that if you follow me on social media, you might have been hinted to my inclination for environmentally sustainable practices. One particular practice I have taken up is riding my bike to church instead of driving. This is no great feat. In fact, the ride totals around a mile and a half-- told you it's nothing impressive. At this point, this practice has become commonplace and I rarely put much thought to it. But today, a lady made a comment that made me question this relatively new habit of mine.

As I unlocked my bike, a lady behind me exclaimed, "you're riding your bike in this heat?"

Looking over my shoulder towards the voice, I gave off my signature "why are you talking to me?" chuckle, topped with my "stop it! look friendly" grin--nailed it!

"Wow, bless your heart," she said.

"Um, thanks?" I said underneath my breath, returning back to freeing my bike.

The weather was well over 100 degrees and my bike had been sitting in the sun for the last hour and thirty minutes, a recipe for second-degree burns. After a few seconds of fumbling with my lock, I finally succeeded in freeing my bike, but the toll was evident as beads of sweat rolled down my face. Handling the metal frame of my bike like a hot potato, I hastily proceeded off the sidewalk. I hopped on my bike and coasted through the parking lot, finding relief in the warm breeze. As my hands gradually acclimated to the temperature of the handlebars, my mind wandered to the lingering echoes of the lady's words.

"You're riding your bike in this heat?" The tone of her voice was like she witnessed me casually drink spoilt milk (horrible analogy, but it's the best I can do right now.)

As I crossed the street, I replayed her statement in my head, to the point of questioning my sanity. I had a perfectly working car with A/C, so why endure this discomfort when there is a much more comfortable alternative?

Cruising past the stop sign leading to my neighborhood, I chuckled because I already knew the answer to this question. The decision to ride my bike to church, instead of driving, did not spur from a desire for convenience, but rather from a need to address an issue that I believe in.

The ride from my house to my church is around a mile and a half total. Sure, the sun is hot and it can get uncomfortable, but the ride from my house to my church is around a mile and a half total. A cause, or goal, does not have to be grand or force you to live a life of burden. But there are some goals that will require you to experience some discomfort to achieve. Although I try to have more sustainable practices, I fall short and I am even wasteful in some aspects of my life. But to me, if one truly believes in a cause or goal, the key is to make repeated efforts to affect that goal, cause, or desire, and not just talk about it, because there is no greater offense in this life than being a hypocrite.

So, I leave you with that; the story behind my bike...

See! There was method to my madness, yes? No?

One Love