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  • Kai Straw


I remember once, as a younger man, describing to my mom how I felt like I didn’t have any roads left to go down. I think she cried, and maybe I did, too. I desperately wanted the sun to rise within me, but was convinced it never would. It was so easy for me to feel that way, that looking back, I can see that I actually wanted to feel that way. I fixated on all I wasn’t, all I didn’t have, all I thought I’d never be, made a prison for myself within it, and held onto that negativity as if in a strange way it was integral to who I was.

I really think I’d so completely fused with this negative view of myself, my life and the world, that I’d confused that mindset as somehow being a part of me; it was as if I’d attached my entire value to my ability to point out the flaws in absolutely everything. And that being the case, on some level I felt if I were to let go of all that negativity, I’d lose who I was, like to let go of my negativity would be to let go of myself. It was like negativity had become this strange mask I was wearing in fear of expressing my actual personality for so long that I’d started to believe it was my face.

Any time I talk with someone who is hyper-cynical, who extracts negativity from everything, I feel for them, because I was once that, and I know that their cynicism is most likely also pointed at themselves when they’re alone. Cynicism is a shell; it’s a scab grown from your own unique cocktail of personal disappointments, bitterness, trauma and insecurities – and if you keep nurturing that type of thought, it will slowly take over who you are, like it did me, until you’re unearthing from everything any glint or shadow of negativity. Cynicism is this weird trick we can pull on ourselves to feel powerful.

Realizing this made me understand I was being a huge baby, essentially. Was everything so negative or had I become addicted to a negative mindset? These days, if I have a negative knee-jerk reaction to anything, really, my first thought is, “What insecurity did this just activate within me? I’ve got some work to do.” 💀

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