Pardon The Swag

Jose Vilson Jose

Pre-Birthday Celebration at Mom's House

In celebration of my forthcoming birthday tomorrow (Monday, the 24th), I started sharing secrets to (my) life in my Facebook statuses. Here they were:

  1. Secret #1: I’m always thinking about the footprint I’d like to leave in the world, a natural part of working with kids.
  2. Secret #2: Once I became a teacher, I became more confident externally because I had to be humble internally. Thus, pardon the swag.
  3. Secret #3: I don’t like being trendy. If I’m not early on something, I wait until it’s everyone’s done “discovering” it or doing it.
  4. Secret #4: My pet peeve: People correcting other people’s grammar when they have a grammar error within 5 paragraphs of their corrections. People crack me up.
  5. For those in the know, yes, I cut the beard off. Fresh.

The responses ranged from the commonplace (“Dude stop lying to yourself. It’s in the genes.” – my brother James, re: #2) to cunning (“I believe you mean, “grammaa”, psh… jeanious.” – Noemi, re: #4) to absolutely hilarious (“Traitor! We will come to your home at night and destroy all your razors until you rejoin us!” – Sherman, re: #5).

I’d like to focus on #2 because it’s been such a transformation for me and for others who I’ve shared this with. In the few decades I’ve spent on this Earth, one thing I’m learning more than anything else is that people thrive off an outward confidence, even when they want them inwardly humble. Once we think of ourselves as winners and people who deserve the best, we can’t lose. Whether we’re in the classroom or through our lives, exuding confidence gets us through the toughest times. That sort of energy carries me through the most difficult situations.

Much of it is built upon the backs of my family and friends, even the ones who don’t think they matter, and I thank you for that. (Yes, you.) Yet, even in the midst of the dreariest silence, when I felt no one was around, I kept trudging through the murk and the foot-deep snow, it was the confidence that gave me that extra tonic in my flask. It kept me pushing along.

Thus, pardon the swag.

Jose, who is taking inquiries for guest posting …