AN OPEN LETTER OF CONFESSION/APOLOGY TO THE YOYO COMMUNITY


#1

WARNING: This gets ugly.
A lot of you who think of me as a totally awesome, not spoiled, not greedy, not entitled person might have some illusions shattered.
(thankfully I don’t think anyone fits that category haha)

Don’t let yoyos define you.

You can have it be your primary creative outlet,
you can make your career out of it,
You can even have all your friendships come from it…

But don’t let it define you. Don’t get your identity from it.

I say this as someone who’s primary online username is either my own name… or “yoyoingadam.”
Tell me I didn’t let that slip in somewhere…

The thing is, I could lose it. I could lose my hands in a freak accident, or get old and get crazy arthritis or some weird degenerative disease… and what would I have then?
(Hopefully still a bunch of cool people as friends that I’ve made throughout the years…)
But my point is, as unlikely as it is for me to ever “not be able” to yoyo, if life happens and I can’t devote as much time as I used to, am I less myself?
If I’m perfectly honest, the more I let myself be defined as a “creative player” or as a “competitor”, if I let those outward labels stick to me, when I don’t live up to these outwardly placed expectations, I start to hate myself.

At the National Yo-Yo Contest in 2008, Doc Pop told me that I had the 2nd most votes for the “Trick Innovator of the Year” award. Right behind John Ando. At first, I was walking on cloud 9. That was a HUGE honor to be held in high-esteem by the “creative elite” of the yoyo world. But then I started to think about why I didn’t get it. And instead of appreciating the complexity of Ando’s contributions, I spent a good year or so picking them apart to explain to myself how my tricks were better than his. Although, I never said it openly, because:

  1. It’s not polite, and I have a reputation as a nice-guy. Gotta keep up appearances
  2. I mean… his tricks ARE amazing… so good luck being in denial of that forever…

But… I internalized it. Instead, I said I’d just pick myself up by my proverbial bootstraps and do even better. I’d come up with stuff even more amazing than before.
And I did. But no one saw it because my videos were crappy, or they just didn’t catch people’s eyes/attentions/imaginations as much as I’d hoped for.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Then I figured, “Screw it. I’ll just focus on competition.” I had a couple of okay freestyles in 2012/2013. Even a couple of decent contest-placings.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I don’t even really want to divulge the kind of jealousy that came out when I only got my signature color way on a coupla yoyos, or when I’d think, “I’ve been on the team this long, and I don’t have a sig-series yet.”

Cue: entitled-baby-mode.
wahhhh boo-hoo poor me

Well, I knew entitlement is ugly, and whenever I see it on other people, it reminded me of my own ugliness that I hid inside of myself… so I never honestly brought it up or discussed it with people. And instead of enjoying my talent, creative ability, or opportunity to represent CLYW to the fullest… I just felt guilt.

Guilt at not doing enough
Guilt at not being as good as player X
Guilt at not being as creative as player Y
Guilt at my jealousy of not getting as much recognition as player Z
Guilt at having entitlement/greed and not being able to get rid of it

It tarnished every compliment or good-contest placing I actually received, and so when I was doing well, I couldn’t enjoy it.
It wasn’t ever enough.

But here’s the thing… was I ever less “me” because of my achievements or lack thereof?
Were my friends that I made in yo-yoing any less likely to hang out with me?
No.
And if they were, it would’ve only been because I tried to distance myself in order to set myself apart as somehow more creative, more competitive, more… whatever.

Deep down, I always knew the right answers. I knew that if I wasn’t having fun with it, then I wasn’t doing it right.
I knew that “title” or “achievement” doesn’t actually mean anything in the long-run – but I still chased it.
I also knew that of all the things to obsess about… a silly nerdy fun wacky creative hobby is the last thing I should be worried about.

But I still made room for it to creep up.
I had to have a complete collection…
Or I had to this… or I had to that…
I had to have… I had to be… I had to do…

But every time I said something about how yo-yoing just needs to be enjoyed for its own sake, I was really trying to convince myself – because I didn’t always believe it.

Anyhow… all that long-winded speech was for is this:
If you’re there, I feel ya. We can talk. Don’t dismiss it or get down on yourself for letting it all get a little too grandiose in your head… just talk it out.
I’m 99% sure I’m not the only person who’s ever gone too far down the rabbit hole in this regard. In fact, the primary reason I’m even bothering to type this out isn’t for my own sake… but I look around and I’m pretty sure I can see other people dealing with it too. Well, if you are, there’s no shame. Even if others try to put it on you.

If you think you want success in this little niche-hobby, that’s fine… but understand what’s important.
If you like this as a creative outlet, cool. But don’t let it eat you alive.

Anyhow, moving forward.
Hopefully this will be the last time I deal with this. Honestly, it might not be. That’s okay. I’ll deal with it as it pops up here and there.
I’m selling off/giving away most of my yoyo collection. I don’t need more than a few yoyos, and I’m incredibly privileged to be a representative for a team that keeps me well supplied (more than I’ll ever need/use properly)
I’ll still compete, I’ll still make up tricks, I’ll still make videos, and honestly, things might not look that different on the outside… but hopefully the inside is a different matter.

There’s a reason we’re called to confession. It’s not only healthy, but it gets the bad stuff out and clears way for more wholesome things to take their place.

So let’s make room for the future!


#2

That was amazing!!


#3

Not to feed what might be a cycle, but rather than being a post that makes people think less of you, this is the kind of post that people already totally expect from you and applaud you for :wink: .

In other words, this kind of honesty is already apparent in your character, the jealousies and insecurities are all normal things that nobody will hate you for, and it all only solidifies why some of us hold you in high esteem.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Adam!


#4

:’(bravo


#5

That was very insightful, helpful, and honest. Thanks for being real and bringing so much to this hobby. Thank you.


#6

Thanks Greg! That doesn’t feed the cycle, (although maybe this is a really elaborate ruse for fishing for compliments! I’m wily sometimes! Haha.) but it can be hard to talk about stuff like this in a way that’s not coming across that way. Really I think a better approach to humility about this is what you stated, being honest about the fact that stuff like this is going to creep up here and there, but really just make sure to not make a big deal of it going forward.

(Which is ironic since I felt like I had to make a big deal of it in the first place to get it off my chest… C’est la vie)


(UmeNagisa) #7

Adam, I concur with you whole-heartedly my fellow “feeling under appreciated” Brother.
I’ve had that struggle, wanting EVERYONE to see what I can do, and see my innovation.
During some points, I’d get so mad. Feel so Jealous like “Wow, I’m way better than Hiroyuki, Why am I not famous?” and then realize, I’m really not. Or “I can do most if Jensen’s tricks, why am I not World Champ?” and “Lather. Rinse. Repeat” With every single yoyoer I watch.
I finally snapped out of it after watching people like John Ando, Riccardo Fraolini, Ryan Gee, Christopher Chia, etc etc. Not trying to Crap on Jensen or Hiroyuki, as they are seriously 2 of my all time favorites. But I remember thinking I was all high and mighty because I could copy them.
I started to have more fun with it, and now I’ve reached a peak of joy in the skill toy world.
Bravo Adam, Thank you for coming forth.
We all love ya man :slight_smile:


(Owen) #8

Respect man.

I agree that the importance of confession is often overlooked and people just hide their struggles, but what they need to know is that you need to talk to someone about it or else the guilt will eat at you. Mad respect.


#9

Yep I agree. Sometimes people don’t talk about this kind of things, but I’m glad you shared with us. I’ve been in that route, not with yoyos, but with other things. I always feel down when I can’t have my way in certain aspects, but again you just have to accept it for what it is and look at the positives instead of the negatives. I also always tell myself that there will always be someone better.


#10

Nice job man, and respect also. :wink:


#11

I have struggled with feeling like I’m not good or I wish I had a collection like ______
So I have these two truths.

1.There will always be someone better then you
2.There will alway be that “one more” yoyo that you always want

So with that in mind, whenever I find myself envying someone, I think, they want more yoyos too or they wish they were better then _____

Yoyoing is about having fun, yes, progression is good, but don’t try to just yoyo to be better then the next guy, yoyo because you enjoy it. Don’t go buy every yoyo in the world, yes, it might feel good for a little, but how many can you use at once? (Ok guys, yes, some of you are crazy and use 4.)

Just go throw and have fun.


#12

You make some really reasonable points that I believe how most of us probably are. I know I’m sorta like that to an extent as well. I guess it just boils down to wants and needs… But, we all need to have fun while throwing just like you said.


#13

Understand exactly where you are coming from man. I was a very good high school wrestler who competed at a high level and I remember the same thing happening to me. I never reached the top and used to wonder why. Emotions ran super high, and it can remember hatred, bitterness, jealousy, anger and all sorts of emotions.

I thought I was the biggest fastest and strongest and had a hard time swallowing defeat. Not being the best is a hard struggle and it is so cool to hear your dealing with this and really learning from it. I remember doing things as far as smashing up lockers in the locker room after losing one match to the point where I injured myself. I’ve cried after matches as well, always in a corner and alone, I had to uphold the image though of “it doesn’t bother me”. Lucky for me I had great coaches who helped me and others through these feelings.

We are a community, and we may fight and disagree, but we are simply still human beings, and we need each other to help us deal with these feelings. You are not alone, and we are here for you. Embarrassing as it is, your true friends will understand your feelings and hold you up. It’s a continuous fight to resist these feelings, and your right, they probably will come back, that’s why jealousy and greed are one of the seven deadly. They consume our joy and regurgitate it back out as self loathing and anger.

Think of how much you have learned going through this? How much stronger will you be after this? It’s exciting to gain wisdom, and our struggles mature us and make us wiser.

Much respect to you, and your right, this is good for everyone to hear here, even myself. I love good real honest human beings, and you seem like one of them.

BTW I would love to have you sign one of my yoyo’s if I ever run into you!!!


#14

Self sabotage and inability to be happy with one’s success (and instead always looking ahead to what could be) is an extremely common trait in successful people. As long as you realize it you are better off than the vast majority. Sounds silly, but it really is important to stop and smell the roses and enjoy being the person you actually are (and that other people care about) instead of working yourself to death to reach an arbitrary goal (which will change once you attain it anyway). By no means does this mean one shouldn’t have goals, just that one’s goals shouldn’t consume one’s life.


#15

just wanted to say thanks for the kind words, and for anyone else who’s in or has been in the same boat… I feel ya.

I’m glad if this was helpful to anyone other than myself.


#16

R E S P E C T


#17

You mean you’re human, Adam? You still have flesh to war with? :smiley:


#18

Wow, I respect you even more now.


#19

It’s good to see some positivity put into a community about an issue like this. I feel like this is something that shows up in many areas of life, be it hobbies, professions, friends, or something else. I know I feel this way about my career. I see people from my Counseling program succeeding in ways I want to and have to constantly remind myself that my journey is different. I’m just turned 31 and my generation on has shown a higher cultural propensity for entitlement issues, a sense that we are owed something simply because we try. We want it to be just so and, when it isn’t, when we don’t get what we were never promised, get upset. Just gotta keep grinding in our own way.

Thanks for the thought provoking post and the open sharing. Not easy.


#20

Think on these Things, Chapter 6

Why do we want to be famous?

Krishnamurti: Why do you think you want to be famous? I may explain; but, at the end of it, will you stop wanting to be famous? You want to be famous because everybody around you in this society wants to be famous. Your parents, your teachers, the guru, the yogi - they all want to be famous, well known, and so you do too.

Let us think this out together. Why do people want to be famous? First of all, it is profitable to be famous; and it gives you a great deal of pleasure, does it not? If you are known all over the world you feel very important, it gives you a sense of immortality. You want to be famous, you want to be known and talked about in the world because inside yourself you are nobody. Inwardly there is no richness, there is nothing there at all, therefore you want to be known in the world outside; but, if you are inwardly rich, then it does not matter to you whether you are known or unknown.

To be inwardly rich is much more arduous than to be outwardly rich and famous; it needs much more care, much closer attention. If you have a little talent and know how to exploit it, you become famous; but inward richness does not come about in that way. To be inwardly rich the mind has to understand and put away the things that are not important, like wanting to be famous. Inward richness implies standing alone; but the man who wants to be famous is afraid to stand alone because he depends on people’s flattery and good opinion.