For Clarity …

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Robbie Gangemi, V20N13

For Clarity …
May your dreams come true.

Lately, I’ve been traveling a lot more than I’ve been home. Hitting the road gets old pretty quickly. Your life becomes hazy and ungrounded. All you want to do is sleep in your own bed, hang out at your old spots, and see your old friends … if they still remember you. There were supposed to be a few different articles from these travels, but they have all now been combined into one. For those who expected more, I apologize. I appreciate your time spent trying to get that trick, but it’s hard these days. Skateboarding has progressed so much so quickly. In order to get anywhere with it, you’ve got to be better than what’s already out there. But this piece isn’t really about the new and the latest from the biggest names, it’s mainly about the underdogs-skateboarders from everywhere across the country, not just West and East Coasts. May your dreams come true. I wrote this little piece mostly while on the road. Writing on the road helps me keep focused on what skateboarding really means to me so I don’t get too salty when thinking about all the politics and drama involved. I hope you dig it. Peace.-Brayden Knell

For Clarity …

The reality is that I will always be one-a skateboarder, that is. Imbedded in me from the first day I stepped on one. It’s been close to two decades now, which is short for some and unimaginable for others. It’s an attitude, a train of thought, political standpoint. A set of standards that have influenced my thought patterns since I was ten or eleven. And now, even at this age, I’m still questioned about it-almost like I should be ashamed of it. It boggles my mind of how clueless people really are. Our perspective is just a different one altogether. Which goes for a lot of things, but especially for this one. Nobody wants to accept differences, that’s the problem with the world. But people have always hassled me. Not all people, but always hassled.

I remember being in endless fights when I was younger. Nicknamed “Anarchy” when I moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to Nashville, Tennessee in the late 80s, I got into a fist fight at the mall over my nickname the first week I was there. I dug the word “Anarchy,” but just not the way it was placed toward me. My hair went in my face for almost a year, secluding myself from hate. But still, fight after fight, I continued to stand up for what I believed in. Eventually, they got used to the fact that I was prepared to do whatever I had to. I couldn’t live with myself if I traded my beliefs in for their acceptance. Eventually, nobody wanted to fight me anymore, and then came respect. Not from everyone, of course, because this respect made some of them hate me even more. Those were the same people who wanted the dignity that I had for myself, but they weren’t willing to sacrifice their popularity for it. Those poor, jealous people. They’re probably security guards now. But I don’t really mean that, because if I did, then I wouldn’t be any better than them. That same type of ignorance would drag me down to their level-somewhere I hope I’ll never be.

Acceptance …

The main focal point to pay attention to is “questioning your actions.” The prime ingredient that’s remained from this mindset of questioning yourself. It’s the most important thing I’ve learned-maybe not directly, but indirectly-the effect from the cause. Some of us, including me at times, have lost track of it. For what? Money? Publicity? Those sound like legitimate factors for prejudice, but I’m afraid it’ll always be the common denominator of fear.

Fear …

The main ingredient in any problem, really. But that’s what it technically boils down to-overcoming those fears. Always nervous approaching something new, you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen, because you’ll never know if you don’t try.

That’s the beauty of it-when you overstep that little voice in your head telling you “no,” yyou do it anyway. The feeling you get when you’ve conquered your own fears is something you can only give to yourself. Stepping over your own bullshit. Better than any drug … skateboarding.

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