John Michael

Life Is a Sweet, Tender Bruise XXXIV: Starting Something New

(Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash)

John Michael continues his series Life Is a Sweet, Tender Bruise, reflecting on life and people encountered, writes about endeavoring something new and being positive.


When I start something new, I am generally panicky and unsure of myself. Life works like this for everyone I imagine: people in your world will either see your insecurity and offer encouragement and support, or they will see your insecurity and work to keep you that way for their own personal power and as a way of soothing their own insecurity. I am not judging our humanness, as surely, I have been both supportive and manipulative.

Starting on the radio, as usual, I had to brag myself up just to get started as I do with most new endeavors. I am Garrison Keillor, I am Paul Harvey, I am the greatest DJ of all time. But also having no idea how I am actually doing. I’m out there fishing for compliments like crazy, wishing for ways of getting listener feedback.

My goal, I told myself, is to sound professional but human, not slick, but rather like I’m conversing with a friend.

I had a strange thought today, not braggadocious, but kind to myself, I love how I sound on the radio. I’ve never had internal confidence like that, but it is starting to move into many areas of my life, including my writing. It comes from loving myself through thick and thin over this past decade, as I have struggled with my anxiety, rage, boundaries, and insecurities.

When you can admire yourself like that, no one can throw you off your game with catty behavior and put-downs.


When you can admire yourself like that, no one can throw you off your game with catty behavior and put-downs.


I struggle with intimacy and I guess the idea is, if you don’t like yourself very well, you are not going to trust others will either, so you are always in a state of wondering if your friends and partners actually like you or not. Like I stated earlier, it leaves people able to take advantage of your neediness for their power and as a way of not dealing with their own. It is also not that fun to be with someone who needs constant reassurance.

Now, not that neediness and insecurity are bad things, most folks I know took some significant blows during childhood and early relationships. It makes it difficult to even let your guard down enough to get emotionally close, or for intimacy to emerge in a relationship.

I am far from perfect on the radio; my storytelling, if it gets over 30 seconds or so, can get a little choppy. My next goal is to bring some true friendship, kinship, and intimacy to the radio. I will get there.


John Michael

Hello, good people. I am rarely sure how to describe myself. If I say I am a Christian, many things may arise in your mind that ain't necessarily so. I was homeless for seven years and learned more about myself in that stretch of time than in any other segment of my life. I read the Bible a lot out there and came across a passage in Proverbs that has shaped my approach to life: "A man's pursuit is his kindness." I am well educated with a Master of Social Work degree and have worked a wide variety of jobs in my 52 years. None have lasted too long however. When I was homeless, the beauty of Texas wildflowers made me decide to want to live again. Along with kindness, beauty, play, and self-expression are life-guiding ideas. My shadow contains things like feeling sorry for myself, a truckload of defiance, a desperate need to please women, and no small amount of cruelty. A quote from Luke also has had a lasting effect on me: "For God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." When I read that I thought, "Hell, I have got a fighting chance." I am here to tell you, you have a fighting chance as well. Besides Christianity, practicing Buddhist and Shamanic techniques inform my relationship to God and the world.

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