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I'm feeling inspired today. So let's inspire.

But first, question time: do you actually know how fucking awesome you are? Real question. Do you? If you don't. I'm here to tell you.

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Before we get into how fucking awesome you are, allow me to tell you how awesome I am. Just consider this your complimentary annual humblebrag doused in inspirational positivity. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, its PJ time.

Cool runnings.

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On my dresser, I have taped a random Someecard meme that was sent to me by a friend one day that says, "Hey you! You're fucking awesome. Keep that shit up! Seriously." Every morning, I see this printed out from my work computer piece of black-and-white inspiration. Because you know what? I am awesome. And I should keep that shit up. Seriously. And its not just because I'm me. While I feel like everybody should have a healthy sense of innate self-esteem, I think a lot of what makes you awesome is what you do physically and what you put into the atmosphere. Nobody is perfect, but as long as you do more good than bad, I think the Gods will look favorably upon you. Namaste.

And no, namaste did not fit there. Which is not what she said. I mean she didn't say it didn't either. It was a confusing time for us both. Let's move on.

Do you know why swish, ballin…I'm so awesome? It's because for nearly every single thing that I've wanted to do, I went out and did it. Sure there have been bumps in the road but I gave it the old college try. You have no idea how many emails and tweets and DMs and FB messages, etc, that Damon and I get (and I'm sure every single writer that you read regularly) asking how to make a website pop off. Everybody has grand ideas, but people don't know where to start. But that's simple.

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At the motherfucking beginning. You worried about how to make your blog pop and you don't even have a blog to begin with. Where dey do dat at? But it happens all the time. People see where they want to be without taking the first step towards getting there. It's a human condition. Ain't no stopping us now? Not true. We stop ourselves all the time. We stop ourselves from starting. But as some wise man once said, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…" I'm awesome because I've taken that first step a bunch of times.

To be fair, I've had TREMENDOUS help along the way. For instance, every single amazing thing thats happened to me, pretty much, since the day I turned 25 has been because I started blogging. And I don't even mean VSB. I mean my first blog: www.jacksongtickle.blogspot.com <——no longer exists. I went from there www.jacksongtickle.com, which is somewhere stuck in the ether. I may have went out and did everything I wanted to do, but you know what I didn't do while doing what I wanted to get done?

Pay that damn bill. #RIPJGT

But that first blog, written on my 25th birthday on June 3, 2004…and do you know who is responsible for me as a blogger? Liz Burr and Calvin Smith. Liz, obviously is one of the co-founders of VSB, and Calvin is one of my boys from Morehouse (we go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to the summer of 1997,  way before hashtags). Calvin's was probably the first blog I ever read. And via his blog, I came across Liz who was BlackMartha back then. Her blog had me drawn like a moth to a flame burnt by the fire. One fateful day, I hit her up via AIM and she responded and we became fast friends and over time she convinced me to start blogging. So I did. I didn't think I had anything to say until I realized I  had everything to say. About something, anything, and everything.

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Because I took a chance blogging I managed to do a bunch of things I never thought I'd be able to do. All because I took a step. That's how I ended up managing a nightclub. And that's how Damon and I started VSB and turned into what it is today. We took steps.

It's not easy to take that first step. But that's also why I have that sign on my dresser. As long as I remember how awesome I am, then I know I can take steps. But you know what? I'm not that special. I'm just a guy standing in front of a dream hoping that if I do my part, the universe will take care of the rest.

And you know what, anybody can take that step. I feel like I'm talented. But you know who else is talented? All you people out there thinking about doing something but not ready to take that first step. And I get it. It's scary. For one, if you take that step and nothing comes of it you might feel like a failure. But hear me good, the only failure is never trying…or T-Boz's acting in Belly. If you try and it doesn't work, you figured out something that may not work. But that doesn't mean that NOTHING will work. Something always works. Trust me, I'm a blogger.

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Two of the most important lessons I've learned since I started writing are this: 1) there's literally an audience for everything; and 2) trust yourself. I remember nights when I'd start writing my post for the night at 1145pm (this is when we were religiously posting at midnight every night). That sounds crazy, but all I needed was an intro line and the rest would take care of itself. That's how much I trust my ability to write. I know what I'm capable of and there's nobody who can tell me otherwise. Don't have to bump this, but please respect it. I know that there is nobody better at doing me than I am. The same goes for most people who are good at something.

But let's look at the audience piece. It's hard out here for a pimp today. There are SO many blogs and SO many sites and SO many writers. It can be overwhelming to even think about getting into the blogging business. But hell, you have to start somewhere. And somewhere out there and possibly over the rainbow, is somebody looking to read exactly what it is what you want to write. Do you know why I started doing REMINISCE? Because instead of trying to find parties I wanted to go to, I figured I'd throw the damn party myself. I figure I have enough reach and know enough people that I could make it work and #lookatgawd, 4 years later, REMINISCE is still going strong and I'm adding another party to the docket. The possibilities are endless.

I hear you looking at me saying "saying, but how do I find people to buy my particular brand of vodka?" Good question. You go out and find them. And this isn't even about blogging. I'm just using it as an easy example because of the doors its opened for me.

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But it can be whatever you want to do: crocheting and selling your shit on Etsy, DJing, writing, cat breeding, cursing, being the baddest motherfucker that ever lived, etc. Whatevs. Do you boo.

Getting the audience is hard but remember this, people are LOOKING for you. They just don't know where to find you either. You're both looking for the same shit and have no idea how to get there. So you know what you can do, put yourself out there in as many ways as possible. The internet has made marketing pretty easy, while making it hard by making everybody a marketer. But you know what, that's the heavy lifting.

Have you seen Gone Girl? Crazy ass movie. I watched it last night for the first time. Fucked my whole shit up.

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Anyway, there's a scene where Ben Affleck is being told that he needs to let the whole world see that he is not a monster. And he retorts, that he doesn't need all the people to see that, just the right person. That's what you need. The right person to come across you. One person begets other people begets the begetting.  Sure it takes a little luck, but life is what you make it…that's the hardest shit since MC Ren.

This is long. Which is what she said. Point is, if you have something you want to do…do it. Please. For me. We only have but so many revolutions around the sun before your clock is punched. There's no time like the present. We got now. Life is life. There's no harm in asking for help or looking for guidance. Just remember that everybody is somebody's everything. If I can do it. If we can do it. Gangstas make the world go 'round.

And that's how you know how fucking awesome you are. For somebody out there, you're the difference. So be the difference. Don't wait for tomorrow to talk about what you could have done yesterday. You got this.

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Because you're fucking awesome. Keep that shit up. Seriously.