July 28, 2021

I Refuse To Go To The Grave As A Character I Never Was

Jacques de Villiers is a Bewilderment Coach

By the time that most of my clients appear to me, they’re worn down by compromise, beset with doubt and mired in chaos.

Because I come in the guise of a marketer, they come to me to fix the sales problems that plague them.

But when we dig below the surface, it becomes apparent that the questions that scratch at them are deeper than fixing a sales problem.

  • Do I have the grit to ride out this current storm?
  • Will I still be loved, even as I’m failing so spectacularly at this endeavour?
  • What if I’ve miscalculated and the only thing ahead of me is catastrophe?

These are the deep concerns that my clients and I wrestle with every day.

  • They are concerned with being found out to be worthless and destroyed.
  • They are concerned with being unlovable and cast aside.
  • They are concerned about misstepping and falling into the abyss of failure.

Maybe I’m projecting, and these are only my concerns? If I am, and this is not you, stop reading now … make time for something important.

I find it all rather bewildering, don’t you? Trying to navigate this life elegantly and eloquently isn’t easy, is it? Trying to control the outcome of our endeavour is a grail quest, and an exercise in futility, isn’t it?

On the current storm

One can never be sure that one has what it takes to ride out a storm, can one? What would be the fun in that, if we were always certain? We can only try our best to hang onto the life raft as tightly as possible as the wind and waves try their best to peel us away into the maelstrom.

On love

I’ve learned that there is not enough love in the world that can fill the hole in our hearts called insecurity. Regardless of how ‘successful’ we are, and how full our coffers are, we never can get enough love. And, when we do get it, we take it for granted. Striving for love is the dopamine disaster that keeps us in the shallows of our lives and stops us from plumbing the depths of our being. It stops us from taking the risk of being real in case we’re not accepted and loved.

On catastrophe

It all ends in catastrophe in the end, doesn’t it? All the striving, manipulating and manoeuvring is for nought when we are finally called home, as we all will be. It’s all going to be taken away from us; we can’t stop it. And, that’s exactly how it was set up. Every bit of adversity we face is preparing us to handle the ultimate catastrophe with grace, gratitude and awe. Catastrophe is the gymnasium that hones us into a perfect work of art.

What do we do in the meantime?

I don’t have any easy answers because my life is so broken that it’s actually something beautiful to watch. It’s beautiful to watch because even though I’m certain it will end in catastrophe, I still keep on going, I still keep on trying, and I still keep on hoping. This is the ultimate human condition. This is a work of art in the making. This life that you and I lead.

Here’s what I know and what I’ve chosen to do.

  • I will never compromise who I am and settle for doing something that I’m not passionate about just to make a buck and hang onto some illusion of control and security. If I’m going to fail at this endeavour, I’d rather fail doing something that I love than doing something I settled for.
  • I will keep on creating the way I am, and being who I am. I’ll take my chances of being loved for I really am. 
  • I’ve thought about killing who I really am, and giving the world an avatar that is more palatable to its version of what is politically and socially acceptable. I really have. It would make my life a lot simpler, I’d make a ton more money, and live more comfortably, that’s for sure. But I refuse to kill who I really am and one day fall into my grave grasping onto a character that I never was. That would be the ultimate catastrophe and a slap in the face of my architect.

2 Comments on “I Refuse To Go To The Grave As A Character I Never Was

Gavin Novis
February 7, 2022 at 11:37 am

Jacques, as per usual you elegantly capture the essence of what I so often struggle to admit to

Jacques de Villiers
February 8, 2022 at 6:39 am

Don’t worry Gavin, I hide from a lot too.


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