Since Charles’ death by suicide, I have adopted some of his traits. Nothing like the loss of a child to inspire you to take inventory of your life.
1. Follow your dreams
Do what you are passionate about and all else will follow. I remember Charles asking me one time what my dreams were. And if I was not actively pursuing them he wanted to know why. To him, it was unfathomable not to follow your dreams no matter what. He had not a practical bone in his body. Definitely part of his charm.
On Myers Briggs, Charles was an ENTP. On the Eeneagram, he was a dreamer, #7. Literally.
ENTP – Charles
E 35, N 37, T 31, P 45
2. Real rap is not bad, it’s a window into a soul
He wanted me to understand rap and why it meant so much to him. It was so personal to him and what helped him stay with us as long as he did. Like a lot of parents, I was not well educated on rap that came from the soul.
It bothered me that some of his songs were so dark because I knew his came from the heart and it worried me. But honestly I think it helped him cope like writing helps me cope. He would admit to depression in his music but never admitted to me he suffered from depression although diagnosed with it.
3. Listen to your gut
Charles always went with his gut especially since he had no practical side. Since I didn’t listen to my gut the day he took his life, I have vowed to go with my gut
4. Others matter
Charles brought out the best in people because they knew he cared. I do think his ability to let others know they matter was his greatest gift. It was more important than anything to make people feel that they mattered and they counted probably because he didn’t always feel that he did.
5. Every once in a while, be impulsive
I am not, by nature, very impulsive. But he encouraged me to be so at least sometimes. I’ve probably done that more often since his death in honor of my boy.
6. Darkness in a soul is not ugly, it’s inspiration
Many great books, movies, works of art are the result of pain. Much of Charles’ music is the result of pain. I even think his comedy was the result of pain. So beautiful things come as a result of darkness.
7. Never turn down fun
Even shortly after he died I looked for opportunities to go out. I wasn’t always in great spirits but I kept trying.
8. Be a nonconformist
Charles took non-conformity to a whole new level. Like Charles, I can’t just follow a path that’s carved for me. I have to blaze my own trail. The difference now is that I’m willing to take more of a risk. Launch myself out there with the faith that I will land on my feet. Thanks to my angel.
9. There is nothing more important than connecting with your audience
Nobody had an audience captivated like Charles did. People want that emotional connection. Maybe that’s why I feel him with me when I do present my story. As I was looking through his twitter pictures today, I saw that he had yet another performance award he never told me about.
10. Hear people. Listen to what they are really saying
I don’t think I had as razor sharp a focus in this regard until after he died. All of a sudden I picked up on things I didn’t before. It’s like that skill was transferred to me.
One thought on “10 things I learned from Charles”
Why is it that these children we lose are thoughtful, kind, witty, brilliant, artists, writers, thinkers, philosophers and many times better people than we are? The world would be so much better off with a Whitten here, than with a me.