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Gettin' Through it Together

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 09/08/2023

Staring At the Clock show art Staring At the Clock

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, what was Cam doing today at 4:59am? Well, he wasn't getting out of bed. That we know for sure. ----- Most mornings I’m staring at the clock about 4:30 am waiting to get up. I won’t allow myself to get out of bed before 5am. Getting your day started at 5am means you’re aggressive. You’re eager to get going. Getting out of bed before 5am means you have a problem. They’re slight gradations. Minutes matter and 4:59am is a good bit different from 5am. I stare at the clock until it turns 5 when I feel like it’s ok to jump up and get the coffee started....

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Don't Get Sick show art Don't Get Sick

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well. ----- I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture. I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness...

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He's Not Roscoe show art He's Not Roscoe

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see's a friend just outside the window. But Cam won't give him a name. He absolutely won't. ----- My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there. I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by...

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Talking in the Locker Room show art Talking in the Locker Room

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston takes a moment to observe the fingerprint of time. And wishes he hadn't. ----- Talking to a naked man is awkward. It’s just…awkward. There are men that have come my gym at the same time every day for decades. And their work in the gym may have kept them alive but it has not kept them from aging. There is nothing firm on them. There’s nothing taut. Age plus gravity has left a sagging fingerprint. And talking to a naked man, especially one with some age on him, is, well, awkward. They’re standing there, towel over their shoulder, not around...

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Persevere show art Persevere

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's KIR, Cam Marston wonders if he could do the same thing for fifteen years and know, just know in his bones, that it would pay off. ----- I’ve just watched the documentary on Steve Martin called "Steve! A Documentary in Two Pieces." I’ve always liked Steve Martin. What caught my attention the most is that he did his standup act for fifteen years. The vast majority of that time, his audiences were very small. In one video clip, he’s counting the number of people in the room during his act – there were fifteen people there. He got what he thought were big breaks that bombed,...

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April's Fool show art April's Fool

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston hypothesizes on what a parenting podcast from him and his wife would sound like. ----- My wife and I sat together at the beach last week laughing as we retold stories and reminded ourselves of the humor of parenting. Especially as Gen X parents. We decided to compose a social media post together. The date was April first, and that date matters. The post read the following: We are frequently asked how we’ve raised four perfect children. Here’s our response: We are excited to announce our new Parenting Podcast called Gen X Parenting Tools. Go check...

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Workplace Veterans show art Workplace Veterans

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston has some observations about the NCAA tournament. The old guys are winning, and he likes that. ----- Someone in my family is not pleased right now. As I write this Wednesday, I don’t know who. Last night the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. My wife is a Carolina grad. I was unaware people could like basketball that much until I met her. My son is a Freshman at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He was an avid sports fan moments after his birth. One of them lost last night and is...

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Need A Message show art Need A Message

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is searching for a message and if he hears one, he WILL obey. ----- I think there is someone or something out there trying to send me a message. A few things have happened lately that seem, well, like there is a message coming or attached but I don’t know what it is. First, storms rolled through a few months ago knocking out the power. Fortunately our house has a generator attached and it kept a few rooms running for a little while. My friends began texting about their power being out. I proudly texted a photo of my comfortable and well-lit kitchen that...

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Tell Them Both I Said Hello show art Tell Them Both I Said Hello

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

There's a grocery store Cam goes to when he's in a hurry. It's NOT the one closest to his house. That one is full of memories. Full of roots. ----- I saw him see me. He turned and headed my way. “Cam,” he said. “How’s you mother?” “Well,” I said. “She passed away two years ago.” I saw you at her funeral, I wanted to say. I remember talking to you. “Oh. Yes. That’s right. I’m sorry. Well then, how’s your father?” “Dad’s wonderful. He plays pickleball five, sometimes six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. He’s eighty-seven but I don’t think he knows it....

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Parent's Weekend show art Parent's Weekend

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On today's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares something he saw last weekend that made him feel a little bit better about things. ----- I'm in Starbucks. It's Saturday. It's Noon. I'm in Tuscaloosa at the corner of Bryant Drive and 8th Avenue. Sororities across the street disgorging young ladies for their morning cups of honey-dew latté with extra chai, extra vanilla essence and a dash of bumble bee eyelashes or something like that. Yoga pants as far as the eye can see. One girl wearing a T-shirt reading Don’t Date Frat Boys. Parents here for fraternity and sorority parent’s weekend. Dads wearing...

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It's been a tough few weeks. This commentary offers no specifics, but I've learned some things.

-----

Many years ago, my neighbor in Charlotte, North Carolina knocked on my door one weekday afternoon. His wife had just told him she’s leaving. She climbed her car and drove away. He was dumbstruck and he needed to talk. My wife and I had just moved in. I hardly knew him. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I froze. To my everlasting shame, I rushed our conversation so he’d stop making ME feel uncomfortable. I realized years later he was crying out for help and I failed him. I know this now. And I’ll never do it again. To this day I regret my behavior that afternoon.

When I was a much younger man, I chose to remain ignorant other people’s problems. Mainly because of the way their problems made ME feel. But I now realize that when someone shares their problems, when they confess a deep vulnerability, they’re taking on risk by sharing it. They’re vulnerable and are hoping I won’t fail them like I did my neighbor many years ago. In fact, to be thought as one who might can help is, in fact, a privilege and should be treated that way. I’ve learned. Today I do my best to help; I try to do what I can. I’ve changed.

Folks, there are no awards for bearing deep emotional pain alone. There is no Hall of Fame for keeping your horrific and debilitating suffering to yourself. We say we don’t want to burden someone else with our problems. But how many times have you and I wished, regarding our own friends, that we would have known about something so that we could have tried to help.

Asking for help is not a weakness. Asking for help is the first step to elevating a problem and finding someone who can help you solve it. There’s no shame in it.

To my wife, my friends and my family: I commit to working on a solution when I fall into these vulnerable states. And I do fall into them. I may sound sanctimonious right now, but I’m vulnerable. Deeply so. Maybe we all are. And I commit to not suffering quietly out of pride or shame or embarrassment. To my wife, my friends, to my family; to those who listen to these commentaries – I need you to commit to taking care of yourself, too. I need you. I need to know not only that you’re out there, but that you’ll be there.

My wife has told me many times – there’s a big difference in listening to yourself versus talking to yourself. When you listen, you let the demons in. When you talk to yourself the right way you make yourself stronger. You keep the demons at bay.

Folks let’s agree to talk. To ourselves. To one another. Let’s agree to admit that we all have problems that we can’t solve them on our own.  And let’s agree to get through this - whatever it is – by relying on each other. Together.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.