Body and Mind
Please understand: the external metamorphosis comes only at the very end, after a long, sustained effort. There is a lot of inner work you have to do before then. Also there is luck involved.
Do I need to go into what turns an eleven-year-old into such a stoic: embarrassed to be sentimental, determined to be detached?
A low-grade, persistent terror plagued me throughout the summer before sixth grade, because in June I’d found out I was to spend the next year in Rabbi Friedberg’s class at my Orthodox Jewish Hebrew school.
You are sitting in the mail room on that armless gray swivel chair with the duct tape on the seat, sorting the mail, and he’s telling you that corporate life . . . well, it’s a life, is what it is, and you can adapt to it and even start to enjoy it if you just adjust your perspective.
It was the last day of school, and I was walking with my dad. . . . Suddenly, he paused, looked at me intently, and said, “Son, you’re a black male, and that’s two strikes against you.” To the general public, anything that I did would be perceived as malicious and deserving of severe punishment, and I had to govern myself accordingly. I was seven years old.