It’s been an interesting day. I want to thank everyone who read my article in the Washington Post. I especially want to thank those who reposted it or tweeted it or faxed it or whatever it is you crazy kids are doing these days.
The Post allows comments on articles, so I’ve taken the time to read through them. There has been a lot of encouragement, a lot of people saying they admire what I do and wishing me luck as I continue. It’s good to know that this project resonates with people, and while I know not everyone will be interested, at least there is segment of the population that supports us crazy idiots out here.
Of course, there is also a fair share of backlash. Mostly, this criticism has fallen along the line of, “He’s doing this without healthcare and is just going to have to rely on the government if he gets sick. Plus, he’s got no long-term plan for the future.”
To which I say, fair enough.
Actually, screw it, I don’t say that.
There is absolutely no merit to their criticism*.
I do not have health insurance (or a car, as some have asked). Of all my jobs, I’ve had only one that provided it and so I had insurance for about a year, once. I used it to get checked up, at which I got a clean bill of health, and then I lost the insurance when I left that job (I’ve never been on my parents’ insurance; not sure they even have any). If I get sick, which is rare, I just deal. I had a few years in a row when I got strep throat. I paid out of pocket for a clinic visit and antibiotics. Luckily, I haven’t had strep in many years.
Last year, in Nashville, I slipped and pulled something in my chest. It hurt a great deal, to the point where it was hard to lift anything (not good for a waiter). I still worked, though. I took a lot of Tylenol and never went to the doctor. It took about a month but I healed. These are the real world issues I have to deal with living the way I do. Yes, my life is unique based on my project, but I’m hardly the only person in the world working on Customer Service wages and unable to afford health insurance. The fact that someone might get sick or hurt and not be able to afford medical attention in the wealthiest nation in the world shouldn’t be a reason to cheer or gloat (I’m looking at you Tea Party debate audience).
Some of the commentators seem almost giddy at the thought of me getting sick or getting hit by a truck, as if they were thinking, “That’ll show ’em.” It’s also pretty obvious by the rantings of some of these commentators that they were mostly (if not all) politically Conservatives, pissed at the idea that their tax dollars would have to pay for me. Well, fret not, I haven’t seen a penny of your precious tax dollar.
I love that in this so-called Christian Nation, most people’s first thoughts when thinking of another person’s misfortune is, “How does this affect my wallet?” Christ abides, indeed.
There is a certain contingent of society that would have there be no artists, no risks takers, no outliers. These people want everyone to get a job and save up money, live for the dollar. Some of them mean well. They read the article and think, like a worried parent, “That boy has no safety net if things going wrong.” It’s an understandable concern.
But I think most of these Negative Nelly’s are, in the parlance of today’s youth, simply Haters. For whatever reason, they cannot help but shit on anything and anyone that doesn’t fall in line with their own life choices. Oddly, from my vantage point, these people who would attempt to squash my dreams (not gonna happen) are the same ones decrying the government for taking away their liberties. Irony much?
Really, all they’re saying is, “These are the reasons I’d be too scared to do what he’s doing.” Money’s your hangup, man. (You should imagine a dirty hippie saying that .)
What it comes down to is, if you like my project, then I hope you’ll follow it and keep the encouragement coming. I need it. If, on the other hand, you find my project to be totally impractical and unrealistic, congratulations, you’re right. As I said in the article, I have no intention of being anyone’s financial guru. In that same article I also said my life isn’t a practical way to live. It’s the way I choose to live, that’s it.
If I get to the end of my 10 years and nobody wants to buy my book and I don’t make it as a writer, well, I’ll be crushed. But it’ll be my defeat, my grand failure, and no one else’s.
And contrary to what people are saying, I am planning for my future. I’m planning to not be filled with regrets because I let fear of sickness or slavish devotion to money and security keep me in place. Also, I’m planning to own a BMW with heated seats.
This is my dream. It isn’t yours. Pursue your own passions, whatever they may be, and don’t get so hung up on other people’s life choices. Especially the ones that have nothing to do with you.
And, again, to those who have offered encouragement and assistance over the years, I thank you. I’ve still got plenty of years ahead of me, so I’ll probably still need more. Or is getting help from friends and family now suddenly un-American?
*If, however, you want to criticize my skills as a writer, well that’s a horse of a different color. I’m not gonna argue it. What would be the point?
11 thoughts on “Haters gonna… I forget”
Joseph Fonseca, I loved your article in the Post. And not just because you’re my friend. Well… I guess in some way or another that has something to do with it, because I love what you stand for and love how committed and brave you are, therefore I love what you write. But I also have discovered AFTER knowing you a few months that you are indeed a badass writer as well, with a unique voice that many people are going to love to hear. So here is my encouragement. Oh and F the naysayers.
I am proud to know you, Joseph, and I cannot wait for your article in print, on my wall. Okay, so I’m a superfan. I just happen to like bearded underdogs and boy, am I pulling for you. Keep on that path, friend.
P.S. Robert Frost is probably not too hip, but I always listened to this part of his poem:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Dead on, if nothing else.
Go walk that walk and then talk about that walk, JF. I’m looking forward to listening.
Thank you dear friend. I’m very happy my travels brought you into my path (or is me into your path?). I’m a superfan of yours, too (yeah, the August), so we can consider it a mutual appreciation society.
I feel good knowing I’ve got friends like you that’ve got my back.
Can’t wait to hang out again.
I just read the WaPo article and I’m glad you posted this because some of the comments irritated the hell out of me. I write and I live in a similar vein, and I’ve always wondered how other people feel about not necessarily MY way of life, but a different way of life. A way of life that places people and humanity first, where it should be.
After reading all of the comments following the article I come the odd conclusion that Americans are a people defined by their insatiable need for healthcare above all else. I say this sarcastically, “If you don’t have healthcare, you don’t have anything; You’d have to be a lunatic to not do whatever was necessary to get healthcare.” I know this will sound arrogant to many, but when it comes to my health I don’t live my life in regards to The Great What If? I don’t need healthcare, I have health, so far (32 years), this has been working out for me.
I’m glad someone brought your project to my attention, I’ll be following from now on.
I, too, read your article in The Post. You’re a brave young man, just keep on keeping on, and know there are those of us out here who WANT you to succeed.
I loved your article! Great job. 😀
Thank you all for your thoughts and encouragements. This life isn’t always the easiest, so it helps having people in my corner.
I just discovered your project and read some of your work. Great Job! Keep it up and don’t let the haters get you down. I’m a 52 year old mom with 2 kids in college(both studying art, which I whole heartedly encouraged and support), you are addressing so many issues that touch us all. You have a fine mind and a gift with words. Keep up the good work. And no matter who you are or what your job is, this life isn’t always the easiest, every single one of us need people in our corner.
How do you feel about the buddhists?
PS have you checked out John Francis’ book, Planetwalker? He walked around the country without speaking(!) or riding in cars for 17 years. Might be a kindred spirit
Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. I have not read that book, but it does sound like an interesting journey. I will have to look into it.
I’m not a spiritual person at all, so while I appreciate the materialistic stance of Buddhists (as I understand them, which is admittedly only a little), I’m not particularly for or against their philosophy as regards spirituality. I want it to be understood that my desire for less material possessions is a product of my humanist beliefs and artistic endeavors, nothing more, nothing less.
And, by the way, it’s good to hear from parents who encourage their children’s artistic aspirations, so I commend you for that.
Less is more and stuff is burdensome – too much stuff is suffocating. Live light. Travel well. And write.
dear mr. fonseca im really happy that a person like you exists to not only call the bullshit out on the world, but present in a point of view of not only hilarity, but with valid and logicl reasoning. I am 18 and after reading your article in the washington post I actually hung your article on the front page above my bed, and I take the main article in my journal everywhere I go.
I appreciated the fact of not only your own humilty but the simple fact that you decided one day ” I am going to do this” and many a negative encounters I am sure you have come across has not stopped you thus far. Personally I read On the Road this year as a senior and my outlook did change. Suddenly I did want to pack up my bags, and bum my way across America but that only proved how much of a great author Kerouac actually was. To this day I wouldnt say it is my dream, and while it didnt grossly affect the outcome of my life it did make an impact more than other books-but for you it was part kerouac and part being fed up with being stagnant I assume. Out of all the people in the world not many can one day just up and leave making ends meet while they live a dream, not one of luxury but you are getting your lifes work done, and across abroad. For this I admire you. Im not in writing for the money either, not also the reason I photograph. There are times when I randomly walk around town ( I dont own a car) and meet new people schlepp my way into a bar, invited to a party consume some booze yet find myself home. ANd here you are the man who knows that there is much more out there than sterotypin ourselves. I am sure yo have met the mother who works a part time job, yet has a bachelors degree. Or the entrepenuer who has strings attached to the big buisness. I want to travel and write someday also about what I see, and I am not jealous but I can at least say I admire the man who had the courage to do what no one else does.
-id like to talk to you more if thats cool but I am sure you are busy with multiple jobs but if you ever want to firstname.lastname@example.org
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