Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Truth

The truth is...

I’m selfish.

I spend so much time preaching to people about my opinion, my view on life, that I forget to live it myself. How we have to seize the moment in every situation, while still appreciating the beauty in the little things around us.

I think one thing that hinders me as a person, is the fact that I’m a writer. I look at everything as a story. I can see a red solo cup… A simple red plastic cup… And tell you that it is an incredible drinking glass. A luscious and vibrant red, easily accessed and disposed of, perfect for every occasion dining necessity. I could list of all of the many incredible uses, from spur of the moment picnics at the park, to Olympic beer pong wonder containers. I can tell you how that cup has been with me at my lowest, drink after drink chugging down every bad memory I ever had… To my finest, washing away that addiction one ice-cold water at a time.  I can in many ways, make that cup look beautiful and enticing.. But the truth is, it’s still just that. A red, flimsy plastic, throw away cup.

I think that’s why I am let down so often in life. I look at people for who I want them to be, instead of waiting to find out who they really are. I try to impose my vision, and write the story of how I think that things should go. Rarely in my life have I ever just taken a step back and let things happen.

I sat down today, feeling sorry for myself. I realized that I have two weeks from this day at my job here in Columbia. In 16 days, I will load up my car once more, drive to Tennessee for a week, and then I’m off. Jack Kerouac-ing it across America back to California. I cried. Really cried. I don’t mean watching Lion King and Mufassa dies cried. I mean really felt it deep within my soul, ached my heart and it leaked out through my tear ducts, cried. I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I have felt it before. I felt it last January, when I realized that I had no idea who I was becoming, but it wasn’t the person I wanted to be. I wasn’t me.

You see, I do pride myself on being a good person. I do a lot of really nice things for people, and I’m often told that I say just the right things… But I can’t tell you the last time I sat back and just listened.

There are so many beautiful stories out there. Stories that have already been written by people. They live them every day. I have the ability to give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves, but here I am still selfishly spinning each story to my own perspective.

I seem to forget that I don’t know everything, and that not everything is what I think it is. That I’m not the only one with an opinion, and that I don’t know the only way to do things. There are a lot of people out there who might not be like me, who might appreciate other things, but that doesn’t make them any less right. It just means that we’re different. And that’s what’s so beautiful right? That’s why the story flows so well. Because there are people out there so unlike me that add their own flavor to every situation.

I had a chance to peek into the life of someone else… To realize that everything doesn’t revolve around me, and that not everyone has to do the things that I’ve done. Not everyone has to walk down my path to be fulfilled.

Twitter is a mysterious thing. It is time consuming and addictive. It builds false appreciation, and unrealistic justification. I was baffled to see that I went from 200 “followers” a few short months ago, to 1,700. On one hand it’s meaningless. What does it really matter? I thought that the more people who followed me, the more people I could affect and hopefully help. But what does it matter how many people follow me, if the things that I say aren’t realistic or helpful? I had rather have 200 “followers” and help a handful, than 20,000 and never change a soul. And maybe even then, I’m not supposed to change their soul. Maybe it’s about someone else changing mine. So on the other hand, I guess for me it can also be a nice reality check.

I mean really how prideful must I be, to have the audacity to believe that I have all the answers? People ask me questions, and without hesitation I share my opinion like it ought to be written in stone somewhere. You’d think that God himself felt the same damn way.

The truth is I’m 23. I have done a lot for my age, but I have so far to go. I have never had a truly successful relationship, because either I gave my heart to those undeserving, or I tore it away from those who did terrified that I couldn’t live up to their expectations. I am just at the beginning of my career, and while I think that I could one day be really amazing at whatever it is that I choose, I still can’t make up my mind what that thing really is. Do I believe that I am special? Yes. I think we all are. But I am no more special than you, or anyone else.

It’s so ironic that I preach to everyone else to experience life and appreciate these moments, when one by one I’m watching them all slip past me.

Like I said. I had the chance to peek into someone’s life. A few someone’s actually. The first is an incredible woman who happened to compliment my blog. After reading her own, I began to wonder how she was impressed by my words, when hers held so much depth. I have no idea who she is. She writes from an anonymous account, but she has no idea the impact she holds. She said to me today:

“Being anonymous helps me to write, but a lot of days it’s lonely too.”

Now there was more that followed that, but for the sake of privacy, that’s all I am willing to share. She has opened up to me with a certain level of confidence that I refuse to betray.

Instead of listening to her, and what she had to say my response was purely selfish. I turned the conversation around about myself and how I technically write under an Alias as well, seeing as how Tennessee wasn’t my god given name so I “understood”. That wasn’t the point. What she was saying had nothing to do with me. It was her perception. She felt alone with no public identity. Instead of asking her why she felt that way, getting her opinion, and helping her sort her thoughts, I immediately tried to justify her thoughts and give her reasons why she felt that way. Who the hell am I to do that?

She was looking for an open ear, a friend if you will. Instead I became a pompous asshole who thinks too highly of myself and feels like “I understand” everything. I don’t. And I hope she knows that I am sorry. I’m willing to listen. Without any comments.

The second person has become someone much closer to me. I’ve never met her. I know only what she has shared, but so far I feel like I know her better than most people I’ve spent years of my life with. I have a lot of acquaintances, but very few people who know me and vice versa. She doesn’t force me to tell her things. She just simply allows me to if I feel like it. She gets me… and I hope I’m not wrong in saying this, but I think I get her too. She has a beautiful heart. One that is admirable and deep.

I vented to her earlier, and instead of allowing me to wallow in my bullshit, she corrected me. She did it in an incredibly nice way though by saying “I’m an outsider looking in. It’s okay to have moments… Just don’t forget who you are and where you came from. You’ve been broken. You’ve been hurt. But don’t let those things make you second guess who you are and most of all determine who you can be. You’re great. If I have to tell you that everyday, I will. Don’t let the shades of grey seep between the black and white.”

Those words meant the world to me. I don’t think she realizes truly how much she helps. Even now I sit thinking how lucky I’ve been to get to know such amazing people, but I think it’s time now to take a step back in a way. I’ll still post, don’t worry. But I want to make it very clear that I’m just as scared, and lonely, and broken and confused as every one of you. I’m not above any of you. I go to bed and wake up the same way that you do, and when it all comes down too it, I have just as many questions that I still need to answer about myself.

You’re fine. You’re right on track. Just live life day by day. That’s all we can do. Don’t float through life however. Let’s all make an effort to remember SOMETHING important about each, whether it be a sentence, or a feeling. Let’s enjoy each others company, share a conversation. Let’s live. I’ll start today.

It’s not all about me…


1 comment:

  1. I hope this new grace and humility pushes you forward. I hope it encourages you more so to share and give of your story and your heart. I've learned very recently that it's not about being above the normality of life....the struggle and heartache and fear...but the willingness to expose yourself anyway that causes people to seek out your voice. Keep writing, keep encouraging, keep loving. Dont find yourself muted but propelled forward into a deeper, more gracious place. You are brilliant. Your voice is needed and wanted.