I was thinking about a few of my challenges last night. I was thinking about the differences between people. After a while, I started to think about the hurdles we jump and the obstacles we have to overcome. Each day, we have to navigate through this maze we call life. This happens on a grand scale and on a daily basis. This happens to everyone. It’s not just me.
I was thinking about the critics and the intimidation of the crowd. I was thinking about my fears as well as my worst fears which are humiliation, exposure and shame. And then I was thinking about my anxieties and the stressors that appear out of nowhere, which is why I am awake at night to talk to my friend, Insomnia.
This is the thought machine and these are the ideas that lead to the end result of emotion. These are the ideas that lead to a chemical reaction in my body, which is where the energy comes in to keep me awake.
For now though, I am listening to angry raindrops hit against the skylights of my home. I have my car running to keep it warm. In a short while, I have no choice but to drive to the City and face the day. Like it or not, the day is here. And like it or not and hurting or not, bills keep coming and life keeps happening. There is no pause button. There is no rewind or replay. There is no fast forward either. There is only “The now,” and what we choose to do with it.
I was thinking about Bowie and one of his songs. I was thinking about the song “Changes.”
I’m not sure how this came up. Maybe the idea came to me after seeing something about a movie from my teenage years. I remember where the thinking started, and me, there I was as an early seedling; growing, and sprouting and learning about the difference between rainy days and the enjoyment of the sun. There I was, a sponge is what I would call myself during those years, absorbing life and learning lessons and misinformation from inaccurate teachers, but hey, this is how it is.
In some ways, I was tougher then. I was certainly more resilient. Perhaps this is because time was on my side. Or, maybe this is nothing other than the resiliency of youth. And in fact, there are a plethora of tomorrows when you’re young and worries for the future is something that only grown folks do.
I was never asked if I want to be a grown folk. My guess is this just happened. My guess is it was the gray hairs I notice now. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that time moves too quickly now and as much as I can, I wish there was a pause button or at least a hold, just for a minute.
I have not forgotten my past nor have I forgotten what it has taken me to be where I am now. I am fortunate. And I might add beyond fortunate, I am where I am because regardless of my bitching or complaining and regardless to my losses, which are many, the fact remains that I am still here.
And sure, I quit before. I’ve quit a few times in a day. I spent an entire afternoon trying to shovel the snow on my walk and in my driveway. I quit then. I quit when I shoveled the snow in front of my driveway, only to have a street plow push it right back when plowing the street. I quit then too.
I quit a thousand times, easily, but here’s the paradox; I may have said “I quit,” but I never gave up. I never stopped moving and I never stopped working. I never gave in. I let my mouth scream but I never let my soul give way. And that has made all the difference for me.
I was thinking about the popular line in that Bowie song:
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds –
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.
Yes, this was me. And this is still me too. I am trying to change my world. I am aware of what I’m going through. I know where I have been. I know who I am. I know my faults and flaws as well as I know my talents and credits. The ability of my improvement depends upon which of them I focus on. I know this.
I know where my heart is. I know that my thoughts are neither real or always my friends.
Do you want to know the truth?
I think we place way too much of our happiness in the hands of other people. I think we base our success on the gauges of a social norm, and yet, neither you nor I were asked our opinion on any of this. So, I’m not sure about these standards or who decides them and why.
There is that saying I am reminded of which goes, “May your life be as awesome as you pretend it is on your news feed.”
Of course, this relates to the presentations we see on social media.. And I thought about this.
I thought about the way we decorate ourselves. I thought about the way we dress the part.
I thought about the way I’ve pretended at times; to be, to look, or to be perceived as someone else or someone more. What a truly sad idea this is. What a waste of existence and sad, vapid way to live because at no point does this validate me or my truths. Instead, this only nurtures a person that isn’t me. And where is the rebellion in this? Where is the victory?
I have learned that I’ve earned the right to both create and recreate myself on a daily basis. I have learned that the day I forfeit my smile is the day I forfeit my soul.
I know this because I’ve done this before. Forfeit, I mean.
It took a lot to get back what I gave away. But I have it now.
Whatever it is, I have it. . .
I have learned that age does not take away fear. And some of my childhood fears still remain. I’ve learned that not everyone is open about this. And some are quick to point out my flaws.
Don’t worry though. It’s okay. I know all about my flaws.
I tuck them in at night and read them bedtime stories. I comfort them. I comfort them with my fears because after all of my battles and throughout all of my crazy rebellions, I learned one thing above all: I am the only one that can carry me through.
Others might help me or cheer me on and some might look to see me trip or fall, but me, I am the only one that can pick me up and get me through. I have to celebrate that. Otherwise, I shake my fist at the sky and curse about things beyond my control.
And that my friend is a sad way to live