I think now is a good time that we have a little talk. I wasn’t going to do this here because I’m never too sure if we are ever alone—or at least, really alone. But at risk of exposure, I thought twice about this and yes, this is the right place.
I think the only approach is the humble one, which in my case; this is me, here and now. What I am about to expose or explain is something that comes from the heart—and while I admit this is raw and perhaps somewhat uncomfortable or perhaps it is too much for some people to expose one’s self honestly, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or strange. This doesn’t have to be uncomfortable at all, but yet, I get it. Bright light exposes darkness. And sometimes, it’s bright . . .
In fact, for one to be themselves should never be uncomfortable. And yet it is uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to be true, real or to be without cover and vulnerable. People spend their entire lives running away from vulnerability and yet, in their dash to escape the openness or emotional attacks, they miss the bread of life. They miss the sauce at the bottom of the pan. They never get the chance to enjoy the unexpected syrup of life or lick the spoon. They miss out on the tiny specks of miracles that otherwise go unnoticed or unappreciated. Most of all; they miss out on the balance; they miss the equilibrium of love and the ability to above all, share one’s life with the people who mean the most to them. They miss the counterbalance that sets our life straight again.
We are all too guarded and all too often under attack or scrutiny. Whether internal or otherwise, we are series of thoughts and emotions, memories and experiences. We are a combination of scars and a compilation of history that we keep stored in that hard drive called our brain. Sometimes we forget to refresh. Sometimes we forget to update our hardware (otherwise known as our thinking). I want to reach out to you with no expectation. I am not looking to gain anything or take anything away. Instead, my hope is that you accept my offering, which is heartfelt and true, and with all of my heart, I am offering this as a branch of care and understanding because I know it; life is far from simple and nothing comes easily.
First, I’d like to tell you about the different degrees of separation. There is I, myself. There is you and yourself. There is the world and all who dwell in it and yes, we all have a story. There is my perception and my interpretation and of course, there is your perception and your interpretation. There is the way I see things and the way you see them and often, the two will not match. By the way, this is fine because all this does is illustrate that we are all unique.
There is another degree of separation. There is the way we believe in ourselves. There is the way we think others see us and then there is who we are—and sometimes, never the three are alike; in which case, we might find ourselves out of sorts or in turmoil. This is the awkwardness or unevenness that leads us to believe we are clunky, like a broken wheel that spins in an unbalanced way—it’s as if we start to move and then lose rhythm or miss a beat. We find ourselves frustrated—wondering what the hell?
Is this it? Is this life?
Or wait. Is this is as good as it will ever be?
Why does life look like it’s easy for other people?
How come I can be stronger and yet, someone else has the endurance to continue?
Is it me?
Is something wrong?
In short, my answer is no.
There is a separation between us all; there is a thin, invisible layer or membrane or maybe it’s the flesh of the air and there’s really nothing between us but an irrational fear. Another degree of the separation is the terminal sense of loneliness—the unlikeness, the unmatchable contents of our emotional categories; and yet, there is so much that we share—and I mean this. There is so much that we truly share, such as fear, such as the wish for comfort, such as the need to be wanted, welcomed, desired and included.
In my youth, there was me and then there was the rest of the world. I heard words like, “I love you” before but somehow, there was something vacant about this. There was this unexplained emptiness in me. There was something missing or absent. I knew what the word love meant but for me, there was a form of sensory deprivation. I couldn’t feel things quite the same as others would describe them. I’d see people laugh and then I’d laugh as well—but yet, I’m not sure how funny anything was. I’d laugh too but laughter fades and so do the crowds and so will the joys of a moment.
I went inwards and struggled to step outward—too afraid to smile—too insecure to dance—too afraid to love because what if I loved and thus, what if my love was never returned?
For as long as I could remember, my biggest fear is “What if I didn’t understand?”
What if I missed the punchline?
Should I just laugh along and act as if?
Should I just say, “I don’t get it,” and possibly intrude or reduce the joy of someone else?
Or worse than this, what if someone told a joke and meanwhile, everyone laughed at the punchline, which was me, and what do I do then? What do I do if I find out that I’m the joke?
Do you understand what I mean by separation?
Do you understand what it means to reach for something with all of your strength, with all your heart, and with all you have, and yet, no matter how hard you try—it’s like, you can feel it on your fingertips but you just can’t touch the sunlight.
I have to tell you that some of the most amazing and beautiful people I’ve met in my lifetime are people who feel this way—they are too broken to believe and too shattered to see they’re incredible. I’ve seen these people, up close and personal. They are the most beautiful and yet, they miss their view because somehow, there is this thing in us that alters our perception. And me, I call this the deception of our perception. I call this me. I call this our personal blindness and part of our self-destructive response disorder that blurs the pictures of our beauty and teases us with ugly lies.
There is something that people contend with. There is something so apparent and yet, this goes unspoken, like a vulnerable whisper that no one wants to claim. There is a Latin term for this: exanimationes incidamus, which is otherwise known as Depression.
This is the thin layer between people and the unwanted whispers of unrelenting scrutiny—this is the overthinking, the unstoppable internal voice of doubt and worries of the next day or the impending doom. This is why people quit because the voice builds momentum until it grows so big, so out of control, our vision becomes unclear and our intentions lose way to an irrational way of thinking.
You’re so close. And yet, you’re nowhere near what you want or where you want to be—and even still, even if you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, the reward is muted and somehow dull.
Ever think this way?
I always wanted to be the perfect person. I wanted to be the perfect son. I wanted to be the perfect father and the perfect person in every which way possible. I wanted to love and feel love. I wanted to laugh and play and not worry about when the laughter will end. I wanted to be me and not worry that somewhere, someone is laughing at me because the shame in this (for me) was so unthinkable—the betrayal was unbearable, and to find out that I was thing or to come to the awareness that I was nothing more than something like a toy or someone to be used or played with—I believed this way. I was tarnished and sad and yet, I had no idea why.
I am sending this to you because these are things that no one ever told me. No one ever dared to express themselves this way to me. No one was ever willing to look at me and say, “Hey, I think I know what you mean,” or “Wow, I’ve felt that way too.
I wanted to tell you about the different degrees of separation because although my experiences are unique to me, still, there is a commonality upon us. There is a hole in which we have found ourselves, more than once. There is this sense of feeling lost while on familiar grounds and there is this need to shake the layers that cover us — so we can be free.
My wish for you is to find your steps. I want you to experience the birth of music and feel the rhythm to be encouraging enough to let you dance. My hope for you is that your reach extends farther than you’ve expected and that in fact, you do get to touch the sunshine. I want to erase the shadows. Know your beauty. Know your worth. See your value and by all means, never allow yourself to trade for something that is not worth your time—and if a moment ever comes when you feel alone, just know that you are not.
It took me decades to learn what love feels like. And now that I have it; I don’t want to let it go. I want to share this with you—even if it hurts—even if it’s like the spray on a skinned knee, which burns; I get it. It’s not easy to hear this. It’s not easy to say this and it’s not easy to be honest or open or stuck in the painful isolation of being alone in the crowd.
God, you inspire me.
I bet you didn’t know that. Did you?
And yet, even if you did know . . .
Do you believe it?
Don’t worry. I don’t think I would’ve believed this either.
But that doesn’t mean this isn’t true.
Just remember, no matter how pretty someone is on the outside, if they are ugly on the inside—they can only be average at best. And you?
You are far from average,
you’re more like extraordinary.
At least that’s how I see you . . .