Honesty Check

They say you catch more bees with honey—or is it more flies?
Or does the point have nothing to do with flies or bees at all?
Be nice, they say. Be you, they tell us. But does anyone offer this?

I have come here to undress (so-to-speak) in the sense that what I am about to do is a so-called no-no in this world. What I am about to do is expose myself. Some might say this is too risky, too dangerous, and then some might ask, “What will people say?” but regardless of what anyone says, this is necessary.
It’s time to expose myself.
I do not mean this in a physical sense or by no means do I mean this intimately or least of all in a sexual way. No, this is not the case. What I am about to do is offer me in the most honest way I know how.

Today, I have decided to put the critics to the side. I have decided to suspend the professional ideas for another day. This is not for attention but more, my intention is to breathe freely.
This means there is no one here but us. First, let’s not pretend that the mental does not impact the physical and the physical does not impact our levels of professionalism. It’s all an act, by the way. It’s a game. You know? So, for the moment, let’s put down the merit badges and pause the virtue signaling. Let’s put down all the little trinkets and the trivial natures of our possessions or the haves or have-nots. For the moment, let’s just be us. You’ll be you and I’ll be me and that’ll be just fine.

I don’t know why we fight or we push or we shout or scream. I don’t know why we hold our future accountable for our past nor do I understand why we have to pay the debts for someone else’s cruelties. And do you know what?
I’m tired of this.
I’m tired of the meetings and emails about problems that could have been resolved with one simple phone call.
I’m tired of the current curriculum and the school of our so-called life.
I’m done with working for a gold star to be put up on the fridge so that someone can pat me on the head and say, “You’re a good boy.”
There’s no more report cards.
Those days are done, but yet, so many of us are still looking for the gold star; as if this means, finally, we are acceptable.

Do you really want to know what we are working for?
The truth is we are working for a feeling. We are working for at least a semblance of acceptance.
We are working endlessly and tirelessly to create this platform for ourselves, which isn’t even real—except for in our heads. We want this idea; this picture, this moment in the sun.

I am tired of the formalness of it all.
I am tired of the playacting and role play. I am tired of the pretending and the acting as if, which, if we are being honest—most people have their own hang-ups. Most people have their own insecurities. I mean, hell, most people struggle with the ideas of imposter syndrome. In fact, 70% of people live with imposter syndrome, which means 70% of people doubt who they are and doubt their own abilities. This means 70%  of people are living their life, just waiting for someone to pull the curtain on them—to expose them to the world, like, “Aha! Look at this. We knew you were faking it!”

We are so wrapped up in this.
We are wrapped up in our identities and so strong in our stance that we literally make things about “Us!” and meanwhile, there is a great big world out there, and almost all of it has nothing to do with us. We only think it does.

God, the ego bores me.
But I admit it. I get it.
I want to be acknowledged. I want to be validated.
I want the same thing for you too.
I want my equity to be yours. In fact, you can have mine . . .
(It doesn’t work for me anyway.)

Do you want to know what I work for?
The least I can do is tell you.

Back as a boy, I have this memory of me in a big empty field near the baseball fields on Merrick Avenue. I was young and first learning to catch and throw a baseball. I had my glove and my little hat. I had a ball to throw back and forth. The night before, of course, my Old Man oiled the glove and wrapped rubber bands around the glove with a baseball placed in the center of the mitt. The next day was the spring opener of baseball season. It was a mild day in my little town. The entire neighborhood took to the sidewalks to watch the little league parade. I was so young.

The time was different. The fashion was different. My generation was closing in on the end of the decade. The 70’s was at a close but the fashion and the feelings were still alive. My Father was still young. The world was young to me—and so was the sky. So was my town. So was my life. Everything was new.

I can remember my Father, who I call The Old Man. I can remember his slow-motion throw of the baseball. I can remember his lessons on how to catch, how to hold the ball in my hands, and of course, how to throw the ball and follow through with my pitch.

This is what I’m working for. This is what I want. I want this feeling in any shape or form that this comes in.
Isn’t this what we all work for?
A connection? A meaning?
Aren’t we working to make sense and find our purpose to find fulfillment?

What would happen? I wonder . . .

What would happen if we stripped each other of our titles?
What would happen if we put our shields away?
No more image for us to hide behind.
No more decorations.
No more wardrobes to cover our truths;
to leave us open
(or vulnerable).

Is anyone honest anymore?
Am I? Are you?
There is this world, just yearning to break open and yet, there are so many people looking to keep a lid on their truths because what would happen if somehow, the curtain was pulled?
And there we are, exposed.

Jim Carroll had it right.
“I just want to be pure.”

And we can be pure too.
If we choose to be.

I want that feeling, that connection, and that semblance of joy. That’s what I want.
That’s what I work for.

How about you?

Dear Pop,

I never knew what the world was going to look like when I would be a man. Then again, I’m not sure if the word man fits. Although, in fairness, I am this. I am a man. I am grown. And yet, I am still a boy hoping to oil a new glove . . .
to play catch again

Love always
Your son

B –

Jim carroll Poems

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