I came to a break in the road but not after a long drawn-out routine of rehearsal and practiced speeches. Something happened. I suppose we can call this awareness. I suppose a time came when I woke up and it was time to move.
I came to the understanding that maybe there is an easier way to live or think or be and feel. Of course there was. I am also sure the saying holds true about simple ideas for complicated people; likewise, I am sure that I have complicated simple ideas with disbelief or doubt. Maybe this is where the challenge comes from – it’s all in the mind, which was truly my biggest obstacle.
This series of published journals will be number eight of its kind. The intention here is the same as the intention with all the others. My aim is to create a resource of improvement that is simple, relatable and understandable. The goal is to be happy. That’s it.
Plain and simple.
The way we interact with each other to guard ourselves or preemptively strike to protect ourselves is always interesting to me. I have always wondered where this stream of thinking comes from. I have no clue where the idea came to keep up with the Jones’s next door. I do not know where the constant comparison comes from or why; except of course to fill a void or absence, as if us being us on our own is not enough or, if somehow or for some reason; us being us is simply lacking. To improve, we pretend or act as if.
I am a fan of my belief system which explains that no matter how pretty someone is on the outside, if they are ugly on the inside then they can only be average at best. And that’s just it. I don’t want to be average. I don’t think anyone wants to be average or unremarkable. Then again, to each is their own and for some, to be unnoticed or to slip away and be invisible is more comfortable. But still, I believe in the need to feel beautiful. I believe in the need to feel wanted and included. Either way, the aim here is to translate what we see in life to an understandable logic so that we can understand and move freely and navigate towards a happier life.
I never realized that I was holding myself back. I was always wishing and always searching. I wanted to feel, think and be. I wanted to belong; but more, I wanted to feel like I belonged as if I fit without forcing myself or changing anything about my personality. I didn’t want to be the square peg that shaved its sides to fit through the round holes anymore.
I was born as I am in this body. My eyes are my eyes and the color of my hair is the color of my hair. One of my ears is physically different from the other and one of my eyes is shaped differently as well.
I was painfully thin for most of my life. Places like the gym or the beach or anywhere that people exposed their bodies was uncomfortable to me. Later, my body switched directions. Age pulled a joke on me and my metabolism changed. I think to myself, ah life. What a sense of humor, right. I expose this to qualify my understanding of insecurity and to offer the ease of humor but still, this is all very real to me.
Aside from appearance, I have educational insecurities, financial insecurities, personal biases and subconscious programs that can (if I allow) limit my thinking as well as my relationships. This has taught me that the people I choose to involve myself with can either categorically help or hinder my best possible performance.
And here’s how:
I remember the nights out in the City. I remember the outfits that I changed ten times before leaving home only to put on the original outfit that I chose in the first place. I remember the walk and the lean and the posture that I’d rehearse to pretend as if I were cool. There was a look to everything. It’s not what you drank, it’s how you drank it as if everything was an audition for a part in the big show.
I went out with the same group all the time. Then again, since I am sober, I was always the designated driver, which kept me invited. Yet, I didn’t always feel included. There was a disconnect between me and my crowd. And see? There’s that word again. “The crowd.”
Why is there so much focus on the crowd?
Why do we spend so much time trying to fit?
Or better yet, why did I?
I can say this applies to the work crowds and the social crowds. I can say that I have seen more people looking to be with someone for any reason than to be alone for the right reasons. I can say the dangers of poor socialization skills can become lifelong and debilitating. I say this with experience because this was me, always trying, always changing and always adapting. Put simply, I was always uncomfortable worrying that something about me is simply not enough.
One day, I decided to limit my friendships. I made the decision to push my chair back, stand up, push my chair back in and then walk away. I walked away from all the places where I did not fit. I walked away from the need to impress people. I walked away from my old routines and yes, I walked away from all the people, places and things that did not support or empower me. Yes, at first I wondered if anyone noticed (or cared). I wondered if the phone was going to ring. But it didn’t. I wondered if me taking a stand made a difference to anyone else. Then it hit me. The reason I chose to take a stand had nothing to do with anyone else. For so long my life was lived in regards to other people.
I have to admit it, this was difficult.
Time passed and I found a new routine. I eventually stopped looking over my shoulder to see if anyone noticed that I left. Later, something interesting happened. I was walking down a street in Midtown and passed a group of people who I used to call my friends. I spent nights out with them, crazy as ever, and with all of our history, we walked past each other like complete and total strangers.
This only proved one thing: They were still them and I am still me.
The break in the road was needed.
I say this is me. I am only so tall. My face is my face and my body is my body.
The day I learned to be comfortable with this is the day I found freedom.
Now, as for my friends, my definition of the word has changed significantly. My friends challenge me to improve. They support me to be better. There is no one-upping anymore. Sarcasm is not the first order of business. There is no reason to pick on each other and there’s no useless competition. The only thing my friends do for me is empower me to continue, to grow and to be the best me possible. Anyone that does anything else is truly not a friend.
I remember the day I chose to push my chair back, stand up and walk away. There was no speech like the one I had practiced a thousand times. There was no big dramatization.
Nope. There was only a decision to stand up and go.
The greatest part about it is this was only the beginning.