Prose From the Soul: Note to Self (and to you)

They say you can’t walk around worrying about
what other people think
or how other people see you.
They say this and, of course, we still do it
Right?
I mean, let’s be honest, people-pleasing is a real thing.
Isn’t it?

I mean, if people-pleasing weren’t so
or if people-pleasing was off the menu
and we were able to focus on other things
like say, first off
ourselves –
Wouldn’t life be a happier place?

They’ll tell you that you can’t please all the people all the time.
They’ll also say that you can’t fool all the people
at least, not all of the time.
Isn’t that how the saying goes?

You can fool a part of the people all the time
and some of them, some of the time,
but you can’t fool all the people all of the time –

I wonder though –
Does this apply to ourselves?
I think so.
I think people specialize in self-deception
more than any other kind of deception
which perhaps is why we spend so much time
talking to ourselves.

You can’t fool all the people all the time
yet we’ve all been fooled
We’ve all swiped, scammed
or stolen in ways that we never figured.

We’ve all been snowed or misled,
baited and done-wrong or duped,
and certainly deluded and deceived. 

Worst of all, we’ve done this to ourselves
far more often
than anyone else has ever done to us.

By the way,
there are times when we believe in the scam,
even if we know the truth is different,
we still believe
because there’s a piece of us
which has to
because otherwise; then what?

i offer the suggestion that we have fallen
hook, line and sinker.
We’ve taken the bait.
We’ve swallowed the so-called “magic pill”
which was supposed to save us.

And I mean, think about this for a second
Don’t believe me?
Think about our need to have or own or to feel.
Think about the robo-signing mortgages
which took place a few years back –
this appealed to the facades and fantasy
to “look the part”
to keep up with the Jones’s
Deep down, people knew what they could afford
and what they couldn’t
But the fantasy was so real
and the ego is so hungry
people bought into this
hook, line and sinker.

Guess what, this takes place everywhere
this is more than the mortgage crisis.
That was just business
But this is personal.

They say you can’t save your face
and your ass at the same time.
You can only save one and, dig it,
just know that either way,
it’ll cost ya.

Either way, you’re either paying for a permanent fix
or for a temporary solution.
But dig it – salvation doesn’t work that way.
Redemption doesn’t work in half-measures
and know this – being anyone but your authentic self
is a crime that we commit against ourselves.

Self-deception is a theft of personal services;
in which case, we become volunteers
not victims.

I don’t care about the con artist
or those who look to pull a fast one
and who look to get over
This is their job.
This is what they do
which is why
I never flinch when an enemy
or an adversary growls –
I’ll certainly pay attention when they smile
because this means –
I have something coming in the mail,
as in for sure

But this is “them”
not me.
This is what “they” do.
It’s not my job to mind their business
no, in my position
I have to mind my own business.

Know this –
being someone else never works on a long-term basis
Being someone else
to seek the admiration of someone else
or to gain their approval
will only work for a short while

Eventually, the light exposes our shadows,
which means eventually,
the truth comes to light and then . . . .
. . . then the games we play
seem to stand out in our mind; and literally
every time we thought “What am I doing?”
and each red flag, every warning sign that said
this “might” not be a good idea;
well, all of this comes to mind
and you think to yourself:
if only I quit when I was ahead.

I have seen generations of people
who padded their lives
with the bullshit insulation of a false-self.
I have met with countless people who were
just existing and living on the dangle,
hoping that somehow,
something is going to change
and then lo and behold- finally “It’s my turn.”

But is it?

I have seen people live their entire life
trapped in the regard of other people –
just hoping to be included
and wishing for acceptance.

I have seen this to the point where square pegs
try to shave their sides
to round their corners, just to fit in the round holes
and yes,
I know this is an old saying and yes,
I know that I am being facetious when I say
I have seen people closet their entire lives
and not just sexually or to hide their sexuality or gender.

But more, I have seen people lose to themselves
because they were not aware of their own wonder
or their own beauty and, tragically,
I have witnessed people fade to a lie
or fade to black, or fall into the abyss.

I have witnessed people who try to hide their stripes
or cover their uniqueness.
I have seen people try to decorate themselves,
to be seen differently from how they see themselves
and I have met with people
who have been so many different versions of themselves
that aside from this being exhausting –
it comes to the point
where you don’t even know who you are anymore.

(Know what I mean?)

I have met with the status hungry
and with those who point fingers,
who judge, who condemn;
yet,
they are the same people
who would never pass their own test. 

I sit here, before you,
admittedly and convincingly accused
and guilty of all the above. 

Sure, I am
and I’ll raise my hand and say this proudly
because it has taken me decades to admit
this is me.

I have been stolen from myself in more ways than one
and of all the thefts I have experienced,
the worst theft is the theft of self.

The worst is when we give this away,
when we trade on ourselves
just because,
just to be liked
just to believe, just to “feel” okay
or as if we are wanted or valued,
or better yet
accepted and worthy. 

I have dressed myself in countless uniforms,
always looking to see which uniform is the right fit.
I have been exposed and felt naked
or uncovered and exposed.
I’ve gone through this
more times than I can imagine.
Yet, no suit or uniform
can ever cover the truth of me or who I am –
in fact, anything else is only a contradiction of who I am
which eventually (and inevitably) this all comes to light.

I have seen people worry themselves into the ground.
I have seen them pretend or put on their brave face
or try to show themselves in a different light,
just so no one else will see the shadows
or the remnants of their truth.

In the same light,
I have met with those who claim they don’t care.
I’ve heard from those who rebel
and who refuse to conform and yet,
if you look enough, you’ll see they do this too.
Know why?
We all have moments where we try to hide our truths.
We all know fear and we all know what it feels like to be
unprotected.

There was a man I knew who
had a large bump in the side of his neck.
This had been there for a long time –
although, in fairness,
I never asked how long it had been there for.
But to me, the lump was there as long as I knew him 

He had this removed
which was interesting when I saw him because
the lump was gone
and his smile was more comfortable.

I never really paid attention to his neck
but the interesting part about this
is when he told me,
“I thought when people looked at me
this was the only thing people saw.”
I can relate.

I can relate because
I know how it feels to be awkward or uncomfortable
or to have hidden scars
which seem all too obvious
and yet, as I’m talking,
I can relate to the features and the ideas
which come to mind, which go like,
“Oh yeah. They can tell.”
They can see right through me!

Know what this is called?
It’s called exhausting.
it’s also called common

They tell me that you can’t worry about what people think.
When I started writing,
they told me that you can’t worry about the reader
or if the readers will come.
They tell me
you can’t write for the critics or worry about them.

They told me
write what you know about.
Stop trying to write like anyone else.
Stop trying to be like anyone else. 

I took this suggestion to heart and yet –
I admit to the truth,
which is I notice when people visit me
or read
or disregard me and choose to read nothing
and go someplace else. 

There have been people who poke at me
or make fun of my dreams.
For example, I’ve had people ask me
laughing at the same time –
Are your trying to be the next Shakespeare;
to which I say, no.
I’m trying to be the first Ben Kimmel. 

And dammit man,
sometimes that’s hard enough to do
it’s hard enough without all the extra nonsense –
who likes me – who approves –
who doesn’t – or who’s looking to trip me up,
reveal me, or who’s looking to expose me to the light
so that everyone sees my faults and the cracks in my facade. 

You do know that true beauty is never flawless,
right?
Beauty has faults and flaws,
cracks and imperfections.
But that’s the thing about beauty –
this is the good trick
it’s that even with all of this,
somehow,
your beauty catches the eye
of the only people who matter

You can put down the bag now, kid.
You don’t have to sell anything
You got the job.
Just be yourself

Be who you are,
exactly as you are because if you ask me
You’re the most beautiful thing that I’ve ever seen

trust me –

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