The following is a thought that I cannot say is all mine; but more, this is a connection to something in my life. This is about a time and a place. At the same time, this is about a movie and my relation to a character.
I know that my sentiments and my version of the past is not similar to most people.
I know that my life only belongs to me and that the way I see things is only the way I see things.
I also know that there are versions of my life that are not supportive to the person I am now.
I get that.
This is a fact. While some of my facts do not support my best light, this is why I am able to shine as brightly as I do – it’s because of this and because of who I am or where I’ve come from that proves my right to survive.
It is in combination with this and with all of what I’ve seen that I can put this here, for you, to read someday with hopes that this brings you warmth on a cold day.
I know what it’s like to go through life either lost or afraid. God forbid anyone sees or knows or finds a weak spot, but this is life. Also, this is us, perfect in our own way. I’m not too sure that anyone ever told us this; that it’s okay to be us or that it’s okay to feel or to be vulnerable. Maybe it’s the scars we have. Maybe it’s the past that we come from, which I can say this again – telling someone not to live in the past is often easier said than done.
But I don’t mind my past, at least not anymore.
I say this adds to our flavoring. I say this is what has seasoned our lives and because of this, you and I are rich with flavor.
We’re seasoned, alright. . .
All of us. However . . .
for as long as I can remember, I have always been a dreamer. I just never dared and that was my biggest problem.
I have been around different people. I have hung around in different crowds and with any person from either crowd, I have memories that are both good and bad. Some are crazy. Some of my memories are incredible and some, well, some are not meant for print or to be read in my journals. But that’s not what this is all about.
This is about something more than our past.
This is about all of the details that built us up to who we are and why we’re here.
I say there’s a reason for this.
There’s a reason why I check the doorway when I come in the room.
There’s a reason why I flinch at times.
There’s a reason why I let myself go when the sun goes down.
The sunset –
The colors of the world
The victory that no matter what happened, you and I, we made it through.
I have recollections like anyone else does which are true to me.
This means that I write my accounts as honestly as I can recall them. However, I also say this because I fully understand that our relationship with the past is not the same as it is with anyone else.
Perception is everything and so is interpretation.
And oh, memory?
Well, memory is often changed by both perception and interpretation.
The reason for this is because we have different emotional attachments to these things. For example, I watched a friend nearly fall from a ledge on the side of a mountain. I saw what happened. My version of the event was certainly less dramatic than my friends – and, of course, my version was different. I did not have the same emotional content as my friend. I was not as high up on the ledge yet even the words to this story can account for a misleading sound of events. Yes, this was on a mountain and yes, this was on a ledge. But the ledge was not thousands of feet in the air. This was not an easy fall either but the danger factor was not as tragic as it could have been. Either way, this is an example of how memories can lie or differ between two people.
Hence, I say that memories are often distorted and changed because of our emotional content.
Nevertheless, what I am about to share is part of an old journal entry.
I used to want to be “that guy.”
I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be known as well as protected and safe.
I wanted to be tough.
So, I dressed tough. I acted tough.
But deep down; regardless of the charades and my battle scars and regardless of the experiences behind cages and gates and whether I was seen as an outlaw or a rockstar; none of this was me.
I believe that my closest friends always knew this.
Better yet, I believe you always knew this about me.
And that was fine.
I found something that I had written the other day. Again, I wanted to share this here with you.
This is my relation to a movie that was a part of my youth. The Outsiders . . .
That was me. I was an outsider and yet, this has always been me:
I’ve never been to the old Church on top of Jay Mountain.
At least not literally. I’ve been there in my mind though.
I’ve been there as a character in fiction which is fine for now.
If you don’t know about this place – then I guess you can’t know.
If you don’t know then you can’t know what it means to “Stay gold.”
You wouldn’t know what it’s like have the need to escape the unfortunate norms.
But this was me.
I needed to get away from the arguments.
I wanted to get away from the fights that were either worthless or worthwhile.
I had to because I had to find a sense of peace –
(If there is such a thing).
Like the way we dig sunsets
Either way, sunsets from the Southside or the North, that’s gold!
Hence the point of the movie – to stay gold.
The colors of the sky and the heavens – This is a version of gold.
This is why the movie used the poem by Robert Frost which goes:
“Nature’s first green is gold; her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down today
Nothing gold can stay.”
I have this kid in me.
He’s a previous “Greaser” so to speak.
More accurately and more than anything else, I have always been a dreamer.
I was never anything else.
Never have been. Never will be.
I just never dared to tell anyone else before.
By the way, ever play chicken?
Ever take a dare that you couldn’t get out of?
Ever endure pain in front of other people; but you wouldn’t flinch.
You wouldn’t show the pain. You wouldn’t wince, cry or weep.
Instead, you just endured.
You ate it like candy.
I did this.
I hurt but I wouldn’t flinch.
I felt the pain but I wouldn’t show it.
I’d collapse and meltdown.
I’d suffer the consequences but never take my hand from the flame.
That was me too.
I’d never show this nor would I ever tell anyone about my desire or my love for Beethoven or Mozart.
Or Vivaldi, too, because all three make for incredible background music.
It’s easy to be tough with a blade or a stiletto
It’s easy to be hard with a shield and a weapon
It’s hard though when you’re just yourself – especially when you’re not being yourself
– and all you want is a seat by the water when the sun goes down
– some good company, some good music
– and just like that, all the nonsense can pass by like an overhead cloud
– and all would be forgiven
I lived and went through the days in the park with the boys – I saw the world the way I did.
I found myself locked in the uniforms of my crazy rebellions.
In fact, I saw the early leaf and watched it crumble.
I saw fate take its turn, only to see life be reborn and be born again when the new seasons came around.
I believe this is why they call it “Springtime.”
Our resurrection, at least in some respects.
Life is cyclical, my friend.
I can see that now.
There are seasons of life in which we are born, we grow and, eventually, we return to dust.
And that’s life.
That’s the cycle.
We will ride high on the waves
wherever they take us
but when they crash, we’ll have to remember the high times
(to keep us from feeling low).
Like it or not, this is true.
I watched the gold.
I saw how this relates to Frost’s poem and how nothing gold can stay.
I have seen it as Eden sank to grief.
I saw the golden hue in the horizon and with all my heart, I testify here in front of the world that you, me, and us – we’re all we’ve got now.
We are all we have left.
Nothing in the world is more valuable than this –
Our togetherness is more than gold.
This is more than the promises of Eden.
I saw how dawn went down today so whether anything gold can stay, I’m not too sure.
Maybe only a few people know the answer to this.
(Or, maybe I can just change my name to Dallas Winston – good ol’ Dally, and then we can see how it feels to watch a sunset for the first time)
I never stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house.
This only happened in fiction.
Moreover, this is one of the reasons why I’ve always wanted to become a writer.
(Maybe someday. We’ll see)
I don’t know much about a lot of things.
But I do know the rules:
No jazz before the rumble.
If we ever make it to the old Church on top of Jay Mountain, there’s a pump in the back so we don’t have to worry about water.
Maybe we can chase a few rabbits.
Or better yet, maybe we can take in the sunset and see the kind of things that beauty is made of.
Maybe I can show you a different side of myself and thus, you’ll never see the scars again – only my truth.
We can hang up the rumbles in our head and do nothing, at least for a while.
I can open this like a package and share all the details, which I’ve been scribbling about for the last few decades
This is to you, my friend and loved one.
This is to you, from me, right here in a room which I have designed just for us.
We’ve stood together for years now.
We have been through fights and wars, black eyes and bloody knuckles.
We have lost.
We have sunk to grief on more than one occasion. We have.
Yet, we are still here for each other.
Always have been. Always will be.
So just remember something: You are never alone.
There’s no one else in the world like us
And just to be really clear about it . . .
I am thankful for this.