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The Courage to Be an Original

I teach Sociology (among other behavioral sciences courses), which is the study of human behavior within groups. It's my nature to analyze others (as well as myself) in interaction, always searching for the meaning beneath the surface. Seems there is so much "stuff" external that prevents people from really being freed to be themselves without exposing and risking and subjecting self to criticism. And so we "dance" this "dance" of life... all of us. We pose, we jockey for position, we keep our head high for this illusion of dignity and all-togetherness about ourselves. Internally, all could be chaos, yet we must never let others see weakness.

All that can be wearisome. And so in life... the many domains in which we exist--from the workplace, to the scope of recreational friendships, to our home life... somewhere in there, there must be a place of retreat, of peace--an oasis of sorts--to simply be "ourselves" sans judgment, with only acceptance and love and regeneration of the spirit and soul in order to strengthen us to battle the things we need to battle for survival the rest of the time.

Sometimes our home/retreat gets messed up, or doesn't fulfill the needs for security and comfort. Maybe we lack a hand to hold or a another's mind which can absorb the complexities of our emotions... the negativity we long to purge and just have someone say, "I understand--and you're OK." Sometimes, amid masses of people who "care"... there resides within, yet still... a loneliness not quite understood. Perhaps this is why people deepen their relationship with their God...for where does one turn when there is nobody who gets it? Perhaps this is why people turn to substance use.... to numb themselves, so they don't feel so damn alone and against the world.

How is it as human beings, just "being" who we are, is such a complicated mess? And the solutions... truly are... I believe... connecting with another or others and risking to be honest and pure in presentation, to receive love by another and give such love.... the kind that doesn't expect or judge, but simply accepts and embraces, regardless of imperfections.

I am capable of that. I am strong. I am willing to go to the end of a cliff and dare to dangle on one foot, knowing I might fall over... but it is in that risk where lay the grand potential of living life, daring to be me, being OK with the fact that I will fall... and maybe even realizing that there is no one to catch me, or, that I might not have wings to fly when I do fall. Still, if it ends that way, at least I stepped off the security of the ground to try to soar.

I am weary today. I am tired of being many things to many people... of reaching out as friend and exposing all that I am in the greatest of trust in another to only be criticized for that. Oh, I bounce back rather quickly, I always do. For the strength of character within me bears witness to things I've found true--things like, "good always wins." It does, you know. The fight is worth it, even in the darkest of times.

There is so much against each of us... pressures so profound. I have great compassion in knowing this truth. We hide the childlike response to these pressures... maybe screaming in the shower when nobody can hear, or suffering the spiraling of our minds as we try to rest our brains when we put our heads on our pillows at night. From financial stress, to time imbalances, to health issues to living with a mind which is not at all at peace... these afflict all of us. We are not alone.

I long for a place to be, where the courage to be an original is welcomed. I want my home to be a serene comfort-filled place with love and happiness. I want weekends to be a focus of rejuvenation and not getting caught up on the paperwork I didn't have time to finish during the week. I want to be brave enough to trust in others and really believe that their love for me is real and will be revealed. I want others to depend on me and know that I will not abandon them because they are imperfect. I want to believe. I want to know. I want to have.

And yet, these sincere desires.... remain only wishes... because it isn't easy to do any of that.

And so today... another work day, I will "dance" and perform my role and be a good soldier, just like yesterday, just like tomorrow.


Jilly said...

i'm making my kids at school read "secret life of bees" because i like it (muuhahahah the power i have) and the main character says a line i love. "sometimes i forget the rules" referring to social rules. she'd allowed her back housekeeper to go into a white church in 1964 and got into trouble.

life is hard if you run on a different set of rules as everyone else. a big part of special ed these days is teaching social rules because most of our kids just don't "get it" and have a lot of problems because of that.

i can often explain why we use math formulas and why DNA replicates the way it does, but it's nigh on impossible to explain why we don't touch other people and why we stand in line and wait our turn or don't interrupt or yell out in someone else's conversation.


Spidey said...

doreen, thank you for your kind words. i had a rough week at work, feeling a bit unappreciated myself, and your words softened the edges that have been poking at me.

Anonymous said...

I suspect everyone feels they are different from the herd and worry constantly about fitting in etc it's just some people are better at disguising it

doreenmary said...

Jilly, you are always great with zingers. Although I don't specifically remember which one liner I used of yours a few years ago, there is one in my published book, Arm Charm, originating from you. If I'm not mistaken, I think it has to do with getting work/some task done... a mom-type quote. Maybe you remember?


Roger D. Curry said...

Can't wait to see you use one of my lines - you'd be known as the illiterate and obscene Mickey Spillane of romances.


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