Do Go Changing To Try To Please Me
Life changes. That's just the way it is. I've attempted for years, and sometimes succeeded, to freeze life in a little bubble, like a time capsule filled with beautiful, happy, consistent (and most importantly, predictable) circumstances and scenery. If we could only do that - if we could only find a spot where we look around and say "THIS. This life is totally perfect", and then manage to keep it that way - wouldn't it be heaven?
But life changes. You might think you've built a little uncrackable egg around your perfect world, but it gets broken anyway. You find yourself feverishly doing dishes or some other nonsense and shouting in a bad imitation of David Byrne - "this is not by beautiful house! this is not my beautiful wife!"...and you're confused. What happened? You wonder why YOU feel the same as you did the day before, but those around you have changed - the mood has shifted and you now apparently speak a language that has died out in this strange, new world.
And eventually you get to the point where you're introspective, wise and willing enough to look at those same confused moments once more and see that it was, in fact, your own perspective changing - and you'd truly been a foreigner in a land you were seeing for the first time. You didn't even realize that you were growing or learning. You just absorbed and processed. You met new people that introduced you to their interests. You lost touch with others that no longer served a purpose. You ate new foods. You read a book. You started exercising. You sat on the couch crying so hard that you felt stupid after. Each of these was like installing a new app into your brain and adding information and resources with which to analyze the world around you. It's impossible to maintain a moment in time unless you, and everyone around you do nothing. And probably not then either. Eventually people are going to get cranky just standing there and someone will start making fun of the ass of the person to their right, who will then call them a name and then two others will have to jump in to keep one of them from pulling razor blades out of her hair. We're humans. It's what we do. We can be good to each other too, but put us together and something's gonna happen.
I haven't had one of those "foreigner in a strange land" moments in awhile. In fact, I think I'm far enough past the last one to begin understanding the language of my new surroundings. I suspect I'll have to start all over again at some point - who knows? I guess we don't know when the next major life breakthrough will happen and how disruptive it will be. Furthermore, I wonder, do we ever stop having breakthroughs? Do some of us finish our lessons early and just get to spend their remaining days as perfect humans? I wonder, because I don't know if such a thing exists. In the afterlife, many say we're perfect, but that seems awfully boring and counter-intelligent. How would we tell each other apart if we were all perfect? And what is the perfect appearance? The perfect foot size? The perfect ass roundness? I certainly hope all of my measurements and features match the universal perfect size, because if I get to the heavenly gates and find out they had to change my whole body, I'm going to be pissed. "But where is my toe callous?" I'll ask. "I love my little toe callous - his name is Sydney." And some perfectly-sized angel will reply, "Shut up red!", and I'll walk my newly flat-assed and outie-bellybuttoned, ginger ass back in line. (Yes, it is my personal prediction that outies, flat-asses and ginger folk will someday get their due. Amen.)
But, all that aside, let's get back to the point. I'm afraid of life changing, but it does anyway. And, I'm not strong enough to stop it. Or maybe I'm too strong and have a hard time relaxing my grip on the various moments of my life. Either way, I'm in it - this life thing. And for a long time, I've been trying to push it around and shape it into my own version of perfection. But, just as there is no perfect body type, there is no perfect life. And I struggle on with the next step of my journey - if there is no perfect life, what am I struggling for? Who is it that has all the things I lack? And what are THEY lacking? What will I fight for if there is no perfect? Are most things in life really just "wants", not "needs" and if so, why do we want so much? And after a lot of those questions get asked, the only one that's left is "Who am I?", not "Who should I be?" And that's the scariest question of all, because there is no answer. Are we who we are at some core of us, or are we who we are because of the experiences we've had? And how do you tell the difference?
Seeking perfection has made me into a man who is never satisfied and beats himself up so constantly that he doesn't even realize he's doing it anymore. And when you don't realize it's your own fist hitting you in the face, it's very easy (and somehow logical to the brain) to imagine that it's those around you who are doing the punching. "If 'they' could only be nicer to me, I'd be happy", we tell ourselves. "If this world wasn't so screwed up and full of assholes, it would be easier." "If only everyone could be like me", we opine. But it's always us.
I was raised to believe that you treat people like you want to be treated. So, I'm giving, take care of those I love and am very sensitive to learn the things that those around me like and dislike so that I can give them what they want and need. Most importantly, I want to ensure that everyone feels like they are important to me. Because all of those things are how I want to be treated - repeat "I". It's how I want to be treated. OK, so what about everyone else? Think about it for a minute - the "do unto others" philosophy is impossibly flawed It's insane to think that we can live in a world where everyone is treating everyone else in a way that demonstrates how they themselves would like to be treated, but that we're all going to get what we need. Because when we're too busy projecting our own needs, we can't truly see the desires others are signaling. And so, it all ends in frustration and disappointment, because no one is getting what they want.
The answer you hear most often? Love yourself. Be you. Just be. Namaste. And, honestly, I think that might be the answer - it sounds selfish, but love isn't ever selfish - so if we're all loving ourselves honestly, then we should all be happy and getting what we want, right? But, being kind to yourself is a lot harder than those who already do it make it sounds. It requires that we break out of a lot of the "rules" we've been taught for generations - you can't love yourself when you stuff yourself into a box, nailed shut with guidelines of appearance, appropriateness and others' expectations. These traditions are designed to make us all the same so that everything runs smoothly. But, what they really do is push us into our interiors to find a cozy, comfortable place to exist, because we're so awkward in the real world - wearing what's in fashion, following the dreams we've been told are ours, and placing ourselves neatly into what's "normal" and what will make us fit in, hoping that belonging = love.
And, as a result, we rarely get to truly connect with the world. I'm in my head, he's in his, she's in hers. We offer up the appropriate bits and pieces to each other and pretend that we're satisfied. We give what we feel is safe and live in fear that the rest of us is ugly and should stay hidden. And in the process, we start to look at love, vulnerability, forgiveness, trust and sensitivity as "ugly", because for many of us, especially men, these are looked at as traditionally "weak" traits - and they open us up to being hurt. So, they too are kept inside. And the result is a lot of us live, defined by our jobs, our houses, our clothes, our cars, our relationships, our wealth, our handsomeness or beauty (or lack thereof) and not much else. We live as we're told we should while we're raging against the machine - inside ourselves.
I don't know what the answer is, or what I should do next, but I do know that change is happening. My life today is incomparable to the one I led just a year ago. My mind works in different ways and sees things differently and more clearly. Am I growing, or regressing? That is also hard to say. But I am changing and realizing that all of my fears, worries and anxieties will always be there, until I get to a place where they no longer exist. Right now, my greatest fear is that my fears will come true and I'll have done nothing for myself in the meantime. So, that's where the work is now. Answering the question - "if no one was telling me what they want me to be, and I had no boss at work telling me what to do, who am I?"
And the answer right now is "I don't know." Right now, the bits and pieces of myself, the passions, embarrassments, loves, guilts, character traits, fears, anxieties, joys, desires and all the rest are just circling my soul waiting for me to pick and choose those that belong and those that never did. The hardest part for me is giving up past beliefs in order to continue to move forward, because the release of those old feelings and ways of being makes me feel like what I was wasn't good enough for those around me - so I am changing, once again, just to fit in. And what if that's not such a bad thing? Maybe I wasn't good enough before and am just too prideful to admit it? Either way, if I'm going to keep going, change is inevitable. I just need to learn to like it, rather than resist it, but I wish it didn't make me feel so small.
OK, going to go take a shower and change.... Fuck, see what I'm saying?