It’s been a while since I’ve written, and while I think that is likely a positive thing for any of you that regularly read my ramblings – because as you know most of the time what I write possesses little to no actual value – I’ve decided to give it a go anyhow. My selfishness truly knows no limits, and you’re all the hapless victims.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about all sorts of things that are way too heavy for an intellectual lightweight like myself to spend so much time considering, yet I’ve been unable to shut the valve and go back to thinking about beer, tacos and sports.
Rather, I’ve had day after day thinking about life, love, trust, faith, commitment, etc. It’s unsettling and it’s awkward because none of those things are comforting to me right now, despite the fact that each of them would be considered “good” things independently. When all of them are being bantered about in my brain simultaneously it gets a bit frightening in there.
Honestly, I am not sure what I am pursuing on any of those areas, because each pursuit seems at once daunting and yet irrelevant. I sway between my need for the approval and goodwill of others and my inherently self-interested human tendencies. I, on any given day, care about nothing but others or nothing about others, there is no in-between and I don’t think I care to find one. There are people in my life I do nothing but take from; and there are people in my life I do nothing but give to. I make no effort to correct the balance, despite the occasional loathing I feel about the indignation others perpetrate on me, or the self-loathing I struggle with when I recognize my selfishness.
Do I deserve love? Do I deserve trust from others? Do I deserve the faith and support of those close to me? Do I have the capability to commit myself to a cause, or a relationship, fully? That is the question that has haunted me most of all recently, because I’ve come to realize that years of excuses, years of finding other people to conveniently blame for my shortcomings have done nothing but short-circuit my ability to truly develop into what I should be. At the risk of sounding incredibly arrogant, I know that I have been blessed with more natural talents than most people around me, and yet I’ve sat back and watched as others pass me by. I’ve sat on the side of the road, flashers on, waiting for a tow-truck that I don’t need. When roadside assistance arrives, I turn on my car and say “I’ll call you if I get stuck again.”
I was oddly – and profoundly – struck by a number of things that I saw and heard in this past week, and it’s left me reeling, wondering and struggling to find a place for myself. I’ve noticed that I’ve been sort of “melting” into whatever situation I am in lately, rather than standing above it and making sure that it’s where I truly am best suited for being. The hardest part of this understanding is that I’ve done nothing out of the ordinary, I’ve spent the time that I normally spend with the people who are important in my life, and yet I feel in the wrong place. Is the place wrong? Or am I wrong? Where the hell is the right place for me?
I’ve lost my ability to trust people that have done nothing to earn my distrust, and I’ve placed copious amounts of faith in people who’ve never shown one fragment of interest in protecting it. I’ve become turned upside down, inside out and yet – yet – I feel calm and at peace with it. Have I just given up or have I have come to accept the chaos that is life and realize – as Heath Ledger’s Joker lamented – I am just “a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one! I just…do things”?
I can’t figure out why it is, however, that I do…things.
I was thinking a bit about my childhood the other afternoon, and I realized that I couldn’t pinpoint a single, solitary moment that “defined” it. There was no moment that stood out; no dead bodies by a railroad track, no emotion scarring accident and no soul-stirring epiphany of light and love and laughter – just a gray canvas full of gray moments. Did I miss out? Is it the lack of those “doing things” that leads me to just “doing things?” I consider where I am now versus where I’ve been, and neither time nor place nor “happy” or “sad” ever felt better or worse.
It. Has. Always. Been. Gray.
The truth is, I want solace. I want quiet comfort and I want love and faith and commitment and understanding. I want pure, brilliant flashes of light; and occasionally – just to make sure I am alive – I’d settle for terrifying blackness.
“The scars remind us, that the past is real,” or “yeah we bleed just to know we’re alive” and all that hokey musical jibber-jab that means yes – the highs and the lows might be a better way to live than the grays. The grays don’t bleed into the conscience. The grays don’t force change. The grays don’t tempt fate.
I am by no means a melodramatic, unhappy person who feels overwhelmed by the dreariness of life and therefore is searching for an escape. On the contrary, I want nothing more than to dive more fully into life, and I am unable to settle my brain until I do. The question, the rub, the issue then becomes more and more simple to grasp: do I live my life for me, for others, or do I actually search out that middle ground that I’ve up to this point avoided at all costs?
There’s change coming, and I intend to be the deliverer of it rather than the reactor to it. What it means for me, my friends, family and more I don’t know, but the grays are not where life is lived, that’s where life is survived. If you’re in my life, and you’re living in the gray, I hope that you find whatever moves you back to color.
Get happy with yourself. No one else is going to make you happy until you do.