I wrote this, this morning, thinking of how much better I could be.
You may not realize this if you are a fresh fan of the blog, but I am often comparing myself to the better parts of me from the past. Ask anyone in the world, and they’ll tell you that is a trap. It’s a fiction we write for ourselves because it sounds easier to be as great as we used to be than be better than we could have ever hoped.
As I sat down to write this, I had a lot going through my mind and I was actively trying to prevent myself from writing it as I did so. It took a bit to break through that wall to get to the meat of what I really wanted to say.
I haven’t said it enough lately…
I love you, and I hope you’re well.
I’ve come to the realization that I am a difficult person to be around. I don’t mean to say that I’m always hard to love, or that every moment with me is taxing but I can clearly see when I’ve gone too far. Whether it’s self-referential comments about my books or misunderstanding a comment from my girlfriend and getting frustrated. I’m great at being desensitized to my own acts.
The thing is, I’ve known this for a long time and it’s rested within me for as long as I can remember. I’ve been really frustrated with this quirk of mine for as long as I can remember. I notice how easily I can turn a conversation to something about me, or how quickly I can redirect the focus of an event onto myself. I do it without thinking and I’ve done it for a long time.
I think part of it comes from the fact that I am an only child and I’ve never had to share the spotlight. Every great thing I did while I lived at home was praised by my parents, every bad thing was noticed quickly, and I couldn’t pass the blame off on to someone else.
Now, as an adult I’ve really begun to notice the effects of that personality trait. Especially with my girlfriend.
When it comes to the people closest to me, I’ve fallen into the habit of highlighting my own thoughts and opinions instead of regarding others around me.
Coupled with this, I’ve noticed that I don’t think about others enough on a larger scale. I’m no longer concerned with the homeless men and women who were once a focus of so much time and effort for me and my business. I went out of my way to help them however I could and over the past couple years I’ve grown cynical. Afraid that they would just rip me off or take advantage of that kindness.
I’m grown pretty cynical about a lot of things.
That selfishness and that new cynical wave have coupled together like shackles on my heart, too.
I realized a while ago that, though I love the people in my life a great deal…
I don’t show it like I should, or for that matter, like I used to.
Of course, I still do things they ask of me, I care for them with words here and there. I spend time with them, but that is hardly enough for me.
We all show our love in different ways, and I’ve always shown it through words and actions. I’ve always tried to be present for my loved ones, even when they’ve made no comments that they needed someone there. I worked hard to be open and ferocious with the love I held for them. I would offer gifts and time in boundless quantities because I knew then that I had no use for the time or gifts if those people weren’t in my life.
The loud click of those cuffs of cynicism have echoed through time itself, though.
I’ve come to behave as if my time and life are more valuable than that of another. It’s a struggle to fit others into the things I’m doing. It became difficult to allow myself to step away from my own tasks, be it working or gaming or relaxing. It was a difficulty to go to them and be with them.
I don’t know exactly where this came from, but I have an inkling.
At the risk of sounding like I am copping out on my own responsibilities as a friend and boyfriend, I think in large part, I’ve gotten too attached to the security of the things I know. I’ve allowed a fear to manifest inside of me that has no right or reason to exist at all.
What I mean by that, is that I have had the often-shocking thought that there is no reason for people to love me. Somewhere, some part of my mind believes that I am unworthy of love. Because I am always so busy, I often bail on plans or find myself running late. My business often not a necessity, yet I choose to prioritize the work I do over the friends and family who wish to see me. To an extent, this practice is fine. Obviously, we need to take care of the things we need to take care of before we can go about and enjoy life and have fun. These grand movements of love we show to one another in the time we spend and the things we do with our people should be a priority, but there are things that come first.
Work, bills, whatever the case may be.
There is a fine line that I walk in my chosen path. Writing demands a great amount of time, and that great amount of time is often interrupted by the number of people in my life who want to see me and be with me, which frustrates me, not because I don’t want to see them or because I want to get the work done, but because I don’t consider the possibilities of others love quite as much as I should.
I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family, a girlfriend who goes out of her way to support my dreams and care for me when I overwork myself. My family looks out for my best interest and my friends are a support network unlike any I’ve ever seen before.
Yet I still don’t feel deserving of their love, because I don’t think I’ve earned it.
So in retaliation for their desires, I shrunk back into my shell and hid from them, growing frustrated and irritable when I was asked to game, to go to the movies, to lay in bed, whatever with whoever reached a blackness that I couldn’t describe aptly.
The thing is, everything I’ve said above, and all of the thoughts associated with it are complete nonsense. Even so much as the path I needed to take to describe it to you.
Because all of those thoughts are walls I’ve put up to bar myself from my true feelings and my true realization regarding my relationship with my girlfriend, my friends and my parents.
Truth be told, and I’ve never wanted to hide from the truth of my heart, is that I’m just as selfish as everyone else.
I’ve always wanted to be the main focus, when I was a kid and into adulthood I wanted everything to be about me. I was the primary focus of my parent’s attention. I was the “leader” of our group of friends in high school. I wanted to be the one out of our group who first did something remarkable with their life. I was a writer and a poet and a musician, I was a lost boy who wanted all of the riches for himself, the accountability of helping those in need and the praises that came along with it long after the fact. I masqueraded that selfishness so well that even I didn’t see it.
To be transparent, not everything I’ve done was for a selfish reason. There was a period of time where I could control those desires and I put a stop to them. I didn’t let myself be number one, and I was the happiest I had ever been.
But here we are, years later, and I wake up in the morning unable to recall what it was that let me slip, but I’ve fallen back down the mountain of my own frustrations and I’m looking up at the top where I can see myself as a ghost.
Smiling down with his arm outstretched, waiting for me to begin the climb.
But I haven’t been.
I’ve been telling the world I’m preparing. I’ve been making small motions that don’t change my heart. I’ve been sitting at the base of the mountain in a prison of self-pity because I am not the man I once was.
And I realize that all of my frustrations, all of the things venting my anger and breaking me down day after day come back to one thing.
After all of the things I’ve seen and experienced in my life, I thought foolishly that I would have my feelings and emotions completely under control forever. Of course, the moment you begin to think that is the moment you slip, and I slipped.
I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so mad about doing things outside of my apartment, and I didn’t really put it together until I realized that I, in all of my childish wisdom, am simply allowing my selfish thoughts to control the way I live.
What about that says redemption?
What about that says love?
To be honest, I haven’t been loving enough. I don’t think I ever really have loved enough. Even when I had my own mind in the palm of my hand. But I’ll tell you one thing with extreme certainty.
The mountain of my own creation can be conquored, and yours can be too.
All you need to do is get out of those handcuffs.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to spend here, once more. This was a difficult blog post to write, and I don’t know if I really got the point across, but with these How To posts I’ve been writing I haven’t been thinking of them before hand, I’ve just written them off of the top of my head and let the words fall where they may. Perhaps it is a bit nonsensical, but it’s one of the most honest things I’ve written.
Basically, when I wanted to say was that I hope that each of us can see past our own failures and move around them however we need to. I hope each of us can be more loving in the future, two hours or two days for now.
There isn’t enough love in this world, and it’s easy to lose sight of the joy and grace that true love brings. I’m extremely thankful that I have the people that I have who are willing to struggle through this with me. Who are willing to show me grace when I fall into these pits. It happens more often than I’d like to let on.
Regardless of that, I hope you, dear reader, never give up either.
This world is a gift. Everything we have and everything we see is a blessing more abundant than we could understand, and I hope we both can recognize that as often as possible.
If you missed it, Strange Fruit is live now. All three parts of the crazy garden story are up + I hope that you love them.
There are only a few more days left until Christmas! are you as excited as I am?
I get to spend the day with my family and my girlfriend + some friends and I just couldn’t be any more blessed.
I’ll have more for you tomorrow. Mean for the Holidays isn’t over yet. ❤
I just wanted to let you know that if you want to find anything I’ve released for Mean for the Holidays you can check it all out at the Salt + Iron site:
If you want to keep up with me and the many hats I wear, follow me on social media.
I hope your Monday isn’t awful, and I hope that you’re honest with yourself today.
Categories: Umbral Dawning