“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
“Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.”
― Henry David Thoreau
2013. The New Year is always a time of reflection for many. A lot of times people think of all of the things they’d like to change about themselves. I won’t bore you with a laundry list. You probably already thought of a few as you read. One thing that’s been burning on my heart and truly becoming a gritty conviction is the act of truly being myself. It’s funny how without accountability, the monologue of your mind can lie to you over and over recklessly. I have a confession to tell you, my friend. I have been lying to myself for as long as I can remember. In fact, I lie to myself on an almost daily basis. I have a running tape of ongoing thoughts, a slow and steady barrage. If you can imagine a bubbling stream of subtle thoughts, moving quickly, strategically, and pointed. They are thoughts that are injected into every situation. I overhear a conversation, and immediately my thoughts start in. I watch someone walk by, and yet again another stream of thoughts. I almost want to just shine a light, to put my finger directly on this concept, and hopefully somewhat eloquently describe something I’ve recently become very aware of….
It’s funny how you think a half million things a day, yet how often do we take inventory of our thoughts? Really, have you ever stopped to think about your thoughts. I know I have, but not in the way that I have been doing lately. My thoughts are almost becoming a pair of clothes that no longer fit me. It’s an uncomfortable agitation I never really thought that I had any control over how I feel about myself, really. Sure you can use “behavior modification” or “work harder” to be positive, but who really thinks you can completely reinvent yourself? Can anyone truly reinvent the wheel of your entire existence? Who is as bold? Who is nearly as strong? I am not talking about changing who you are. I’m talking about the lies, the doubts, the voice in your head that tells you that things will never change because they haven’t changed yet. The sneaky, subtle, underbelly of a current that runs through your mind picking apart everything creating an undertone of self-loathing. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t have an insecurity or don’t struggle with a train of thought that deceives you! If not, feel free to eject yourself from this conversation. I’m here to talk real talk with you. I have realized some very ugly parts of me. Things that I wish I had realized a lot, lot sooner. Sounds depressing, right? However, I assure you there is a silver lining and a sliver of undealt with truth. The best part? Those ugly things aren’t ME. They are lies I have bought into somewhere along the line and have truly and so, so subtly changed the entire course of my life by paying the admission price. It’s a weird, weird feeling when you wake up to it. Let me tell you, it’s like the day you realize Santa Clause doesn’t exist. After all those years of living with the myth of a jolly being who delivers toys ever 25th of December, you wake up to realize that it simply was never true. I’ve lived my entire life thinking things about myself that simply do not line up with the truth. They aren’t true, they never have been, but yet I’ve lived MY WHOLE LIFE bought into it, believing it’s true. I’ve been like a woman with shackles on my feet, hands constricted behind me cuffed to the wall. Like the moment in Plato’s The Allegory of The Cave, where the prisoner sees the shadows dancing on the wall, knowing nothing of a real world outside, as I of my own prison. Well the lights have been turned on. And the lights aren’t just on. Beyonce said it best when she wrote, Ring the alarm. It’s as if an alarm is beginning to blare inside of me, and there is this uncomfortable constriction that is just reaching it’s tipping point. Something has got to give. And this isn’t a pretty little saying. This isn’t some short term epiphany. No, this is a life altering realization. They say that when you know the truth, it will set you free. Well guess what, every lie I have bought into, has robbed an area of my life. There are things I have chosen not to do, out of fear of untruths. I have had time stolen from me. Not only stolen, but I have given— surrendered, given up, handed over, poured out, willingly— my life over to these lies. You must know what I’m talking about. Surely if you stop and be still, you too might sense the rushing flow of the stream of thoughts that write your perception. You may take notice, as you quiet yourself and allow yourself to be conscious of this very thing, that you too may have mistaken truth for a lie. You may find yourself upset to the existence of such things. Kind of like the monster that’s always been under your bed. You’ve always told yourself that such things do not exist, but what if one day it really did? Let me tell you one thing. I know a little bit about being different. It’s been my curse all my life. I’ve hated it. Almost like a tattoo you try and try to scrub off. That’s often how I’ve felt about myself…. If only I could just scrub this off…. If only I could just cover this up, conceal this, put this back into the box, shove this over into the corner, put this back into an unused room, throw this out with the trash… You know what. Enough. I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve began to let myself be free. I think this drop of truth has already contaminated the batter. It’s beginning to permeate every part of my being. This time it’s different. This time the weight I’ve been carrying, the guilt, the remorse, the shame, the embarrassment, the feeling of being too much, not enough, not begin good enough, not being what others expect, not fitting the mold, not looking like everyone else, not thinking like everyone else, etc., etc., YOU fill in the blank. Don’t act like you haven’t ever felt that way before. I’m speaking on general terms. Those thoughts, those beliefs equal tons and tons of pressure and weight that I have carried on my back for years and years and years. It’s almost as If I have realized that I do not have to carry this weight. I do not have to, nor am I responsible for, nor must I carry this around with me everywhere I go anymore. It’s as if I have slowly set it down. And with a sense of pride, I am okay with not picking it back up. I almost look down at it with sheer disbelief that I could have ever possibly carried it for all this time. Who would have ever thought. Who would have ever known what I had been carrying around all this time. This is what I mean by time lost, freedom stolen. You’ve gone deep with me, but can you come out a little bit further? Let us launch out into the deep, and I will land this plane. You are unique. Your dna is unlike any other on the face of this planet. Your individual features, physically, emotionally, mentally, and every other way possible are completely unique and prescribed to you! Maybe you too, have carried a weight you were not meant to bear. We all chase after similar things, but are those things ever what truly make one happy? When you get the top of the mountain of accumulation of “things” “money” “success” at the expense of losing yourself, have you really accomplished anything worthwhile? There is a hunger and a fire in me. Maybe I should be more careful about what I pray for. Let me make it plain and simple for you. You have right now, and nothing more. You aren’t promised tomorrow. You could be here today and completely gone tomorrow. There are over 6 billion people on the face of this planet, and all of them are striving for similar things. We all want to be happy, find true love, accomplish great things and become successful. So many do so at the expense of losing themselves. Instead of making a new resolution to change something about who you are, what if you radically decide to be more of who you really, truly are? What if you put the mask down and got vulnerably honest and transparent with who you really are and where you really are at? Guess what, there are so many people who will never catch that, and die FULL of unused greatness and originality. I’ve heard it said that cemetery’s are the richest place on earth. They are full of buried treasures that were never discovered. I know one thing, I’ve spent enough time in chains. I have a treasure chest rich in loot that I have yet to unleash and unload. This world has yet to see my greatest days. I have yet to come into the fullness of who I truly am. What you’ve seen up until this point has only been a glimpse of the magnitude of what’s underneath the surface. I may have been hidden for some time, but in that season of hiddenness, I have grown in depth below the surface— like an iceberg where 90 percent of its mass is completely submerged. I look forward to evolving on the pages of this blog. I know this is just scratching the surface of things to come. There is no way to sum everything up—but I will tell you this… You will hear and see more of me in the future and I won’t be apologizing. I won’t be shrinking back in fear. In fact, I wont even be as conscious of how I might possibly come off less than perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I adjust my personality to come off the way that I think is best perceived, while in doing so I lose a little bit of myself. Let me tell you, in doing so, I have forsaken my originality. I have curbed my mannerisms, my sense of humor, my kindness, my generosity, my extravagant love, my own personality. I’ve tried to make myself fit into a mold that I was never simply made to fit into. In fact, I truly believe the greatest gift we can give to the world is to be who the most accurate version of who we are, while you are growing into the person we were always meant to be. Movie stars, actors, writers, big thinkers and dreamers don’t come into influence and great admiration by being like everyone else. In fact, it’s what sets them completely apart from the pack that makes them the bright shining stars that they evolve into being. Would you be so bold as to break away from the status quo and explore the deepest parts of who you are and release yourself into the world to be that most organic version of yourself? I think embracing the truth by loving and accepting yourself are the most rarest forms of beauty when it comes to self expression. Those people that embody that Je ne sais quois? are the people who fearlessly remain true to themselves. I’ll leave you with this, when you arrive to the day that you exit this world and you stand before your life and all the ways that you’ve lived it… Will you be spent? Will you have nothing left to give? Will you have explored every possible dream? Will you look back and be able to say that you’ve truly given yourself to the World and left it with an in exchangeable gift? I know when I arrive on that day, I am going to make it absolutely certain that my grave will be completely empty, leaving no stone or leaf unturned. Every treasure in my cache will be adorned to the World by being bestowed upon others and put into action through my dreams. I dare you to consider the same. I challenge you to accept an invitation of a lifetime that may just take you further than you ever thought possible and lead you down a path that you never imagined in your wildest dreams you could ever travel upon.
Until next time,