I’ll be straight with you: there are some days I am just flat-out insecure. I seek validation and praise like a five-year old requesting his drawing be tacked onto the fridge. I often do this by virtue of writing (pretty easy to distinguish this based on my tone), posting on Instagram, or sharing my accomplishments via trumpet-calls and humblebrags with the people I most admire.
I wanted so badly to be useful because I never felt like I was. I had a taste of feeling like I was needed— that I mattered — and as a result, it had me scared to death to suspend any of the behavior that led to it. To be totally vulnerable. To be wildly curious. To be silent. And it’s now become a paradox: the deeper I focus on being a leader and being useful for people, the easier I fall into the trap of being that way with everyone, including potential romantic partners.
As with anything pure, once commercialized past a particular threshold, virtues barrel right into cliché. They devolve into tips, hacks, quick wins, or something to apply to improve a situation. They become something inherently selfish meant for consumption, as opposed to the contribution they are meant to be for others. They become the exact opposite of what they actually are in essence.
The world we live in is nothing without language, without communication — there is no sense to it, but merely a collection of moving pictures. Language creates the sense, the meaning, the reason, the purpose.
Much of living a good life these days gets collapsed somewhere within the pillars of happiness, morality and love. As powerful as those are on their own volition, all three can vanish quicker than we can even realize we’re losing our grip. It’s not about just making sure you end up with a good life — it’s how effective we are in managing what causes a good life that makes all the difference. Anyone can luck into love or happiness — to create it, is a whole different story.
My morning drive to work is currently when I decide who I’m going to be that day — and subsequently what I want out of every situation I find myself in. And while I’m not guaranteed a victory by doing this, if I don’t, I’m guaranteeing a loss.
As I stood there with my head bowed and eyes closed, I saw where I was not even a year ago. I saw the young man who so vehemently resisted taking the look in the mirror. The beautiful, heartbreaking moments that led to the sense of calm I feel today. The pain and hurt that others so graciously took on all those years because I didn’t have the capacity to see beyond my own view. I saw it all.
What my ordinary game kept us from was reaching the apex of why you play the game in the first place. The magic, the beauty, and the honor of charging side-by-side toward a goal much greater than a single person, that you have no guarantee of reaching and an even better chance of getting heartbroken in the process.
Art is not science. Trying to fit the fluidity of human emotion into the rigid expectations we have for our lives takes away all appreciation for it. The paradox being human very much has to do with deeming the nonsense in our head as valid, while being resistant to label the ordinary as remarkable.
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