Be Yourself

monitor the loops

When I was five and starting kindergarten, I refused to wear anything but knee socks and adorable dresses to school. Every day, it was a pretty dress, and I was not going to have a conversation about it, because I was a stubborn little tyrant and into fashion even then. I played Duck Duck Goose and Red Rover in my dresses and tights all year long. I got annoyed at other kids who couldn’t read while wearing bows in my braids. I was displeased when I scuffed my patent leather shoes. Seriously, it’s the worst.

Which is how I know I was certainly very careful not to make a mess of my outfit when I got my very own massive box of crayons. I worshiped the Crayola 64 pack, with its exotic palette, so organized and pleasing and vivid. I loved looking at each one in my little hands and studying their names, inhaling their waxy scent, and trying to imagine all the colors that I could make if I mixed them together. I loved making sure they were all sharp, peeling the paper back just so. I hated breaking them, because I wanted a perfect coloring instrument for my every artistic whim. Crayons. FOR REAL.

One day, however, I stared at the green crayon in my hand, and the off brand green crayon in the hand of the little mousy blonde boy who sat next to me, eating paste with untied shoes and cereal hair. Both claimed that they were green, but they were not the same. MY crayon was green, not his. And then it occurred to me that I could never actually be sure if my green or red or blue was the same as someone else’s. Not just the crayons, but how did I know that what I perceived as green and what Billy Paste Eater saw as green were indeed the same? I was perplexed by this, and when I questioned adults, they always told me that yes, yes, all humans see the same colors. Unless they are colorblind or have some kind of condition that causes changes to their anatomy or DNA.

I still don’t buy this explanation.

The truth is, you learn at an early age that what you see, and what you feel, and experience and witness and go through is yours alone. You can never, ever be sure of someone else’s perception. You can’t know what they are thinking, that what you feel is what they feel. You can never be certain.

We all live in our own worlds, and we never truly know what other people perceive, or what it feels like to be in their skin, or if the experience you shared was the same for them as it was for you. Words like love become subjective. Music and film and art, these things all come from that deep longing we all have, every one of us, to know that we are not alone. That yes, that thing, that fire, that energy pulsing through us, I felt that too. And it was the same as yours. We are the same.

This is why I am so desperately, deeply, hopelessly in love with live music, because it is the closest thing I have found to knowing I am sharing a heart with another person. A roomful. A stadium.

Throughout human existence, we have endeavored to connect together. We want to reach the realm of the mystical, we want to look into the spirit world and not be afraid. We want to know we are not alone, that this is not all there is, so we aim for this shared enlightenment. Once you’ve been there, you know. You are never the same. You can instantly understand how you are like other people who have gone before you.

You become ancient and infinite together.

We use religion or running or drugs or dancing or fucking or a combination of any number of instruments to get to some special state of being where all the walls come down, and we just decide to trust. We lay ourselves bare and bleeding. We open up. We give in to our understanding of love. We decide to be brave, and we say, “This is who I am. Here are my scars. Here are my flaws. Here are my special parts. Here are my beautiful parts. Here are my ghosts. This is my red. This is my blue. This is my green.”

We hope for understanding and empathy, intimacy and connection, and above all, reciprocation.

We are more connected now that we have ever been at any other time in our history. And we are more lonely. We are more separate. We are more afraid. We are more closed off to experiencing life outside of screens and online personas and text messages. We communicate more than ever and we say nothing. We speak in typed bits, and in real life, we can’t say the things we need to say. We make assumptions. The very thing that lets us see each other is the thing that hides our true nature. We feel like we know someone because we can see them online, but we don’t. It’s easy to be afraid of technology and become jaded when you realize that you were in a different relationship or experience than the person you were trying to connect with. People tell you who they are by their actions. You don’t have to try to figure most people out. They make it easy by being themselves. If you pick the wrong ones, you will end up with a lot of disappointment and rejection and drama that makes you feel like being vulnerable is a weakness.

It’s not.

This is okay.

It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to close off and stop trying to go to the moon. It’s easy to forget you dreamed of anything. It’s easy to quit asking yourself and other people to be better and try harder.

Imagine if we all just stopped pretending and went for it.

I feel very fortunate right now in my life. I am completely unattached in every way. I can do whatever I want, wherever I want. Change is coming, I can feel that. Nothing is ever permanent. It’s not reckless and thoughtless and crazy to seek your own path and do something extraordinary. It’s reckless not to. Instead of asking why, we should be asking, why not?

We are all part of the same circle. We’re all on different parts, going around and around. We have to monitor the loops, because things come together and then they fall apart again. If we’re lucky, we find ourselves synchronized with others who we know see the same colors we do. We believe it, and we tear all the walls down. When you invite and start expecting magic and serendipity in life, it will come to you. Your home will be wherever you are, because you will always find others who can see all the colors too. Look for me and I’ll look for you.


PS… all 100 of my Spotify playlists from this blog are public, and you can follow me here:

One comment

  1. Just discovered your blog while trawling through Blogger looking for interesting people. Love this bit about how we are all connected, and yet more lonely than we have ever been – I've written pretty much the same thing in the recent past too.

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