You’ve got the words to change a nation, but you’re biting your tongue. If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?
I wonder if people gave Socrates such shit for his philosophies.
Someone recently said to me he didn’t understand why anyone would want to blend, to be like everyone else. ‘Sheeple’ was the term Loren used. I smiled as I pointed out the irony in someone beating his chest as ‘different.’ He sure was blending into the antiestablishment crowd with the trendy term. Then I tried to explain that for those of us who stand outside of the crowd, it’s not always easy. Not everyone wants to be the circus freak.
Not all of us have the choice.
It’s like any other disfigurement; we either hide away from the world or we deal with it, but it’s a lonely life. He chided me for my “pessimism,” as if it were a soap he could use to scrub his hands clean as he walked away. He’d wanted instant intimacy – not the kind found between the sheets but the real kind that draws two minds together, because he found me “interesting.” He couldn’t understand that I need to reach out to others because I’m so tired of the masturbation of my own mind.
Examination of a life is what makes it worth living. Otherwise, we walk blindly through with no regard for the days we have lived. I refuse to leave that legacy behind me. I love fiercely and trust slowly. After only a brief effort at a friendship, Loren declared that “it shouldn’t be a challenge, not right from the beginning. We just have different philosophies of life. When I like someone, I unguard myself immediately.” Him, Optimist. Me, Socrates. If I’d turned away every challenge I’d ever seen in a person, I would have missed out on some of the most obscenely wondrous experiences.
I saw this movie today, True Story. A man is accused of killing his family, and when asked by a reporter if he did it he replied “Sometimes you have to accept the way you look to others to protect what’s more important. Sometimes the truth isn’t believable. That doesn’t mean it’s not true.” People see me as this stubborn walnut that they need to crack, thinking they’ll find something magical inside. Walnuts are the most complex nut there is. Look inside one sometime, see how entwined everything is.
That’s me, the nutty philosopher.
If Loren needs to see me as uncrackable so that he can move on, I get that. It doesn’t change who I am at my core, but trying to find the heart of that can wear a girl out. It’s like the reporter said in return; “I got so wrapped up in trying to tell a great story that I lost sight of my bigger obligation – the truth.”
As I sit in this restaurant with my passion-flavored iced tea, trying to write this meaning of life and eavesdropping on three elderly ladies with their happy hour martinis at the next table over, Irene stopped by to take my plate.
“How’re things?” I asked.
“Things are good! I feel like I’m ready to take on the world” Her smile is always bright and fruity, like sweet strawberries against her long, youthful dark hair. It’s the brown eyes that show her irrepressible spirit.
“How do you plan to do that?”
“First, I’ll stop crying.”
“What is making you cry?”
“My boyfriend and I went through a break up, and I felt like I was being so oppressed, and now I just feel liberated! I don’t know if that’s the right way to feel or not.”
“It’s right if it’s how you feel. And I totally get it. I’m tackling that myself today, actually.”
“Then let’s topple the world together.”
I have thought a lot today about the friendships in my life. Loren had said “I guess I prefer to keep my world small and simple. A small crowd of people.” I never really thought about how big my own universe was until I’d lost so many people in it, but as I look around and see the large crowd still standing, I see my examined life and its rewards.
As Irene halted at my table again, she eyed my very large, frosty strawberry milkshake that had just arrived. “That looks like the perfect way to tackle the world. Are you going to take on that whole thing?” she said with a gleam in her smile.
“I’m going to try.”
“Do it! Start with that whipped cream. And you might want to get to that cherry before it goes rolling off.”
I don’t wake up every morning with the hope for a day full of roses and bluebirds. I prefer to wait until the sun is settling into its hills to see what the day has brought. Sometimes it begins with a goodbye, and sometimes it ends with a sweet cherry. Whatever the in betweens are, they are mine to write down before I forget the flavor of them.
That is my truth. My story.
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions, so why let your voice be tamed? Put it in all of the papers, they can read all about it, read all about it…
© April 29, 2015
Lyrics: Read All About It / Emile Sande