I’ve no idea why I chose today to write about painful things, but is there really any day that makes it a piece of cake?
It’s always going to hurt so you might just as well pick a day and just roll with it.
I am not unlike everyone else at all.
Each and every one of us has our hurts, our aches, pains, our painful memories, our self-doubt, and what have you.
Mine has just always manifested itself in weird and strange ways.
I’ve always felt that I was smaller, in my view “gangly” if you will. As we grew, it seemed like I gained height, but not weight (oh to have THAT problem now!), and by the time I was a young teenager, along with all the other teen angst issues, I simply felt like I was an odd-looking duck.
I was never truly “comfortable” in my own skin.
I look back at yearbook pictures, and it jumps out off the page to me like a big club that just keeps bashing you, and you can’t make it stop.
I avoided cameras then, and I do now too.
I don’t make a big production of it. I never tell you to turn it off or point it somewhere else. I simply make sure I’m never in the line of fire for the most part. If there’s a picture of me, either I didn’t see it coming, had no idea it was being taken, or I simply said, “Ok do it,” and I figured no one would see it anyway.
I’m not camera “shy.” That’s not my problem.
I’ve just never seen a picture of me that I thought made me look good in any way. I take almost as bad a picture as the one I see in the mirror when I look there. If I’m looking in the mirror, I’m brushing my teeth, or I’m pulling something out of my hair, something. Trust me, I’m not making a self-evaluation.
I’ve never seen myself as a good looking person, and in my heart, I know it’s true.
I’ve SEEN good looking guys, and I’m not one of them.
Here’s the catch.
Most often, people who are “uncomfortable” with their looks develop some sense of self-worth that is less that is real, or some other self-inflicted wound that is equally uncomfortable and sometimes, even debilitation.
That wouldn’t be me.
For me, I take that uncomfortability, and I turn it into aggression of a sort.
If I’m “afraid” of something, I run to it. If I have a fear, I jump into the lake of fire.
So it is, with this “self-image,” I simply redirect it to my “performance.”
When I say performance, I talk about it, write about it, joke about it, and make fun of it. It’s the opposite of “self aggrandizement,” it’s “self-deprecation,” and it’s a part of my everyday lexicon.
If you’ve followed my stories, I rarely talk about doing heroic things, I talk about the weaknesses I find within, and I poke fun at it. It helps me to deal with those perceived inadequacies.
It has made living with myself a bearable process, and in the end, I can see the humor in being the weird guy, and that creates and celebrates my comfort zone.
I’d like to tell you that I spent a ton of money with a professional to grasp all of this, but I didn’t.
I knew, from an early age, and I’ve no idea how or why that facing fears, facing abnormalities, or anything else in this crazy wide world, I could at least learn to understand that I can be bigger than the problem, and if that’s case, there is no problem.
So someone might say, for instance, “Meet me after school and I’m going to kick your butt,” my reply would be “What time? I’ve got other appointments.”
And then I’d show up. No one else ever bothered.
Some would say this is not dealing with the problem. It’s not really fixing anything. It’s just a false sense of security.
I disagree, I am exactly who I make myself be at any given moment in time.
If I were to choose to run from something, then I’d be a runner to me.
The fact that I won’t take the time to think, but will turn around and face whatever fear is standing there, makes me not a runner.
In my head, that’s all the difference I need.
This is not, nor is it even remotely intended, as advice to anyone other than myself.
I can’t fix my own issues, so how can I fix yours.
But for me, I will either stand, or I will fall. Until there isn’t an ounce of strength left in me, I close my eyes for the last time, and you throw dirt at me, I’m standing.
I may be Benny Bunkhead, I may not be the prettiest guy you’ve ever seen, but out there on that mound of dirt, I’ll be standing.
And if you intend to knock me down so I don’t get up, I’d suggest backups.
And ambulances. As many as you can get.
This is all about working through pain. The pain of self-discovery. The pain of figuring out that you have limitations that things can and will hurt you, that you will bleed and feel like you’ve been left on the side of the road for dead.
Don’t give up, don’t give in, and remember what my Dad always told me….”Son, it doesn’t matter how bad it gets, they can’t take your birthday away.”
For me, that’s all I ever needed to know.