Emphasis on YOUR. If it truly is yours, does it need to be found?
This phrase has been used to describe a feeling of belonging and acceptance, mainly by others. But what if all along, we were meant to feel that way with ourselves?
I have spoken to several people in my life who told me that they cannot stand to be even 5 minutes alone at home. They would rather stay out all night with strangers than sit with themselves and their thoughts for even a second. Why is that? Why do we want to be wanted by others? For validation? For fear of abandonment?
This might just be an excuse, but I have come to realize that not all of us are meant to be accepted by society. Personally, many of the values that I have held near are frowned upon by others. I find myself having to explain them, when the fact that I value them should be enough (shouldn’t it?). To some degree I would consider myself a loner. Sure, I enjoy the company of others, and I am what you could call a social butterfly. I can get along with pretty much anyone. I am adept in code switching and mastering the humor of different groups of people. But when it all boils down to it, I often find myself alone with my thoughts. And the thought of that does not scare me at all. At times it makes me increasingly aware and sometimes cynical of people’s perception of my being. And that is fine. And of course there are moments that, according to society, must be shared in the company of others to reap the full benefit. Like traveling, trying new activities, attending events in town. As I have gotten older, I have come to enjoy experiencing those things alone.
I think it is important to learn how to be by yourself for whatever reason. It really is the only time you can reflect on “your place” in this world. We spend so much of our day being told who and what we are. By the media, our family, friends. But who do you say that you are? And how does that fit in with your perception of reality? It should not scare you. It should empower you.
Today I took a walk at a local park by my apartment complex. I had a lot on my mind, as I always do. Just random thoughts that needed solitude to sort out. This park has a lake with what seems like hundreds of ducks and storks. It gets to be so excessive that I actually have to park at a nearby church and walk over just to avoid being blocked in by the ducks (I learned my lesson after the first visit).
As I passed by the ducks, listening to Craig David’s latest album just because, a weird thought crossed my mind (and please don’t judge)-What do those ducks see when they look at me? What is their perception of space and time? In school we were always taught that the animals in nature acted according to the seasons. They would migrate to the south on the verge of winter. They would store their provisions in anticipation of the coming months of brutal cold. But what really happens in that community of life which we typically pay no mind to? Do they quarrel? Do they have dreams and aspirations of leaving home? Or are their actions just mechanic and synchronized with nature?
So I stopped and took some photos of them, as discretely as I could. And as I walked my path, I felt as though we (myself and the ducks) had some sort of agreement. I would stay out of their way, and they would stay out of mine. And we would exist in our respective microcosms of the world.
After thinking all too profoundly about this matter, I just ended up people-watching. Several children and their parents were present, the former wrapped up in some playground game that adults would not understand, the latter wrapped up in some conversation that children would not understand. And then there was me, just walking, with a purpose undefined, but a purpose nonetheless.
2018 was a particularly interesting year for me. Why, you might ask? It was the first time that I was really real with myself. It was the first time I stopped making excuses for the inexcusable behavior demonstrated by others in my circle and outside my circle. Let me explain.
I had to reckon with my definition of being a friend. What did it mean for me to be a friend to others? What did it mean for me to call others my friend? Up until that point it had unfortunately become a loose term that I distributed too freely and without much consideration. Basically if someone was nice enough to me and could hold conversation, they could be my friend.
What is my new definition of a friend? Someone who wants to help put you on when they see you doing something positive with your life. And not only do they WANT that for you, and TELL you how proud they are of you, but they DO something about it. They shout your business out on their social media. They patronize your business, support your ideas, and overall play an ACTIVE role in your success. If your current friends are not doing that for you, then what is the basis of your friendship? Is it gossip? Is it clubbing? Drinking, smoking, eating out every weekend talking about anything but how you can progress as an individual? To me that is just a time-waster. Does your family put you on? Do they support you? Because the same applies to them, to a higher degree I might add.
And of course I asked myself how frequently I was doing the aforementioned positive acts for others. I can honestly say that I did a pretty good job of supporting my friends or people I worked with (photographers, artists, etc) and publicizing their work on my social media or to contacts I knew could help them. But this year I plan on taking it up a notch with my new podcast series (stay tuned!). I challenge you to ask yourself the same questions and DO BETTER in 2019!
I have wanted to start a blog for soooo long (emphasis on soooo), but I decided to start the quest of self expression through other mediums first. I wanted to perfect my craft, so to speak. Create some semblance of an organized thought process. But then I realized that the best presentation of the person I have become is raw and unfiltered (with some discretion of course).
Over the coming months I will be sharing interviews of some amazing individuals via Podcast, photos of my year as it unfolds, and other art forms that are near and dear to me. I hope you enjoy, and thank you for your time.