I am depressed. This is no shocking revelation, because I’ve spent half my life in some level of depression. I can’t say whether I am situationally or clinically depressed, since I refuse to see a doctor; and I doubly refuse to spend any time with a therapist. I’m not writing this out of some need for sympathy, and I don’t want everyone weighing in a different opinion on how to solve the problem. I have no desire to be diagnosed with some ailment, and prescribed medications to level this or numb that. I, likewise, have no interest in being told to “straighten up, and fly right.” I’ve had enough of that nonsense. I keep hearing people say that it needs to be okay to not be okay. Well, I have some disheartening news for all of you. It still aint okay. The hard reality is that we don’t see anything beyond face value. We leave no room for discovery. If I see someone begging for change, I will assume he was too lazy to get a job. If you meet somebody who appears to be cold and distant, you will decide he’s an ass. If we have children who aren’t functioning at a level we know their brains to be capable off, we will chastise them as overindulged, spoiled, rotten, lazy, and undisciplined. All the while, demanding that we be given more leniency, that we be allowed to “not be okay.” It saddens me to believe that we are so self-centered that we can not identify when someone is in pain. Even people we’ve known for years will be offered a change of clothes, of scenery, or any other superficial improvement that is, ultimately, intended to correct a behavior we find undesirable. The truth is, we are committing acts of betrayal every time we assume anything. How well do you know anyone? When was the last time you got outside of yourself, long enough to care what other people are going through? Nobody reading this should feel any judgement. Afterall, you’re no different from anybody else. We all get caught up in our own thoughts. Our own needs and desires tend to out shine whatever’s going on around us. There’s hardly any point to feeling guilty about what we never knew, and there’s even less reason to be angry that the guy next door didn’t notice what we’re going through. Afterall… he’s just another ant on the hill, right? Or maybe, just maybe, we can still have a chance to recognize each other’s needs. If I can ask you what you’re feeling, instead of telling you how to behave more acceptably; and if you can comprehend my needs, instead of assuming you know more than you do, then we all just might have a chance to make a positive impact on someone else. All it really takes is a conversation… And one new thought.
Now, I dragged you through all of that to tell you this. I have a hard time writing about myself. I always feel like I’m either patting myself on the back or throwing myself a “pity party.” It’s a little unnerving to me to be that exposed. No matter which way you slice it, I am on display. I am no stranger to the spotlight. I have, in one way or another, found my way to the center of attention for most of my life. Unfortunately, I’ve always been a character. I’ve never had to stand, exposed, in the middle of a room; and talk about who I am, or explain what I’m about. It terrifies me to think of putting myself, my real self, on display, to be criticised by anyone who should happen by. You see, my biggest fear is rejection. I am afraid that anyone who meets me, in my most genuine state, will size me up; and throw me back, designating me inadequate. These are the fears that paralyze me, the reasons I always hold back my best effort. What if I’m not really intelligent or articulate, at all? What if people read my writing, and see the whining of some, ineffectual jerk, yammering away like anybody cared? So, I’m left with this thought: What if they don’t like me? What if nobody reads a word I write from today, forward? Does that make my need to be heard any less important? I feel like we all have to ask ourselves these questions. It’s part of getting outside of our own heads.
If we remain paralyzed by our own fears, we can never hope to accomplish more than to bitch and moan about how unfair life is.