Releasing myself from societal norms and 300 characters or less.
We live in a world that is afraid to be seen. We hide behind computer screens and then wonder why we don’t have any real relationships. We don’t want to listen to other people’s problems because they’re too real and we don’t like having to face that kind of reality but then we wonder why we’re all alone in our own. All we want is a date, a relationship, but we’re too afraid of being rejected to ask anyone out on a date. We stay within our comfort zones of 300 characters or less and a few photos and talk about how much “fun” our lives are. No one wants to do the hard stuff so we pretend it doesn’t exist until we can’t pretend anymore. But when we finally stop pretending who is there beside us? No one. Because we’ve created this illusion in our lives that nothing is ever wrong and we’ve created relationships based only on when things are good. We don’t want to face our own lives so we don’t want to help others with theirs either. We post filtered and subtly edited photos surrounded by smiles and laughter and people but those friendships are based around just that – smiles and laughter. The bar. The good times. The escapes from reality. The booze. The parties. The shopping. The coffee dates. The fun stuff. So when shit hits the fan who’s there to check on you? No one. Because we haven’t created space in those relationships for tears or for pain or for boring nights on the couch in sweat pants with takeout. Or for the times when you’re scraping together enough money for broccoli and pasta for dinner.
If we haven’t made room in our relationships for sadness or hurt or the down times then we haven’t created space for us to truly be seen. We are protected this way. No one can hurt us, no one can judge us. But at the same time if we can’t be seen we cannot truly be known either. We cannot be understood. We cannot be understanding. Chances are if you will not let others see you then you do not want to see others either. So here we sit. In our safe little bubble. Never getting hurt, but never really living either. Never loving. Never being loved. We coast along and attempt to hit all of society’s markers. Do you have a good job, a good car, a nice home? We take those things that can be easily seen from the outside that will allow other people to make positive assumptions of us based on what they can see but we keep the blinds closed. We keep all doors to the inside locked. We don’t want anyone to see what is really happening on the inside because then our facade that we’ve worked so hard for might be lost. But let me ask you, when was the last time someone asked you if you were happy?
Did that question scare you a little bit? Did it make the reality of what goes on inside and behind closed doors a little more real? Did it threaten to expose what’s happening behind the nice house, the fancy car, the pictures of friends laughing and the attractive partner on your arm? Did it threaten to expose why your free time is spent mostly at the bar and why your downtime is spent swiping left or right and determining how to make your life sound the most awesome in 300 characters or less? Did it make you have to think about what you actually might want in life that you might possibly never achieve? We live in a world with people who are so afraid of failure or rejection or being seen that they’d rather not even try.
Now I have to ask you, what kind of life is that?
In my perspective that’s not a life at all. Not a real one anyways, not one worth living. Not one worth sacrificing for and working for and fighting for.
That’s a life where everything looks amazing. Everyone admires you and thinks you’re happy. No one judges you, because you don’t ever challenge their comfort zones or their beliefs. And sure, this life is safe. It’s comfortable. But to me, it’s not a life worth living. In fact, it’s not living, really.
It’s a life that is focused on what can be seen and felt on the outside. In the physical form. It’s safe and its content. But is it really happy?
It’s a life where no one truly knows you and you don’t truly know anyone else. It’s a life where you’re always on your best game. It’s a life where you come home at night and feel alone, even if you’re not. It’s a life where you go through the motions and follow society’s rules and ideologies and never question or challenge the status quo. It is a life where you follow the path that you think you’re supposed to be following instead of the one that your heart leads you down. It’s a life where you never get hurt but you never really feel anything either. It’s a life lived through your mind instead of in your body or spirit. It’s a life lived through fear rather than in love. You judge other people because you judge yourself. Everything is a race because if you don’t complete all of the societal norm’s steps in the right order at the right time by the right age then you’re not good enough.
What if I told you that even if you did absolutely everything at your own pace, in your own way, at your own “right time”, by your own “right age”, by none of the societal norm’s in any way shape or form, you’d still be good enough.
What if I told you that even if you never got married, never bought the fancy car, never won the medal, never got an A, but you lived your life, in the way that felt right in your heart, that you’d still be good enough.
What if I told you that although I would like to get married someday and have children and a family life, because that’s what my heart wants, I no longer have any fear of it never happening. What if I never find “the one”? Well, then I live a happy life on my own surrounded by the incredible people that I have filled my life with. Maybe I adopt or become a foster parent if I want children. Maybe I find someone who I respect and who respects me, whom I’m attracted to and is attracted to me, to fill my sexual needs. Maybe I live my life just for me. What’s so bad or scary about that? The way I see it, nothing. It sounds beautiful. It sounds happy. It sounds unconfined by the outside world.
What if I told you that it’s that lack of fear that I believe will likely bring me “the one”, at the right time, in the right way, for me? And what if I told you that if it doesn’t, that’s still totally okay with me?
What if I told you that I don’t care about the fancy car and house and perfect relationship and perfect children with freshly braided and combed hair and the “perfect life”?
What if I told you that what I actually want, what I’m actually working towards, is a calm and quiet and sometimes messy life of love? That what I do and how I think and the action steps that I take are not based on what I’ve been taught my whole life, but instead are based on what makes me happy. Not what makes me look happy. Not what gets the most social media likes, not what gives me content for my next blog post. Not what makes me think of “happy” in my mind but what makes me feel happy in my heart. What makes me experience joy inside my body.
Will I share this happy, outside of myself? On social media or with friends or family? Sure, if I want to. Who doesn’t want to share when they feel joy? When I feel joy I want everyone around me to feel it too! So sure, maybe I’ll share it, but maybe sometimes I’ll keep it for myself as well. Because for me the sharing of that joy is not a need. It’s not a need because it’s not based on you or what you think of my joy. It’s not based on you envying or respecting or enjoying my joy. It’s about me. It’s about what I feel and what my body and soul are experiencing that cannot be seen or touched or given away or taken from me.
So what do I want? What am I working for? What am I breathing for? What am I rolling with the highs and lows of this life for? What am I fighting so hard for my health for?
Everyone’s bodies have needs. They have needs for food, for water, for oxygen and for sex. It’s in how these needs are met and what you do to meet them that are in your power. If you want to throw the Canadian food guide out the window and eat how your body feels best, do it. If you want to drink your water only from the rain or from the tap or through a filter, do it. If you want to breath your oxygen from the beach or on top of a mountain or through an oxygen tank, I don’t care. Want to fill your need for sex in a car or outdoors or with someone of the same gender or ethnicity or with toys, it really doesn’t effect me. Nor does how I fill my needs effect you. Do what feels right for you in your body. In your gut. In your soul. Do what makes your heart happy. Ignore the mind. Ignore societys rules. Ignore the judgement from your neighbour. Fuck it even ignore what I think! No one else has to live in your body. No one else has to wake up every single morning and go to bed every single night as you – no one else has no feel that. When you respect yourself you will also respect others. When you stop living your life based on how other people think you should, you will stop expecting others to live the way you think they should. When you start living a life based on feeling love, you will start recieving love.
Me? I want to fill my body with healthy, yummy nutritious food whether it be American, Indian, Asian, store bought, hunted, grown, home cooked or takeout. I also want to sometimes eat ice cream and chocolate and I want to ride my bike in the sun with a beer and sit on a patio with a big juicy burger and fries.
I want to drink more water than wine, but sometimes, I want the wine!
I want to breathe the air from the forest and the beach and the top of a mountain. I want to breathe it on an island where there is little pollution, on a farm where it smells of manure and life. I want to breathe it in my garden and on the ocean and through an oxygen tank exploring the under water world that we know so little about.
I want sex that is filled with both respect and passion. I want to experience it with multiple people of different backgrounds and lives, I want it in a bed and in a forest and sometimes on the kitchen table. I want it both with and without clothes and toys and love. But always with respect and never with fear. I want it slow, fast, gentle and not so gentle. I want it slow like a dance, a long, drawn out tease that makes me anticipate gentle teeth against my hardened nipple. I want it unexpected and fast and hard against the wall in an overwhelming state of passion and surprise. I want it in all of these ways and more, and eventually, I want it with one person forever, and when that happens I want it in all of these ways but I also want it in love and eventually in a way that is aimed at creating life.
As humans in a society that is built on money we also need jobs. We need dreams. We need goals. I honestly don’t care how many social media friends you have or if you have 6-pack abs or if you’re vegan or transgender or what ethnicity or financial class you are. I care about how well you take care of yourself, how well you take care of others. How you live, what you dream about, what your goals are, how you put those into action and how greatly and unrestrictedly you love.
I want to love myself and others and most importantly the life I build, wholly and without reservation or fear. I want a job that I work hard for, that I am proud of, that makes me enough money to be comfortable but doesn’t keep me away from my friends and my family and from sitting quietly in my body at least once a day. I want to make memories and take silly selfies with no makeup on and laugh. I want to laugh big and loud, the kind of laughter that makes for the least attractive of photos. And I want to keep those photos not hide them away or delete them for not being pretty enough. I want to meditate to the sound of ocean waves and in the forest to nature’s music. I want to feel comfortable, I mean really comfortable and safe and at home, sitting quietly inside of my own body and mind without technology or distractions or fear.
I want to let myself be seen without fear or shame. I want to shine a light for others when they feel lost in the darkness. I want to be kind to them, and to myself. I want to love myself so much, so unconditionally, that I am able to love everyone else the same way.
I want the “instagram worthy” nights out and the music and the fun. I want the hiking and the boating and the sunny afternoon day drinks. The Sunday morning brunches and ball-field daiquiris (if you don’t have these you’re on the wrong team). But I also want a quiet table where people can talk and share stories and get to know each other. I want cozy early Saturday nights with Netflix, pizza and sweats, followed by lazy Sunday mornings with a book and coffee in bed, bare legs tangled up in each other beneath the sheets as we read separately and quietly. I want mundane days of chores that are filled with music and laughter and teamwork.
I want a modest, comfortable, cozy home that is tidy but lived in and filled with salt lamps and plants and diffusers dispersing aromatherapy throughout the air. I want a vehicle that isn’t flashy but is reliable and will take me down any backroad that I feel like getting lost on.
In a world where everyone is more comfortable hiding I want to make space for you to safely and comfortably be seen and I want you to do the same for me.
Before writing this I thought of all the people who will think that this is “too much”. That I will have exposed too much of myself too easily, too quickly. That I don’t leave enough room for games or mystery. That no man, while he’s swiping through hundreds of faces and little blurbs will want to take the time to read something this long (and okay it is really long!). What about what I want? Do I really want to spend any of my valuable time deciding if I want to date someone who isn’t even interested in getting to know me on a deeper level in whatever way he can? Do I really want to date someone who bases their swiping decisions on a few photos and an extremely limited blurb, written to show only my best side? My life is far from perfect. Its been far from easy, but its been worth it. And I am damn proud of it and I am not afraid to be seen. I am comfortable with being seen right away, for who I am inside. I love who I am inside. And my “people” are going to recognize themselves within me and they will find me. But they can’t do that if I hide in the darkness, if I don’t let myself be seen. And the truth is, I’m ready to be found. I want to be found. And frankly, I am excited to recieve.