“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m so sick of stealing quotes, and I sincerely wish that one day I’ll be acclaimed enough to find my way to a site that quotes my nuggets of sage advice. Sadly, I don’t make memes, I don’t post on Twitter (often), and I don’t think that there will be a Wiki page made about me. My fame isn’t going to come any time soon, and for some reason, that makes me very sad. We all want a moment in the limelight, a chance to be on the stage, all eyes on us.
Sadly, I found myself in the limelight in about sixth grade on the stage in front of a semi-attentive audience wearing clogs that I had never worn before and tripped and made an ass of myself in front of that entire auditorium. Keep in mind, it was a tiny town in Wisconsin, a tiny congregation of probably non-judgmental people, but even so, I thought it was my chance in the spotlight, and I blew it. Walking across the stage I stumbled and tripped and made an ass of my sixth grade self. All eyes were on me, trying to be cool, but ending up a hot mess of embarrassment. I failed. I had one task, to walk across the stage without making an ass of myself and I failed. I was reliant on acceptance, and well, I relied on the judgmental audience before I was reliant on my own satisfaction.
We can all take a collective sigh in the imagery if a clumsy pre-teen tripping across stage in an act of too big shoes and lack of confidence. Growing pains, that’s all it is, at least, that’s what we accept to believe. Reliance of applause, I wanted acceptance, and when there was a din of quiet chuckling, I about died. Being reliant on the acceptance of the audience was a toxic prescription to my young mind and, unfortunately, it polluted my mind up until my adulthood. I can’t honestly look at a person wearing an open ankled shoe without having a tiny echo in my soul resonate some sort of pain.
It was nothing but my perception of judgement. I was being seen as a failure because I could walk in clogs. Today, I look back and thing “damn, those were ugly shoes anyways.” Perception is reality, or at least that’s what I thought for a short while when I was deep into philosophy. Then I realized, Philosophy is only as good as the people that you surround yourself with. In other words, if you’re deep enough to quote Nietzche and understand the difference between Kant and a cunt, you might get it, but it’s not very common nowadays.
**Side note: while trying to investigate resources on my quotes, my auto-correct kept demanding I meant Kanye not Kant. After four times of trying to correct it, I took a sip of wine, and realized, this isn’t the world I want to live in**
“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”
Which brings me full circle to my oops of adulthood – – my Washington Island adventure.
—>interlude: for those that need speeding up, I screwed up and more than likely lost my writing contract because of a judgemental piece I wrote about a sweet island that wasn’t ready for my bitter nature, surprise——<
Life comes full circle, and today everything from the clogs to the ferry to having my Honda repossessed to eating Ramen to being arrested in Utah to eating fried chicken in Georgia all comes down to reliance.
I have nightmares to this day about my adventure to Washington Island, but, it’s not an unpleasant trip. In my dreams, unlike the tripe that I wrote in my original article, it’s exactly as the island is: an oasis from modern living. There are quiet places to reflect, there are clean places to grab a beer, and more importantly, there are good, genuine souls that live and work there. They have a reliance on the commerce of the island, that’s where the paycheck comes from. That’s where the island thrives, local culture, and my head was so far up my ass that I didn’t see it. My reliance was on being better than others, in other words, not being the one that stumbles across the stage in clogs ever again. So….I brought others down with my sinking ship. I relied on the cinder block technique, also known as, if you’re going down, you’re tying a block to anyone else who might seem easy targets.
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering”
To this day, I feel remorse in what I wrote, what was published, and what the outcome was of that article about that sweet island. I was surviving and suffering, and I chose to take it out on an innocent island. I feel bad, and I apologize. I was relying on acceptance, and when I was faced with genuine people, I was confuse and did the only thing I was used to doing, ostracize, just like I was used to with those that heckled me in my clogs. It makes me sad.
Reliance, however you define it, infects a soul in a very special way. Forever, I was terrified as to what people would see me as, that was years ago. Many things have happened since then, and now, even though it’s impossible, I wish I was invisible, but still had a voice. Today, was a special day. I forgot to wear my glasses, which made my have a lazy eye, and I had a dead battery in my phone. I had no way of dulling typical living situations.
I looked around, I saw people look at my poor eye, which was investigating while the other was oogling. I couldnt’ pretend to be focused on social media without being called out as a fraud with a dead phone. It was interesting. People seemed to be seeking acceptance through their high tech devices. It was sad.
I’m still sad at the notion that we’re done with judging people personally on their clog fail in the physical audience, we can now judge people worldwide on their failures. What makes us so great that allows us to laugh at others failures? That’s what bothers me now, and I feel bad. This is officially my open apology to Washington Island. I’m not better than you, in all ways, you’re better than me.