Learning to be Honest

I’ve really wanted to avoid ranting, but I guess it can’t be helped sometimes.

So… Yeah, his will be pretty stupid, and I don’t really expect anyone to care.

Do any of us really know what’s best for us? What we want? What makes us happy? It’s irritating to feel like you have everything figured out, only to realize you really don’t know the first damn thing about making yourself happy. And it’s even worse to find yourself doing something that you hope will potentially make things better, only to find yourself lying awake at 2AM, wishing you’d just isolated yourself and disappeared. Blogging because it’s the only way you can really get any of this out.

I realized something today.

I hate fake people.

I don’t mean “fake” in the sense most people seem to use it these days. I don’t mean people who act kind to your face but talk about you behind your back, although they do suck, too. No, I mean people–generally everyone, really–who can’t be honest with themselves and how they feel. It’s a harsh reality, but when it comes down to it, most people don’t trust other people. Casual conversation and joking sarcasm is one thing, but how often do people really open themselves up? I mean really open themselves up.

Not just complaining about this or that, but really getting into your own honest issues. Accepting your own insecurities and allowing yourself to be honest about them. Why? Because everyone has those insecurities, and I don’t feel it’s fair that we make eachother feel so isolated and misunderstood.

This world is full of people who pretend to be okay when they’re not. Full of people who act like they have all the answers when they really don’t. People who act invincible when they aren’t. it isn’t just a few people, it’s a greater majority of people than most people realize, and that’s the problem. When you look around, all you see are people who are successful, happy, and who seem to have everything they want. So you find yourself feeling isolated, wondering why you can’ be like them. Why you can’t have what they have. Why you can’t be happy.

And in the most extreme cases, people go crazy. Because if there’s one thing in the world that can drive a person to do something they never thought they could do, it’s isolation. Even the strongest people break down, and when that “no one cares about me/it doesn’t matter what I do” feeling sets in long enough to cement itself… it changes you. And even if it’s only momentarily, that one moment of weakness can drive you to a decision that could completely ruin your life forever.

So… here’s the meat of this.

I had a friend. We weren’t best friends–first-tier or any of that. No, we were more third-tier friends. We went to the same high school and eventually started working together. We shared music, I gave him rides home, and I stayed with him at work until 4am, even after having been working since 8am that morning, to teach him how to be a shift leader at our job. We never really spent time together outside of work, bu we had a lot in common. More than he’d realized, and I wish to God I’d told him that.

He was similar to me in personality. Extremely sensitive, maybe too sensitive. Cared too much about what people thought about him and said about him. Cared too much about what mattered to other people instead of just doing what made him happy. Wanted someone to love him to a desperate degree. And toward the end, his sadness and loneliness turned to bitterness. I wish I had told him I understood. Told him he isn’t the only one with terrible luck with relationships. Not so much maintaining one, but even just finding someone to love you, and accept the love you have to give because your heart is so big that when it hurts it makes your whole life crumble. I understood, but I was too busy pretending that everything in my life was perfect. Like I had everything I wanted. Like I didn’t feel alone.  It didn’t help, in his case, that he was a virgin in a world full of people who value sex to the point of treating it like air. His initial values were to wait until marriage, but those values changed when he was constantly persecuted by everyone around him for holding onto “something so stupid”.

I wish I’d taken up for him. Helped him fight for his right to retain his innocence, because it’s easier with two voices, even if you’re both still outnumbered.

He was a good person who did a horrible thing.

He fell in love once and became obsessed. They didn’t date for very long, but he still felt something. The problem is, what counts for “love” these days usually isn’t much more than mutual dependency. The relationship is doomed to fail when that dependency wears off, for one side or the other. And it’s worse when one side is still holding onto that dependency and the other wants distance, or to chase something they really want. It wasn’t easy for him, being ridiculed by everyone at that job for getting dumped and still hanging on.  It can’t be easy to be a virgin after having dated someone who talks about sex a good 90% of the time. And it can’t be easy to want to have sex with that person and get rejected.

No, of course it isn’t easy. I’ve been there myself. But most people talk about sex these days, don’t they?

I left that job and lost all contact with him. Like I said, we were only third-tier friends, who really only spoke at work. But I heard from mutual friends that he’d left that job for another. And he was finally getting his life together. Got a promotion, finally got a car, moved out of his house and got a place with a roommate. Things were looking up.

So why…?

I guess I just hate how fucked up things can get. How suddenly you can see someone you once knew turn into someone you never thought they could be. It isn’t like I agree with his decision or support it. No, I honestly believe he did the most terrible, selfish thing he could have possibly done. That ANYONE could possibly do. But… I guess what breaks my heart is understanding how it could have come to that point.

He found a new job and ended up repeating the process. Met a new girl, fell in love, dated a short time, etc. I didn’t know the details, and no one I knew really knew either. What I learned came from the news. He wanted to be with her, came to see her, bought her flowers and gifts–really tried. I guess he was desperate. But… it doesn’t work that way. “Trying” doesn’t really get people anywhere when it comes to love. Ironically, it seems like the less you try, the more successful you are. And it’s a common fact. Most people find themselves attracting people they don’t really care about while repelling the ones they want to notice them.

The news said he went into that place one day and shot that girl. She died on the scene. A young girl who valued her family more than anything else–probably wasn’t interested in dating at all. It wasn’t his fault–probably didn’t have anything to do with him that she turned him down. But I don’t know the details, and local news has a way of twisting situations to make a victim seem more angelic and the assailant more deviant. He shot her and ran and hid outside overnight while the police were hunting him down. I was told about it by a mutual friend within an hour after he did it, while the pursuit was still at its apex. We were all surprised, because we knew him and the kind of guy he was. There was no way he would’ve done that. We worried overnight, and I honestly believed, knowing the kind of person he was, that the guilt would lead to him turning himself in.

But as the police closed in on him, he decided to take the other way out…

I told this story because it caused me to think about things. About what can happen when people become too obsessed with images and going with the group thought of “what’s good” and “how things should be” to the point of isolating people with a different point of view. It isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair. And it ruins people who just can’t fit into that mold.

I’m not someone to harp on things or tell anyone what to do, because I hardly know what I’m doing in my own life. But I’m saying this because I really feel this.

Don’t be a liar. Don’t be fake. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Don’t kid yourself about how you feel, even if it’s painful or embarrassing to admit. Because chances are–no, almost guaranteed– you aren’t the only one. And if everyone’s sitting around waiting on someone else to just understand, why can’t it be you? Why don’t people reach out more and try? It hurts to be rejected, made fun of, and isolated, but that doesn’t make it fair to follow the herd and shame others for fear of being shamed yourself. Be brave.

Let’s just be honest, okay? Let’s actually try. Because… Even if you never realize it, that simple “I understand” could mean more than the world to someone. It could definitely save a life.