Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I Stonewall (A Teenage Monologue)

I have a problem I’m willing to admit: I don’t give a crap what you think.

Because at the end of the day, I’m not you…
…and I’m only going to give you so much room. To know. To feel. To see. Me.

Granted, I’m not the center of the universe. Psh, I mean, who am I to want that?  Besides, it’s not like I want, or even need attention as much as the occasional dose of acceptance. But let's get one thing straight: I'm not the kind to tempt pride by wielding it out of people. That's just not me. Honestly, I’d rather tightrope the fine line between selflessness and self-protection. After all, I have fears and hopes like anyone else.

Let’s face it: the pursuit of “happiness” is messy and joy comes with a cost. Whatever we’re searching for…whatever path we desire…chances are the road will feature rejection, failure, uncertainty…and collisions into our darkest fears. Surely not every journey justifies the pain incurred…

…then again maybe it does.

I mean…I may not know much, but I do know what it’s like to be labeled. To be typecast as a miscreant. To be ruthlessly judged. To be purposely ignored. I know what it’s like to shatter expectations. To delay dreams. To disappoint the people I love the most. To strip away innocence by an idolized thirst for fulfillment.

I know what it’s like to rip the smile off of God’s face.

And honestly, that’s enough to tolerate the haunting memories seeking to suck the life-brew out of me.

But it’s there in my cul-de-sac of vulnerability where I’m reminded why I stonewall…why I create fortresses of hurt-preventing cynicism. For out of offense, I establish my best defense. At least, that’s the lie I want to believe. When relational drama cyclones into my life, I want to be ready. And the only way to be ready is to establish my fortress and leave only when I have to. Maybe once in a while, I’ll lower my moat into the cold wilderness of community. After all, I can’t be my own prisoner. I have to believe I’ll find some diamonds in the rough some day, right?

Until then, I can only care so much. ‘Cause at the end of the day, what really matters are the warm confines of my refuge and the safety in knowing I alone possess the key. No way in he** I’ll let anyone have it. I mean…why permit another condescending soul to liquidate my self-worth based on blind assumptions again?

Truth is: I’d rather be alone then discarded, consumed by the unfailing than emotionally tied to shadows posing as promises. After all, life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So I’ll cut the cord, turn the other cheek and keep the ignorance on the opposition’s court. It just doesn’t make sense to care what others believe…to share in the responsibility of what others deem true.

But good grief, when did I become so skeptical? Sheesh, this doesn’t sound like me…to use hostility and exclusion as means for peace? God forbid contempt joins the mix.

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I remember when I used to be a happy, go-lucky person when it came to my friends. Before my unfortunate dabble in bad romance, it wasn’t hard to be myself. Granted, I had typical teenage immaturities, but overall,

I was pretty cool. At least the majority thought so.

I remember when an old friend could read my insecurities like a book, whose keen eye could penetrate my thick yet hollow armor. She knew I cared too much…about my appearance, my grades, what people thought…all the things she didn’t know how to fear. There was no need for her to be insecure; hence, why it was so easy to be jealous. Talk about a perfect package delivered to the wrong person. My name should have been on the box. Not hers.

But while I was a little envious, the point is: I didn’t need her to validate my weakness. I knew full-well it was there…perhaps not in detail, but I knew it was there. It’s not like I needed someone telling me what I already knew.

So I started building...not a whole lot at first, but enough to medicate.

And before long, I began to feel better. The more the pain numbed, the more confident I felt. And though I still kept to myself most of the time, I started to understand when I needed to open up to someone and when I needed to keep my eyes on the floor.

Then came the day the locker slammed on my courageous moment, the day a “Hey. How’s it going” died in an awkward tsunami of silence...my approach, no doubt, lost on the social anomaly.

I mean, c'mon. Me. An instigator? A go-getter? No way. Yet, here I was doing the very thing no one knew me for: starting a conversation with a social elite.

Clearly, I had forgotten the social hierarchy of my surroundings. If only I hadn't been so happy that day, perhaps I would have avoided her cavalier eyes and the unspoken memo begging me to stop trying to be who I wasn't.

As I left school that day, I could feel the chasm widening. Deep down, a minor victory; on the surface, a major blow. I knew I had made the right move, but all I could feel was a throbbing sense of unworthiness. Funny how a God-forsaken minute can flip a world upside down.

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I’m stronger, more mature now. And I’d like to think the walls have helped me get there. Heck, maybe one of these days I’ll get around to building some bridges. But for now, I’d be lying if I said I was happier. Too many past mistakes…too many word curses and distractions seeking to pull me down, eating away at the joy I once I had in greater measure.

I can't afford any more sorrow...

...then again...that's why I stonewall…
…because what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

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