The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. (The Usual Suspects 1995)
So so true.
“Dennis, can I just say one last thing about Mars? – which may be strange coming from a Science-Fiction writer – But right now, you and me here, put together entirely of atoms, sitting on this round rock with a core of liquid iron, held down by this force that seems to trouble you, called gravity, all the while spinning around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour and whizzing through the milkyway at 600,000 miles an hour in a universe that very well may be chasing its own tail at the speed of light; And admist all this frantic activity, fully cognisant of our own eminent demise – which is our own pretty way of saying we all know we’re gonna die – We reach out to one another. Sometimes for the sake of entity, sometimes for reasons you’re not old enough to understand yet, but a lot of the time we just reach out and expect nothing in return. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that weird enough? The heck do ya need to be from Mars for?” -Martian Child
I have no words for this. It is simply amazing.
“Why can’t you just be what we want you to be?” (Martian Child 2007)
The above is a quote from my favorite movie. It is asked of the main character and he then realizes something that causes the film to barrel into a climax. It’s great, it truly is. The thing is though, that’s my life. It’s about being a socially acceptable person. I’ve heard those words before. “Emily, why is it so hard for you to just be what we want you to be?” My parents have never said it. Never. But other adults have. Or a personal favorite is “Why must you be so difficult?” I never have an answer. I usually just shrug and reply with a standard “I dunno.” That is life for the weird kid. The socially awkward human being. It is chalk full of other human beings, supposedly normal ones saying in a pinched up way “Why can’t you just be what we want you to be?” But please tell me, what is the fun in that? What is good about that? Yes, this is America. Grow up in a nice suburban neighborhood, white picket fence. A mom, a dad, a dog. Ya know, the American dream. Be born, conform, be normal. I had a shrink once who called my idiosyncrasies “quirks” Puh- leez. That was just her nice way of saying “Kid, you’re a freak.” But I was okay with it. No one who is brilliant, was EVER normal. Not a single person. It is physically impossible to be brilliant, driven, and strangely compassionate without some sort of crazy inside of you. So that’s why you can’t just be what they won’t you to be. It’s why you shouldn’t just put a smile on your face and be a “happy go lucky little gap kid.” (Also Martian Child) It takes a certain amount of brilliance to not be normal. Try it. You might just realize how extraordinary it is.
If I’ve learned anything in the 16 years I’ve been wandering about here, it’s about quitting. I’ve learned that if you care about something enough, you don’t just give up on it. Even if you don’t like it (and trust me, it’s possible to care about something you hate), you wake up in the morning, and put a smile on your face, and do it. If you don’t like the team your put on, you don’t quit. Even if you hate the coach, and the rest of your team mates don’t want to be on the field, you go to practice everyday. You lace up your cleats, pick your chin up, push your shoulders back, and give it 100% no matter what. It’s your team, and whether you like it or not, you’re there. People are the same way. You don’t give up on them. If you care about them enough, you fight for them. Nobody quits on someone they care about; no one lets them walk out the door. They say loving someone means letting them go. I don’t think so. Loving someone means caring enough to fight for them, and then when that doesn’t work, it means gaining the courage to look them in the eyes and ask them to stay. You don’t let someone walk out of your life. You stand up every time and fight for the friendship, relationship, marriage, whatever. You fight until you have no fight left in you, then you fight some more. When you’ve done that, when you have stripped every ounce of fight from your body, if they still leave, you’ve done all you could. You fought. That doesn’t make you a quitter. That makes you a fighter. Nobody quits on something or someone they love. Because quitting means you didn’t care enough to pull yourself off the floor and try. And nobody wants to be the person that no one ever fought for. No one. So don’t let that person go. Don’t let that something go. Fight for it. You have the strength. They say what doesn’t kill you…
Everybody wants to be safe. Pain hurts, failure hurts, rejection hurts, being lied to hurts, loneliness hurts. We learn to build up walls to protect ourselves; this way nothing gets through. We make them layers thick, and miles high. We don’t want anyone to climb them or even worse, destroy them. People spend their whole lives making boundaries. We do it to keep ourselves safe. What happens though is that people pretty much live the Pavlov theory. We are creatures of habit. Once we feel rejection, we hardly ever go after that again. It hurt so bad the last time, why feel that ever again? Because, maybe next time it won’t hurt. Maybe this time it’ll change our lives. Nobody wants to touch the hot stove more then once. It hurts. Life hurts. It will pick you up and throw you around in so many different combinations that every single time will bring a whole new sort of pain. But maybe, just maybe next time instead of the horrific pain or being rejected and alone you can feel the tranquility and the genuine happiness of having someone, anyone, something, anything at your side. Boundaries aren’t bad things until they become your life. You can spend your whole entire time on this planet making up plans to keep yourself safe, or you can stand up and say “This could be fun.” and just do something because it feels good. Maybe it’ll hurt, it could be the worst pain you’ve ever felt. But, can you walk away knowing full well that it could give you the most wonderful feeling in the world? You can either live your life on the sidelines or you can lace up your shoes and get out there and work your butt off trying. It just might be worth it.
Recently my soccer team was asked to write a short essay on why we play. I thought mine applied well to life, so here it is.
I had played soccer before last year. However, I played last year for one reason. Mack played. So I just did. There was no question. I didn’t realize that it would be something I would fall in love with. I was always passionate with judo. I flowed well and played without my mind getting in the way. Soccer was clunky and awkward. I hated it. I hated showing up for practice. I hated the mental strain. I hated it so much that eventually I fell in love. I couldn’t help it. I had been trying to like it for so long that eventually it just came naturally to me, obviously not the skill and technique. The heart came. The drive to be better than I was came to me. I wanted to be better because soccer was something that I wanted to do. It was something I was going to be good at. So I worked hard. I practiced all the time. I worked outside of practice. I made myself better. However I think I owe my love of the sport to Mack and Taylor. Had they not picked me up last year and showed me how to walk and talk I would be nowhere now. I would still be sitting on the bench wishing to touch the field. I play soccer because I love it. Now, when I step on the field I am ready. I am no longer awkward. Things begin to flow for me with every ounce of experience. I play for the rush of the game. Soccer is a part of me. I never thought it would be. I thought I was going to play to improve my footwork for judo. I thought it would be easy, quick, and painless. AI thought it would be a no effort type deal. I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. It was long and hard and painful, every single day of it. But I learned something with my progression. After what I was last year, to what I am now, I have learned that the best things in life, the most valuable, and the most genuine things must be worked for. You have to bleed a little. There has to be some sweat. And, if tears don’t flow it wasn’t worth it. Anything worth having should require hard work. So I play. I play because I know I can be better. I play because my heart drives me to. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it.
So you went to get dinner and you ordered a salad with no dressing and a water. Awesome. Your’e thinking ‘dude, thats only two points I could like have one oreo when I get home! Yes.’ They bring out your food and I look at you and smile as they put my bacon cheese burger down in front of me. You ask me why I would eat that when it is so bad for me. I just smirk and inform you that life is indeed to short to skip the bacon. Then you’re all over me about the stupid cheeseburger. You’re shouting off stats and carbs and all sorts of other things I don’t care about. Now, I am so not saying I promote gluttony. I’m saying that if you want the burger, get the bacon. If bacon is a choice get it. I don’t just mean on your burger. It’s easier to do things if they’re a little more fun. I’d rather plow up the backyard with some music and cold water then when the stereo’s broken and somebody just took the last water. Part of the more bacon deal however, is that when you have the choice to add it to your meal you’ve got to do it then. The next place you go might not do bacon. SO taste it while you can. Life is short. So turn up the music. Wear the shirt you want. Drive fast, work hard, play often and don’t be afraid of some bacon every now and then.