Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Professional Phony? Naw! Heart of a Brony

Dear Eve,

Looks like you don't do this anymore, but in case you do, I thought I'd ask you something.  You can just answer me privately if you don't do this blog anymore.  It doesn't matter to me.

This is the thing with me right now.  I don't feel like I am who I say I am.  I try to be "authentic," whatever the fuck that means, and my friends would say that you get what you see with me.  They say I'm "real." (I've got a thing with "quotes" it seems.)  To that I would say that I am generally honest in my opinions, don't have much of a filter, and don't like being around people that live their lives for other people or try to keep up with "The Joneses".

But I have no idea who I really am.  I avoid everything that makes me feel anything, it seems.  I just realized the other day that I am literally afraid of everything on some level.  On the outside, I look like I have it together.  Wife, kids, respectable job, enough money, a baseball team that is actually winning, but I am lonely, relatively shallow, don't really relate to anyone on a meaningful level.  Even my wife, who I love dearly, I feel doesn't really know me, and if she did I fear she wouldn't like me very much.  Inside I'm odd man, eccentric.  I feel like I'm in a prison of my own making because to be the real me would disappoint so many people.  I am afraid of who I am because the real me doesn't fit in my current suburban life and I fear would make my friends and family uncomfortable.

I don't want to be 80 before I feel it's safe to let it all hang loose.  The truth is, I am an artist afraid to paint.  A writer who never writes.  A musician who is paralyzed at the idea of taking music lessons.

Who am I?


Dear Lil' Triste,

I like a man that can lob a little willy-nilly French at me. It gives you an air of mystère that I appreciate and helps me bone up on my Miss Piggy French.  Thanks!

Now on to your existential crisis.  I am thrilled that you have asked me to tell you who you are!  After all, I don't know you, you could be a delicious figment of someone's imagination, or even (better!) a time-traveling me from the future after my sex-change.  All three options thrill me, so I will happily give you absolutely astute and life-altering observations based on your five superbly honed paragraphs and one single word of French.

You are not a phony.  You are a glorious manifestation of shame and anxiety all bundled together in a package I like to call Everyman.  What's different about you though, Triste, is that you know you are a multifaceted human mess.  That is a gift.  You could be a phony bastard, a slob of a man, not longing for anything other than the next new craft brew or obsessing about buying your neighbor's boat because he just got laid-off (Boy is he fucked!  Poor people problems!  Who cares!), but you're not.  You are not that asshole.  You give what you can to the people that mean something to you and are now realizing that is not enough to keep you happy.

Imagine it like this: There you are in Life's backseat. Your skirt is lifted, the condom is out, but you're squeezing your knees together, trying to figure out if putting out is worth the trouble or if it's going to be another big build up to WTF JUST HAPPENED.  Can you take another disappointment?  Can you afford to give it your best go, be willing to give Life the ride of it's dreams, only to wind up with 35 seconds of having your head knocked against the armrest, a couple of OH GOD's and a sheepish "I'm sorry.  You're just so hot"?  I am telling you now that Yes! Yes you can.  You can afford another let down.  You can afford to fuck Life in the back seat (with protection) and possibly be disappointed by the outcome because what other choice do you have?  What other life will you be given?

If you're honest with yourself, you fear that your true self isn't good enough, creative enough, original enough to be fully unleashed.  It's safer to keep your knees squeezed together and be called a tease.  There is no shame in wanting to be safe, but since it's causing you psychic pain, I suggest getting a little loose.  Maybe you're not ready to go all the way.  Maybe start by going down on Life.  A little blowjob never hurt anyone! AmIrightorAmIright?  Maybe take a chance and talk to your friends or wife about something that really means something to you: a book or poem you read, a movie that made you think, or maybe a painting you love. Who cares if it feels weird?  It feels weird to get a prostate exam, too, but you do it for your health (and if you don't you should!).  This is just as important.  You don't need to whip out your journal or sketch book and share your tear-stained soul, take piano lessons or, for bob's sake, start reading Rilke.  You can if you want, big guy, but don't feel you need to Full Monty this situation.  There are no "shoulds" on how you decide to start sharing what makes you you with the people you love (or perhaps simply just tolerate).  It will make you feel better, though, to acknowledge that you do fear your creative side, your sensitive side, and then do a little something, when you can, to let it out in a way that doesn't scare the shit out of you.  And when you've accomplished that, do a little more.  

Please know this: your introspection is a gift to your children.  This acknowledgement that you fear the things that make you happy is a gift.  Your wife is lucky that she has a man that wants more from life than a really good Super Bowl commercial and ball-supporting underwear.  You sound like a guy that people like and I think you will find that if you are brave enough to open up about the parts of your personality that are meaningful to you, you might find a few other bros that are out there with a little spark(le) inside, too.

On the other hand, you could go full-on balls-to-the-wall Kevin Spacey in _American Beauty_ , say fuck it, live off your wife, and pursue whatever suits your fancy (even hot teenagers!) because HEY! WE ARE INSIGNIFICANT AND NONE OF THIS MATTERS.  Just try not to get killed by your sexually repressed, closeted, retired military neighbor.  That shit happens all the time.