“Oh I’ve heard, that it’s good, to look before you cross…
And nobody, no one, nowhere will ever find you – if you don’t get yourself lost.” (Robinson/Robinson)
We’re all a little flawed. Some of us more than others, I guess, but we’ve all got some baggage in our respective metaphorical closets. Once we become cognizant it’s there, we’ve got exactly two choices on how we can proceed – we can avoid it, or we can address it.
The problem with addressing it, though, is that it’s hard. And sometimes scary. And it might take a while. Plus, we’ve got shit to do. The kids have practice or that report is due or the boat payment isn’t going to make itself; whatever the reason, we resign ourselves to a course of avoidance and move forward, albeit down a serpentine path.
Alas, construction begins on the walls that keep our demons at bay. Those walls manifest themselves in myriad ways – empty bottles, affairs, or an obsessive and disproportionate investment in a career. One way or another, we find a way to stay distracted from what lurks behind them.
Eventually, though, the walls that keep the demons out serve instead to keep us in.
We don’t know how they got there, and we sure as hell don’t remember building them, but they’re there, and who else would have? They didn’t provide any warmth, but they did insulate. Out there, on the other side of them, were noise and raw emotions and incomplete thoughts and uncertainty – scary things.
It’s a frightening place to be, out there.
To be the fullest potential of what we can be in this life, though, we have to get out there. We have to get dirty and be scared and stare down the things that should not be in the dark corners of our soul that we don’t talk about at dinner parties. Staying inside those walls gives us a sense of security, but it’s an illusion, and what value is there in security, anyway, when it comes at a cost of forfeiting hope? How did we come to a point where controlling how we lose was more desirable than a chance at winning?
Because that’s exactly what we’re doing when we refuse to venture out there, where our truest dreams and flaws and hopes and fears live – we’re giving up. Giving up on happiness, on making this life exactly what we want it to be – tragically forgetting we won’t be granted another one.
We do it, possibly, because the only thing we fear more than failure is The Unknown.
It’s a necessary evil, though. It’s scary as hell to wade into that unknown, but it’s an investment that always pays dividends in the only currency truly worth having. The things that bring you peace and resonate with your soul don’t come from skewed and biased perceptions of those outside you – only you can find them, and only inside yourself.
To make this most of this life, you’ve got to find them; you need to step outside what you built out of fear. In the end, to find true happiness, you need to go outside to get inside.