Friday, March 4, 2011

Maintaining Position, Going Nowhere, Situation Normal

Cubicles in the Learning Commons at DH Hill
Next week is Spring Break for NC State, though I can't say that I will be going to any sort of exotic locale for fun and excitement. Instead, I will be at home presumably trying to get caught up on my reading for classes. For now it seems that the focus of my life revolves around simply maintaining the status quo. Very little of interest or consequence occurred outside of the brief excitement of preparing for, and engaging in, my Midterm Oral Exam in Accelerated French. It went well since it largely involved me having to memorize things which I needed to say. Ever since I was a child it has been easy for me to memorize speeches and songs with little effort. I even find it enjoyable. Memorizing speeches is among the talents I apply to public speaking, generally.

The few highlights of the week, such that they were, happened on Wednesday when I went bowling with my psychology friends, and then later helped another friend in the Social Work program with a paper at DH Hill. However, despite having other enjoyable interactions with friends throughout the week, I find myself suddenly experiencing loneliness. I liken it to that feeling of being alone in a crowded room -- you know you should be feeling more pleasure than you actually are in the situation. That isn't meant as a dig on any of my friends. Rather, it is an unfortunate consequence of trying to conform to societal norms.

After my last blog post, one of my friends and I got into an argument about whether or not it was appropriate for me to share so much information about myself on the Internet. Honestly, I wish that I could share MORE information about myself -- not just on the Internet, but also in real life. Despite my contention that I am absolutely honest, even to my own detriment, there are unfortunately still one or two secrets which I keep from the world, not for the benefit of others, but for the benefit of myself. From what I have gathered, this is what passes for "normal"; almost everyone has secrets which they keep closed inside for one reason or another. But, wouldn't the world be happier (or at least better off) if we had NO secrets? Hell, the website PostSecret is devoted to nothing BUT displaying the hidden secrets of others! Of course, the recent controversy surrounding the organization WikiLeaks suggests that revealing other people's secrets without their permission can have detrimental legal consequences. Clearly, secrets (personal or otherwise) want to get out, if only we as a society could agree that it is safe to release them.

For me, secrets are impenetrable walls which prevent true intimacy and honesty. Secrets, like lies and hypocrisies, are maintained by cowards who cannot bear the consequences of their actions. We are all afraid that if our secrets were released we would lose our friends, or our families, or our careers, or our freedom. And I say "we" because those are certainly some of the reasons why I keep my secrets. What are your reasons? Is honesty THAT disruptive to society? Are we all that scared, all that fragile, that something as simple as PURE honesty can terrify us and cause us to freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights? We are all human. We all make mistakes. We are all complex people with complicated emotions and personal histories. When it comes to human experience, there is nothing new under the sun. No matter how bad you think your secret is, someone in the world has the exact same secret as you. And, right now, all of you are hiding behind your secret walls like frightened children waiting for their mommies and daddies to come home and tell them that everything is safe. Perhaps that's why I'm so skeptical, since, for me, it wasn't even safe then!

If all of society chose to become more open, more honest, and more willing to accept the once held secrets of others, then true social intimacy would become the norm. We would all be able to treat each other as fully three dimensional human beings, as opposed to these two dimensional facades we present to one another today. We would no longer have to waste so much emotional energy putting on one act for our boss, another act for our lover, and another act for our siblings. I'm tired of being "the old man" to one group, "the loudmouth" to others, "the wise man" to a couple, "the smartass" to yet others, "the genius" to some, "a gentleman" to one or two, or "the lovable douchebag" to a few others! I want to be ALL of those things at once. I want to be ASHE! If we could shed our secrets, and the walls we construct to hide them, everyone would learn to accept us for who we TRULY are because we would have to offer them the same respect. And that IS what being honest with someone is, after all... showing them respect.

In the interest of getting you to start sharing your secrets with the world, I'll share one of mine: Whenever I'm having a conversation with a friend or acquaintance (and sometimes strangers), I have to fight an urge that makes me want to step over to them and kiss them on the mouth, regardless of their race, gender, orientation, or age.

I wonder if that's normal...

Have fun, and keep living life... And go share more of yourself with the world.

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