Tonight, while standing behind the bar waiting for someone; anyone, to show up, I started thinking about things.
I remembered how easier things were as a kid. I remember having no responsibilities. No severe consequences.
I remember not having to worry about money, and relationships. How to make ends meet, or how to pull them closer together.
I remember being in school. I remember being praised by my grandparents.
“That’s my boy”, my grandpa would say while pointing at a chubby faced picture of me he kept in the living room on his piano, on display for everyone to see.
Coming from a family full of black sheep, I remember being designated “the one to succeed”.
I was the smart one. The one that was going to go places. The one that was going to be someone. The one to prove the theory that the men on my fathers’ side of the family weren’t always going to be failures.
I remember how jealous it made my cousins. I often got bullied because of it. How were they ever going to get outside of my shadow. And, how was I ever going to be inside of it.
I always felt pressured. Like, there was too much hope placed upon me. Like, no matter what, I was always going to disappoint someone. Like, I’d never be able to be everything that they wanted.
Of course, these high expectations were washed away when I came out of the closet. I stopped being the one that was going to go to college. The one that was going to go places, had suddenly only become the one that was going to hell. I became the blackest sheep in the herd. And, eventually I felt like every single one of them led me to the slaughterhouse.
It took me a long time to come to terms with most of it. Not just because of how they made me feel, but because of how I knew I made them feel.
If there’s one thing that I worry most about, it’s being a disappointment. Not being good enough. Not being enough, or too much. I experienced being a let-down, and it’s something I remember never wanting to feel again.
I look back on these moments, and I wonder how things might’ve been. I wonder if dealt different cards, or placed in different scenarios, would I still be here. Would I be further, or worse. Greater, or less. More, or not as much.
I remember, feeling like I had to succeed. And, somehow not wanting to just out of spite.
As I look at myself now, twenty seven years into the whole thing, I wish that I could have the opportunity to try harder. Push myself further. I wish I would’ve dug a little deeper. Or, had done just a little bit more.
It’s true, I can’t remember a time when I wanted to be an astronaut or a doctor. A lawyer or …astrophysicist. From whatever moment I learned what I wanted to be, it’s been the same. My dreams and goals haven’tt really changed much. I’ve always wanted to just, be me.
I don’t have any amazing abilities. I don’t possess some immense bit of knowledge in one distinct area. Really, the only thing I’ve ever felt I was good at is saying how I feel. I guess being in touch with your emotions is a good thing, but it doesn’t really get you far.
So, I channeled that. I decided that I would write. And, for many years it’s what I’ve done. It’s who I’ve been.
I look at everything, and I realize that it’s very unlikely that I’ll reach the levels in which I’ve dreamt of. I realize that a good portion of my dreams won’t come true.
I understand, that I may never be an author. I may never travel the country on a book tour. Or have my name recognized during a random conversation between complete strangers.
I know, that I might never be a notable person with documented success.
But, I have learned that regardless of that fact, whether my silly fairy tale expectations of success come true or not, I’m still going to be the same person.
I’ll still be brutally honest. Completely trust-worthy. A great friend. A loyal love. I’ll still stand firmly for what I believe in. I’ll always hold my dignity high, and my heart will always touched by some of the amazing things in life. Like, a childs’ smile or a perfect kiss. (or..and old person cussing)
No matter my level of success, those things will not change. I’m not a person who gives in.
I might be the kind of person who lets people down, but I’m not the type of person who sells out.
As I sat there, wondering what will happen to me, if I don’t become a published author….I realized that..I’ll still be the same person.
I’ll still be the same way. (just without a hefty bank balance)
And, I’ll always be a writer.