“You come into the world alone
And you go out of the world alone
But in between, there’s you and me”
Trampled By Turtles, “Alone”
The opening chords and lyrics are slow, methodical, like a morning alarm clock building the momentum to jar you into a sad reality. It’s an older song, but I like it, because if you take time to appreciate the subtle picking up of the pace, you realize they’re painting a very realistic picture of of the lonely journey we’re all undertaking in the day to day.
And these days it’s been more evident than ever, if we’re gonna be real honest here. Recently I was called out by someone close; they said, and I quote, “you are full of shit. You make your life seem so fun on social media…it’s disgusting to me. And it’s laughable. You’re dishonestly representing yourself. Zero respect. Go post more about how awesome your lonely shitty life is…”
I hesitated to even post that here, now, because not only does it show the ugliness that we’re capable of heaping on one another, there’s a sliver of self doubt in there that this person may be right….right? I try to use social media like I assume 94% of people do: to share funny moments, brag on my kids a bit, to naively overshare aspects of my life that I wrongly assume might interest the people in my world, and…..yeah, sometimes to frame my life in the best of its moments. Because who really wants to read about the minutiae of the daily life, especially if your life doesn’t seem so goddamn rosy very often? I’m guilty of that, sure. And despite the evidence piling up about the damage that social media can inflict on the psyche and self-esteem, like so many others, I’ll pore over the feeds and cluck and shake my head at the seemingly perfect lives others are leading, with their perfectly put-together kids who never look like they snack on dust bunnies in the corner, half-naked while they lose their minds in games of Fortnight, while they’re all so perfectly in love with boyfriends and girlfriends and spouses who are their #blessed #rocks, and the grapes just taste more sour with each post since I just can’t seem to master the art of letting go and I just can’t seem to let anyone in too damn far, since months and years later the hurts are still relatively raw and now I’m just shouting to my damn cat about HER own emotional unavailability and is it any wonder I’m regarded as the village lunatic? No, it’s no wonder.
We have those people, if we’re lucky, who talk us off the ledges, and I am so very fortunate that those folks who know the whole story recognize that my soul comes from a place of love, that my heart wants to connect, just like we all do. Intense? You bet your ass I am. From a creative standpoint, it can be a gift to give away, and I am grateful for those gifts. But to feel each moment so intensely is its own curse. And it’s a damn weird combo, to be a madly passionate person who can’t stumble out of his own way, a veritable turbocharged Roomba vacuum that slams into the wall repeatedly and then wonders why there’s so much damage to wall and itself and the room remains filthy. I got off the phone tonight with a dear friend who took an hour to discuss the fine art of realizing that we are enough from within, that external validation, be it on Facebook or feedback from something you’ve built, will never be validation enough. I GET THOSE WORDS, BUT THE HEART ISN’T LISTENING, AMIGO. It’s akin to telling a heroin addict “look, dude, just stop using heroin”.
Okay. I mean, that would work….if it was possible.
But intense, passionate and addictive people don’t just let shit go. We lock horns with our demons and dance with our ghosts until long past the song is over. After so much discussion over so many hours, the wisest friend I have said “at this point, you have all the tools to unlock your very best self, but you’re just gonna have to keep grinding through the suffering until one day you are no longer grinding. Grind through the pain. Grind through the lonely. And head towards acceptance….that you ARE enough.”
Again with the enough. Weird.
“The days and nights are killing me
The light and dark are still in me
But there’s an anchor on the beach
So let the wind blow hard
And bring a falling star”
So in lieu of a muse being present in my life to inspire from a place of love, the mad mind set out to create. A new podcast, new time creating shop tables, new tattoo art for myself and others, mostly looking for a trailer park where my lighting strikes of creativity could crash. I’m fortunate enough to have these outlets, and since I think they come from genuine places, looking for authentic tales to tell they’re growing in number, but in inverse proportion the sense of inner isolation, even in a crowded room, intensifies.
When called out by that person for having a “lonely, shitty life”, my rational mind knows that they’re reacting out of pain and anger, like my own scrolling and self-righteous Instagram judgements. But there’s a truth in there, too. Despite the advice of my 100%-in-committed-relationships-friends that I just “need to get used to being alone”, I don’t think we’re made for that, as people. Not just anyone will make sense, despite the urge we might feel to jump into the very next relationship that presents itself as a means of avoiding these late-night conversations such as this. It’s important to learn how to appreciate we ARE enough, we bring our own flavor and life and love to the table, and that needs to be enough to feed our own souls.
It’s a tough road, but I’m learning to believe it.
I hope the one that issued the condemnation knows I’m trying, and I hope they find their own way out their own suffering…they could use all the love we all need.
You come into the world alone and go out of the world alone…too. In between there’s you and me. I’m pretty sure we’ll find one another somewhere along the way.