Many years ago, longer than I care to admit to, I was a sophomore in college. I was nearing the end of my second year of school, about to transfer from a small community college to a university. I was the only person in my class who was finishing the two year program I was at and leaving Wyoming and moving forward with my life. I felt like I was hot shit. I thought I was so much better than everyone else. And for the first time in my life, knew, and believed that I was better than everyone. I really thought I had a lot of things figured out.
One day, my dance instructor and advisor pulled me aside during class and quietly said to me, "You are acting out of line. I don't know whatever it is that is going on with you, but I have no objections failing you in my class because you can't behave this way in my class and get away with it. You're a good man and a good student and I would hate this new attitude you have to get in the way of you moving onto your next school."
My first reaction was to say "fuck you!" And I even remember thinking something along the lines of "that bitch doesn't know anything." But she knew a lot more than I did, and she knew a lot more about me than I did. I was feeling on top of the world and conceited and became someone I am not. Later, we had an office meeting and when I told her how misunderstood I felt from my peers because I was the only one leaving, she said, "in those moments, come to my office, I do understand what it's like and I can help you get through it." And continued with, "You know, you don't have to say everything you are thinking. And sometimes it's ok to be asked what's wrong, and respond by saying, 'I'm just being quiet today.' Because at the end of the day, it's ok to just be quiet."
I didn't really know what to make of it at the time, but I gave it a shot. Slowly, I started feeling much better. I kept a lot of my thoughts to myself, focused on me and what I wanted to accomplish and slowly everything began to fall into place. I graduated with honors from my program and went on to an excellent university. And the words of a woman much wiser than me have stayed with me for most of my life. Until about a year ago.
Recently, I've come to realize that I've been behaving similarly to that 20 year old arrogant young man again. I've become so wrapped up in being a person that I am not and it's going to be an interesting journey to find myself again. Luckily, I have friends who are helping me on my way and reminding me what it means to be me. How it is to compassionate and how it is to be my whole self. So for arguments sake, I don't think I'm better than anyone else in this world, except for when it comes to my friends. I spent so long last year feeling so lost and at some points alone, but my friends have all reminded me that they are here, and that we share an infinite bond, and the trust and love we built so many years ago is still intact. Somewhere along the way I just forgot. But luckily they didn't let me forget for long. Because to me, my friends are the best people in the world. We have a blast together, we have hard times together, and we have a lot of love between us, and for that I will always be grateful and humbled.
There have been many aspects of my life I've allowed to operate a certain way for far too long. I know the changes I have to make and I know how it's going to happen. I know it's not always easy to change the course of your life, but dammit I'm going to, because I see how I have to be in this world and I know where I have to go. So I'm now giving myself an assignment. I'm going to just sit quietly and work on the aspects of my life that I have to. The focus for me has to shift to what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, rather than what other people are doing and how it doesn't affect me at all. I've just let it control me for far too long and because of it, I've lost some friends and loved ones along the way. Instead of focusing on the past, I need to redirect my attention to my future and how it isn't dictated by what happened yesterday, or even today. But will be shaped by how I change in the next steps of my life.
In the last few months, I've seen several people announce that they are only posting positive things on Facebook. Maybe now is the time I do something like that. Or maybe now is the time for me to just be quiet today. Either way, I'm lucky to have had so many friends along the way who help me when I fall, set me back up and push me back to the path of being myself.