The sentences were stacked. I was surrounded. There were all these words. I took a dictionary and tried to look up meanings, but there were too many words. Too many ideas, too many things were being said. I held my peace and looked for a way out.
There was none.
With no place to go I began to listen. I listened to my captors. These sentences and phrases stacked high around me. After many years I learned that I was the one who put them there. I had been barricading myself in and I didn’t know it, scared of the prying eyes of others. I had been looking at myself through their eyes.
Finally, I looked at myself with my own eyes. I dropped the worry and concern. I breathed in freedom. I wrote a sentence that contained a window in my mind, and then I looked out. Then I wrote a beautiful scene. Manipulation works in my favor now. It was a favorable egress, unlike the kind behind the eyes of other people. It led to a pasture.
A beautiful pasture. Nothing better than a pasture on which to graze. I don’t like to browse. My window is not made by Microsoft. Micro and soft. An interesting word combination. Small and pliable? I suppose so. I’m using it to write these words. Microsoft Words. Small and pliable words. I’ll take that. A word processor.
But it’s just a tool, you see. I’m the one that matters. What I do with my tools is up to me. Build. For everything is lost in translation. It doesn’t need to be from one language to another. You have the idea in your head and as soon as you translate it into words, on paper or spoken, it is lost. You have only learned to improvise as you go along. You never meant to do the things you do.
You’re flying by the seat of your pants. Some are better at it than others. Some are adept at lying to themselves and tell themselves that they are at the helm of the vessel. Ok, so what? The sea can still swallow you up. You’re still at the mercy of the sea. You’re still being allowed, permitted, to follow your ambition.
Don’t ask me to follow you. People see me and try to get me to follow them. No. I have learned to tell people no. Hey, can you… No. Hey will you… No. Leave me alone. People come to me with their ideas. Like I don’t have a thousand scrambling around my brain. Like I couldn’t use manpower to carry out a bright idea. I leave people alone because I want to be left alone. It’s the golden rule. That’s why I have a job. I want to get paid so I don’t have to be hustling people for some nonsense. So, when people come to me, trying to hustle me with their ideas, I already know what’s up. I have to let them know that I’m not the one.
Out here, in this world, you have to find your ground and then make a stand on it. You can’t let other people bully you. Pressure you. There is a fine line between bullying and persuading. There are many ways to bully people. Many ways to manipulate people.
We’re going to be bullied and manipulated. It’s not like you can totally avoid it. Just like I am going to bully and manipulate, even when I don’t want to on a surface level. But it’s down there, in the subconscious parts, and my wants are not what I would like to admit. I know that about me, and guess what? I know that about you. Why? because I know that about me.
I’m done trying to sound a certain way. Developing a voice and all that. More foolishness for teachers to use to take up lesson time. We’re done here, yet we’re not done, because we’re still here. But I can be done on certain levels, say, certain levels of pretending. I can go ahead and be the person that I want to be, circumstances and responsibilities considered. I don’t have to please you, or any other man. In fact, maybe I’ll piss you off, just to let you know that I don’t care to please you. Just to get it out of the way, you understand.
I like the idea of self-empowerment. I really do. But not the fake kind. Not the kind you have to show off. I like the kind where people learn, over time, that you aren’t going to be moved by their fancies. They learn, over the long haul, that you are perfectly confident in yourself, and you don’t need the validation of others.
I don’t need people to validate my decisions. It took me a long time to get closer to this notion. I still forget it sometimes. But I am aware of it. Awareness and knowledge of self is an important thing.
I always have things to say. Something smart. I always have advice for people. But because I have knowledge of self, I know I’m full of shit. So I write it down. That way, someone can read it, or not. You get to talking with somebody and then social graces manipulate the honesty. Nobody is trying to hear me. Just like I’m not trying to hear them. You can shut a book, you understand. It’s not rude. And even though it’s somebody else’s writing, I’m reading it. Reading is an individual activity. The other person, the writer, is removed. It’s not like that in a conversation face to face.
Check one of my books and you will see no, or liar, or bullshit written in the margins beside something the author wrote. It gives me satisfaction to do that. I can’t do that in a face to face conversation. I’m want to maintain my attitude. I want to feel a certain way. I want to stand tall within myself. What I want is honor, but that only comes after humility.
The Marine Corps recruiter told me honor, courage, and commitment. I was like, you had me at honor. But that wasn’t real honor. Had to learn that the hard way. I learned to stand tall inwardly. Not to make a show of it. That takes humility. Because, we wrongly assume, what good it is to stand tall if other people don’t see it? How do we stand tall without other people to stand tall over?
See the flaw in our thinking? The flaw is in the comparison. If you compare yourself to other people, then their opinion matters. Then you’re not standing tall. You’re being manipulated by the people around you. You have to learn to stand tall within yourself. Compare yourself with yourself. Learn to see your self, outside of yourself, and within yourself. When you learn to judge yourself, and be confident in your judgment, then the judgement of others will diminish in importance. You be the judge of yourself, and sentence yourself accordingly. Then the sentences stacked around you will be your own, and the words that once imprisoned you will become the ones that protect you.
Your judgment, your sentence.