Robotically, almost automatically;
If I’m asked how I am
I kindly reply”fine, thanks! How are you?!”
And if I were to try counting how many times this answer has been a lie,
I’d probably waste a year;
Hell I might even die before I get to the final digit.
But tonight, as I’ve been many other nights
I’m not fine.
I’m quite disillusioned, sad, disgusted, overwhelmed, anxious, and other things I can’t even phrase.
I’m at the point of wishing I didn’t feel these things,
Not even because of the convenient hypocrisy that has wrapped me up previously;
No just because I don’t know if I’m totally ready to feel the heft of this realization.
The fact that some of the oxygen I’ll never get back,
The life I’ve allowed my mouth to broadcast to others and even myself has been nothing but exaggeration.
And for what!!!!!
So people could say that I’m good company?
So people could be convinced I’m an optimist,
When optimism is sometimes what made me sick to my stomach?
This is me.
I’m Ben, a 22 year old volunteer or vocational missionary who despite both self-caused and accidental brushes with death;
Is still privileged with the opportunity to be alive.
I’m not perfect, and never plan to strive for being perfect ever again.
I have good and bad days, and I’ve had some rough or bad ones more often than not recently.
Despite my more natural introversion, I enjoy meeting new people and even sometimes deeply long to be around groups of people.
It’s an insane internal conflict to have when there are weeks at a time, I wouldn’t mind not even having to put up with being around myself.
I used to consider myself not “manly” because I don’t really know anything about cars or how to use tools and maintain appliances or home needs. I used to think that my interests were what defined me and made me valuable to humanity, that the only way I could be valuable was by contributing something(any type of something of substance) even if it was of interest to only a handful of people I may never meet. I have a tendency where if I deeply care about someone and what they think, I’m terribly afraid of disappointing them. I will even put aside my own interests and desires so the interests of those I care about are accounted for while mine are either ignored or even forgotten. I’ve at times been able to, genuinely, put aside my interests; but I unfortunately see there are many others times where it was simply out of fear of disappointing or upsetting others even if it left me feeling uncomfortable.
If I’m remembered for something, while I’d prefer it be whatever is chosen by another individual beyond myself(even if it’s negative), I hope that I can be remembered as someone who wasn’t one to settle or be apathetic towards this gift we know as life.
In my imperfection, I will not stop doing my best to be a better man and better influence in the corner of the world that I can inhabit. But in light of this, I want to commit to no longer allowing a desire to appear good on the outside when I know things aren’t good at all. I ask of those I know and see or speak with regularly to call me out if they believe I’m being fake with them, question me if you have to. Please do it gently, if you will, at least to start. Cutting off a mask that has felt like flesh for so long is no simple task. But consider these words the beginning of my sharpening a knife fit for the job.