Sunday, September 07, 2008

Who I Am [Logan Blogaday - Day Nineteen]

"I couldn't tell you that I was wrong,
chickened out, grabbed a pen and paper, sat down and I wrote this song."

-What a Good Boy - BNL

One day in adult roles we were doing speed dating. We'd have about 45 seconds to answer a question about ourselves to another random person in the class.

One of the questions we got was, "what is your greatest fear?" I was paired with a girl in the class I had never talked to before. I thought about the question and thought about a good answer to it. I said to her, "You know, I think my greatest fear is failure. Or letting someone down. Yeah, I don't want to let people down."

She looked at me with a bit of disbelief and said, "that's it? Letting people down? You're not afraid of spiders or being burnt to death in a building? You'd rather die than let someone down? Sharks?"

The way she said it made me think and laugh a little bit. I stuck with my answer.

But tonight I realized what it is that I actually fear. The thing that legitimately has me worried.

I'm afraid that I'm going to change. I'm afraid that even though I've been on fire before, I'm not going to be on fire anymore. I'm afraid that even though I used to be a runner that I'll never be a runner again.

More than anything else, I'm afraid that even though I know that I've worked hard and been a good person for a very long time, that one day I'm not going to be that person.

And I'm afraid because it's me that does it. I'm afraid that even though I know something right now that I'm not going to do anything with it. I'm afraid that when I know I should push the green button that future me won't push it.

I'm afraid that I'm going to suck, plain and simple.

I don't run anymore. I'm still in shape. I still play Ultimate and basketball. I could run some miles if I had to.

But I used to be a runner. I truly was. I could run forever and not get tired, I could go whenever and wherever I needed to. I ran for life, I ran to be better, I ran to fulfill my obligation to my teammates and my coach. I ran for the smell. I loved the trails. I loved and hated the competition. It was part of me.

And now it's not. And it's not because I got hit by a bus. It's not because I left the cross country team either. It's because I don't go running anymore. This change that has occurred in my life is not caused by genetics or my environment. I wasn't tricked into it.

I'm no longer a runner because I don't go running. I haven't been making the choice to do it. I am not a runner because of the choices that I make.

And that terrifies me. Not because I'm worried about being a runner, but because I'm worried about what I'll do to myself. I don't want to be 40 years old and suck.

This fear is cleverly crafted. It's based on truth, yes, but I'm looking at things so one-sided.

My fear here is that I'm destined to let myself down. Let everybody else down too. (Funny how that was one of my fears that I said wasn't my real fear. I guess they're related...) The problem is that I've always done it. I'm not a terrible person. But there have been hundreds of times when I've felt like I needed to be a better person, and when I knew I had what it took to become a better person, and when I committed to being a better person and worked on being that person. And I know that today I'm not fully that person. I know that even though I've started and participated in dozens of workout regimens I don't workout regularly. I know that even though I've set goals in the past I haven't always completed them. I know that I've made commitments to myself and to others that I simply have not kept.

But I do know who I am. And I do know what I'm capable of.

And this is the point where I start feeling better. Thanks, up there.

So those are my fears, but I know they work both ways. I know that even though I've failed repeatedly at being perfect, the good things that I have done do stack up. I know that I'm not going to make it at being perfect, but I know that that's okay. I know that if I choose to work hard- that's going to pay off. I know that I can be a better person. I know that I don't have to suck if I don't want to.

There are things in this life that I control. I'm the boss of my life. No one can make me suck. No one can make me amazing either.

But I choose what I'm going to do. And if I choose to be better, I'll be better. It's a whole lot of work. But it's what I want to do.

There have been nights like this before. And there will certainly be nights like this in the future. I'm not done with this battle. This fight between who I want to be and who I am. But it's like Dumbledore said when Harry asked about Voldemort trying to come back time after time. Something like, "And if we defeat him every single time he tries to regain power, well, then he'll never regain his power." It's that idea the even though it's going to be a fight, one day there will be an answer. But that answer is only there because of every single little fight we've fought along the way.

I wrote once about tunnels and how what I think we're all afraid of is things not changing or ending. We're afraid of being in one place too long, doing one thing too long. We're afraid of never seeing our friends again. We can make it for 85 years, as long as we know we'll see them at year 86. But when we're faced with the idea of never seeing them again we get so frightened. That's a bit of what this is here. I'm afraid that I'll always be fighting. As long as this life chugs on, I believe that I will be fighting. When will that victory come? When will that idea of voldemort returning to power ever truly be put to bed?

It's not in the foreseeable future. But it's like Dumbledore said. If we keep on fighting, forever, the end result is the same. Vanquished forever is the exact same as pushed back for another month, every month, for the next hundred years.

So here I am. I'm taking a stand. A stand that I've taken before. A stand that I have, in a way, failed a hundred times before. A stand that I'll have to take again. But it's the stand I'm taking, and I'm happy and honored to take it.

What does it take to be a better person? What is the good life, and how do we live it? What am I going to do tonight to make my dreams a reality? What am I going to do to help someone else? What am I going to do to be the person I'm supposed to be? What choices am I going to make?

I'm taking a stand for excellence. I'm going to work harder. I'm going to learn more. I'm going to be kinder. I'm going to care and love about people. More. I'm going to try. I'm going to be friendly. I'm going to do things that I would just rather not do. I'm going to prepare.

What does it take to be excellent? There's a lot, and I don't know it all. But I know that it takes, at the very least, a lot of work and a lot of time.

The good news is that I'm ready to work and the time's on Someone else. So here I stand. This is the mound that I'm placing my flag on. I know it'll fall over. But I'm going to keep picking it back up.

Stand on.

1 comment:

Jaron Frost said...

This is a great post. I've been feeling like this for the past little while, too. I'm afraid of never creating a masterpiece, I'm afraid of spending my whole life regretting all the books and poems and pieces of art I never created. I don't want to suck, either. I recently made a similar kind of... manifesto, I guess, on my deviant Art journal. I'm going to take my art (which is essentially what I live for, when it all comes down to it) to the next level, and I'm never gonna stop trying my hardest at it.