By this time in my life, I’d hoped to have overcome enough struggles to have found some Truth. And I have, but if there’s anything I know, is that man deceives himself.
My Dad called me yesterday. He’d just gotten home from China recently and was excited to see me; I wasn’t there.
I’d left to LA in pursuit of. And in my pursuing it meant that I had to leave home earlier than he expected, earlier than I expected. Regardless, I left, he came home, I wasn’t there, he called, and we agreed that he would come up to LA for my birthday.
He called me last night and said he would be in LA tomorrow night. I’d lost track of time over the weekend, it hadn’t realized tomorrow was my birthday. I checked my phone –close enough, two days before my birthday.
I questioned if he was staying for the weekend. And he continually affirmed that we were just getting dinner. Just getting dinner?
A pang of guilt washed over me, and I thought of myself. I didn’t want my Father to drive all the way from NorCal to SoCal just to see me for one dinner.
It seemed like an unnecessary burden, and I felt that I had erred. I should have gone back home to him for my birthday, indeed he had asked me about it, and I had only replied that it was too late to go back, I was busy now.
But was I?
A girl added me on Facebook –someone that I knew in high school but wasn’t really friends with, an acquaintance, but regardless I accepted her friend request and sent her a message –as per routine.
She replied and noted that she was in Sacramento visiting a friend! What coincidence and immediately I thought of going to NorCal to visit her.
My! How my heart and mind leaped at this! That I was ready to drop my stay in LA and head up for this girl.
But you see, one of the flaws (or perfection) in my mind is that I did catch this. Did I not say to my Dad that I was too busy to go back to NorCal? But here I was now, thinking precisely how to go to NorCal? Tell me Will, is it too late to go back and visit your Dad?
I was subletting and supposed to stay for around another month’s worth of rent. I walked up to my roommate and told him the situation. I felt bad. But I also felt that he sensed my impending regret if I didn’t go home. He took it well and smiled (although he didn’t really smile).
This was good, I thought to myself. If I didn’t go home with my Dad, I would have regretted it. I thought of why that would have been the case.
Don’t most people when they speak of regret, speak of themselves? They regret not being more fearless, not being themselves, or not doing something for themselves.
But this was not the regret I felt. I felt a sense of pain, not for myself and my want to see my Dad, but rather the reverse, that I would feel my Dad’s pain and his want to see me.
To not fulfill his want, that would have been my regret. Yet for others, they would choose to keep their regret to themselves. But what sort of world is this that we should only think and keep to ourselves?
We want of not wanting regret. But who do we want this for but ourselves? But why should I regret for myself? This person that I am, I would not regret anything of myself. But is my life not wicked and cruel that I should have endured all that I have endured? But still there is nothing that I regret.
There is a fear we condone in our society –the fear of losing oneself. Indeed, if everyone is saying be yourself, hidden is the mantra don’t lose yourself!
This seems foolish to me, what is there to lose? And I unfortunately feel that to this point, you’ve only seen a demonstration of compassion, empathy, or kindness on my part.
Perhaps you protest to me, that compassion is an ideal. That to be selfless, is to cater to others, to compromise yourself, and that being a bit more selfish is good.
In other words, I’ve heard this line thrown around quite a bit, “You’ll get hurt.”
Do we believe that nice people, the kind, always and unfailingly: get hurt?
But why should I care about my own pain? Isn’t pain just another feeling or thought?
We accept physical pain as necessary to exercise. Then I offer emotional pain to spiritualize!
And like any training regime there’s a line between too little and too much, there’s a necessity to work all your muscle groups so you don’t end up with skinny legs, we recognize that training is training, not real life, and that exercising for looks (gym-rats) is different from exercising for function (sports).
So it is the same for emotion! I propose a training regime:
–Pain is okay
–Cry, it helps
–What does it mean to be “strong with emotion?” To have nice thighs…
–I take it to mean –feel as you feel, but act in accordance with what you feel.
Dance! If only so the night will know you still sing.
I woke up the next morning in tears. Had I not resolved this dilemma in my mind already? That I was going home?
I had a dream that I was stranded on the beach with a few friends. One of these friends I treated with the greatest spite. I would walk over to him and spit in his face, slap it afterwards, and spit again.
The tides of the ocean were rising tremendously quickly, close to overtaking the small table we’d laid our belongings on.
I signaled to the group that we ought to go, and the idiot friend protested! He walked straight towards the waves, and to this I couldn’t believe.
I walked up to him and slapped him upon the face so that he may understand. He did, and so we walked.
By the miracle of dreams a bus found us and signaled our freedom. I happily ran with my belongings to enter it, and found that if I hadn’t pressured our group to leave, that we surely would have missed this bus, our escape.
The bus drove, dropped each of us off one by one at our houses, until it was just me and the idiot friend.
We didn’t speak and in this silence, the bus arrived at his “house” –a school, did he not have a home?
I watched as he picked up his belongings, a slowness, weary, he smiled at me and got off the bus. The wheels began turning.
In my stupor, I crossed my arms. Contentment! That I should be able to relax at this moment.
I looked out the bus window and saw my idiot friend walking towards the school, a pang of sympathy overwhelmed me, that this should have been our last interaction –I would not be seeing him again.
I yelled at the bus driver, “Stop!” and ran to the front of the bus with my belongings.
“What happened?” The bus driver asked.
And me, with a loss of words, could only stare at her face and hug her profusely that she would stop the bus.
“Did you get expelled too?” she asked me with a smile.
“Thank you,” and I stepped off the bus.
I walked down to the school and saw my idiot friend sitting on a rock outside. I dropped my belongings and hugged that man! I hugged him and hugged him that he should know!
Thus, I woke up.
And what did I, take this dream to mean? But you see, this is the wrong question, and I’ve already grown accustomed to these dreams of mine.
What matters is not what happened in the dream, what matters is where the dream ended and what it means to imply. Namely, what happens if the dream were to continue?
First a note –that I decided to leave the bus with my belongings. I had every intention to stay with my idiot friend in the school, I did not have a home in my dream, indeed that I knew I did not even know where the bus was headed when I was alone on it, but it was driving.
This has consequence. Two things happened based on my decision to leave the bus.
1. I abandoned my unknown destination on the bus.
2. I felt a great deal of heart-warming and crying at having accepted my friend.
But tell me, what didn’t I mention that has even more implications?
Notice, that these are two very different outcomes.
The first –is continuous, I do not know when it will end.
The second –is momentary, that it happened and then?
And then I would be with this idiot friend, sleeping about in abandoned school buildings! For… how long? My! The folly! That I should have left the bus because I felt regret towards him. That I felt pity, sympathy, empathy, the whole lot of it!
But what does my pity give him but the most momentary of happiness? That the hugging and crying would surely end, and then what?
It was a mistake! How I long for the bus to return! That it must return! Wait!
But you see –my dream is over. But now I am awake. I am still on my bus –and would I leave it for pity?
That I should think that I’m being selfless! But who is that for? ME.
That I should think that my sacrifice at leaving the bus should make it better for both of us, what is this pity?
Could it not also exist that my Dad would want me to stay in LA? Is this not precisely what he wants? That I should have the strength of emotion to stay to my task?
I cannot be distracted! I cannot lose sight of the goal! Although I do not see the destination, I know it, and I must stay on the path.
Regret… you pity wrapped in disguise! But what use does anyone have for pity? I’ll let the bus roll on! And smile aptly at my Dad.
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