There’s something cool about you

The only TED talk I would point you to, ever. Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability.

YOU GROW UP IN YOUR TEENS THINKING, “I gotta be more ___.” So people will like me. So people will think I’m cool. Teens are always going through that, aren’t they? And that was the thing a couple of us in an impromptu conversation last night started really getting into.

Started talking about, in general.

“Normality.”

What is normal? Why do we think so?

You couldn’t help but bring up adolescence.

Way back when everyone and everybody would tell you how you were supposed to look, act, dress, and be. The magazines. The ads. The people on the television in the shows. American shows. American culture that was all about pushing other people down, humiliation, and one-upmanship. Born and bred in this culture it has taken one heckuva long time to remove myself long enough to see just how damaging that is for all of us. It’s a culture of wondering if you’re ever, ever going to be “enough.” But knowing how to accept your SELF, as you are, is exactly the first step that it takes to get to “happy.” I’m not making this up. You get to be a Buddhist by osmosis when you keep gravitating this way. (Japan in the 90s. Sikkim in India last year. Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in 2013, Cambodia for a year, where I’m based now.)

There’s a million and one ways to be

HAPPINESS. Isn’t that what everyone’s trying to bottle up and sell in America? Buy more now more now do this and you’ll have it, eureka!, the cure to everything. The perfect job, partner, lover, house, second job, new everything. Shiny shine shine.

But…

What the?

If we can’t accept ourselves as we are, and this is the hard part about being a teen or a young adult in America, or even a grownup who never really got a chance to mature properly because our culture rewards narcissism and narcissists can’t do empathy and that means you never get very far in the high-quality relationship department… not just with a partner in life but with anyone, well, what happens is, we’re all walking around trying to think of snarky things to put online and get past all the self-loathing that really ultimately is the only reason anyone puts someone else down.

Why else would you?

Why? I keep wondering this. Why it feels weird to get to America is because you never really know if you’re doing okay. You feel like you’re on thin ice, all the time. You feel like you have to “improve yourself” because you’re not able to calmly state, “Hey, you know what? I don’t really give a crap what you think. I like myself as I am, just as is.”

Truth is, everyone has something cool about them. It’s true. And! There’s something cool about you.

You, me, and everyone else

FINDING OUT WHAT that is takes time and work, and maybe your twenties and thirties. Granted, it’s hard, and no one is gonna show up out of the blue to help you because that’s not what the Western culture is about to promote (or Eastern, come to think of it, over here people are just as influenced by the chase for “things” and material status to get where they think they want to be). Ugly, really, all of this. This weird ambient feeling like you have to conform to some arbitrary, top-down, American ideal of “the picture.”

Hm. I’m not buying it. No two point five kids, no property, no giant bank balance, no car, nothing like that out here for DK. The only thing that matters is relationships. True connectivity. Because as Oscar Wilde said, “Who, being loved, is poor?”

As cliche as it sounds, you can’t really love anyone fully, until you love your self.

Not teaching metaphysics

A PERSONAL CONFESSION: This whole giant two-year trek around the world started when someone somewhere in Asia offered DK the opportunity to teach metaphysics. A nerdy way of saying “self-awareness.” Relative to the world and the universe, sure, but the first bit, about SELF, that’s important. And DK would teach this to a specific population: teenage girls. I kid you not. The idea was to reach out and connect with a very youthful but highly influence-able age group. Show them that they don’t have to listen to anyone else’s ideas about how they “ought” to look, act, dress and be.

That they could decide.

That it’d be okay if this took time.

That no one else is going to be able to validate you.

That only you can do that.

Metaphysics. Being, the power of noticing “beingness.” All these texts on the subject, scanned at a library, mailed to a DK account somewhere that I’ve somehow lost the key to. But it doesn’t matter.

The intention—knowing and trusting that your voice counts, that your unique voice is just as important as the aggregate so-called “ideal” that they are pumping at you through ads, motifs in movies, TV shows, and elsewhere that tell you you’re not pretty enough, skinny enough, or attractive enough…. wow.

Let’s change the channel, shall we? —DK

Exploring themes of “normality” in May and June at S. P. A. C. E., an eZine. Read more >