I Don’t Like to Be Picked Up

They say you can’t help people who don’t help themselves. They say you have to pick yourself up by your own bootstraps. And, most importantly, they say when you get knocked down, you should get up again (because they’re never going to keep you down).

So, why do people insist on trying to pick you up themselves?

Have you ever had someone tell you to calm down when you’re really angry? It is the most frustrating, infuriating thing in the world, right? Almost as bad as stepping on a Lego. And how many times have you heard “there are plenty of more fish in the sea” when you’ve had troubles of a romantic nature? Yeah, okay, but what happens when you want that fish, who has not only swam away, but is moving up the stream? It’s all so horribly futile.

Well, it’s the same when someone says that it’s going to be “A OK” when everything seems like it has just blown up in a large mushroom cloud that used to resemble your life. I mean, when it feels like your house is crashing down around your ears, it is really not helpful to have someone tap you on the shoulder and make a joke about not having to pay rent anymore. Okay, call it petty or childish that I’m not able to look directly at the cloud with the silver lining when something bad happens, but when the gloom and doom has arrived, the bright side is a little blinding.

Which is why I don’t like to be picked up. I don’t like to be told that things will be alright. I don’t like to be told that I should be more optimistic and grateful. In the end, I like to discover these things on my own, and only then, do they have true meaning in my life. When I realize that my own situation isn’t as bad as it seems, well, that’s a lot more freeing than being told that time heals all wounds by someone else. Plus, your comment is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound: it does nothing for the immediate woe.

Here’s an example. Today, I suffered a generic loss. On a scale of 1 to Maroon 5’s latest album, I was about a 6 on the disappointment scale. So, I sought my typical creature comforts, food, warmth, and finally music. You see, no one was going to be able to bring me out of that slump but me.

Sure, the condolences from my family and friends helped, but they didn’t take away the pain. Do you know what did? Just Around the Riverbend by Disney’s Pocahontas, on repeat. After the 5th time I heard her ask if she should marry Kocoum or if her dreaming was at an end, I realized that everyone questions their decisions and choices, and that this is a universal feeling, even in the Disney universe. I didn’t tell myself to get over it, but I was able to ease myself over it anyway, like slipping into a tub of hot water, one toe at a time.

Sure, humans are gregarious creatures in that we like to be social, not that we travel in packs (although, if you go to a mall on a Friday night, you may see that some teenagers in dark clothing will band together like water buffaloes). However, when it comes to healing, we already have everything that we need. We already have the peace and solace inside us that we can use to scab over our wounds. While sentiments from others are nice, it is up to us to take action.

In the end, seek support from your friends, but don’t ask them to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to picking you up when you’re down.

Own What You Love, Love What You Own

I was going to write about something else, but I have something to say. I can almost hear the digital pixels click on my computer screen, as the cursor waits for me to push and shove it along. And it’s funny, how I’ve been uninspired to write this blog all week, and yet here I am, putting two and two together, and putting fingers to keys, and putting thoughts to the world. I had an agenda tonight, but I decided to discard it. Instead, I am going to start my blog post by offering an observation:

I’m not sure that anyone knows what love is anymore.

Think about it. What do you love? And what kind of love do you love it with? Is it a shallow love with thin, hairy roots? Or is it a deep, booming love, like when you drop a stone down a large hole to hear it strike against the sides and echo back up? Do you love things? Do you love material objects? And I’m not saying the shiny Mercedes parked in your driveway or the lavish house you live in. Do you love books? Do you love songs? These may not be the typical objects that you may think of when you think someone is being materialistic, but they still implie materialism. These things still tie you to the earth and the human experience.

In some way, you love these things because you own them. You love books. You may not own the book itself, but you own the story inside it after you’ve read it, in your consciousness. You love songs. You may not own the melody and the lyrics, or earn royalties every time it’s played, but you own your memory of songs. You own the feelings associated with the band, the lead singer, and the live concert you attended. Without knowing you, I know that you do not love death, and that you do not love disappointment, and that you do not love sadness. Not because these things are inherently bad, but because they are universal, and you do not own them. When death, disappointment, and sadness have left their mark, they leave to mar another. We cannot own them. We have to share them. And only by sharing them can we piece together the full mosaic of human experience.

But you can own love. In fact, we must own what we love, and we must love what we own.

And now you are saying, “But everyone has experienced happiness, people can share their happiness and love it, too.” But that isn’t true. If you are talking about two people in love, two people on their wedding day, they are happy to be with the other person, yes, and they own their happiness in that way. But they do not own the other person’s happiness, and so they cannot love one another. You can’t love what you can’t own in some way.

When we love other people, we must give little bits of ourselves to them. We don’t get these bits back, but we don’t want them returned either, because they’ve taken on a new shape in the other’s person hands. They get mangled or dinged. They get soaked or burned. They get coddled and stroked. We would not recognize the little bits we give to other people because they are simply not ours anymore.

So, how do we rediscover what love means in our lives? We have to play by love’s rules. We have to own what we love. If you love the present moment you will own the present moment, and you will be able to move freely within it. If you love your body, you will own your body, and it will not have the power it sometimes wields over your mind.

If you love with the intent of ownership, there will be no room for death, disappointment, or sadness.

I’m young, but I’ve seen people forget how to do things out of love, how to move out of love, how to love out of love. We somehow get buried under too many bills, too many “no’s,” and far too many promises of tomorrow.

But if you give little bits of yourself away to everyone you meet, little handfuls for people to own, cherish, and destroy, you will know love and you will be, ironically, full.