Is “Just Being” good enough for you?

My family moved to Missouri right after first grade. My dad was approaching retirement from the army and was required to serve a couple of years in Korea before they would let him go, and he decided that we should live closer to family when he got out. Therefore, when he flew away to the other side of the globe, my mother and I traveled to the Midwest to begin a new life. We lived in Battlefield for a year (second grade), and I really enjoyed it there, but my dad wasn’t satisfied when he returned. Our idyllic neighbourhood and relatively new house wasn’t good enough, and we didn’t live far enough out in the country. So he found us a new (much more expensive) house and we moved again.

After this, I didn’t really have any friends. There were a couple, but between the bullies and my parents’ fighting, I dove further and further into books. My friends were Tika Waylan and Tasselhoff Burrfoot; Athos, Porthos, and Aramis; Eliminster and Storm. I read fantasy fiction to escape, and so those stories have a very special place in my memories.

I am currently re-reading the DragonLance Saga, and confronted with the character of Raistlin, have spent a great deal of time in reflection. In him, I see the darkness within myself, particularly relating to my past and the man I have become due to my background and experiences. As a youth, I found a kindred spirit in Raistlin, though I was invariably drawn to Caramon because I wanted to be more like him: strong, handsome, desired by all the girls… but I was more like Raistlin. Sickly, weak, intelligent, mocked, pitied… and now, when I look back, I wonder how much of that darkness remains. And more importantly, should I be doing anything about it? Is there anything I can do?

I was reading an old friend’s blog yesterday who wrote that she has little ambition to actually get up and do anything, to go out in the world, to work or interact with people. A commenter stated that perhaps she needs to spend time learning to appreciate the world around her and appreciate herself… and maybe that’s right, but it still struck me as too passive. I’m invariably reminded of Joey Comeau, railing against a society that doesn’t seem to understand itself and doesn’t seem to care about its own ignorance. The general principle that you must become the change, that you’re as happy as you make up your mind to be, and that you should just do it. Not because some logo tells you to, or because that’s what people do. Look around you, who actually does those things?

We don’t because we’re scared. Of losing our jobs, our spouses, our minds… but someday, we’re going to have to face the darkness within ourselves. And, more importantly, we’re going to have to face the light outside and answer why we refused to step out, step into, and live.

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