Robin William’s death/apparent suicide hit me harder than I would’ve imagined. Sure, there are “more important” things going on in the world, such as the atrocities happening with ISIS. Sure, Robin was one of the few famous people that I’ve actually seen perform in person. Sure, Aladdin is my second favorite Disney movie. But what really struck me is how sad Mr. Williams truly was, how well he hid that behind his mask, and how many frowns I keep hidden behind my smiles.
More often than not, I am a sad, unhappy fellow.
But you’d never know it.
I don’t mean to mask my feelings. I don’t try to put on a happy face for people. When I smile, which is often, it is a genuine smile – I don’t know how to fake smile. Call it a pseudo-façade maybe.
Take for instance when I was recently unemployed. There were some people that I saw fairly regularly that had no idea I was without a job, no idea I was down on my luck, no idea anything was out of the ordinary. I don’t fault them one bit, as I made no effort to share with many people about my predicament.
I’m going to attempt to help reason out some things in my own head. While some of this I probably should keep to myself, perhaps that’s the problem… perhaps I keep too much to myself. I am not seeking sympathy, I am not trying to capitalize on a trending topic; I am seeking therapy through writing and sharing. This will be raw, long, and potentially not enjoyable to read.
I don’t believe I am special. I believe at best, I am average. I believe that if I were to disappear, that there would not be very many people around that would remember me or think of me after a week or so of my departure.
I am an introvert. Very much so. I’m not so awkward that I don’t know how to interact with people in real life, but I suck at small talk. I suck at joining conversations and I’m not great at holding them. When I show up at my box to workout, I’ll say hi to people but I usually don’t engage many in conversation beyond that. Usually I’ll go over to the rig and stretch and mobilize a little. And yes, while that is important and something I really want to do, sometimes that is in an effort to avoid speaking with people. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to anyone, I just don’t have anything to say. I’m not special, or interesting, or fun.
I think that’s why I love talking behind the veil of technology. I can say anything from the safety of a text message. I enjoy the challenge of fitting everything I need to say into 140 characters with Twitter. I find having something to comment on keeps any discussion focused so I don’t find myself uncomfortable.
Through social media, and this blog, I have the ability to communicate with some fascinating people. I don’t actively seek out anyone’s approval on there or craze attention, but it means so much to me when people respond to what I have to say or take the time to read/listen. I don’t think my writing is special or even particularly good sometimes. I still don’t know how to take a compliment more than saying “thank you”.
When my I Don’t Care post went viral, it was one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me. For once, I became the center of attention. My friends at my box were so interested in its spread, in the stats of shares and reads, and they seemed genuinely happy for the success of that post. I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve never led a sports team to any victory. I’ve never led a winning bid for a big project at work. I never have been the spearhead for any endeavor. That’s not to say I haven’t taken on leadership roles, I’ve just never been successful at them. That feeling, other people being excited, other people… dare I say… proud of me… totally an alien feeling.
Those same people, those same friends of mine, the ones that first shared that post and the ones that first shared my first post… I lie to them. We all usually get together on the weekend and hang out, eat, drink, talk about CrossFit, etc. I enjoy their company. I truly do. I’ve never had a group of friends that I feel I fit in better with. But… sometimes my introvertedness takes over and I just don’t want to leave the house and I lie and make up some reason why I can’t go. And I sit at home. And I get sad. And I forget that those friends do like me, they do care about me, they probably would miss me if I was gone. I get so embarrassed because who wants to sit at home instead of hanging out with friends? How do you explain to someone that you just want to stay at home and do nothing instead of go hang out with them? You can’t.
I’ve never had a best friend. Or, more appropriately, I have never been someone’s best friend. I think this is because I’m not a very good friend. Not that I wouldn’t be there for someone when they needed it, but as I said above, I’m not great with the little things. Sometimes I would rather be alone than with people. I’ve never been in a wedding party. Well, I take that back, I was in my sister’s wedding, but that was probably because her husband took pity on me and felt obligated to include me or my sister asked him to have me as part of the wedding party. I’m running out of time and friends that would give me a chance to be in a wedding. This isn’t a “goal” of mine or anything, but when I think about it, it hurts. It makes me sad. I know I’m not a good friend to anyone, I know no one counts me as one of their most intimate friends. And I know it’s my fault. But I can’t help it.
I have so many blessings in my life that I should be thankful for. I have all these nice things, but they don’t make me happy. I have money, but that doesn’t really make me happy. I don’t find joy in very many things that I do. I look at my life, all 31.5 years of it, and think wow I really haven’t accomplished much or I don’t have much to show for myself.
**Editor’s Note – This section has been removed post-issuance. See the bottom of this post for more details.**
Also, I was raised Catholic. And yes folks, Catholic guilt is a real thing. Guilt, and negativity. It’ll creep up on me in the middle of a CrossFit WOD. I’ll be trying to push through and the voices in my head will remind me that not strong enough, not fast enough, not enough period to finish.
And maybe when/if I make peace with my issues, resolutions to other parts in my life will hopefully unlock. I don’t think my issues resulted in my introverted nature, but maybe it did? I don’t think I actively seek out the approval of others, such as “strangers” on the internet, but maybe I do? Maybe I’m like the great Gatsby himself… filling his empty home with everyone but the one he truly desires and needs?
I just reread everything I wrote and am very tempted to just hit delete or at least not publish. I don’t know what this post accomplishes, except maybe says a few things I’ve wanted to say or at least is step one in finding some happiness. Life is way too short to not be happy. Even with my last post regarding happiness and positivity, it took a while to come up with those points even though I did them each day as they occurred. I want to appreciate small things like that on a regular basis. I want to be happy! And if I can’t be happy, I’d like to at least not be sad.
Some say that everything happens for a reason. I’m not sure exactly how much I buy into that… but, what if I started CrossFit so I could create a blog and be able to share myself with others and then what if Robin Williams passed so I could be empowered to finally say something about my feelings? I know, not very likely, but what if…
I am not looking for or wanting any sympathy. For those of you that will see me after reading this, please don’t look at me any differently. This is my blog and I’m using it for some potential therapy. I guess the point of this post for you, my readers, is to know that even people who seem perfectly happy or seem to have a perfect life… they actually might not be so perfect or happy at all. And someone can say “well just talk about your feelings”, or “tell someone you are sad”… well some of us can’t. Some of us don’t have the means to articulate our plight through normal communication. This struggle, this struggle is real folks. I get so tired fighting this fight, trying to be happy in a world that doesn’t seem truly made for me. I don’t want to leave it… yet sometimes my mind wonders who would even notice if I did?
And then again, I could always just be quiet, “be a guy” and not talk about feelings and stuff. But I’ve been there and done that and am still doing that. It hasn’t work and isn’t working. It’s time for a change.
**The moral of the story, the takeaway from this post is… communicate. Don’t hold it inside. Find someone that will listen to you. They don’t have to understand you; just articulating your feelings be it in written or spoken form has a way of giving you mastery over them. Writing this post gave me strength and courage to do something I should have done a long time ago, and the results were awesome. I can’t wait to use this newfound happiness and lack of fear in other life domains. If you need someone to talk to, talk to me. Email me or tweet me or however you want to get ahold of me. I will listen. I understand.**