One of my favorite movie scenes is from the 2008 film, August. In the film, we follow the main character as he embarks on the process of launching a company in the pre-9/11 month of August. As you can imagine, things went utterly to shit following the demolition of the WTC.
You can view the clip here (LINK)
“Guys like you ain’t go no soul.” He says, prior to getting a well-deserved punch in the face from ‘Banana Republic’ at the bar.
The scene is a powerful one, because he strikes on an interesting concept; that people do things because somebody told them it was the right thing to do, the hot place to live, the ‘best’ industry to work in, the ‘ideal’ person to date, fuck, or marry.
For most of my life, I’ve walked through the guidelines of what others have told me to do, or is the ‘right’ thing to do. For 20 years, I grew up under the shadow of organized religion, which insisted I wasn’t good enough as I am, that I’d never find ‘true love’ without it, or make for a good role model because I don’t call myself a christian.
It’s probably a good time to introduce the topic of glass houses. “Don’t throw stones in glass houses” is a common phrase, often used to warn somebody they’re treading on thin ice.
In my case, I would say that the most liberating process I’ve been through has been the conscious act of taking a sledgehammer to my own glass house; the one that contained my ego, personality, persona, and reputation.
It is far more liberating to own your mistakes than to try and mask them. “I take the blame!” Is a phrase that has set me free in so many areas of my life.
Rather than try to act like I have it all together, the highest form of liberation I’ve experienced is when I’ve opened up to others about my struggles with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and perpetual feelings of not being enough.
Boy, does it feel good to write that.
If there were a field of dandelions, I’d be romping through them, shouting “I’m not perfect! That’s okay!” While ripping my clothes off and letting it all hang out in audience of a beautiful afternoon sun.
Now that I’ve burnt that image into your mind, let’s continue.
Glass houses. There are so many of them in our culture today, each inflicting its share of damage on those who dare question it.
A few examples of include:
American exceptionalism – The notion that America can somehow do no wrong, in spite of it dropping tens of thousands of bombs, each year, on other countries, having concentration camps at the border and locking children in them, and slapping fines on the bankers responsible for the 2008 mortgage crisis, while jailing countless citizens who sell marijuana, while Wall Street investors reap profits from its sale.
Image / Appearance – The lie of materialism, which makes millions each year peddling products manufactured in sweatshops, by children and malnourished employees. The perpetual rat race of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ propagated by countless commercials. The lie that financing is the same as ownership.
Drug abuse – Somehow people who smoke a plant are branded drug users, while countless millions are prescribed pharmaceutical drugs which inadvertently kill over 50,000 every single year. Advertising for pharmaceutical drugs, which preys on uneducated masses who statistically don’t do the homework/research on medications prior to requesting it from their doctors.
Happiness / Being ok – The idea that it’s not okay to have a bad day, ask somebody for help for fear of social backlash. The myth that depressed people ‘look’ depressed, or somehow give others an indication that things aren’t okay.
While I could go on about many more of these ‘glass houses’ which trigger backlash when you do the homework to examine them, I think it’s necessary to reinforce the idea that breaking down social norms without an equal measure of self-glass-house-destruction can only make you a bitter individual who thinks the world is out to get them.
These days, I’m learning the process of setting your soul free requires you to take a look at all of the things you’ve been told about the world, and process them through your gut.
Does it feel wrong? Does it feel authentic? Do I smell a rat?
If we ever expect change in the world, it has to come from a heart that isn’t afraid to shatter the environment from which it was raised.
In my life, I’ve taken a baseball bat to the dogma, theology, societal pressures I encountered during my younger years. The result has been a life of peace-through-turmoil, because every day is a new challenge to learn, grow, and push past comfort zones.
When I look around at the world and see the ‘things’ that are held in high esteem, it’s become pretty transparent that they’re hollow. Wearing a $250 ‘Supreme’ Hanes t-shirt simply shows the world you’re stupid enough to waste your money, and callous enough to ignore giving money to those who desperately need it while you wear an overpriced undershirt.
“Influencer” has become the new mini-celebrity. Yet, all I see are figureheads of people who influence weak-minded people, who have been deduced down to the lowest level of not being able to think for themselves – through social media, or every Sunday morning.
In the past, I’ve received harsh criticism from my blog because I voice my opinion on things that might make others uncomfortable; e.g. my opinion that paddling is physical child abuse.
Getting older, I realized that withholding my opinions/truths about these topics is simply allowing myself to be paddled as a now 31 year-old, by the institutions, doctrine, and dogma that inspired the abuse in the first place.
I’m going to die someday. And so are you.
I’ve found that life is far too short to live in fear from backlash from speaking your truth, especially in world that desperately needs to hear it in the growing chaos of lies, advertisements, and fear-based propaganda.
Freedom can only come when you liberate yourself from the chains that bind you. In many cases, the key is already in your hand.
Be free. There’s a beautiful life awaiting you when you find the truth, purpose, and meaningful substance to life that only you know the answer to.