There are a lot of things in life that you can’t change. You can’t make everyone like you. You can’t make everyone understand you.
You can’t even make some people give you the benefit of the doubt.
You can dye your hair but it will grow back grey. Put on make-up to hide the blemishes, but eventually, it comes off. And if you’re like me, you can’t be bothered 90% of the time anyway.
Like so many others, I spent a lot of my younger years trying to find my place in the world. My friends know how hard that was for me because of some of the things I was dealing with, particularly as a teenager.
Hindsight tells me that I didn’t let a lot of those wounds heal, and I’m still vulnerable when people hit my weak spots. No matter how much I repeat the mantra - “Be yourself. Others can like it or leave it, but at least you haven’t sold out” - it still cuts to the core when someone says they don’t like you, even if it isn’t someone you’ve ever met. I guess most of us naturally want to be liked, and the people out there who want to be misunderstood or hated are still in the minority.
I wasn’t going to post today, originally. I have commented more than usual this week, even places I don’t usually comment, because of the ITW thing. Not only that, but with the launch of Killer Year this week has been insane.
(And thanks to all of you, we had over 2000 blog hits there this week, by the way. In just five days, that’s staggering.)
Today, on the Killer Year blog there is a group post. It’s an “If You Were A…” Question, posed to Killer Year members, to be answered on behalf of themselves and their characters. And believe me, if you're looking for lighthearted fun, stop reading and head over there!
I had a tough time with the question. As much as I’m inspired by music, the specific question we were asked was hard for me to answer (and you’ll have to go there to see it).
Once I put in my answers, though, I realized that other than the one person I know “in the flesh” – someone I obviously see in a more balanced perspective because I actually know him – the two other guys I picked are known to be outspoken, either in person or in song, even a bit stubborn, opinionated.
Sound like anyone you know?
If I could sit down with either of them and ask only one question, this would be it:
Did you ever fear that by speaking your mind and taking a stand for what you believed in that you’d kill your career?
And I’ll ask you, friends. Do you think someone should try to fundamentally change who they are to succeed? I’m not talking about slapping on a bit of make-up when you go out in public, I’m talking about maybe not speaking out on things like the ITW thing because you don’t want people who disagree to dislike you. That kind of thing.
Of the music
From Morning Bound Train by Jimmy Rankin
Could it be I'm only restless
The wild inside will not be tamed
Could it be I'm only love sick
What's ailing me cannot be named
Still I wait without a sound
On this train that's morning bound
I can't sleep at night
Climbing the walls to the beat of the rain
I go through dark to see daylight
On this morning bound train
From Call It Democracy by Bruce Cockburn
Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor
Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom
And, because it is a day for thinking, about who I am, today is a day I’ll be listening to Pacing the Cage
Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you live too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage
I've proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip's worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Powers chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage
Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage