If only they would take the time to get to know the real me

If only they would take the time to get to know the real me
Once I have some time to dig down deep enough I’ll see
The key, the path to knowing and being everything I’ve ever wanted to be.
But then, what if, at the end of the day, after all the layers have been peeled away,
By the ones who claim to know and love you best,
There is nothing left to see, no bigger, greater Self, no permanent omnipotent “I,” just a temporary guest…
And then, what if, at the end of a decade or two, even you discover that there’s not really another you
Living underneath the you most people have known and met with lukewarm, tepid, indifferent responses?
You aren’t secretly a genius who could prove the Riemann Hypothesis or devise a mathematical description that unifies Relativity and Quantum level physical activity,
Or a virtuoso pianist who will dazzle the world with intricate layers of arpeggios, playing the unplayable pieces like they were Chopstix.
There is no trillionaire, President, Guru, mad scientist, mystical healer, profound sage…nothing…nobody.
Just the same old you that people have mostly determined to be an evolutionary dud, who
At best may be capable of raising a child or two that can go on to be the pre-eminent somebody such-and-such in their particular field.
You developed a wheelhouse, a skillset, a comfortable and predictable way to survive in the corporate world–not be successful, just survive…
And this is who you are.
No amount of unread books from Half Price Books, free e-books, Amazon and the Public Library will turn you into the next T.S. Elliot.
Some people would consider reading the above as written in a negative light, but it’s not–it’s as matter-of-fact as you are…
Some might not be able to bear the fact that they are ordinary, average, slightly above mediocre, competent, capable workhorses, who neither make nor live history…they just live, reproduce and die.
For them, it would be easier to discover that they are secretly something evil and terrible–they have a secret serial killer gene, or they conclude they want to worship Satan and sacrifice children, or they are off to overdose on heroin but not before penning a best-selling memoir about their addiction.
It is easier to accept that you are exceptional in some awful way than it is to accept that you are unexceptional in every possible way.
Granted, you are still special in the sense that there is no one else like you,
But, you don’t have what it takes to create a breakthrough genre in art, music or literature,
You won’t ever do anything novel in science or math,
Your ideas, while they might technically originate from your mind as far as you can tell, are hardly original against so many thousands of years of recorded human thought,
Your own life experience, while uniquely yours in the sense that no one else has lived a life precisely like you, is far from being that much different from any other WASP middle-class American’s life lived in the past sixty years.
You want to be exceptional because you want so badly to find that one single thing that sets you apart from others,
Then, you can declare to the world and God, see, look, I am indeed something different than the rest of God’s creation,
Therefore, I am worthy of that much more adoration or scorn, but most importantly, ATTENTION, to be paid to me by so many others.
But, it’s not attention for it’s own sake that you are seeking–clearly, you could have gotten that by running around naked in a public space full of many people where television crews were present.
It’s this misguided notion that people like, say, Thoreau or Einstein are held up some place like heaven, but maybe not quite heaven–like a Platonic place of ideal people–exceptional people who are worthy of having their name be remembered for perpetuity for this or that thought that they had.
It’s this misguided notion that you will achieve true happiness once and for all, and be forever cast into a state of bliss if you can imprint your given name–whatever that is–upon some collection of ideas that are to be forever held as uniquely yours, as if you own them and no other being ever could have/would have/has thought of them, as if God played no role in helping you come up with that lovely collection of ideas.
In short, you know you can never be God, given all of your weaknesses and flaws, but you can be something akin to a god, a demon, a deity, a more-than-human thing set above and beyond the common mass of humanity which you secretly despise and wish so badly to set yourself apart from.
But, at the end of your life, you will inevitably find that you didn’t accomplish a damn thing, no matter how many people sing your praises for a generation or two to come, no matter how many times your name is mentioned in connection with a given thing–you were simply given a gift, which you may or may not have passed on to the best of your ability, and you were given for a time the sense of being in control–you were rented out a self.
But when you have to return it all to the Owner, and stand before the Owner giving the Owner credit where credit is actually due, you will fidget and mutter and stammer and finally be elated to learn that ultimately, nobody down here will remember you and that thing that you thought/said/did, either.
Because then you would have had to contend with the most original and cardinal sin, not giving credit where credit is due.

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