“When one door closes, another door opens.” It’s a saying that I’ve heard so many times throughout my life, and never really put much stock in it. It’s right up there with “Everything happens for a reason.” Some easy-to-make remark that is supposed to make someone down on their luck feel better about their situation. I get that sometimes there’s just nothing you can say or do to make a person’s situation improve, but it doesn’t really help to tell someone who is down to look on the bright side. At least it’s not saying “Sending thoughts and prayers,” though, because I would tell you right where to send them. Now that I’ve fallen into, and climbed back out of, the deepest pit I’ve encountered on this journey through my life I think I can finally look at those words and see what they mean. They just mean “I love you, and I don’t want you to wallow in this misery that you can’t see a way out of.” (You can keep your prayers, though. I don’t want help from that angle.)
I know that if Rachel hadn’t left me, I would be the same person today that I’ve always been. I know that I’d be a different version of myself to everyone I met. I know that I’d still be lying to myself. I’d still be in the same rut that I’d spent my entire life in, just hiding and waiting for the inevitable end, keeping the most valuable parts of myself safe and protected from anyone else, and avoiding letting anyone see my true self in the name of self-preservation.
This blog started out as a rant about gasoline prices back on MySpace in 2005. It slowly became an online journal, written by a version of myself that was probably the closest to my authentic self that I could allow. It’s always easier for me to write about feelings instead of talk about them. If the words revealed too much, I’d just mark the post as hidden. If it was something that would hurt a particular reader’s feelings, I’d password protect it. (I also password protected a few that revealed secrets that weren’t mine to share yet.) Over the past year, it became the writings of my authentic self, and over the past few months, it’s gone quiet because I’m living my life as my authentic self. The words are coming out of my mouth, and not from my keyboard. I’m living my life as Ben, and not hiding or holding any part of me back anymore.
What I’m saying is that I don’t need this space anymore. I don’t need a secret journal that I can scribble in because I need a safe place to get those feelings out. I’m feeling them, out in the open, safe or not. I know that living this way will inevitably lead to hurts greater than any I’ve crawled through in the past. I know that putting my entire heart out there means it’s completely vulnerable. I also know that the rewards, the joys, will be greater than anything I’ve felt before, and that will make all the pits in my future worth falling into and crawling back of to do it again. I know that I am loved, by family and friends, and there will be hands reaching out to me anytime I need them. I know that when people say those stupid words to me, words that feel so empty and false, they’re actually telling me they love me and they want to help, even if they don’t know how.
It’s time to close this door. It’s time to open the one that leads to my authentic future. I’ll see you there.
Oh Lord, hear me turn these words into a song
for them to sing along to when I'm gone
for them to sing along to when gone.
Oh Lord, let me be the one to set them free
I will give them every part of me,
put my heart where everyone can see.
They can call me whatever they want, call me crazy
You can call me whatever you want, but that won't change me
I just don't care what the world says, I'm gonna make it
They can call me whatever they want
So what if I am crazy?
- 'Crazy' by Lost Frequencies & Zonderling