Friday, October 25, 2013

A Bully From My Past


I'm waiting to go to my acting class.  Sitting at a restaurant literally feet from Ventura Blvd watching cars race by during rush hour.  My phone chirps and I take a quick peek, expecting the usual flurry of 'so-and-so invited you to ...' notices that I tend to skip over.  I smile once I find out that one of my old friends from school found a blog post that I did and reposted it, which is something where I'll pause to take in the gratefulness that gave me.  In the comments of his post was a name I haven't seen for nearly 15 years. My heart froze.  I haven't heard his ridicule or felt his punch in decades, yet that fear is still dormant in me.  I immediately felt that I was being chased down on the playground right after lunch, all from seeing his name in a Facebook comment.

I take in a breath before clicking on his name to take a cautious look at his profile, only to see a post he made that morning. At the end, there's this word he puts out there and my jaw hits the floor.  Surely this titan that was solely responsible for most of the emotional scars of my youth didn't write this. I went through his page and saw that he seems to be a fantastic father, husband, and all around great guy.  I'm floored by all this.  "Him!?", I scream in my head, "Really?! HIM!", with each thought becoming more and more desperate.  More and more like the child I was when he tormented me.

His word that sent me into a tailspin of emotions?  Namaste. 

This really bothered me, I imagine seeing Dick Cheney in a soup kitchen helping the needy, it's just something that you stare at, hoping a camera hops out and yells "punked!"  I keep looking at that word, maybe it'll finally turn into the joke he must have been intending, yet another ploy to get unsuspecting PJ into some awkward situation... Yeah. Been there, done that.  I sigh a bit, then decide to click back on my news feed.  And that's when 'it' happens.  A post at the top of my screen...

"Others in life are the direct reflection of who you are on the inside."

I wish I could have seen the look on my face when I read that. I'm sure it was part 'you have 6 months to live' and part 'you ARE the father'.  I locked my phone and stowed it away, leaned back into my chair to soak in this moment for whatever lesson there is to be learned.  I hear a screech and turn to watch a car almost hit a bicyclist, whom ran a red light on Ventura. The bicyclist yelled out "asshole!" and shook his fist in the air.  Time almost froze, that post came back into my mind, "Others in life are the direct reflection of who you are on the inside."

I was at a park yesterday and saw two dogs being walked, they kept their eyes locked on each other, then it started.  One would get tense, the other got tense... One started growling, the other started growling.  This continued on till they were nearly about to fight full force.  Then a third dog (one of the owners second dog) came up and licked the other with a out-worldly calmness. The fighting dogs immediately relaxed and started not to mind the others existence.  The entire episode ended with a single curious lick.

It was a fantastic lesson for the day, and a gorgeous day at that.  It'll be a lesson that I need to constantly work on.  When others come into my life and try to bring in the anger, frustration, emotions that don't serve me;  I need to bring to them the calm, relaxation, and peace that helps me.  If you allow them to over-power you, you become part of the dogfight that will inevitably happen.  News got you down?  Turn it off.  Tired of listening to your co-worker complain?  Tell them a good story instead of listening to theirs.  If you keep listening to the thoughts and emotions of how life gets you down, don't be surprised that you are under life's foot.  Be the one who doesn't listen to the noise, be the one who steps above the chaos everyone else is trapped in.  You want to help the world?  Contribute one happy and healthy person to it.  It really is that simple.

I guess you can learn a lot from a dog.  Have a fantastic day!


--Paul Jacob Evans