Belonging

Hello dear reader(s)!

I don’t belong in this society.  I don’t fit in.  I am an outsider who doesn’t go out of my way to be different.  I am not rebelling against anything, even though I have issues with plenty.  I am not attempting to be a nonconformist.  I don’t dress the way I do as a statement.  I do not have my one tattoo (and wish I could have more) in an attempt to stand out.  I didn’t shave my head for so long as a statement of anything other than I liked how it looked on me, and it was easier and cheaper than going to a salon.  Oh yeah, and because it kept my head cool and less sweaty when I was drumming.

I just can’t seem to make myself go along with the world that exists on the surface.  I am so fed up with the vapidness.  The materialism for the sake of materialism.  The ever-increasing belief that life is a competition.  The belief that enjoying this life is a sin.  I am fed up with those who would rather live vicariously through celebrities or athletes, than try to live their own lives to the fullest.  I am sick of those who would kill in the name of a god who would make them bow to him.  I am sick of those who would rather kneel to the divine than use that power to empower themselves.  I am sick of those who would persecute others for not believing in the divine at all.  And I am sick of those who would persecute people for hoping to believe in something larger than themselves.

People are living for a future they may never see.  I know that it is wise to plan ahead, but how much do you really want to sacrifice for a day that is not guaranteed?  I’ve always believed people should live more for today than they do, but it took almost dying for me to really begin to put it in practice.  I still fight myself on it occasionally, because my anxiety likes to step in, but for the most part, I am not going to miss out on something for a day that may never come.  When I was in the hospital, being told I had no chance and should call palliative care, I wasn’t afraid of dying.  I was afraid of dying having not experienced so many things I wanted to experience because of fears of the future.   I was afraid of dying and leaving people behind who may not have known how much they meant to me.  Death comes for us all.

People are indoctrinated, from the earliest age, to believe that this life isn’t the one where we are to experience joy.  This life is simply work to prepare us for the next one.  What should be comforting, is actually a tool used to enslave us.  Even those who reject this indoctrination, struggle with the remnants and cultural forces it creates.  What better to way make suffering acceptable?   What better way to keep in people in line?

I’ve been reflecting this morning on growing up.  From the blatant lies and right-wing propaganda forced upon us by police officers in the D.A.R.E. program, to the white supremacist lies taught to us in history class.  I’ve been thinking about the mandatory attendance policies that affected academic grades of students who aced the final exams of classes they hardly ever showed up for, yet limited their ability to move ahead to something more challenging.  I’ve been thinking of the bell system and lining up for everything.  I have been thinking about all of the ways in which we have been brainwashed into our decline as consumer drones for corporate masters.  I’ve been thinking of dress codes to stifle our expression, as well as the ones designed to deflect personal responsibility from controlling our sexual urges.

The concept of school should be to teach children to think, and to learn for themselves.  Instead, I lived in a system that taught us to go along, no matter how wrong those in positions of authority may be.  I reflect on that, and realize it is no wonder that so many people were not terrified of a fascist figure winning the Presidency.  Of course not; they have been taught to submit to those who claim power for all their lives.

Luckily, I had a bit of influence at home to help me learn to think critically.  I had parents who did not blindly follow authority just because those in the positions managed to attain it.

It has been a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, I had the pressure to do well in those systems I had already learned were so very flawed.  On the other, I have lived my life to a greater degree than many I know, who always seem to be living for the some day, and under the direction of others.  It has been good, and bad, but it has been real.

However, it has also been a little lonely.  Especially after getting sick, meeting people of similar views hasn’t exactly been easy.  People who truly understand me would be rare enough, let alone now that just meeting any people has become rare.

And yet here I sit, typing into this page, knowing that I belong.  I have a real sense of belonging today.  Not to the society that exists on the surface.  To something much deeper.  That, is an amazing feeling.

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Author: Josh Wrenn

Cancer survivor, wanna-be artist, musician, author, and all around good guy.

16 thoughts on “Belonging”

  1. Great post. I think we are more like your parents with our kids. Though we do say to change things, especially in school, you have to have a well thought out argument and call attention to what you want to change. My son has been contemplating doing something that he knows might get him ISS or detention for trying to change something he doesn’t believe in. I support him. I will coach him if he wants suggestions or to run his idea by us but this is his. You need to fight back at some point if you want to change it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are not alone out there. I have never followed the flow, in fact I generally swim against the current. I hate what our society has become, building up individuals with no talent or viable skills to elite “celebrity status”. I don’t agree with most religions and the way they terrorize people and make them hate people that don’t believe what they do. The school system is a joke – my kids really didn’t learn anything valuable there – everything they learned, they learned at home, playing video games, talking with people that are not like them, travelling, reading, socializing – they hated High School – thought it was the biggest waste of time ever, but they did it – because they had to. I am pleased to say they have turned out to be great people, who don’t follow the herd of lemmings off the cliff. We free thinkers, that go against the flow, are a quiet bunch, but we are out here – doing our thing, and letting the rest of the world act like total buttholes.

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  3. Josh, what a wonderful post. Silently shouting my support as I read further. However depressed we may be about ‘The Donald’, bathroom bills, or in my country stupid Brexit, we should celebrate free thinking individuals like yourself. Fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you on the ‘much deeper’ part. What lies beneath is much more truthful. However, I prefer not to upset my own apple cart musing about the surface world. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be for sure. That’s a given. I choose to live in choice. It’s my choice where, when, and how I choose to fit. Otherwise, I stay at home. My house is my haven. I don’t expect anything much to change except what I can change within myself to simply Just Be. I don’t have to agree to get along in this world, because it’s what lies within me that makes living in this world a fit.

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  5. I’m a traditionalist when the term is used broadly. When narrowed down to specifics, I don’t fit either. But we are all connected to all, and I feel that, although at times it feels isolating…
    Great post 🙂

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  6. Hello Josh,
    This post hit home especially. For a long time I thought that I (or my husband) are the strangers in our own land even when amongst people who should be “closest” to us…

    But we keep hope there are others out there, who do their best to refuse being shackled by what “society” force feeds us as what’s right or wrong. And there are people such as yourself 🙂

    I hope you have a great day.

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  7. “I was afraid of dying and leaving people behind who may not have known how much they meant to me.”
    I feel the same way. I sometimes get a lump in my throat when I think of leaving my family and friends. I am not sick or terminally ill but I do have a hang up with dying. I had an experience with a friend dying. I was with her. Death always seems to haunt me. Nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

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