Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ruining It for Everyone Else

Growing up, this was something my parents said to me constantly, at the zoo, at the water park, at my own birthday party. My opinion, my lack of cooperation, my outside-the-boxness was "ruining it for everyone else."

Is this really so bad? I mean, what exactly did I ruin? Their ultimate happiness and source of joy? Just think where'd they all be today if it weren't for me. If I hadn't ruined that perfect Christmas where nobody got what they really wanted anyway.

I was unhappy, sure. And I made a lot of others around me unhappy as well, though that wasn't really my goal. But can one person, or child, really ruin your life? Reality?

I will give my parents a break. I was relentless, and never really gave them a sporting chance. But their words stick with me. Am I doing anyone favors by not speaking what's on my mind? Perhaps something I say, some kernel of truth, will affix itself to you in an uncomfortable space. And now that it's been said, and you've heard it, it can't be taken back. You can no longer ignore the small piece of truth that tells you, you must change. Have I ruined your life?

Truth and beauty can't be ruined. They aren't less true or beautiful when criticized or heckled. It is only the delusion of truth and beauty that gets spoiled. In that sense, I'm doing you a favor by saying what no one else will say. By telling you the truth, even when it's uncomfortable.

Here's to ruining your complacent, settled life -- and choosing the road less traveled by.