This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Naked Turtle

So what happens when you've pulled a person out of their shell?

Because now I'm out. That fuzzy barrier of fright feels like a memory (concentrating on it hard enough can bring it back to full strength, like any memory). I remember the barrier of safety and I remember that it felt good to be behind it, but now it only seems like isolation. And hella lonely.

I have this ability to be social. I employ it often through Dungeons & Dragons and through my career. I get positive reviews often. Then as a sum of my history, when I got out of the spotlight and back to home, and the pressure was off, I was more content than I was in the spotlight. That, to me, was safety. Now it just seems sad.


1) I HATE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. I have no idea why I thought that I should never feel this common state of existence. But I was all about protecting me and sparing myself from all of life's awkward-to-full-scale-terrifying moments. And just look where that got me. Alone at 42.

2) I WAS ONLY FOCUSED ON MYSELF. I never thought enough about the people I am being social with. To me, it was my spotlight and my pressure. I had to perform. It was my responsibility for us all to have a good time. Doing all that work made me not want to do all that work.

Well, I'm getting better now. I was social at the last two Starbucks that I stopped by in the last three days (as opposed to WILL-YOU-HURRY-UP-YOU-COW homicidal mode). I smiled at a few strangers. I chatted up a few store clerks.

Because now, I want to know how other people are doing. I want to see if I can give them some kind of happiness. And I learned that from Matthew.

I learned some other significant things from Matthew this weekend as well. I learned what my mind does when I'm in hero-worship mode. I learned what you guys already know. I create perfection where it does not exist. Then I float in a cloud of endorphins until reality comes a'knocking. Then I crash and burn, and retreat into my shell.

But now, there's no more shell.

And this time, the not-perfection is still awesome. You guys already knew Matthew would not be perfect. You knew it when I was going crazy wondering how many things could go wrong with our meeting. But now, getting my reality-check has made it possible for Matthew and I to remain true friends. Now there's no hero-worship cloud in the way. Now it's really real. I've got qualities and insights that will be able to improve his life and he has the same things for me. He's a dear man and I miss him already. And best of all, in accepting Matthew with faults, I've learned to accept myself. Again, true friendship is an equal relationship--not fan to idol, but peer to peer. In order for me to do that, I have to see myself as a good guy too. I have to know that I can give to any relationship that I want to be a part of. Anything else is just parasitic.

Scott, thanks for that boost a bit ago. Why wouldn't anyone want to be friends with me? I am a good guy. I've got stuff to offer.

[grover] And I am cute, too! [/grover]

So that's all right then!!!!!


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