So here I'm posting a reply to an e-mail that I sent this morning. I recently wrote to a good number of friends that growing up I was taught to be 'nice' and that the major struggle of the past few years was to undo the psychic conditioning to which I've been subjected. He asked me what not-being-nice looked like. This is my response. (I moved some ideas around and re-worded some sentences for clarity but hey how would you know that unless he's fwd'ing the e-mail and if he's doing that, then he's about to die.)
Living according to my values.
What are my values?
I want to see the furthest limits of my existence. I want to explore how strong I can be, how fast I can run, how deeply I can think and how fully I can love.
I want to conquer one challenge after another, to keep searching out higher and higher mountains to climb.
I want to be fully authentic, without duplicity, deception in my being.
I want to summon forth all the best that I have within me.
I think I would be doing God a disservice if I was content to let that potential rot while I play church.
Nice may as well be an abbreviated way of saying "non-offensive." Doing your best offends people. I don't know why and all I have is conjecture about why. Think about school. If you're spending all your time studying something you love. What are you? A geek. A nerd. A dweeb. He doesn't want to hang out with us. He wants to read. But what if reading gives him joy? What if he just is so excited that he wants to learn more about something? The effort he spends invites mockery. In our churches, we call it idolatry. If you spend more time going to the library than to fellowship, you have an idol! Think about going to the gym. If you work your hardest, what do people say? He's nuts. He's roiding. He has insecurity issues. He's vain. They never accuse him of finding his happiness when he pushes his limits upwards. What could a couch potato know about the joy a lifter feels when his lift goes up 5 pounds? When you tell people that you want to produce the sincerest, most honest, most transparent love from your heart, and that you know you aren't doing it right now, but damnit, you're working at it, what do people say? Hippie. Fag. Homo. Or at least that's what a lot of people we know would say. Or at least that's what a lot of people have said to me.
Nice people don't offend other people. The office drone quietly mining his minerals and vespene gas for the Overlord, goes to the gym, looks OK, goes to happy hour with everyone else and watches the same shows as everyone else is a nice guy, no matter how many off-color jokes he tells. Think of the hipster, detached, too cool to try, content to blog about whatever arts world of interest. Talks about it from a distance. Says he creates but rarely shows. Irony everywhere. Caustic and sarcastic but nice, I wouldn't think it possible if I didn't see it myself. The office drone and the hipster -- not so different after all. Being authentic in your ardor offends people. Passion is never detached. Passion is never purely intellectual, purely theoretical.
Maybe it's because your passion makes you a mirror for others. When you love fully and truly, when you try your best -- and fail -- and you hear their laughter, their "Look at him fallen and defeated! All his efforts for nothing!" and then one group of people will say "That's why you forget all that stuff and just have fun getting your d*ck wet." and the other group says "That's why you forget all that stuff and serve God." You hear their mockery, their baseless, senseless comments that reveal how little they understand of you. You see their faces, the ones who say they are closest to you, and you hear them snickering. But still you fight on. Still you believe and still you struggle. Because what you have means more to you than their opinion. They look at you. Everything you have, destroyed, yet still not defeated. All your work now ashes, still building. Alone, without friends, still fighting. They see what they themselves might be 10 years younger, 20 times more courageous, a million times more honest.
That's what they read onto me. I don't care about being anything for anybody. I am myself. I want to find my joy. Let them think whatever the hell they will. I'm so done with living in a way so as to not offend other people. I've already wasted far too much of my life doing so. I'm going to climb the highest mountain in the universe. And they can come along, they can watch, they can laugh, or they can not even notice me. Let them do as they will. Going higher is the way that I meet God.