Instead of Living Strong, How about Liiving United?

“The intense need to get to the top and then stay on the top seems very lonely.”

Graffiti Wall in Bisbee Arizona

Blue is not blue, black is not black, yellow no longer lives strong, and Fifty Shades of Grey is a crass and poorly-written novel that somehow found its way at the tippy top of the NY Times Best Seller list. And books like The Secret, well, they have twisted our minds so perversely that now we believe that our secrets will not make us sick, instead the truths we hide away will somehow give us super powers. Shazam! Our well-crafted guise, our posturing, or our little white-rationalized lies, otherwise known as our deceptive convictions, will take us to that very special place, a place where if we click our heels together and say three times out loud, “there is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home,” or better, if we say three times out loud, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky, I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky,” our buried secrets, our self-deceptions, our bald-faced lies, small town or big world, will ensure that our kids get straight As, medal in their sport [come on, I had to list this one. I live in an Olympian-Ski town], will always be the other kids’ fault, not get us kicked out of our church, get us invited to the right party, get us invited into the best book club, damn it, and if we dream big, our giant exaggerations will get us on, say, Oprah, land us our very own Reality Television Show, or at the very least, get us on Babbles Top 100 Blog list! Hollah! People, we can win the Tour De France or be President, the President of the United States! We are not liars. We are rephrasers of the truth.

Seriously, shame on anyone who calls us out. If someone ever exposes our truth we will not stop until they disappear. When questioned about an exposed truth, we will bully, deny, scream, and kick very, very hard. We will call the truth exposer crazy, but not fat, never fat. We will tell their friends and our friends they are crazy. We will get all of our friends to call them crazy. We will shame them, make a giant pariah out them, and we will pour a little gasoline all over them. Then we will walk right up to them, look them straight in the eye, because that’s what people who tell the truth do, match lit then tossed, and watch them burn. As they burn we will scream, “See. See how they hurt me! See!” As they burn, we will stand strong, stand high and stand proclaiming our truth! We will do anything to stay on top!

Is this really our world?

When you think about it, this false life our world begs us to play in is actually propelling us back into a creepy and backward-thinking parallel universe, a heavily-draped-and-veneered-1950’s-June-Cleaver-lovely-dinner-on-the-table-at-5-he-does-not-beat-me-if-the-bruises-do-not-show-and-the-photo-I-display-online-is-really-how-I-look fantasy world where things like competitive Facebook status updates, cleverly crafted Instagram shots, and all your Twitter followers only serve to perpetuate. You want us to know that in spite of your low blood sugar (severe clinical depression or bipolar disorder), your three-week-work-related-I-will-not-be-able-to-respond-to-any-calls-texts-or-emails training sessions [nudge nudge wink wink, your secret is safe here (REHAB)], your healthy eating habits, hey, you are even a RAW Foodie (Obsessive exercise, calorie counting & starvation), your Irritable Bowl Syndrome (Cocaine or Bulimia), your super awesome wardrobe (overwhelming debt or maybe a simple shopping addiction), your happy marriage (then why do you always take separate vacations, always), your kids who never do anything wrong (because you are always too drunk to notice), well, that you are much happier, richer, more successful, Christ loves you more, your teeth are whiter, your kids are smarter, and you are just happier than the rest of us, damn it! I do not blame you. It is this crazy world we live in. You are simply attached to the Matrix via that big giant plug shoved into the back of your skull like the rest of us.

Because Oprah talked to Lance the other day, I keep asking, what happened to the Oprah of yesterday, a time where she interviewed us common folk and interviewed us common folk with reckless abandon while we shared our truths; identical twins openly and proudly sleeping with fraternal twins while one was a cross dresser, the other gay, all the while fighting over paternity? And then I ask, “what happened to yesterday altogether, a day where things did not seem so damn competitive, litigation-based or fearful; a time where people were good enough simply because they lived the truth?” Ok, maybe that was an imaginary time, because when I think about my past, I technically know that before now I was young and if you think about it, young people tend to be honest, not jaded and open. My past was not daisy-filled. I just thought it was, and I am glad I did. Then I started to grow up and quickly learned that my what-you-see-is-what-you-get perspective had no place in this world. “You are too honest and too direct,” is what I was told. “Keep your mouth shut!” I always thought it was me.

From where I sit now and it is really from where I lie, because I am tucked away here in my bed, it seems that even Oprah has been affected. James Frey may or may not have been the beginning with his Million Little Pieces SNAFU, and who cares if he lied. James is living the dream, writing bestsellers, making movies, making lots of cash, and in truth, his big lie has been a small price to pay. James Frey, Oprah and up until now, Lance Armstrong, were the types of people we have been taught we should aspire to be.

Call me crazy. Wait. You already have [wink wink], but I want to aspire to the truth. I want to be ok saying how I feel. I want my boys to feel good, even though they are not on the ski team. It is so weird because I know I have been blessed. I know I live in a lovely house, which is located in a lovely town, yet even my boys feel the tug of being less than? “Mom, why isn’t our house as big as so and so’s?” What the what? Why can’t we just be ok? Why can’t being a good cyclist be good enough…starters, just for starters?

Somehow I fear that slowly, but surely our Little-Engine-that-Could-you-can-have-it-all world with all of its lies, cruelty and competition is turning into a Post Apocalyptic Dystopian World I have read about and fear, a more, every-man-for-himself-literally-to-the-death Cormac-McCarthy’s-The-Road kind of world then a Stephanie-Meyers-(The Twilight Lady’s)-latest-incarnation-The-Host world, which really with its sparkles and paranormal teen romance wouldn’t be all bad, would it? I mean, come on, what’s a little sparkly-alien-body-possession really going to do to you…Oh wait! It already has done something to us and that is the point, isn’t it?

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