Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My parents expected a lot from me. Not in a harsh way, but in a way that was always hanging in the air. They sacrificed a lot to make my life better. And I let them down.I don't know exactly what they wanted for me, but I know it's not what I've accomplished so far.

I had a girlfriend in high school, Becky, and I know she thought I could achieve some great things. I let her down.

Later, I had a girlfriend, Coleen, who believed in me. She was ready to share her life with me. I let her down. She moved on and made a life for herself. I saw her a while back and I was embarrassed because I could feel her disappointment. It wasn't expressed, but it hung thick in the air. That still haunts me.

I went a long time, never getting close enough to let someone else down. I didn't really know that's what I was doing, but it was. For a long time I didn't let anyone close enough to be let down. Even when I lived with a woman for nearly three years, that wall was there. I lowered my expectations to create a safe little world for myself.

It was a long time before I met someone who challenged me. Someone who expected more of me than I did. I loved her more than words could express. I still do, and I think she knows it in her soul. In some strange way, I know she really doesn't want to hear from me until I've lived up to my potential. Rebecca, I know you're out there and I love you for believing in me. And, remarkably, I know you still believe in me.

I had a boss at the same time who expected more from me too.

Kevin and I worked together in his frame shop for five years. One day, he fired me. It wasn't because I wasn't doing the job, but rather because he knew I was hiding in that job. He told me to take some time off, collect unemployment and figure out what I needed to do. He gave me a gift of love, and eight years later, I still haven't repayed it.

One night, sitting outside the paper I worked at, my friend Josh told me I was wasting my time doing what I was doing. He probably doesn't even remember it, but he was right. It's been several years since then.

Tonight I was told to get the fuck out by my friend Gregg. I've never cried at a bar, but I did tonight. But he was right. This isn't my town. This isn't my life. I need to move on and stop hiding here. I started to promise to do something big, something great, and he stopped me.

'I don't care about that shit,' he said. 'Just stop. Just fucking stop. Stop fucking doing what you're doing and be something. It fucking breaks my heart that you're cleaning carpets, working for your brother. I belong here, I know my place here. You don't belong here. I should be living my life vicariously through you. Just stop. Don't let me down, just don't let me down.'

I don't know. He's right. All my friends throughout my life have been right. I need to think a bit. Maybe I'll be back tomorrow, or the next day, or never...but I want to share a small piece of friendship with you all before I take some time out.

Thank you all for just being yourselves. We all have a special spark in us and we should cherish it. No one is here for long, a few years, a few decades, whatever...when we go there will only be some memories, and then those will be gone too.

Have you done everything you could today? Probably not. Neither have I. What are we waiting for? Just do it. Hug your kid. Call your Mom. Call a friend. Mend a fence.

Embarrassed? Who gives a shit...just do it. Just do what something you know you want to do, but you're scared of.

Do it.

You'll probably look the fool, but who really cares? Just fucking do it...


Laura said...

Wow. Sounds like you have some thinking to do. Very few people live up to their full potential, I know I could probably do more. The question is, are you happy? Doesn't sound like it to me.

Good luck on your journey - I hope you're back in some form or another. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

Joe said...

pretty big confession there, big guy. Well go do what you've got to do! Good luck!

JAX said...

Wow ... that was one of the most honest heartfelt things I have heard probably ever.

It will all work out!

PS. I fed Sarah for you!

Gregg said...

Geez I fucking swear alot huh? I forgot to mention that you should go somewhere warm as I will be coming to visit you, and for christ sakes DO NOT stop doing your blog, where will I get rid of my rage?
Your Right Wing, asshole friend, Gregg

Slade said...


Good luck in your thinking, doing, loving, mending, and healing...I'm sending positive energy your way and a little prayer. You have done one of the hardest parts which is admitting start to heal, my friend


Shelly said...

Wow! I don't think I've ever read anything on your blog that quite bared your soul like that. I feel for you. I hope you figure this all out! You seem like an amazing guy with great potential. I honestly had no idea what you do for a living. I would never have guessed cleaning carpets. Don't get me wrong, that is a good job, but you seem to be so much more! Maybe you should join me in grad school! We could study together!!!;)

tshsmom said...

Laura's right, potential is overrated.
I'm a big disappointment to my parents too. I married the wrong man(they had a better one picked out) and I'm not making big bucks with my math mind.
But you know what? I'm doing what I always wanted to do. I married my soulmate and I'm mother to 2 terrific kids.
Follow your dreams, Shawn. Even if they don't reflect your potential. You're the only one that knows what you want. GO FOR IT!

The Zombieslayer said...

Shawn - Weird. I would have never known that you were a big time slacker. You are so smart, so literate, and so composed, so mature for your age (you and I are about the same age I assume).

Are you afraid of failure? If so, it isn't that bad. I've failed so many times it's not even funny and last year was on the edge of bankrupcy for months, but it all paid off.

You have to take risks in life, Shawn. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.

Just keep your head up and whatever comes your way, believe in yourself and do the best you can. And stop hiding. You have some real good friends, especially ones that aren't afraid to give you a good figurative kick in the a**.

Whatever you do, do it for yourself and not to please others though. I wasn't what my parents wanted me to be, but ironically am better off than I would have been if I turned out as that person.

Success is more than fame and fortune. If success doesn't bring you happiness, then you're not doing it right. The journey is just as important as the destination.

Anonymous said...

Zombie is right, and Gregg is right. It's really comfortable to stay in a cocoon and inside a hard shell, but you know you can't forever. It's a huge step to actively try for something, because there's so much more to lose. I always felt like I was just setting myself up for failure. You'll quickly realize that it feels amazing to do things, and that it isn't so hard to believe that you CAN do things. I hope you're not gone forever, and that you'll come back to share those successes with us. GOOD LUCK, and know that you can do whatever you want. You just have to want something first.

thephoenixnyc said...

It took me awhile, but I learned that the only person whose expectation I had to live up to and whose expectations were important, was my own.

Anna Banana said...

Thank you. I needed that.

kris said...

Wisconsin is lucky to have you, S, and so are we. I hope you find your passion. You deserve everything fulfilling and beautiful in life. This is evident even to those of us who have not, and may never, meet you.

Jerry said...

That's a lot of looking in the mirror for one day. Your friends are right. You need to follow your dream. Just set yourself some deadlines, and do it.

I would recommend going south, where it's a lot friendlier. And the good thing is you can take your blog (and all your blog friends with you). Wisconsin will always be there, with or without you.

It may be the scariest thing that you've ever done, but it will certainly be the most rewarding. You'll never know unless you try.