Monday, June 16, 2014

Naivety or Stupidity... What's the Difference?

I used to think I could tell the difference, but I’m not so sure anymore.  I had always thought naivety was a response out of a lack of exposure or experience, but stupidity was just a lack of common sense.  But, really …what’s the difference?

I grew up among liars, thieves, cutthroats, drug addicts, prostitutes, drug dealers, pedophiles, pot heads, every kind of low-life and crook you could imagine.  I survived in that world off instinct, being smart, knowing when to fight, knowing when to hide, and knowing how to read people.  It was like playing chess, you had to think ten moves ahead just to survive.  Naivety didn’t get you hurt, it got you killed.  Getting hurt was normal.  It was survival.  This isn’t an exaggeration.  If anything, it’s a sugarcoat of the truly deplorable and despicable things I saw and experienced.

For the last two decades, I’ve hidden myself away beneath the comfort and security of middle-class idealism.  I bought the whole dream, hook, line and sinker… because I was desperate for it to be true.  God was alive, love existed, and people really cared for one another. The house, career, family, and church all were symbols of safety and security.   I followed in the footsteps of those who went before me, because I was naïve – a stranger to this particular lifestyle. I wanted a better life for my children.  I wanted to protect them from the wolves of depravity. Yet, I always felt like a stranger, an imposter, because this lifestyle wasn’t my natural habitat.

Then I went and really fucked up and believed I had a right to dream, a right to love, a right to be loved, and ever since my heart has been stomped on, shredded, and torn. I love the unlovable, the unavailable, and the damaged.  Perhaps because deep inside I thought if I could love them, damage and all, then perhaps there was a chance someone could love me.

In my native state of survival, I couldn’t get hurt, because I didn’t feel.  When you’re in survival mode, you don’t have time or energy for feelings.  You cover yourself in steel. You see the world in black and white… and various shades of gray. You live no further than the moment, no longer than the day.  Life was war.  In my naivety, I dared to believe in peace and dream in Technicolor and hope for tomorrow.  I chose to see beauty in shadows, and with both hands grabbed onto every tendril of light.  Have I been naïve, or just plain stupid? What’s the difference?  They both will get you killed… if not physically, then emotionally or spiritually.

I’ve been called stupid a lot lately.  I’ve also been through a silent hell, experiencing another of those black moments.  I seem to have a target on me that tells the world it’s okay to hurt me. I kept quiet, believing I could endure and overcome it, but it knocked me down.  Then, while I was down and bleeding another wolf entered and attacked.  Humans are the cruelest animals of all. I keep trying to believe in them, but I keep getting made a fool.

I’ve recently had a dream about a friend of mine – with a pack of wolves.  I now realize the dream wasn’t about him, it’s always been about me.  To me, he’s the symbol of beauty, strength, and courage  - and that’s perhaps why he was the image in the dream  - yet he runs with wolves, but even the wolves are not the real danger, something even more dangerous follows, haunts, and taunts him (me).  Perhaps it is stupid naivety.

I post a lot about being honest… especially with one’s self.  As much as I hate lies, it turns out I’m the biggest liar of all. The pieces are aligned against me, and Check has been called.  The only way I can win this game and save my king(life), is to sacrifice my queen (dreams).

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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