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Thought Experiment (2)

There are twelve men in my head, gridlocked together in some intricate war dance. Not a single one of them is holding a tomahawk, I am sad to say. Nay, they are equipped with snide remarks and trickery. They all say they love me, they want me, they need me… until challenged by me, of course. Then they are forced to admit they don’t actually want me, they just don’t want anyone else to have me.

Are all men this way?

You need to stop. You need to give up “the one that got away.” It’s like the bird you set free of its cage. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Just let go of her or him, folks. They hear you in the very back of their subconscious mind and they are making insane choices because of you and your shit. So just stop.

Here’s what you need to think about, instead: yourself.

Who are you? What do you stand for? What is your passion? What do you want to achieve before you die? Who do you want to be when you’re old and gray? If you want to be an inviting Granny or Gramps, you’ve got to smile more. Are you really smiling if you’re thinking so hard about “the one who got away”? You’re living in the past and it’s hurting you and them both. Can’t you be kind to yourself and live in the present?

Thinking about what you used to be is basically a waste of time. It means you’re not busy being the you of today! You have so many great qualities, I just know it. Where do you begin, do you think? Maybe you can think about all your kindnesses. And, if you want more in the present, all you have to do is choose more. Maybe you are extremely intelligent and can cobble together a scientific hypothesis to string together some theories that have been proven already. Maybe you are so smart you can read people instantly. I know you have a hidden talent. You buried it because someone in your past made fun of it or belittled you or made you feel awkward about your talent. I also know you can get it back.

I believe in you.

You’re awesome simply because you choose to be awesome right here, right now. I can see your awesome without effort. I can see the real you there.

Perhaps today was a struggle and you’ve been struggling a long time now. It’s okay. Here’s a virtual hug for you. Imagine some warm arms around you and a shoulder to cry on if you need it. If you don’t need it, that’s good. But if you do, I’m here for you. That’s why I’m writing this letter to you. I want you to know that you’re not alone, even if no one is sitting or standing or lying nearby you.

You can relax. I know you did your best today. Maybe it sucked or maybe you nailed it, but you did the best you could do. After you close your eyes to sleep and get some rest, you have a brand new day to try to do even better than ever before. I know you can do it because you are magnificent. All beings are, really, that’s how I know. That and I know you are my bona fide equal.

If you really want to change direction in your life, you can. I know you positively can do it, no matter what. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. Even when things are tough, all you have to do is remember to smile. You’ve got this. It’s going to be okay as long as you see it through, even if it takes a hundred tries to get it right. You’re going to do it because you know deep down inside that you have what it takes. You always did. Nobody can take that away from you.

But if they tried, well, I understand that, too. They’re being petty and shallow and mean because someone else hurt them. It’s not an excuse, it is simply the reality we live in. I find when I achieve full understanding of a situation, I can let it go. Even when the other person isn’t there to confirm or deny my understanding, I can let it go.

It can be quite the challenge, I’m aware of that, too. It’s okay, I’ll show you with an example. I’m going to use something light-hearted, something benign. I hope you’ll understand. I don’t want to make you cry any more tears by reminding you of all the pain you’ve endured, even by accident. I want you to see that every situation has at least ten possible answers, and not all of them are awful. Once you start believing in people making less awful choices, it works. They start making great choices all around you. You don’t have to believe me, either, just try it for yourself and see what happens.

It’s going to need some patience and some grit, but I know you’ve got it. You’re strong. Strong enough to shoulder the entire world all by yourself. You’ve already been doing it and I know that. Thank you. Thank you for doing it all by yourself. I’m here now, to help you let go of it. I’m here to help you understand it and get beyond it. We’re in this together now. You and me.

Now, I told you I was going to give you a Hallmark type of scenario, so here goes:

It was a dark and stormy night. A woman got into her 2005 Malibu Chevrolet and drove herself to the store. She had not yet washed herself or done anything to mark the new day, really. It was already getting late and the stores would close soon enough. That’s a side-effect of this lovely pandemic we’re in these days. She did make sure she was presentable, but she was also wearing the same exact clothes as the day before. She was glad she uses Lume, 72 hour deodorant.

The woman talked to herself the whole way to the store, perceiving invisible forces and admonishing them. It was almost 8:00 PM. These invisible “man” voices were trying to deter her, but she felt driven to just take off and go to the store. The one taking her to the store identified himself as Ben, a particularly terrible ex-lover who wanted to control her in totality. He wanted her to go when she had absolutely no chance at seeing either of the two men she’d been making eyes at in the past year.

Ben forgot completely that there was a third deli man that she was “stalking.” By stalking, we mean, she’d noted when she last laid eyes on him in the store. She laughed at Ben and said, “You know it’s time for Mr. Swarthy, right?” She called the man she’d seen in the sushi prep area this because he was a big man, so to speak. Ben just about blew a gasket and tried to deter her from being seen by said man completely, making her stop her grocery cart next to the strawberries — his favorite — to turn around and walk to the mushrooms at the other end of the aisle.

She had been happy to pick up apple cider for her father, you see, and turned around to see if she’d get another glimpse of Mr. Swarthy that evening. She was allergic to mushrooms until she fixed her intestines, so she was confused why she’d turned around and marched up to them and picked out a great big package of sliced portabellas.

Before this had even happened, her eyes had met Mr. Swarthy’s eyes from across the store. She smiled, knowing it would drive the invisible men in her head absolutely bonkers. It was a knowing smile, a rather devious smile, and he saw it, that Mr. Swarthy. Whoops. They played her right into God’s hands, it seems. God had manipulated them all into this situation, a master mind.

So now, Mr. Swarthy is wondering why this woman smiled at him from across the store after making several seconds of eye contact. He was wearing blue today, she’d noted. At least, she thought it was Mr. Swarthy. She’d seen him in white before that and thought it was extremely fetching.

At any rate, the woman walked around to the deli aisle and found herself putting the mushrooms back on the shelf before continuing on. She’d only come in for cat food, after all, but she had a habit of walking through the deli every time no matter what because it was a nice open space that made her feel relaxed, rather than a dungeon like the rival grocery store that’s half the distance of this particular grocery store.

Now, let’s try to think about this from Mr. Swarthy’s point of view. I told you what the woman did, but how could these events be interpreted by a mere observer?

A woman walks into the grocery store, makes eye contact with a man over near where they sell pizza and sushi while the deli is actually open — he’s closing it down because they’ve cleared all the on-demand hot food now — and after a few seconds, she smiles at him and disappears to do her shopping, ducking into the produce section.

Why did she smile? What kind of smile was it? She was fifty feet away, how can he be sure what kind of smile it was? Had she recognized him? Why was she familiar? Thanks, woman, for the Mona Lisa smile. Now I’m going to be stumped.

At that precise moment, God laughed at all the players, because this is precisely what he wanted. The man behind the deli used to make submarine sandwiches across the way from the pizza and sushi area. She’d looked at him a few times then, too, but his eyes didn’t sparkle with life. He was too engrossed in his job, perhaps. Too jaded to care, perhaps. Too entrenched with a hateful scornful lover, perhaps. Who knows?

Now he has crossed to the other side of the room. But why? Isn’t it all minimum wage, no matter how you dice it? Why would Mr. Swarthy move from the submarine shop over to where he ends up cleaning up for those who make pizza and sushi?

Now I’ve got you thinking. There are lots of potential reasons this change has taken place, don’t you think?

How many of you will choose to believe he just doesn’t want to talk directly to customers? How many of you will choose to believe he likes cleaning more than making sandwiches? How many of you believe the man exists in the first place?

What do you believe?

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