Note: All names and locations have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned herein
I feel like writing. Blogging bores me. I’ve decided to keep strict anonymity about my blog and, as a result of that, I’ve declined sharing it with anyone that I know. I doubt anyone reads it. Essentially, it’s a site that collects wasted words and thoughts. I’d probably have more luck writing in a journal instead of typing things out to ‘publish’ online.
I like going new places, and I make a strict note to myself not to go back to old ones. There’s something unadventurous about heading back somewhere familiar. Something stifling, to say the least. Perhaps it’s because I would rather uphold an image that claims I’ve made forward progress or because I’m afraid of being exposed by someone I once knew. I can’t recall if I mentioned it to you or not – there was this kid that attended the same middle school as I did that I chanced upon later on, in Romania. We both attended Reed Middle School. I left RMS halfway through my 7th grade year, and he arrived at the beginning of the 9th grade year. While attending RMS, his name was Stacey Schwartz. He wore glasses and was a little twerp. I barely knew him, but he knew something about me as a result of a rather loud-mouthed friend of mine. In Romania, he was Bryan Schwartz. He wore contacts, his wardrobe was completely revamped, his interests (as far as I could tell) had changed from something or other to basketball. Now he rides a motorcycle and goes out clubbing. He’s been kicked out of the International School of Romania on account of poor academic results, got held back a year at a private school in Georgia, and is now attending a second-rate international school in Romania. He managed to change his image, at least to those new people that he met, and all along I knew who he actually was. I knew that aside from his loose garments and stupid hair, he was still that same twerp that left RMS. And he still knew that secret of mine that I had wanted to leave behind in Reed.
Maybe that’s the beauty of moving, encompassed in one simple idea. Just getting away from the old, away from the complications associated with people who already know too much about you. I’m certain that not everyone would enjoy being relocated from one home to another, but I find that it affords me an opportunity to pinpoint and to change an aspect of myself that I found lacking in the old place. Changes too large in magnitude to commit to without alerting people are possible to carry out only when moving (see Stacey Schwartz), and small changes are generally not worth making anyway. Subtle changes are best suited for New Year’s Resolutions. Larger ones that express pronounced changes in character must take place another time, another place. These aren’t the changes in hairstyle or the quick trips down to the beach for tans that inevitably occur with the end of any holiday, a far cry from the superficial changes that can take place with the purchase of a set of contact lenses, tooth-whitening strips, or thick-framed glasses. A move offers an opportunity to break with tradition, a change to redefine, to reassess.
One thing that worries me about moving is the possibility that others will interpret what I have done as a means of escape. I would very much detest being labeled a quitter, a coward. My moves could be viewed as the ultimate form of cowardice – a pure and complete escape from all that is familiar, a deliberate leap into the unknown in vain hopes of finding something that I’ve been searching for all along. Others may find that what I’ve done is something almost heroic. I have been able to commit myself to venturing head-on into the unknown with eyes open and have come out time and time again, alive and kicking. At the end of the day I can stand strong without looking back, my mind clear with the knowledge that I’ve come out on top of all that has sought to conquer me. Cowardice? Strength and resolve are more appropriate terms.
Being exposed is one of those fears that never seems to leave me. Bearing that in mind, I feel at times that my interactions with others has become more limited as a result of that looming sense that one day I will be confronted and left to expose myself, ushering forth a vast torrent of secrets – water surging fast into the hull of a wounded ship. Just as I had the ability to expose Bryan Schwartz for who he really was, I fear that somewhere in the rows of seemingly identical faces is a person who knows who I am, who can see through the façade that I have chosen to project onto those around me. I was recently discussing the novel The Outsider in class. The general rule of thumb about relationships is that the less you allow to bleed through, the less the world can hurt you. By piecing together a suit of armor and sealing gaps as they are found, one can be bulletproof.
Regardless of whether I have the good fortune to move, there is always the ominous tolling of bells that announces that time is drawing to an end. I can choose to be open with people or I can choose to tell half-faced lies, provided I keep good track of the latter, but there will come a time when the grit will rise from its place at the bottom of my consciousness, a time when I will have to come clean with the world. And that is, perhaps, my greatest fear. We all have our secrets that we keep tucked away in the dark recesses of our minds, vast resources that have been buried away in hopes that no one will uncover them. I fear that I have amassed a horde of these secrets, one beyond that which anyone else has laid eyes on. To think that so many of the errors I have committed in my life have followed me through these years, hidden unbeknownst to me, strikes me as almost humbling. I fear that, should anyone catch a glimpse of the wrongs that I have so knowingly committed, no one could bring themselves to even look at me. I fear that I would walk forever, a marked man, with not a single light to illuminate my path should I allow the gaps in my armor to once again become exposed.
And now I retire for the evening, up to my room to check my armor for any new holes.