Loneliness is the ally of conformity. The fear of an empty bed is greater than the fear of an empty soul. At some point we were taught that it is better to hold on to a hand than to a principle. Why do we give up on our own drive across the world just to be bussed around our hometown?
I was always the nice guy. I got along with everyone. Early on I was mocked at school for being “over-weight-ed” and at home for being “a reader,” so becoming personable seemed to be the only way to get kids (and parents) off my back. I was the class clown to get the right attention from my peers and the straight-a student for the faculty. When I finally would get home, I would go straight to my room and put on headphones. My father’s bass guitar and step-mom’s keyboard were my solace; my cassette collection was my armor. I was safe until the next time life’s threshold had to be crossed.
7th grade was my first major crossroad. I was asked to step out from the rest of the class and be in the Senior Musical. Dare I be different than the rest? Attend a new set of classes, be the Junior High kid hanging with High Schoolers? Disregard the devil I know? If I’m already alone in a crowd, why not be lonely doing what I love?
From U. B. Eddy to Jersey to Texas I kept that mentality. Loneliness crept in from time to time, but I stuck with what was the only thing that made sense: creating art. I was mocked by friends, slammed by coaches, laughed at by adults; but you can’t build a fire without kindling. Then…..
BAM!!! When you least expect it, you find a home. Like-minded people. Music College became my family. We had different backgrounds but the same story. Lonely over conformity. We created, we graduated, we moved, we created. Love and anger, pride and fear, humor out of pain, pain out of growth. We kept finding those like-minded people and we kept burning and churning out as much as we could stay awake.
And before we knew it, creativity became commerce.
And as always, commerce became conformity.
So here we are at the crossroads once more. Do you have the guts to feed that desire again? It’s the Devil You Need or the Devil You Know. I would rather get lost on a back road than know every pot-hole in my hometown.
Loneliness is the ally of conformity. Conformity is the path to lifelessness.