The challenge was similar to the parlor game “6 degrees to Kevin Bacon”. The only difference, I was being asked to take any action, and link it back to a desire to be loved and accepted. That’s it. Take any action or life event, and find within it the motive to be loved and accepted. It is an interesting game, really. Maybe a bit on the uncomfortable side, as it requires some vulnerability. Possibly a bit “soft” for the wanna-be tough guy or bad girl. As someone who is becoming increasingly comfortable wearing my emotions on my sleeves, I enjoyed the challenge.
In second grade, I faked as if I was going blind. My best friend had just been prescribed glasses, and I thought it would be cool if I had them. I believed more people would like me. I also thought that my friend would like me more, as well. I put my family out, as my mom had to take me to the eye doctor. I had my family concerned that there was a real problem with my vision. I wasn’t trying to be a dishonest brat, I was trying to gain love and acceptance.
In sixth grade, we would steal steal Viceroy cigarettes from my friend’s dad. We would sit under his deck in the backyard, and just puff away. I didn’t do it because I wanted lung cancer. I didn’t do it because I wanted to break my mom’s heart. I did it, because I wanted to fit in- to be loved and accepted.
At thirteen, a friend and I stole his sister’s car and drove it through town to get cigarettes and dip from the local McLemore’s. I was in charge of driving the stick shift and keeping between the lines. My buddy was responsible for watching the speedometer and relaying to me the speed of the vehicle. We got our dip and cigarettes. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the damn car started. We had to sit through church the next day with our babysitter, only to come home and tell our parents. Here again, I didn’t do it to be a car thief. I did it cause I thought it would be neat if I could tell people that I drove a car. I thought that this would make me popular. I thought it would help me becoming more easily accepted.
I have been on both sides of a good number of ass whippings. I can tell you that neither side is a whole lot greater than the other. Whether it was I knocking out teeth, or me having someone else beat on my head, it really had very little to do with the opposition. Sure, I was usually pretty angry and wanted to take out aggression, but ultimately, I wanted to prove a point. I wanted to prove something to my peers. I wanted respect. I wanted love and acceptance. I realize that this is a ridiculous way of going about it, but it is still a means to an end- at least, so I thought.
I realize there are exceptions to this, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree in every situation. However, you can look at a lot of things going on in society, that appear to be heartless and cruel, and if you look deep enough, you will see that it is a longing for love and acceptance. Gang violence is nothing more than a desire to be accepted. Many political arguments is nothing more than a cry for attention, so as to appear smart, or show one’s loyalty to their party of choice.
Kid’s acting out. Adults being hateful. At the end of the day, I believe that we are all doing the best that we can, but we just have some really fouled up ways of doing our best. People are raised with different ideas of what love looks like. People have different ideas of what it means to be accepted. People seek different crowds, for which to be accepted into.
I’m not saying that any of this behavior is right. I’m not condoning street violence, theft, or anger. What I am saying is that I have to believe that we are all doing our best. And maybe, just maybe, instead of providing opposition, judgement, and disgust, to those who act out, it might make more sense to accept, love, and show a little tolerance and empathy to those whose “best” might not be as good as ours. Maybe the darker paths that people take in search of acceptance would make more sense, had we an idea of of what the vehicle looked like what dropped them at the path.
I hope you will be empathetic towards other people’s attempts to be accepted. Be aware that standing on your pedestal of good judgement helps no one, unless you are willing to help lift someone up and show them the view.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,