Musings

what’s your name?

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger?

Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle.

Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence.

Trust your instincts.

Do the unexpected.

Find the others.”

– Timothy Leary

So, I just wanted to post this before 1) I forget; 2) my desire to pen down my stream of consciousness evades me; 3) I regret.

Though, like most posts on Tumblr, I haphazardly stumbled upon this beautiful quote while trying to find an innovative way of not listening in class, unlike most posts on Tumblr, it made me take a minute to step back from my frivolous “hobby”, and truly think. Yes, you read right: think. Of all the things I would have never expected Tumblr to prompt me to do, thinking was certainly the highest on the list. Alas, it happened and, as perplexing as it may have ended up being, man am I happy I finally reblogged something that speaks directly to me in a manner that doesn’t call for my credit card to be whipped out, or for me to gawk at in unattainable admiration…

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More than anything, this quote truly made me reflect on how much time we, as humans (especially such shy people as myself), waste in our personal bubble that prevents us from being more open to chancing a conversation with a stranger, whomever it may be, wherever and whenever. This quote was particularly poignant for me seeing as, having only recently moved to Montreal last August, I have yet to feel like I have accomplished whatever it is I originally set out to accomplish. Though I may be melodramatically making this triste realization out into something far more woeful than it veritably is, I nonetheless feel that there is a central “something” that has been, and is still missing in my experience in this bustling and happening metropolis…

… and it’s exactly in that reprisal of Montreal’s main “attributes” that I realize what I yearn so dearly for, yet have so much trouble attaining: a true sense that Montreal is a city where you can actually take a chance on a conversation with a stranger.”

Though my hometown, Gaytineau, isn’t so much the “small town” that myself and its many other young emigrants ruthlessly depict it as being, it nonetheless remains a city that is much smaller, and accordingly much less lively than the metropolis that is Montreal. With that said, one thing that I had been looking forward to so dearly in moving to Montreal was finding respite in the idea that I could refashion myself into someone who, instead of waiting for an opportunity to approach someone, creates that perfect moment whenever, wherever and with whomever.

I honestly thought that in moving to Montreal, I would shed my past shell that so tightly constricted me to a constant fear of rejection from stepping into the unknown that is meeting new people. Despite the fact that an important part of university is coincidentally all about meeting new people, I guess I sort of began my year with the expectation that that would simply happen naturally, without requiring I make any drastic changes to my demeanor in new situations.

Unfortunately, that was not the case seeing as I fell into the rut of feeling comfortable with one’s pre-existing situation. Though said situation (of moving to a city and living with the two most incredible sisters God could ever bless me with) was an incredible one to say the least, it know realize that it surprisingly wasn’t truly what I needed. What I so desperately required was a greater sense of urgency in my personal duty to get out there, encounter new people, and have the experience I wanted to have. After all, all I ever truly wanted was to meet people with whom simply getting to know is far more stimulating than any alcohol-fueled night on St-Lo.

But then again, I simply don’t know.

I just don’t know what it’ll take to extricate me from this deceivingly satisfactory rut  I presently find myself in. Though I tell myself time and time again that all it really takes is for me to make that first move, what if that first move leads to rejection? What if me pushing myself to be a more open person that truly is incredibly intrigued and mesmerized by the people surrounding him will ultimately lead to nothing more than a wounded ego? What if the answer is “no”?

N to the O, it will remain then?

Thankfully, as I’ve learned from the literary classic that is King Lear (and I’m pretty sure anything else by Shakespeare), “no” always means that there is something (or someone) else waiting to be discovered. Nothing is an invitation to accept the mediocrity of the “no,” move on, take a chance with someone else, and be surprised by the reaction you might get. Be it good or bad, I sincerely believe that is the thrill. The same thrill of the unknown that makes Montreal “the bustling and happening metropolis” I am certain it is, yet also the same one that makes rejection such a dreadful prospect. Nevertheless, all it takes is that one first step. Be it a simple “what’s your name”, or whatever else it may be.

Just one step.

“All I’ve been trying to do is speak to someone since I entered this wagon. People think I’m crazy. I’m not. I just like talking to people but everyone keeps ignoring all the time. What’s your name?”

Quoting an excellent piece from the introductory issue of the new, Montreal-based magazine Petite Mort, deep down, I’m pretty sure we’re all just social humans waiting for someone to take a chance, and ask us our name. Deep down, we are nothing more than humans of New York, Montreal, or even Gaytineau who carry a piece of the puzzle in this mysterious journey that is life. It’s just such a shame that our fear of being ignored is both what makes us so vulnerable to rejection, and also so willing to blindly judge someone who actually wants to talk as crazy.

Ahhh, because, at this point, I’m fairly certain I’m simply going around in circles in my stream of consciousness, I will end with this: all I want to say is that I need to take that one step. That one leap into the proverbial unknown. Though life is naturally a blessing that I could never be more grateful to God for, I just have that feeling that I’m on the cusp of making it that much better. All I need is to ditch my timidity, get out there, and discover all that we humans have to offer. The world is a beautiful place simply waiting for someone to take a chance, and explore it.

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… and that’s when the irony hit me. Everything truly does happen for a reason, just like finding a post on Tumblr that’s urging me to not become another one of my web 2.0 generation’s Tumblr-ers that finds (far too much) solace in the seemingly-peaceful anonymosity of a virtual life. An existence where there is no need to fear rejection because no one can ignore someone with no real identity; where life can essentially be summed up to a queue of images waiting to be published; where the piece of the puzzle is the number of notes; where coincidence is an identical blog layout; where our instinct is to press the “follow” button; where the unexpected is conversely a new “follower”; and, finally, where the others lie behind computer screens.

Clearly, I need a new definition of “others,” one that places value in the how unique each and every single person on this Earth is, and that also recognizes the fact that the magnificence of each and every single one of our lives all starts with a simple name.

So, with that said, what’s your name?

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For this post’s concluding song selection, I’m taking my own advice by taking a chance on the unknown. Having just (like, literally) read a blog entry on The Main (I write for them!) on Les Montréalais, a fascinating, Humans-of-New-York-esque photo-essay created by Georgia Gleason, this song is from the debut EP of Holobody. Do I know who they are? Nope. But, do I really care?

Hell to the no, ’cause at least now I know their name.

Plus, they’re pretty good, if you ask me.

(P.S. play “Coda” if you don’t know where to start”)

(P.P.S. go see Holobody at Casa  Del Popolo on April 27th if you know where to start, and  now want to continue)

(P.P.P.S Petite Mort is having their inaugural issue launch tomorrow at Il Motore. Make sure to attend! More on that here)

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