5/26/15: Phonies

Tomorrow I am off to go camping with my grade in Yosemite. It will either be amazing or the longest ten days of my life, depending upon the people I’m placed with. They tell us our groups the morning of (so we can’t complain, which I understand). I pray that I have a friend, but if not, I guess I’ll make some new ones. That’s the goal.

One of my friends read A Catcher in the Rye this week, and came in to school today in an undeniably Holden Caulfield mood- pissy, alienated, and quick to accuse anyone of being a phony. In fact, he spent about 20 minutes lamenting about the phoniness of everyone, popular kids and nerds alike. “Everyone’s fake,” he said. He couldn’t have been more right, really.

Everyone is fake. What does that really mean? In Holden’s mind, a phony is someone who deliberately acts in a certain way to fit into societal constructs or norms, whatever norms those may be (I’m sure Holden would find hipsters just as phony as Fortune 500 businesspeople, if the underlying desire was to be better than others or be unique or any other “phony” motive). Phony, in A Catcher in the Rye, basically describes the ego- the entity in everyone’s mind whose sole purpose is to have more, be more, and be recognized. The ego will do whatever it takes to achieve these ends, whether it has to act or not.

I like to think that Holden would respond well to A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (the book I’m currently reading and would recommend to every one of you, because it has [literally?] enlightened me, to some extent). A New Earth is focused on the premise that we all have an ego, which is the constant stream of thoughts that runs through our head. The ego desires material objects, recognition, success, and reward, all in an attempt to feel permanent, because the ego knows it is mortal and will die.

It seems depressing. All of our aspirations are built on knowing we amount to nothing, and will die after this. But that’s not the basis of the book in the slightest- the basis is becoming aware of your Presence, or Being, the entity in all of us that operates on a frequency below the ego, that is aware of the ego. It is the awareness of our own thoughts, the only thing that can detach us from them. One’s Being is one’s energy, and that cannot die. It lives on, as the energy beneath our ego and in many other forms, infinitely. We think we die, but our ego dies; our inner Presence is always alive. We just see ourselves as the ego, not as our Presence. Most of us cannot detach ourselves from the ego. Detachment is peace.

I won’t speak too much more about the book, except that you should all go out and purchase a copy and devour it. I admit, this is my second attempt at it, but at age 16 (as opposed to 14) I’m finding the read much more doable. I’m sure you can all handle it. It has honestly completely reorganized my understanding of life, who I am, and where we are all headed.

This weekend, I went to a Confirmation Celebration (essentially the second Bat Mitzvah with an emphasis on morals and ethics) for the autistic girl in our grade. She operates incredibly well, only with some social unawareness. I was eating dinner with her when, somehow, she started talking about Pluto’s Journal. my jaw dropped.

Someone I know, in real life, has read this blog?! I felt the need to scream, flee, something to get away from that realization. I thought this place was just me and all of you wonderful strangers on the internet.

It made me realize something important: I am much less secure in my writing, thoughts, and beliefs than I thought. I love this blog and writing here, but I’m instantly self-conscious when I find out someone I know has read it. I evidently have a lot of growing to do in my self-confidence around the people I know. I will try to move in that direction now, with this knowledge, because it really unsettled me.

I will be gone for the next 10 days, and hopefully while I’m away, I will be able to collapse some of my filters and walls with new people and find new friendships. Maybe I can even share some parts of myself I keep private, for the purpose of this kind of growth. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn some things along the way.

To all of you who left comments on my Chapter 1 entry, thank you so much!! The feedback was very useful, and I’m so glad you all liked it enough to request the next chapter. I will get that on here soon. To everyone else, see you all (metaphorically) in 10 days! None of you are phonies on here, and I appreciate that so much. Until June!

12 thoughts on “5/26/15: Phonies

  1. Well written. To quote a line from a famous, philosophical movie, Disney’s Alladin, “Bee yourself” 🙂 Facades and masks help us to get by, however, the truth is easier to follow, since you don’t have to recall who you were trying to be with whom (or whoever that English stuff goes) 😉 Enjoy the trip! It’s a great time of year to be up there!

    You’re writing is excellent, don’t worry about the insecurities, they’ll pass. Your writing, is, well, you…embrace yourself. The people who become real friends do so because of you being who you are. the rest, well, we can’t befriend the entire world, so don’t bother.

    Have fun! Be at peace with nature…
    Michael J.

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    1. I have actually never seen Aladdin. I desperately need to get on that.
      I agree; masks have a place in society, unfortunately, but it is critically important to learn how to remove them and when it’s possible (which it hopefully should be most of the time).
      Thank you! I will be genuine with everyone, and I will absorb as much of the North Californian beauty as I can. I’ve heard Yosemite is absolutely incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Slighty jealous that you get to check out the great outdoors although good on you :)!
    Enjoy your time away and I tend to agree that there is a lot of social masks out there, a thing that I do struggle with in my job & even when I meet new people. Despite being someone that isn’t afraid of being rejected I love to connect with others and sometimes can be a bit overwhelming, giving the impression that I should tone down my enthusiasm even if slightly..I feel that it comes with age about finding the right balance between being over-bearing and being a “phony”

    Anyway enough about me, it’s all your fault with your thought provoking posts ;)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true; we can’t always act on our every impulse or feeling. Does that mean we aren’t being authentic? And where do we draw the line between acting socially appropriate and fake? I’m not always sure. Thank you!

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      1. Those are some fair points there! A lot of this is really going to be subjective and instinctive.. I feel that if you have the self awareness to consider it, means you’re likely to not be a “phony”.. Sounds like you had an awesome trip as well 🙂

        Looking forward to reading that published book one of these days too!

        Are you interested in NFP’s (not for profits)/volunteering? I ask due to my interest and wanting to at some stage collaborate with like minded people!

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  3. For me, school camps are always somewhat bittersweet (if that’s the right word) – this is the time when everything can go wrong or everything can go right. Either you’ll end up having the worst time of your life or you’ll make memories that you will cherish. I hope you thhave latter is true for you!

    The book you are reading sounds very intriguing, and think that it’s about time I read something that broadens my view of the world 😉

    I can relate so much to you feeling uneasy when someone talks about your blog!
    Sometimes a friend or a family member might discuss something I wrote on my blog or posted on Instagram, and it took me a few months to stop feeling like my soul is exposed. It’s a really str age feeling because sometimes you get so used to separating the real world from the virtual one, and then when they come together… I’m not sure what to do 🙂

    I hope you’re enjoying yourself along with your classmates!

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    1. Thankfully, it was an amazing time. Dirty and exhausting but amazing! I’m glad I’m not the only one who freaks out when someone I know personally sees my blog- I shouldn’t get so worked up about it, but, like you said, I feel like my soul is somehow exposed. Thanks!

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  4. Great post. I think that learning how to love your true and authentic self is a really important part of life. It’s something which has been extremely difficult for me to do myself.
    Have fun in Yosemite!
    I’ll definitely look into that book you recommended.
    I’ve only recently studied the elements of Buddhist psychology that concern the ego and seeing past it- but so far everything is pretty accurate.
    Be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you can eventually learn to accept, respect, and love all aspects of yourself. Believe me, I know it’s a process.
      The book is a bit tough to get into at first, but it’s honestly changed the way I look at the world. Good luck with it!

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  5. I love the comparison between Catcher in the Rye and A New Earth. So true. And I keep a copy of A New Earth next to my bed. It’s literally changed my life and the way I see and interact with the world now. Keep up the writing, you truly have a gift.

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