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!