This is my confession.
This is seriously long, and all I do is ramble about myself. I'm just trying to put my entire life into words, I'm just trying to get everything out there and really make my true self available to people. This isn't something I wrote for anyone else, in fact, I barely wrote it at all, but I needed to write it for me, so that i'd finally have a version of myself outside of the mirror to look at.
So, if you know me, and want to get a peek behind the veil, or don't and just suffer from that awful disorder, curiosity, read along, and I hope that maybe by taking a deeper look into Ryan Smith, you learn a little about yourself.
I'm not the easiest person to get along with.
That might be the understatement of the century.
I am, in many, many ways, a very flawed human being.
I am broken, insecure, judgmental, secretive, spiteful, stubborn, proud, arrogant, vane, narcissistic (Just a little synonym humor), opinionated, sarcastic, and mildly unstable. I have a raging temper, and a bit of a nasty streak. I've got a chip on my shoulder and a power complex. I am terrified of commitment and yet equally afraid of loss. I spend more time in my head than I do in the clouds, and I rarely visit the earth. I'm a pretentious, uneducated, agnostic jerk with tiny ears and curly hair.
Oh, and I'm a diehard fan of the Oakland Raiders.
I'm a little more than a "fixer-upper", I'm scheduled to be condemned.
But... despite everything I just said, I don't think that I'm a bad guy.
And, if you made it past mildly unstable, it's safe to say that you might think so too.
Or you're just curious.
This isn't a blog about me standing up for myself.
I'm not about to turn around and list all of my good qualities, or talk about my history of good deeds... I just want you to know who I am.
I'm not Superman. I'm not about to take off my glasses and become somebody else.
I'm just telling you the bad news first.
I'm a strange person, because despite pushing away many of the people I love, my entire life revolves around them.
Despite rolling my eyes or nasty rants, despite a few dishonorable deeds here and a few ugly fights there, my friends are all I've got.
And that's all I am.
When Friends become Family.
I haven't always been the social butterfly you see before you today.
In fact, for the longest time, I was a really quiet person.
I don't think I really came out of my shell until I was almost out of high school.
So making friends wasn't easy.
And whenever I did, they weren't around long.
Some got girlfriends, some got into drugs, and others simply passed away.
The world was constantly changing around me and I simply stayed the same.
I was warm, honest, and loyal to a fault, and I simply got burned over and over.
My mom always credited me (and still does) with being an extremely abstract thinker. She gave me the classic "it's what makes you special" speech, and I just had to embrace that it was supposed to be a good thing that I could think outside the box.
I resent that a little.
I mean, I understand that not everyone can think outside of the box, but it's all I can do.
For once in my life, I wish I could open the damn box and see what's so special about it.
See? I got sidetracked.
As I got older, I learned to play the game. I figured out what people liked, I kindof... learned people.
Which is great if you believe that Quantity beats Quality.
For you people, my life would've been very fulfilling.
But it just wasn't.
And then I started meeting the right people.
People with big hearts and open minds, and they understood me.
They looked past the act, past the mask, and saw the person underneath.
And much like Beauty and the Beast or the Phantom of the Opera, they didn't run.
They just smiled and took a seat.
I'd love to take the time to name every single one of them, but I can't, not because I don't want to or I don't have the time, but for fear that I'd leave somebody off the list.
One of my closest friends committed suicide.
It rocked me to my core because... well... There's nothing that can prepare you for that kind of thing. I had the opportunity to talk to him before it happened, and I chose not to. I took him and his friendship for granted and now he's gone forever. The memories remain, and on a good day, I can see past the guilt and confusion and remember them for the awesome times that they are, but what happened on that day, nearly three years ago, shaped the person I am today.
On that day, I changed.
I made a promise to myself that I would never let a friend down again, that I would never give up on my friends.
And to this day, I've kept that promise.
I love my friends, even when they're assholes, mostly because people aren't perfect, but partially because I tend to be an asshole myself. We can fight, we can delete each other on meaningless social networks and act like we're done with each other, but ultimately, they know I still care greatly for them, and that I'd drop anything to help them if they needed me. I don't care if that is a two-way street. I really don't. I, like anyone who lived long enough to realize Santa isn't real, am accustomed to disappointment, and I don't know how to love in a way that isn't unconditional. I realized a long time ago that we are all on a violently unpredictable roller coaster, and unfortunately, we only get one ride. There's nothing you can really do to change that. So, if you're like me, you just pick a few passengers, you hold their hand and try to enjoy the ride. I'm not speaking to some of my very best friends at the moment. I won't pretend it doesn't make me sad, because it does, but at the same time, I understand. Frustration, confusion, disappointment, and doubt are not feelings you want associated with a person that you consider a sibling, and I feel that about as strongly as I'm sure they do.
I need my friends. They're my second... Not even my second family.
My flesh and blood are family A, and my best friends are family 1.
There's no way to separate the two.
It's true, one has done significantly more for me, from my creation and childhood (Shout-out to Mom and Dad for that one), to shaping the person I am today (BIG props to the older sister for being the big brother I never had and the loving sis I needed).
But the important thing is that they are all I've got in this world and all that I need. I'd give anything for any one of them on any given day and they know that.
© 2014 Ryan Smith