I write you mainly because I haven’t done so in awhile but also because of two occurrences that I found interesting; not because of their happening, since things of this nature happen quite often, but due to the reaction I gave to them which, after some self inquiry, are noteworthy.
Both events occurred the same day I write this to you and both are conversations, the first of which involves my mother. You see, today I was finishing up a project I had been working on for some time and, while doing so, was listening to this internet series called “Crash Course,” in which these brothers teach the viewer about various subjects including Biology, Chemistry, or History (I highly recommend it). This particular episode involved the Silk Road and its effects on ancient culture and commerce. As I listened, my mother came upstairs and inquired about it, convinced that I had purchased said video while also being puzzled that I would take “classes” whilst not in school as well as find such a thing entertaining and fun. I found her statement to be hilarious and even chuckled as I assured her that it was not only free but completely enjoyable.
The next event occurred a few hours later as I was making tea in my kitchen, my father also preparing his tea next to me while cooking something in the toaster oven. He asked me how I felt about moving to Hollywood, Florida. To which I said that I really didn’t like Florida and that I’d prefer Silicon Valley. His response was, “Why would you want to go to Silicon Valley when you’re not educated?” My response was as quick and it was calm, “Just because I don’t have a degree does not mean I’m not educated.”
While most would consider these to be unfavorable experiences, I have to disagree. Granted, I’m use to this sort of thing but upon reflection I find that I’m beginning to not take such things so personally. I’m beginning to not only feel, but realize and accept, that I, and everyone, even you, are bigger and greater than any amount of words or perspectives. The problem with most is that they take all such notions at face value, basing their entire self image on such limited criticisms from unknowing and ill-understanding sources.
I, too, was such a person; believing that such criticisms mirrored who I really was and, from time to time, I catch myself believing it still, but I do realize the inner workings now and I understand that the words of my parents come only from limitations and fear of what is not understood. The tricky part is dealing with such moments which, I imagine, come from a strong identity and sense of self which, as both you and I know all too well, is not easy to come by. I do not admit to achieving such things but I understand what it is I try to be and perhaps that’s all we can ever do.
What I do know is for the first time in my life the road ahead of me is clear, bright, and paved, and I am eager to walk it. I breathe deeply as often as I can to remind myself that I’m alive, that I choose to do so with the utmost will and consciousness. For the first time in my short memory I feel happiness; simultaneously independent of everything as well as one with everything.
My only wish, which I have dreamed for some time now, was for my parents to understand who I was. Today I have let go of such dreams, not out of despair but out of love and understanding. My parents do not understand, not because they aren’t trying nor because they don’t care, but because they love and care and try too much. Life never taught them that a mistake is a mistake, not a character flaw. This is who they are, and while I can wish for the rest of my life to make them into different people, I would only be doing the same to them as they are doing to me.
I believe that instead of waiting for understanding or acceptance from others, be it from parents or otherwise, one should just do, just be, and then show people in one’s work and actions and achievements who one truly is. Otherwise one will live in a tormented limbo of never achieving and always wishing to achieve. This, my friend, I know from experience.
I hope all is well with you and hope my letter finds you in good spirits and, perhaps, good company.
David S. Hooker