True blue

be-yourself-emersonFrom the surface of the ocean to the boundless limits of the sky, the color blue prevails. Representing intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity, this color has remained a constant fixture in my life. Psychological studies have unveiled that the varied hues of blue help to nurture balance and self-expression. Considering the alignment of these influential characteristics with my personality, it is no wonder I am innately drawn to its energy.

Rounding the corner on my morning walk, my gaze falls upon the pavement in front of me to find the most unusual of objects. Resting in the middle of the sidewalk, staring up at me with imploring eyes, is a tattered and well-loved baby doll. Caught in a moment of indecision, I carried forward, leaving those pleading eyes on the ground for the next passerby, hopeful that it would be reconnected with its rightful owner through a warm and tight embrace held within the innocent and loving heart of a child.

Along my familiar walking route sits a bench alongside the local bus stop. Seated on that bench, situated beneath the shade of a large oak tree, was a young mom. With a stroller next to her and a toddler delicately balanced on her knee, she was simultaneously searching for something in her handbag. As my short term memory connects the sight of that ragged doll with the young child before me, I momentarily interrupt my walk to catch the attention of the young mom intently searching her belongings. “Excuse me. Did you happen to drop a doll back a little way?” She looked up at me, quizzical expression on her face, and offers in a rather annoyed tone, “He’s a boy.”

After offering up a bashful apology, I continued onward posthaste. Initially caught up in the personal embarrassment of differentiating a boy from a girl, my thoughts quickly shifted towards her comment. He’s a boy. My very first reflection on her words: Yeah, he’s a boy. So what? The stereotype that boys only play with trucks and girls only play with dolls begrudgingly passes through my consciousness. Why do we do this as human beings? Why do we limit the breadth of our experiences with such hollow guidance? Why can’t we all carry the confidence to express ourselves without the limits imposed by society? Walking along that stretch of pavement beyond the bench, the distance between that young mom and me increased, along with my pulse, frustration and annoyance brewing inside.

I would never do that. This is what my voice silently speaks to me as I continue forward, one step being placed in front of the other. And it’s true, sort of. I have never and will never limit my son, my wife, anyone really, from pursuing that thing that intrigues them. I encourage everyone to chase their aspirations with fervor and passion for all to witness, regardless of what others view as stereotypically acceptable. And I mean it, sincerely.

Suddenly, my stride becomes shorter, my pace decreases. I come to a stop, right there on that sidewalk. The brakes are put on, both physically and mentally. I would never do that to anyone else. But, I seem to have a habit of doing just that thing to one person in particular. Myself.

My taste in music, movies, and books is decidedly skewed towards one end of the spectrum. Given the choice between a high intensity action flick and a tender love story, I choose the latter. I enjoy a heart thumping drum solo and guitar riff within a rock song as much as anyone. But more often than not, I will find myself listening to an acoustic piano performance, the powerful lyrics moving me more than a pulsating beat.

Regrettably, I don’t allow those feelings to surface. Car windows remain closed as I sing the lyrics of a love song to myself. The deeply emotional storyline eloquently shared between the covers of my book is carried on my hip, front cover facing inwards, hidden from the view of anyone who may sneak a peek at it. Even as I compose these words, I realize just how ridiculously foolish my actions sound given what is burning inside.

It’s so much easier to share these thoughts through the safety of the written word. Hiding behind the page, I am not exposed to the questioning glances, the hidden smirks that society throws in my direction. It’s in having the courage to face those possibilities, however, that I also have the opportunity to connect with those that share in my passions. It’s a connection with those closest to us that ultimately make life so much more fulfilling.

stay-true-to-yourselfToday you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss

The advice of doctors is not always easy to accept, or simple to follow. This is no exception. When I know what it feels like on the other side of my ailment, however, I see that this is just the medicine I needed. Truer than true.

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8 thoughts on “True blue

  1. thewritertracy May 12, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    It’s an interesting point. For as much as we each tend to fear the world will judge us for the ways in which we are different from the crowd, we also tend to respect those who are comfortable enough in their own skin to allow the world to see their true colors. Maybe not in every case, but society does tend to admire people who own up to who they are (one example, and maybe it’s a poor one as I haven’t followed all the media, is Michael Sams). I find it interesting that so many parents have unwritten parameters for the ways in which they want their children to be.Why wouldn’t we want our children, and everyone else to just be happy and who they were designed to be? However I also recognize that perhaps I too have place such parameters on my children and just don’t recognize this behavior in myself. I hope not! But the older I get the more I have to admit with shame what an influence culture and society have had on who I am and what I believe. Try as we might, for good or bad, we are somewhat at least, a product of our generation.

    • davecenker May 12, 2014 / 2:46 pm

      These are very insightful comments and observations. Thank you for sharing Tracy. We are most certainly influenced by the people surrounding us, our upbringing, and yes, our generation to some extent.

      It seems so simple to just be who you were meant to be and carry forward with that drive within. But, so much more difficult to do it within the chaotic seas of society, seemingly swimming against the current more than along with it.

      I keep reminding myself that I not only have influence over myself, but also a significant amount (hopefully) on future generations. The best way to do so, on both fronts, is to act with integrity. The old adage that actions speak louder than words is truer than ever.

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It is always very much appreciated!

  2. apartmentwife May 12, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    what an honest and beautiful post – such truth from a personal perspective that i’m sure would resonate universally. i think we’re heading toward a society where gender roles aren’t as important as ‘personality’ or temperament, but i’m not sure we’re there yet. as an aside, my husband love chick flicks – we see the occasional action movie, but more often than not, romantic comedy it is 🙂

    • davecenker May 13, 2014 / 8:32 am

      When I think about the difference between gender roles and its influence when I was a child to its influence today, I can certainly see that we are moving in the right direction.

      Just think about how incredibly magnificent this world would be if every single person acted from that which was in their heart. It brings a smile to my face, the possibilities are endless 😉

      As a romantic comedy aside, two of my favorites are oldies of sorts, Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan and One Fine Day with George Clooney/Michelle Pfeiffer.

  3. balroop2013 May 13, 2014 / 1:54 am

    Poetic style, lovely thoughts, profound expression!! what a combination…really liked this story.

    • davecenker May 13, 2014 / 8:24 am

      Thank you very much for stopping by to read and providing such kind and thoughtful comments. Best wishes for an inspired day filled with a you that is youer than you, truer than true 😉

  4. Marquita Herald (@marquitaherald) May 14, 2014 / 6:00 pm

    Inspiring as always Dave! As a hard-core Introvert I can certainly relate to your inclination to keep at least some of your preferences to yourself even if it’s unintentional. While I agree there’s something to be said for connecting with like-minded people, I think there’s also something rather delicious about having a sort of alter ego. Most people who think they know me would be floored if they knew anything of my past adventures – but personally I subscribe to the belief held by many Indigenous people that some things lose their power when shared. Sing on and thanks for sharing your musings with us!

    • davecenker May 14, 2014 / 6:14 pm

      Although my mantra proclaims authenticity and vulnerability, I agree that there is something delicious (I like that choice of words) about having an alter ego. Your insights always seem to make me think about the things I write in a different way and I sincerely appreciate that Marty! Thank you and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

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