A Falling Apple
TL;DR: Let this essay be my story of the apple.
Originally Written: 18-Jan-2022
Word Count: 1264
Read Time: 7 minutes
Read Score: 75.7 (7th Grade)
When one considers that the knowledge of gravity was imparted upon Newton when an apple fell from a tree, it can be easy to feel jaded when one doesn't feel the same strokes of inspiration.
Frankly, there's a lot more to that than what meets the eye, or the ground for that matter.
For Newton was not born the day he saw the apple fall from the tree.
In fact, Newton himself claimed to stand on the shoulders of giants.
My interpretation of this claim is that Newton understood he was merely the product of something.
He also understood the imperative of sharing his understanding of the world with others.
I am no Newton.
In fact, I'm a Crowder.
A Crowder is defined as "one who plays a crowd," much as I am trying to do now.
Much of my life has frankly been spent playing to a crowd, performing even.
A man, at least on the surface, of many talents and subtly not being one of them.
I am anything but subtle, placid, or without my rancor.
But, if I am anything, I am kind.
Now, this statement comes with a drawback.
Girl, you have not been as kind to others as you would think.
To that, I say, touché.
But in that touché I implore, can you speak to what would settle the score?
Can you see yourself for who you are, even if that can be a jerk at times?
Can you witness yourself as in pain when you feel it, or do you have to be told to calm down?
Are you letting your life get swept up in the moment during times of duress?
Or are you making conscious choices to fight the evil that is negative self-talk?
My answer to this, at least for me, is sometimes.
Sometimes I can speak to my actions, while sometimes they go ignored.
What we ignore is not necessarily a consequence of choice, but the direction we face.
The direction we face is in alignment with our values.
In life, we face always face this direction.
As our values change, so too does our direction.
Like a True North on a compass, our values dictate where we end up on the way to our goals.
Our goals are something external of us, like a location on a map.
Our values are something internal to us, our internal North Star.
If your goals are not in alignment with your values, then your goals will never come to fruition.
If your goals never come to fruition, you will become jaded to the cause of trying.
When you become jaded to the cause of trying, you let life's treadmill pull you one day closer.
Closer to what you are inherently trying to avoid.
A life unfulfilled.
A life not lived.
When we choose to perform for others instead of being the stars of our own lives, we lose ourselves.
If we have to perform for others in order to feel their affection, then it isn't real. Period.
When we choose to respect ourselves instead of trying to earn it from others, we find ourselves.
Even if we lose our way every now and then, the point is to continue finding ourselves.
For it's not the fact that we were ever off course that is the problem, it is when we double down on it.
The quickest way in which an apple falls to the ground is a straight line.
The quickest way in which we recover from our mistakes and find levity within us is compassion.
An apple does not shame itself for falling, it falls with gusto.
So, too, must you when you see yourself to be human.
We all make mistakes.
When it's your turn, do so gracefully and glide back into yourself without further recourse.
For shame is no way to take responsibility.
Guilt is not to be used, nor is one to harbor judgment.
For taking responsibility for something means acknowledging it for what it is and its impacts on, not only ourselves, but others as well.
It strips away the impostor syndrome we carry around when we cannot see ourselves.
Frankly, it's hard looking in the mirror sometimes.
But that doesn't make it any less worth trying to do.
Trying is all we can do, really.
I'm trying here.
You can too.
That's all Newton did when he learned more about the world around him.
It is not the pursuit of knowledge, truth, love, or beauty that ever truly leads to achieving it.
But, in its pursuit, we find instead a greater understanding of the meaning behind what we seek.
In life, I sought perfection as a goal.
In that life, I valued being right over being compassionate when it mattered.
I set goals I felt were right, at least in the context of my upbringing.
I did a lot to be right in school and, fortunately for me, I was right a lot.
I was right a lot to my parents too. I was right a lot to my friends. I was right a lot to my lovers.
I was right until I found myself right by myself.
Frankly, all I was right about were the answers I completed on tests.
All I was right about were the formulas I could solve in my head.
What I wasn't right about was how the world actually worked.
What I wasn't right about was being right leaves no room for feeling understood.
Without feeling understood, I couldn't understand anything.
I was chock full of knowledge with not an ounce of wisdom.
My life was all theory and little-to-no practice in the art of being human.
For all intents and purposes, I was a robot.
I joke about being born in a lab and raised by a computer, but there is some truth to that.
When you are treated like a trophy over a child, you feel you were meant for something more.
More is what I looked for in a family that struggled just to get by at times.
More is what I did in school in order to excel over my peers.
More is what I needed when my outbursts for attention inevitably would come out.
For I wasn't getting the attention I needed, just the attention I wanted.
It was easy to get the attention I wanted because I checked a lot of boxes, one could say.
But the attention I wanted was trivial. A distraction.
A clever ruse from the real problem at hand.
That I wasn't okay in the slightest, but wrought with a storm of trauma.
To find a point, my pursuit of perfection only taught me how to live someone else's life.
In giving up this pursuit and chasing compassion as my True North, I learned some things.
Not a state of being, but a perspective of the mind.
Something achieved not when we receive accolades, but for recognizing ourselves.
Being able to see when we are hurting others feelings and course correct.
When we can come back from a moment of pain and still have the ability to love the moment.
Having the ability to forgive others who have wronged us because we can see ourselves in them.
Having compassion for those making mistakes as just trying their best.
Giving feedback to others in a way that is constructive and actually builds them up.
Maintaining connections like they matter to you.
Taking a deep breath to diffuse a moment over externalizing your anxiety.
Sharing yourself with others over giving your opinion.