Mad Brad: Out of character

I have a core group of friends that I’ve known since 8th grade. We’ve all grown up from staying the night at each other’s houses after school to commuting in town after work to stay at each other’s homes. After seven years of knowing a person you would think that it would be possible to know everything about them, but about a week ago I got a lesson in social works.

One of my best friend’s brother came out to a party. He’s a couple of years older than us and polar opposite. While we were deciding what ladies and booze to bring to make the best party, he was having a dungeons and dragons meeting at the local comic book store. As long as I’ve known him this has been the standard.

I’ve grown to love him for the character that has been in my life for seven years, but I learned that despite how other people perceive you, if you’re no satisfied with yourself then eventually you’ll look up years down the road and not know a thing about yourself.

I always thought my group of friends to be a bit reckless. We’re good people, a bit eccentric, and once we mature we will be unstoppable. For me, Pat was the opposite. He had a steady girlfriend for years when the rest of us could never get a girlfriend or always had to deal with those lonely, awkward nights. Some of us hardly knew what we wanted for breakfast let alone what we wanted to do with our lives.

I looked into Pat’s eyes amidst the turmoil of follies and drunkards and saw that he was not here. He wasn’t sitting on the couch in the living area. He was lost in an abyss of his own indecision. As we spoke, it became clear that he knew nothing about himself. He told us that the character that we had come to know was not him. That his reasons for enjoying RPG’s and video games, was because he was told that he liked them. That he had allowed others to build his image for him.

So many questions were raised not only about the people in my life but about myself as well. Was I as solid as I thought, or have I become comfortable in the masks of my peers?

Growing up, I was a very unique child. I talked about purple hair and flirted with women. I played with toys until I was thirteen and began writing poetry and stories when I was five. One of the things I loved the most was being on a stage in front of a building full of people and entertaining them. If I could bring a smile to their faces then my soul was fulfilled.

I went through a lot of experiences in which my character was the subject of ridicule. People didn’t understand my nature and I was shunned for it. As a result my character died, everything, from my interests, activities, to my faith in God. I compensated for a lack of personal resolve with alcoholism. It took me a couple of years to come back to myself. Season after season the things I loved gradually came back to be as I made the inward decision to not care what people thought of me.

It’s so easy to become a stereotype of yourself when people perpetuate your character upon you. As clich as it sounds “Be Yourself.” We shouldn’t try to fit in with what others do or what someone wants us to be. Pat looked up at 23 and realized that his life was a lie. I’m not sure about you, but I took a lesson from him. When I turn 23, I don’t want to get the epiphany that my life has been a movie staring me as someone else. That the cameras aren’t watching, the people don’t know you, and you can’t wait till the next part comes along. This movie is your one shot at fame. Don’t miss it.

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