The pursuit of happiness


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Jan 10, 2012
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“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein.

This quote rung true to me today. Well, it was more like reality hit me like a ton of bricks to be honest. It all started with a haircut. Weird huh? Such a great realization can come from the damnedest thing. I am not perfect, not many of us are. In fact I have begun to think of myself as "perfectly imperfect". All of my life I was taught that I was normal, although I never felt it. The thought was drilled into my head by my parents, who of course had the best of intentions. But what is "normal"? Does "normal" really even exist? The more I try to define what "normal" is the more I come to realize the purpose of the word. I extend the thought that, what if "normal" is a prison of sorts? A word created to instil fear and dismiss dreams. A word that is so powerful that it makes the word "different" seem like a nightmare. A word that is so powerful that ,even though it was destroying my life, I couldn't ease my grip and simply let it go. I just couldn't let go.
Because of the word "normal" I forgot about everything else that I was lucky to have, and simply saw myself for my weakness. I zoned out, staring into my dark shadow, wishing that things were different. In fact, I placed my priorities on my appearance, believing that I could fill in the gap I felt within myself. And to the everyone in my surroundings, it worked. I stood amongst my peers unnoticed, which was all I wanted. To belong, to feel "normal". As I isolated myself in fear of people finding out I'm different I began to develop talents. I began to draw obsessively. I began to skateboard. I did anything I could to impress other people. But as the years went on, I still felt shame. I still felt different. Only now, I felt lonely. The fear of being seen as a bit different had driven me into a hole.

Then I got sick of it. I stared at myself in the mirror and didn't like what I saw. I didn't like what I had done with my life thus far. I had accomplished nothing and hid while everyone else was finishing their final years of school, or traveling. All I could see was a haircut I didn't like, that I had been hiding behind for so many years. My armour if you will. I decided enough was enough and went to the barber to get it cut. When she asked what I wanted I told her " my hair is your canvas, do whatever you want" and she went to work. As I sat there watching my hair fall to the ground I felt a sense of relief. I felt the world lift off my shoulder. As she finished, I loved what I saw. No more "boyish" hair. No more armour. As I pulled up to the light a group of people in the car next to me stared. They smiled and waved and I waved back. I felt incredible. I quickly rushed home to admire myself in the mirror.

As I got home I ran to the bathroom to check out my new haircut. Admiring myself. Then I realized the whole time I couldn't hear. It felt amazing to have forgotten about my weakness. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my hearing aid. My secret that I had hidden all these years. The secret that my armour was always there to protect. As I placed it on my head and turned it on, my heart sank. I didn't like what I saw anymore. I was uncomfortable looking at myself. I had lost all chance of feeling "normal". I felt terrible. It's funny because this little thing which helps me so much, causes me the most discomfort. Without this little device, I would never have had the chance to meet 95 percent of the people I know today. I would not have the opportunity to carry a conversation with those I call my friends. I would not have the ability to hear my girlfriend say "I love you". But I didn't think of any of those things as I put on my cochlear implant, all I could imagine were the stares I was going to get. I quickly found a beanie and put it on. That's when I realized I needed to learn to accept the hand I had been given. You see, everyone wishes they could change something about themselves. While some things may seem silly to others, they are gut wrenching to some. I admire people who are different but do not hide themselves. I truly do. I wish to be like that some day.

Life sure isn't the easiest for me and, to be honest, at times the future terrifies me, but thats okay. As long as you keep moving forward everything will be alright. I have a few goals in life but truly believe only one is extremely important. And that is to be humble my friends. To accept the cards that you have been given and be kind to those you encounter. You never know how much an act of kindness could mean to someone. Be vulnerable. Let your egos go. Live love and laugh and you will feel the weight disapear from your shoulders.