Sébastien Tellier “Sexual Sportswear”
It’s easy to show one side of yourself. Indeed it is something we do without second thought. Every time we meet somebody new, it offers an exclusive opportunity for reinvention; a chance to appear cool if we ordinarily don’t possess the gene, to feign understanding and awareness when customarily it is found wanting, to be a better person than we know we really are. We hide the chinks in our armor hoping that the other person won’t discover we’re a fraud, at least until we have them snagged in our net and escape is no longer such a bankable option. It is not as if we do this to be purposely underhand, we just wish to make a good impression. However, it invariably backfires as time passes and we slip back into familiar routine. The person you settle down with may know precious little about your true self, depending on how well you keep it guarded. It is a fairly typical human design flaw but often encouraged by the lives that we lead. If we are the target for bullies throughout our adolescence then it is understandable that we will build our resolve so as never to allow such to happen later in life. If our heart is broken, then we show a thicker skin, everything to not allow for a repeat performance. We do what we believe is necessary.
It is just one of our downfalls as a species, refraining from revealing too much too fast, and it makes sense seeing as life teaches us to opt for the challenge rather than the easy win. Those commencing a courtship know full well of the rule-set: you must never call too soon after a date or twice on the bounce, it is imperative we hide any character defects or unsightly bodily imperfections, and critical that we exhibit no signs of weakness. Failure to adhere to these three strict rules is suicidal, by revealing too much to our potential suitors we are giving them an out and, chances are, they will snatch it at the first sign of us being needy. This is one of the reasons why couples end up so woefully dissatisfied later in life; having been hoodwinked from the offset, they feel cheated when true colors are shown and often, by that point, matrimonial vows have been undertaken and children have entered the equation. It’s such a pointless exercise but I’m not about to suggest that it isn’t necessary, at least in our minds. None of us wish to be left on the shelf or wind up spinsters; we have to know that there is somebody out there for us. It all stems from a need for acceptance and pursuit of happiness; no devilish plot to overthrow humanity or give inaccurate representation for the sheer hell of it. We are all just learning as we go.
Often in life it is expected that we have it all figured out. One minute we are content just being kids and, the next, young adulthood looms large. As we are spat forth from the education system we like to think the path ahead is already laid out, often to please others as, in our minds, we can be utterly discombobulated and no closer to realizing our trajectory. I left school without the vaguest idea of what to do next and was happy just to amble blindly. I knew that I had a gift for prose or, at least, I did deep down. However, I reminded myself that there was nothing spectacular about my endowment and brushed it under the carpet in favor of a more financially stable career path. Ultimately I spent most of my adult life trying desperately to be somebody I knew damned well wasn’t me. Being something of a social chameleon, it was effortless adapting to others and I did so, not to fool anybody, but with the very best intentions that reinvention would bring happiness. It appeared to work rather well and my life pattern changed completely, but the hardest voice to listen to is often the one inside our own head, and I kept it muzzled for fear that it would scupper everything I had worked towards. Before I knew it, I had begun to change. For better or worse? When the person you become is largely unrecognizable from the one you truly are inside, it’s likely for the worse.
Something unique and totally unprecedented occurred when I began to scribe after a twenty-year hiatus. Stress had me wound up like a coil; until then I hadn’t the faintest idea how to stop the rot or reverse my fortunes. Therapy managed to loosen some of my anguish and bring it back to the surface but I had no inkling as to what to do with the pain. As a result I felt even more hopeless. When a trained professional unpicks your emotional stitching, it is seen as a positive pursuit and it is to some extent. However, six sessions with a shrink left my pain flailing like tendrils and offered me no tangible solution. That is where we come in; should we choose to process the information and discover a coping mechanism then we can battle our demons and overcome any torment. Alternatively we ignore it and do so at our peril. Writing worked for me; I began to put pen to paper first as a hobby and it wasn’t long before I remembered my true calling. The agony was often overbearing and I could well have thrown in the towel on numerous occasions had it not been for my own bloody-mindedness. You see, I began to see the benefits in no time. Suddenly I remembered how to use the voice I had been given and put it to good use. My words could inspire and that was a new concept to me as I had been used to going through the motions and jumping through all manner of hoops rather than choosing my own path. I pledged one thing at the offset; to remain true to myself. For once in my life I was going to do things the right way.
The road ahead was littered with obstacles and pitfalls; every ladder sat precariously alongside a direct snake back to the basement. The difference now was that I wasn’t overly concerned with reinvention; instead this offered me an opportunity to become the person I knew damned well I was already. I grasped the opportunity with both hands and ran with it; pledging my entire life to the cause at the expense of everything I had come to know until that point. Every time I assumed my pseudonym I revealed a little more about myself; not just what I wished was true but everything with validity. As Keeper there was no hiding spot and neither was one necessitated. If those who perused my work didn’t share my view then they could choose not to continue but, I figured, why waste any more time pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes. Life wasn’t slowing down, if anything, it was accelerating. I was about to turn forty. For a man who takes care of themselves that is ordinarily around half of their lifespan. Difference is, I haven’t nurtured my shell but instead pummeled it with all manner of chemicals. I’d consider myself one of life’s rollover lottery winners to make sixty and, should that be my life expectancy, then I have already entered the final third of my passage. Talk about a wake-up-call. I responded to this sniff of smelling salts by laying it out there and that included baring my soul when I was at my lowest ebb.
Suddenly my true identity began to return. My work has introduced me to a multitude of similar people, often those undergoing the same kind of metamorphosis as I am. By showing faith that they will accept you with all of your foibles, you encourage the same in return. Thus, while social networking is often just as dishonest an outlet as it is perceived to be, you gift yourself the exclusive chance of forging a true connection. It’s always going to be dicey and involves taking a leap of faith from time to time but, should you learn to sort the wheat from the chaff, then it soon becomes clear when somebody is who they suggest they are. Without taking chances, we will never experience the highs. Should our guard remain high then how can another be expected to traverse our fortifications? By revealing all we are leaving ourselves open to the elements and that can be a terrifying endeavor. Where some will relate, others will undoubtedly chastise; it’s an inescapable truth. That is where selection is of uppermost importance; as well as trusting our gut feeling instead of always taking the path most traveled. I’m done with playing it safe, if I had done so then I wouldn’t be where I am now. I would be left to ponder; scratch my head over what if’s and never be closer to finding the answers. Baring All was a vital piece of literature for me as it allowed me to expose what was under the veil; I had done so through prose on countless occasions but would never feel truly free unless I shed all pretense and leapt into the void so literally.
I couldn’t have done so alone or, more accurately, would never have felt justified doing so. I did this with clear reasoning; somebody very precious to me did exactly the same thing in unison. Neither of us would ever have considered such an audacious move beforehand as we shared the same body confidence issues everybody does. However, when I made the 3500 mile flight across the Atlantic and was presented with somebody so utterly sincere upon my arrival, it just felt right. The person I speak of is known to many of you as Scarlet Genesis and has been all-in since her primary introduction to what Rivers of Grue and Keeper are about. She has never faltered or doubted my sincerity and has remained constant ever since and this has been duly noted. When I stepped off the plane and into her safe-keeping for the following two weeks, my decision was immediately vindicated. The reason for this is simple; she held nothing whatsoever back. She revealed herself in her entirety, no intention to conceal or refrain from being herself at whatever cost. That’s some plucky spirit right there; especially given the fact that we had only met briefly before in person. One could be forgiven for expecting their suitor to run to the hills and often this is precisely the case but it said more for her integrity than anything else and, in return, I reciprocated.
The next fifteen days taught me so much; not only did I feel by the close that I knew her inside and out but I learned more about myself in the process. It’s astonishing that we are so often the last to receive intelligence when it comes to our own make-up. I have returned to home shores far more in-tune with myself and also in synchronicity with another, regardless of air miles. When I bared myself literally she did likewise; not because she is accustomed to doing so but because it felt like the right and, indeed, only thing to do. Her actions are not to be taken lightly; by revealing herself to so many she has dropped her veil and left herself emotionally exposed. As expected, the reaction from the Grueheads has been conclusive and unerringly positive. It is no less than I had expected; even when I am not active on social networks, I see what transpires and this has filled my soul with intense joy. This is what sets us apart; sincerity. Such a beautiful collection of souls all interweaving; no bullshit or false representation. I am committed to revealing my true self to you fine people for as long as my mind can process data; it’s as simple as that. Finally I am the man I always desired to be but never knew how to become formerly. I lay myself bare, WE lay ourselves bare, and do so with brimming hearts and reinstated faith. Together is the only way that this can be achieved. Together we shall flourish. And I’ll never again be done revealing myself.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014