theater-masks1There will be a million blog posts over the next few days about Robin Williams, his death and the tragedy it speaks of, so there isn’t one reason you should read mine rather than someone else’s. My take is no more valid. I didn’t know him, but I do know what it’s like to be the funniest guy in the room.

I also know what it’s like to be the saddest. I know what it’s like to pour your emotion, all of it, into a role. A story. To hear a song that expresses so well what you feel inside, and have even those closest to you give you that sideways glance. The one that lets you know they are not quite sure about your mental stability.

I know what it is like to be the one so few people “get.” Wanting to be accepted, but simply unable to be “normal.” To somehow, sometimes, just “act” like a rational human being. Did you read that? I said “act.”

Because that is what it is. An act. A farce. There are so few who dare to be real. Yet we keep people at arm’s length. Because those who do get close only hurt us deeper when they tell us they do not understand. When they try to tame us, and we shout, “I will not be tamed!”

Because I do not want what you want, or even what you want for me. My expression will not fit your boundaries. I cannot be counted on to act within convention. I am rarely aware there is a convention I should act within.

If you attack, I will retreat. I may strike back, in anger, but that, like humor hides my pain. When I become your friend, it is at first with caution. But when you have broken through the wall, I will do anything for you. Anything at all. Just not the way you would expect me to.

Do you see yet? The real me was for a long time hidden. Because the world feared the real me, and I used to fear the world’s reaction to who I truly am. So many of us stand at this impasse, but I made a decision a few years ago.

I will not live in fear. The world will not tame me, and I will not hide. I have become an open book. Life is too short to live caged, hidden, cowering. I will not leave it by my own hand because despite all my talk of daring, I did not dare myself.

If you too feel this way, do not hesitate one more day. Do not live in fear. Dare. Be untamed. But for yourself, for the world, do not stay where you are now.