I AM NOT A REGULAR DUDE.

What the hell does “regular” mean anyway? It’s not like there is regular and special DNA; there is just DNA. There is nothing regular about me. I am as unique as anyone else. I am unique and that’s that! It isn’t open for discussion.

I am not a regular dude.

My complexion, my personal trajectory, the languages I speak, the stories I tell, my parents, my homes, the way my DNA is set up, my fears, my achievements and so much more, do not make me a regular dude. I discovered my path as a writer in my mid-30’s and I have been walking that path ever since accompanied by all the uncertainties surrounding a writer’s life. It is a lonely but rewarding life. It brings challenges, and the biggest one is the financial insecurity. It eats me slowly and surely but I’d rather suffer from that than not being myself. As life would have it, I believe I see the end of the tunnel. I told you, I am not a regular dude for so many reasons.

I refuse to fall into the modern and mundane trappings that define men in general. Fuck that! Men are supposed to be this and that. Suddenly, we are supposed to be strong and vulnerable, funny and serious, stoic and emotional, talkative and silent, fighters and peacemakers, protectors, providers, alphas, submissives, kind, etc. This whole fucking charade is confusing. We are expected to be so many things and then more. No wonder we get headaches sometimes. I ain’t complaining, for crying out loud; I am simply trying to point out the “irregularities”, no pun intended! Yes, being a man isn’t as easy as people believe. There is so much information out there of what men should cease to be and who they should be. The information can be contradictory, and one must find their footing before defining who they want to be.

People look at me and they wonder; is he black? Middle eastern? Latino? White? He speaks Kirundi? And French and English? People seem to forget I am Greek first and foremost. Imagine the outside world disregarding or not seeing a basic fact about yourself. It is infuriating. And they keep going. Who is this dude? Why is he so opinionated? Who the hell does he think he is? I have answers for all those questions, but I don’t answer anymore; I am used to that scrutiny by now. It doesn’t faze me anymore. I do what I do without flinching, most of the time. I stand tall because I believe in me and my purpose. I stand tall, as me, Freeman. I stand tall because there is no other way to stand, I have found. I stand tall using humility as my weapon, not arrogance. I stand tall using love as my pillar, not hate. I stand tall using curiosity and my desire to understand as my approach. I stand tall because every person should. I stand tall because I believe in my good-natured intentions. I stand tall because for so long, I didn’t stand tall as I should have. I might be making for loss time, perhaps. I don’t stand tall out of revenge; that negative feeling is for souls who haven’t healed yet. I stand tall but I am still learning how not to fall because it is so easy to fall. I stand tall, that’s about it.

Even when I was told I could be whoever I wanted to be, I had to deal with people telling me who I should be. If that isn’t confusing…Nowhere, does it clearly state I get to choose who I want to be. Yes, you’ll always hear “be whoever you want to be”. Only the gods know how hard I tried to be this and that. It reflected in my academic, professional and personal choices until I couldn’t bear the pressure. Who am I? When I put aside other people’s expectations, who am I? The self-examination came a bit late, but I am glad it did.

I have believed the lies, the machinations, the myths, the legends, the stories of who I am supposed to be. I have been told hundreds of times what is expected of me. I am done playing this rigged game. The rules were written hundreds of years ago, if not thousands of years ago. The rules were written before I was ever conceived, and the times have changed. For example, I cannot be a 19th century man and live in a 19th century world that is long gone by now. Those old rules are etched into stone and I got to abide by them, as if I agree with them. Well, newsflash; I don’t agree with all those goddamn rules. We live in a free world, for the most part and I have the privilege of choosing who I get to be. I am not trying to be the man I want to be to please others; I am doing it for me. By the way, I was never consulted when those laws and rules were being written so, fuck ‘em.

I took the freedom to be whoever I want to be. You know why I did that? Simply because freedom is rarely given, you must take it. You must set yourself free. My name is Freeman. My parents didn’t give me a choice I believe; freedom is written in my DNA. So, I am taking my freedom and I am going to live by it. I am going to play by my rules. Who cares anyway? Tomorrow, if I die, who, except for a few people, will care who I was or how I lived? And by choosing to live by my rules, I ask you, what’s the worst that could happen? It doesn’t mean I won’t respect society’s rules because, let’s be frank, most of them make sense; I’m simply going to disregard those rules that make no fucking sense!

I never was a regular dude, I never will be nor do I want to be. I am me, simply me! Society, culture, religion, and tradition love to put me in a box, a compacted space that attempts to subdue and ultimately kill my identity. The latter is made of a myriad of things that encompass my whole identity. I am not one thing; I am many things. Yet, I must fit in a box. I get shoved into a box I can barely fit in. Once I am inside that damn box, it does its sinister job; it starts to kill my individuality slowly and surely! Nevertheless, I will fight for my individuality until my last breath. Who are they to define me? Who the hell do they think they are? They are not me, so they probably don’t understand me the same way I don’t understand everybody. This isn’t a popularity contest. This is real life. There is no reprieve, no cuddling most of the time. Sometimes I am tired of being misunderstood but how can I ever be tired of being myself? How could I ever be tired of existing as myself? In the end, as tired as I might be, I keep being me because I don’t want to be somebody else, and I love being me.

Yes, I am a product of my time and my environment. My mentality is different from my father’s and his is different from his father’s and so on. Times and people change. That is just a fact of life. We are all trying to keep up. If I had been born 70 years ago, I would have adhered to a different way of thinking. Well, I am a product of the 21st century and all it has to offer, good and bad! Moreover, individuality is vastly different from individualism! The former is about being one of a kind, not superior or inferior to others and the latter is putting oneself before and above everybody else, which is a close cousin of selfishness. So, yes, I am putting my wellbeing above everything else, not everybody else. Disregarding others is simply anti-social behavior. If I disregard and ignore people, I’d be doing myself a tremendous disservice. If I ignore people, it means I won’t grow and I won’t evolve. And if I don’t evolve, how could I ever offer anything of value to whoever chooses to share their life with me? If I am an unhappy, lost, insecure, immature, and pretentious man, how will I ever be someone worthy to myself and ultimately to others? If I am an anchor that weighs people down, how could I ever be of any value to myself and to others? If I cannot control myself or make something of myself, how could I ever be someone worthy of anything?

I am not a regular dude.

What about my history, my experiences, my fears, my flaws, my qualities, my shortcomings, my mistakes, my successes, my being, my basic and formidable self? They make me as unique as the next person. What about all those unique things that when put together make me “me”? Do they matter? Are they important? You bet your ass they matter, and they are important. This isn’t about arrogance. This is about accepting who I am, what I am and who I am striving to be. I told you, there is nothing regular about me as I am sure there isn’t nothing regular about you. This text is about me but also others out there.

I am special in my own way. I am not superior nor inferior to any human being, and no human being is inferior or superior to me. We all breathe the same air, have the same fears, insecurities, joys, pleasures. We all hurt the same way, we cry, scream, eat, shit, and ultimately die. We are the same even if our abilities aren’t the same. Our abilities don’t make us superior or inferior; they simply make us different. So, I am not a regular dude, and I am surrounded by not regular dudes and not regular gals.

I feel like being regular is a well coopted lie, designed to put us in line and to rarely think for ourselves. Being regular is the death of individuality and everything it has to offer. Being regular is an attempt to make us fall in line and be obedient. Being regular is an idea, a bad one, not a fact. Being regular isn’t an insult per se; it is a trap…for our minds, for our bodies, for our creativity. It is a trap that smothers us.

I am not a regular dude. Never have been, never will be, never will aspire to be. I am simply not a regular dude.

A special shout out to my brother Alex, the author of the “regular dude” video on Instagram who inspired me to write this text. Thanks brother and I love you for being you and for your talent.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. BI AM NOT A REGULAR DUDE.

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