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    The Human Bling

            Bling. I like the word. I like what the word means. I like looking at it. I like wearing it. I like bling.
            When I use the word bling in this context, I’m referring to anything really colorful, bright, sparkly, and eye-catching. Everything from inexpensive trinkets to costly, exquisite, one of a kind pieces. To put it another way, I'm not talking about the size or the cost of the wand; I'm talking about the magic in it.
            On a superficial level, it’s as simple as being attracted to shiny, bright, sparkly, colorful objects. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Everywhere, and in all contexts. Clothing stores. Coffee shops. Nick-nack and jewelry boutiques. Car dealerships. Living rooms. Sometimes I can feel something colorful and shiny before I even see it. My bling radar scans the environment at all times.
            I have never questioned my own masculinity, nor that of another man’s, based on a bling affinity. Heterosexual men drawn to bling, however, are in the minority; it is indeed an uncommon, different aesthetic. But I am uncommon and different, across the board, across the spectrum of life. So this bling thing makes sense.  
            Bling makes a statement. It stands out. Because of how it looks, because of what it represents, because of what it is. It doesn’t have to do anything in particular to be noticed; it gets attention through the power of its colorful and explosive expressiveness. Through its mere existence. Through its mere presence.
            I certainly see some similarities between myself and a piece of bling. And my external bling thing is merely a reflection of an internal phenomenon. My affinity for the physical manifestations of the bright and shiny and sparkly is because I am connected to that which is bright and shiny and sparkly and full of light inside of me. Bling on the outside reflects my bling on the inside.
            But this was not always the case.
            When I was a kid, I was fat. Not obese, but certainly very chubby, with more than a healthy share of insulation. I had to wear the “Husky” line of pants because the regular kind wouldn’t fit me. I had a very poor self image, and never felt attractive. None of the girls liked me, even though I started finding lots of them very cute and desirable as early as eight or nine years old. In essence, I was an invisible kid. I felt invisible, and I acted invisible. I had no bling.
            At some point, late in high school, I began shining. From the inside out. I’ve continued to develop that shine as an adult. It comes from within. If I don’t feel it in here, I can’t express it out there. Not with any authenticity or conviction, anyway.  
            I don’t deny that my early traumatic existence as a fat, invisible kid with a lousy self image has something to do with who I’ve become. Maybe every time I go shirtless, exposing a fit, muscular torso, I’m silently flipping off everyone who ever made fun of me, called me fatso, beat me up because I didn’t fit in, or shunned me because I wasn’t one of the cool kids. If that’s still part of what makes me who I am today, so what? We are all driven to succeed or excel by a multitude of reasons. Show me a person who’s made a lot of money but grew up dirt poor, and tell me that their upbringing doesn’t have something to do with what still drives them today. You drive your Ferrari. I’ll go shirtless. To me, it’s the same thing.
            Through self-reflection, introspection, therapy, meditation, self-help books and seminars, twelve step programs, and countless other modalities, we can awaken to, and become more conscious of, ourselves. If we are conscious of our motivators, aware of the factors that have gone into who and what we are, then we have the capacity for self acceptance and compassion. For ourselves and for others. If we are awake to our own story, we have more capacity for love and truth; we have the awareness to own what’s ours; to shift what no longer serves us; to capitalize on that which makes us unique. In our greatest pain also lies our greatest gifts.  
            And a new superhero identity just came to me.
            Clint Piatelli: The Human Bling.
            I could do worse........


    ©2013 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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