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    Real It Out

           We live in a world where we are constantly pressured to reel it in. Don’t say “that”. Don’t do “that”. The pressures to conform, to fit in, to keep up with the Joneses, and to do it the way it’s “supposed” to be done, are enormous, especially in American culture. America may be the land of the free, but it’s not necessarily the land of the free spirit.
           There are all types of cultural and societal conditions to being a free spirit. First and foremost, there are the almighty qualifiers of money and status. If you can make a lot of money being a free spirit, a la Ted Turner, Richard Branson, or a platinum selling rock musician, you’re maverick ways are “justified”. But if you are a maverick because that’s who you are, with no particular monetary or status gains attached, it can be a very different story.
           We are moving past that, but there is still the omnipresent media onslaught, puritanical paradigms, conventional mindsets, and a host of other constructs in place that impede our freedom of expression, our freedom of spirit.
           So if we are constantly told to reel it in, where do we let it all hang out? Where do we live freely? Where are we unafraid to show the world who we are, what we are, without apology? The more places we find for that, the more avenues we channel that energy into, and the more vibrantly we do it, the more we experience a freedom of spirit. How, where, when, and how strongly, do we flip the finger to convention and conformity?
           I’m not a fan of flipping that finger just for the sake of flipping it. Because that’s not exercising your spirit. That’s rebelling. And rebellion for the sake of rebellion is what teenagers do, and hopefully we move past that. When we rebel from our nature, when who and what we are do not fit with what’s already established or accepted, then we are doing it for the right reasons. We are being real.
           I’m not unconventional for the sake of being unconventional. I’m unconventional because my sensibilities often do not fit in the confines of convention. If I paint outsides the lines, it’s not because I’m trying to be different. I’m painting outside the lines because what I want to say, what I want to express, what I am, doesn’t fit within the lines. If I paint outside the lines, it’s because I feel that the picture is far more beautiful painted that way. And I do what makes my heart sing. Sometimes that spills out over the page, out over the frame, and out over the whole fuckin’ wall. But to me, it’s beautiful.
           That can be scary to some. It can seem unpredictable. Contradictory, even. I get that. And I welcome discussions and interactions with anybody where we can explore that. But I get my fair share of people who just write me off because of it too. But I’m not here to convince them. They just aren’t my tribe. That’s the reality of being real. Those who get you, really get you, and they absolutely adore you for it. And those who don’t, well they don’t, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Give me one real friend over 1000 fake ones. Give me one true love over 1000 one night stands. I certainly didn’t feel that way about love and sex in my twenties, but I’m not twenty anymore.
           Where can you live more freely? Maybe a little more at work, maybe not. Certainly, in your personal relationships, you can create room for that. If it’s important to you. Where does your wild spirit get to play? In the bedroom? In your journal writing? Your sport of choice? Your painting? Your music? Where do you say “Fuck reeling it in. I’m Realing It Out.”

    ©2014 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.  

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