Is un-bold a word? Who knows. Do I care? Nope ;). But… should I care? Hmm.
Now, this isn’t an entry regarding spelling and grammar – we all know I have a respect for those things. This is about something a little different. A few months ago, a friend asked me, with near-disgust (but sincerity),"Mark, do you care about ANYthing?" His question was prompted after a long conversation we had over dinner covering a number of subjects. On every point, while I generally had my own opinions, I was never very passionate about any of it… and, as always, I was exceptionally logical. I don’t get riled up about things (unless, sometimes, when I’m hurt). If you know me, I’m sure you can count the number of times you’ve seen me get upset or passionately angry about something on one hand – even if you don’t have a hand. That is to say, of course, that I really don’t. I’ve been fairly passive since I was a kid, and it’s not that I let folks walk all over me – I’m just not very bold… and from time to time, I wonder, is that bad?
(NOTE: "Holy crap.. I wrote a freaking novel down there. Obviously it’s all personal, and I’m sharing from the heart, so if you bother to read it all, well.. I love you – but by golly, I had to warn you :).")
As with many things here, and everything in life, I’m not looking for goody-goody confirmations and joy-joy feelings (name the movie referenced by "joy-joy feelings" and win a hug!)… I’m searching for an understanding. In this case, it’s a personal understanding.
I’ve never kissed a girl. Ever. Why not? Because I’ve never tried to. I’ve never taken a stranger out on a date. Why not? Because I don’t ask. Sure, when I was younger there was a healthy dose of fear involved, but the real reason is that I never care. Well, to be more accurate – I never care ENOUGH to do anything about it. Haha, I used to drive my dad mad with that response of "I don’t care", but it was genuine. Even today, I can elicit that type of response… hence my friend’s question about whether or not I cared about anything. I, of course, care about things… so I hope you see the semantic difference in my meaning. I care about people, and movies, and God.. I care very deeply about so much, but I’m not necessarily passionately bold. At least, when it comes to garnering an aggressive or bold emotional reaction.
Have you seen the movie Watchmen or read the comic? Good ol’ Nick Reiber has often made the comparison of me and the character of Dr. Manhattan for our mutually logical, and seemingly detached, viewpoints. I like the comparison. A little while ago, Nick’s gal went through some crap at school, where some childish adult bullies made her feel rather awful and upset. His reaction, as would be most fellas’, was the desire to go up there and punch the guys. Obviously, he wouldn’t literally do it, but that’s the feeling that erupted seeing someone he cared about hurt. Much to his annoyance, I didn’t really care. I mean – I cared.. but not in the same way. I ended up talking with her online right after, because I’m more interested in a person’s feelings than exacting some type of aggressive reaction… but I didn’t care enough to naturally feel anything. Even with the one gal I dated – she was a little screwed over by someone at work, but I just didn’t care enough to be "upset" by it… which, in turn, upset her. I’ll defend someone, sure… but only to the point of defense and nothing more. This isn’t really what I intended to write about, though, but perhaps it helps set things up.
I’m just… not bold. It’s hard to feel like I’m explaining that well without just giving a million examples. It ranges from the seemingly insignificant, like dating, to bigger things, like Christianity. Do you know how many people I’ve helped become Christian? Zip, as far as I’m aware. I never really talk about it. It’s not that I’m ashamed, or that I fear people’s reactions… I simply don’t generally bring things up. This is where I consider this reaction (or NON-reaction) a potentially negative thing. I care about people immensely, I absolutely love to be there for anyone, or to have fantastically intimate conversations with people about life and issues or anything else. For as much as I appreciate that, though, I never really instigate it… it’s not in my nature. Even if I were to try, since it’s not natural, most people tend to not respond. In a group, I listen.. I don’t talk. You can look at this site and think, "Well, Mark.. all you do here is talk about your opinions and bring up topics that others may not agree with," and you’re right – but you’re also choosing to come here. I’m offering my thoughts, but I’m not pushing them to you – you’re coming to me. I don’t pry unless invited, and I feel as if that’s not… good. It’s a sometimes painful dichotomy… the idea of, you never get what you never ask for… but I never really want anything enough to ask for it. So, I find myself writing about it, here ;). I’m extremely personable, I’ll strike up mini-conversations while I’m out and about, but they’re never about anything more than a fun comment on a current situation. My friend, Joe, can walk into a liquor store and leave with the clerk’s life story having just been offered him. It’s not jealousy, I’m proud to be who I am (haha, well…), but even God commands us to be bold – yet I’m not. Even Jesus turned over the trader’s tables in the temple, but I never feel anything like that. This is why I set up the conversation about my lack of passionate anger over anything.
My cousin is a year older than I am, so when we were young… she was my boss. I never really said no, but we have it documented on home video when I started to. I was playing with a horse and a tea set, and she came over and started changing the rules I had in mind. I said no, it’s this way. My uncle, who was sitting nearby, exclaimed, "Nooo??" in shock at my stance. It wasn’t aggressive, though. I wasn’t aggressive. Only because she was coming into MY space and affecting me negatively, did I respond. As I said, I’m not a pushover… I’m just not bold. I obviously learned to hate over-emotional reactions because I grew up with a very over-emotional and often-angry dad, but it was never really in me from the beginning. To return to Nick’s gal, Bree, and her run-in with some idiots… it’s that same thing. I see the reality of the situation, and because of that realist/logical view, I can’t get upset. I’ll feel bad, but it won’t garner anger. Or, am I so repressed that I don’t even know it?
To return to being bold, though, let’s talk about gals again… not that it’s the crux, but it’s certainly a good way to explain things. I’ve certainly grown up with my fair share of insecurities, and one of those used to often erupt over the idea of women liking aggressive and bold men. It would make me absolutely crazy… the ideas of a woman being turned on and getting seduced by confidence and a willingness for a guy to do so. Haha, I know, I know. It was only ever a reflection of myself, though. I have no interest in trying to bed a number of girls, or even one, but it was something deeper than that. I’ve obviously moved beyond those points, of course, though I’d lie to say it couldn’t still creep up from time to time ;). More than anything, in that type of situation, I’d feel sad for both parties involved – but it brings up my point, perfectly. My personal annoyance isn’t really that I’m not the kind of guy who would have the tenacity and natural alpha-male-ity to "get chicks", but that I feel like I’m missing that desire to do so. Haha, again… it’s not the desire for casual sex, but the desire… just to have a desire, really. I don’t act boldly because I don’t feel passionate about anything enough to do so. I heard about confident guys getting girls all hot and bothered, I hear about people calling businesses aggressively until they finally get hired on in the position they’re after, I heard about folks being bold and aggressive about things they’re after (and it working), and I’m not jealous about WHAT they’re doing… but that they are doing it.
Apathy? Is it that I’m a passionate man trapped in a shell of apathetic nature? I just don’t know. I’ve only ever wanted to kiss one girl (and no, not the one I dated)… but I didn’t. Why? Logic. I’ve seen annoying customers giving a retail worker a hard time, but I don’t say anything to the customer… I, instead, share a smile and a joke with the worker. I see situations like that in movies, and even hear about them in real life, all of the time – bold acts, taking stands… and it’s pretty much always appreciated by the "victim", but it just doesn’t register in my mind. I’m much more of a nurturer, in that way… if I see someone hurt, my reaction isn’t ever to take down the opponent with quick wit or anything like that. My gut reaction is never aggressive, it’s defensive; when Korkie had a bad night with a mean manager, I didn’t pull the manager aside and tell them to cool it – I made her a funny drawing to make her laugh and feel happy again. That lack of boldness in ANY situation, is what I’m talking about. Whether it’s being unbold in response to someone else’s aggression or in the desire to share something with someone, I just don’t instinctively react that way… yet, all around me, I see a world that appreciate those who do. Haha, and because I LOVE making The Dark Knight references… I’m never the "hero". I’m "whatever Gotham needs me to be". When hanging out with a group of friends, I’m not going to be the entertaining center of attention… I’m going to be the one who pushes in chairs or moves a drink that’s about to spill, without calling mention to it. I’m that "silent guardian" that Batman is labeled at the end of the movie, because I never push the envelope… I simply fill in the gaps. My problem is that I’m not equipped to tend to the gaps that might call for some type of aggression.
Quite ironically (or is it poignantly), Nick just called, and we talked for a great number of hours… and part of the conversation revolved around being bold. It reminded me of a post idea I had earlier, regarding my nervousness and hesitation in terms of pursuing Hollywood. Especially as an actor, a bit more than as someone behind the scenes, one has to be darn assertive and self-advertising. I know a guy from my acting class at Saddleback, a very social and dynamic fella who loves getting into the center of attention (not a criticism)… and that has seemingly served him very well in his current pursuits. It certainly serves him much better than my timid quietness does. Since I’m finally letting my eyes rest solely on a movie-making life, this has certainly been a big point for me. As far as social hobnobbing and mainstream schmoozing goes, I’m far from any norm of "fitting in" in a Hollywood setting, and unlike something such as actively sharing my faith or being more commanding with da ladies (yep… I just said "da" instead of "the"), this really is a pressing matter, because it could be potentially detrimental to my intended career. It won’t stop me… but it certainly won’t speed things along, because if an opportunity arises, I’m less prone to boldly speak up and promote myself.
That’s another part of it, as well – I’m quiet. I mentioned maintaining a more low-key, background aspect when in a group, and I’m just not the kind of guy who is going to lead conversation or anything of the sort. In school, I never raised my hand, even when I knew the answer and the air was completely silent as the teacher hoped somebody might be able to answer the question. Why, though? It’s not that I was embarrassed. I have no problem talking in front of people, and I would answer the question if the teacher called on me, but just like the fact that I don’t aggressively approach initiating a conversation about God with strangers, I simply never considered it being something to do. It’s almost as if, I know something, but I don’t care to share it unless someone bothers to ask. I know that’s certainly true, to a degree, in that even if I care about something (like not lying to kids about Santa), I’m not going to push my thoughts onto anyone who hasn’t chosen to involve themselves in a conversation about it with me. To me, the inane idea of trying to win the girl (as so often portrayed in movies), is moronic. If someone isn’t interested, I’ll take it at that face value and do nothing… why would I bother trying to convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced? Haha, that was part of my teenage over-annoyance with certain aggressive-male romantic situations… because I don’t see most things as anything to act boldly over, and yet, it was often hammered into my head that this is how things are usually achieved. And, again, forgetting any type of female interest from the past, this lack of boldness is about so much more – it’s about everything in my life.
Hmm, here’s a final thought. Perhaps it all spawned from defense. I was having a conversation with a couple of friends the other week, and during it a very deep-rooted insecurity of mine popped up – the point of being misunderstood, my weirdness being pointed out, and feeling very belittled, in general. This wasn’t some malicious attack, they didn’t really do much… but, like anyone, I have issues ;). Part of my defense to feeling hurt, though, is a very hard shell – I distance myself and become very cold. In the way I put it that night, and have before, if you’re close to me and I feel betrayed, I will drop you… like THAT *snaps finger*. Like I said… it’s a defense, automatic. I am aware of my doing this in certain situations.. with my family, with school, even with women in general (for how much I’ve mentioned them in this post as a point of reference, that should be no surprise) – I feel outcast for whatever reason, so I shut-off emotionally. With my family, it’s obvious, but if you’re my friend and you really hurt me – you may not even notice. It’s a defense SO good, as to almost be invisible. However, what if I learned and employed this trait far earlier in my life than I remember? On my first day of Kindergarten, before school started, we were all given balloons. The intention was that they had a nice message attached, and we would all release them before going into our classrooms and as they balloons fell throughout the city random people would see the message attached. Of course, I was 5 years old, and all I knew was that I’d been given a great balloon and they wanted me to lose it. I cried… I was really freaking distraught over losing my balloon present. So, and this may be a big stretch, but from many small events like that over my formative years, I learned that if you get attached to something, if you care – you can get hurt… and if you don’t care, you’ll be safer. Following that, if you don’t care that much about anything, you’ll never be very assertive about anything because.. "eh". Mix that with a very logical mindset, and… bam? Who knows. I care about people, I love people… heck, read this blog without knowing how much I love this whole freaking world, and you’re probably retarded, but you can’t love with a closed heart. So, perhaps, as a weird little kid with a giant heart, I learned very early on that if I never tried too hard, if I never pushed myself into the limelight, and if I never cared enough about a subject to respond in any kind of emotional or assertive way… I wouldn’t be as prone to being mocked for my uniqueness or being hurt.
I don’t know if I’ve come to any conclusions, here, and I think on a more eloquent night I might have fared better… but it’s here, as much as I rambled and ran-on about the subject. As I started this entry, it was because I was sitting in my room with a huge lump in my chest – personal frustration built up over this very topic. I’m not bold. I’m just not f’ing bold… but with that internal reaction which sprouts up from time to time, I almost feel as if I should be. The real question is, however, whether it’s a reaction to my own desires or to how the world makes me feel I should be. Or, perhaps, it’s even simpler than that. Perhaps, as I told Nick Reiber tonight after he (rightly so) gushed about how Bree Salter has the ability to encourage him and fire him up for boldness like nobody else ever has, it all goes back to one of my favorite movie stories of all time and the simple fact that – even Rocky ain’t Rocky without his Adrian.