Well today I figured I'd blog about this thought that's been chewing up the inside of my brain for the past few months. I have a tendency to place people whom I initially find impressive up on a sort of pedestal. A honeymoon period, if you will. During this time, everything is shiny, new, and intoxicating. Pleasure is derived simply from being in the person's presence. I can't wait to see what they have to say or what they've been doing because it's a joyous learning experience for me to be privy to them.

And is often the case with marriages, after the honeymoon period comes the reality check. The shiny exterior begins to tarnish. I see actions, hear words that show people as the imperfect entities they are. The pedestal crumbles and suddenly I'm eye to eye with the object of my esteem. Sometimes this is fine. Their imperfections bring them to my level, make them real and I'm able to get to know them in an entirely different way. Other times, seeing what their choices or actions or words reveal about them comes with disappointment. I don't want to know that this person who I've held in such high regard has flaws. I want to keep them perfect in an air-tight container so I can continue to be entertained by them, continue to marvel at their magnificence.

But that's not how life works. That's not how humanity works. We're all imperfect. We all do stupid things, hurtful things, cruel things - whether they are intentional or not - this is the reality. Normally I glory in those imperfections because often times they are what makes life interesting. Growth and maturity are born out of the horrible, stupid things we do.

I've learned to reconcile that bite of disappointment in finding out my idols aren't all they seem to be. Because honestly, would I really want to learn from someone who's never screwed up? Someone who's never known what it's like to hurt another person and feel the remorse and sadness that inherently follows? How else would we know not to be cruel, indifferent and do all those other terrible things we do to each other without having done them before and feeling what it's like?

Because you can't take someone's word for that. Your parents, your elders, your friends can all tell you that being mean isn't good but until you're mean to someone you care about, you won't get it. When you're a child and you break your friend's toy just because you're pissed off that the toy isn't yours, that brief joy you feel in his or her pain quickly turns to guilt and sadness when you see their tears. When you judge someone based on the color of their skin or on their place in society and feel the sting of embarrassment of being so stupid, you know that's something you don't want to ever feel again.

Does any of this stop me from admiring and idolizing others? Not really. Why else would I lust after famous actors whose physical appearance embodies my ideal of perfection? Why else would I moon over other people I encounter because they have personality traits that amaze the hell out of me? That disappointment at finding out a person's true colors is why I'd rather not ever meet Kiefer Sutherland or hang out with Johnny Depp. I don't want my idealized versions of them to be destroyed. I want to be able to keep them all shiny and wonderful in my mind.

In fact, there are some people here on Xanga that given the opportunity to meet them, I'd probably pass. Because how well can you get to know someone merely by reading their blog? Truthfully, not that well. You see the person they want you to see. As honest and revealing as their writing may be, you're still not getting the entire picture. You're not seeing for yourself how they act when they pass a homeless person on the street. You're not truly seeing the reaction in their eyes when they meet a person with some kind of disfigurement. You don't see if they've got their closet compulsively organized by color, type of clothing, every item wrapped in plastic. You don't see if they pick their teeth with their fingernails after a meal. Things that would completely change your view of them, or at least annoy the hell out of you.

The thing of it is, I need to have idols. I need to have people who embody traits I want to have. It's helped me enormously seeing people who act ways, do things, feel things, say words that I want to emulate. To have an example on which to base aspects of myself. Throughout my life, there have been people, some famous - some not, whom I admired and who profoundly affected me and helped to shape who I am today.

I suppose the point of all this nonsense is that sometimes it's good and it's ok to leave idols all shiny in their plastic wrap. I don't need to eviscerate the inner workings of everyone I admire and fumble around in their innards. I can see their goodness and wisdom and glean what I need from that. That when I have a choice, occasionally it's better to leave the pedestal intact.
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