I am a man who takes pride in having the utmost integrity, who cherishes the fact that I am incredibly understanding of people and their situations, who strives to be the best possible human being I can be, who reveres the reflection he sees every morning in the mirror. I am an extraordinary man, but where has that gotten me?
The last true friend I had was a kid named Ryan, and due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, that friendship ended when I was eleven. The following twelve years I blossomed in solitude. No friends to go hang out with, no pals to get into trouble with, no girls to develop a romance with. I have never been accosted with peer-pressure, for I never had any peers. I’m sorry to say that I never experienced any of the joys of growing up. No parties, no hilariously drunken nights, no make-out sessions, no goofing off in class. I have grown up alone, with only my thoughts, wishes and ideals to accompany me. Damn those ideals.
I would like you to do me a favor. Picture in your head a young boy in a glass box, watching the world go by, yet unable to hear anything besides his own thoughts. That young boy was me. Without any primary, firsthand knowledge to take into account, I created my own version of the world. One that I thought would sync with my own standards and expectations on how people should act, behave and feel. You may call this arrogance, naïveté or immaturity, but I prefer to be called Russell.
Now, come along with me as we fast forward to the present. I have just recently, within the past six months, begun to break through my glass box in an effort to become a member of society, endeavoring to actually live my life, and not let the world pass me by. I have attempted to go on dates, to make friends, to participate in social activities, to push my astonishingly heavy boundaries. And what has come of these attempts? I’ll tell you what.
I have been stood up, insulted and played. I’ve been ignored, lied to and left hanging. I have been discounted, overlooked and tossed aside. I’ve been deceived, ridiculed and mentally defaced. I’ve been trampled on, spit on, chewed up and spit out.
Above all, however, I have been hurt. And do you want to know what the worst part is? I pride myself in adhering to my values, principles, morals and ethics, and yet I am the one who always comes away limping. I have oftentimes wondered what it would be like to have no standards, to only care about myself and to squeeze every last drop of joy from a situation, even if it means giving the finger to others.
I have come to realize that as I grew into the man that I am, with no contact with the outside world, I put upon myself standards that I thought to be the norm. Yet as I slowly walk further and further away from my glass box, it becomes apparent that I far surpassed all expectations of what a “good human-being” is made of, and that I overshot my goal of being a stand-up guy.
There are times when I would love to go back to my glass box, because in all honesty, society has let me down. The amount of human decency in this world has let me down. Above all, I let myself down, because I vastly overestimated the makeup of the fabric of moral integrity.
Before I finish, let me make one thing clear. I know for a fact that there are some incredible people out there. People who are full of love, generosity, kindness and honor. I just have yet to meet many of those people, and I anxiously await the moment when I do.
All in all, I will stick to my principles and stand by my values. I will conduct myself professionally and grant an abundant amount of courtesy to others, even if they do not deserve it. I will live to be the admirable man that I want to be, regardless of where it may get me in life. I cannot and will not change who I am, for my ideology is ingrained within me.
And so I say to you this:
My standards can go to Hell, but I will be with them every step of the way.