In with the Out-Crowd
The last time I made one of these zines—Outsiderism—I took two pages to include an edit of a piece that I had originally written at work…something that was originally intended to crystallize what(ever it was that) made us different than other small digital agencies. The attempt was a failure, though it did come close to capturing what I had started to believe about myself…which is why it got included there.
This time, however, I’m focused on someone else. Son of Outsiderism. How to be—how to stay—whatever it is that I am when bent by the gravity of my son. How can I be alone in a crowded world when—no matter what—I have and want and love him. And want to be with him.
Do I bring him outside with me? He’s a great little guy; certainly destined to do whatever he wants in whatever way he wants to…but do I want that for him? Does that matter? Is it selfish and curmudgeonly to even be asking questions like this on his behalf? It is.
It is, but I feel entitled to do so until some time out in the middle distance. Presumably once he’s got the faculties to ask these questions himself. Does he want to approach the world—the rest of everything—from the perspective of being somehow beyond or beside (or above) it? Do I want that for him? I do.
But wanting something for your child HAS to stop at that. It does. I have to teach him how to think for himself, want whatever it is he wants, and go after those things however he chooses to go after them.
I think that’s maybe where the conundrum lies.
It’s got to lie somewhere in the stress between teaching someone how to do something and just shoving them aside and doing it for them. Properly showing the ‘why’ to them without getting caught up in telling them all of the details.
The bottom line is that I want to make his life easy. I want him to feel loved. I want him to know that he’s got support and is never truly alone as long as I’m with him. But I want him to be able to turn all of that knowledge off whenever he wants. I want him to have a switch deep inside that he knows how to get to and how to operate at a moment’s notice.
He should live on the inside of things and know that’s where he’s at…and he should use that knowledge to his advantage. He should see the difference between where he’s at and what he is. He should define himself as whatever he wants to be and change the shape of his environment to accommodate whatever that is.
He should be kind, thoughtful, reasonable, and caring. But he should also be merciless. He should be quick-witted and dry. He should understand the basic and permeating ironies of modern life. He should know how truly and how deeply the rest of the world fails to understand itself, and that any shred of basic human insight he can bring to situations involving others will put him at a huge and permanent advantage over them.
He should know to save his bullets upon encountering fish in a barrel; if he’s cunning and only a little patient, he can shoot the person who put them there.
Find and use this power—this perspective—for good, son.
But do find it. And do use it.
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