When I was a kid I thought I was going to be a doctor. Then I watched the movie Look Who's Talking saw the scene where Kirstie Alley has her baby and that ended that. I was about six and my mind was very easily changed. From that point on I started to make a lot of choices that I questioned. In kindergarten we had a bear that each of us would take for a week and care for. When the week was over we would give him (the bear was male, I peeked between his legs) something to remember us by like a hand colored picture or a leaf from the yard. The school year went by and I never got my chance to take care of the bear. When June approached and I being fully aware that there wasn't a whole week left asked my teacher, a wonderful man who I think of to this day, why I didn't get a chance his answer was simple: because you get to take him for the entire summer Armand. Now, most kids would see this as a huge opportunity and something to be excited about. I get to watch this bear all summer. He's my friend for three months and I can have him all to myself plus his suitcase of loot lifted from the other kids in my class ! Score!
But I'm not like the other kids you see. I instantly said "No thank you Mr Lally. " I remember the look on his face when I said this. It was a look that said seriously kid I don't want all this crap on my sun porch all summer take the goddam bear. Honestly it was a look that said are you sure accompanied by him asking me Armand are you sure? I reassured him that I didn't want the responsibility of watching this (stuffed) bear. At the time it was just one of those things. I missed the bear sometimes but not enough for it to mean anything. I gave up my turn and it was ok.
But then first grade came. And here's little Armand ready to learn subtraction and how to read chapter books. Late in September my teacher came to me and asked if I had an interest in being the representative of the Tashua school first grade classes. Once a month there would be a meeting about school functions and I would come back to the class and present the information to my classmates. I immediately said a resounding and emphatic NO. Mrs Swanson looked at me surprised. She asked me if I was sure. She asked me how come. I said I just don't want to do that. Again I didn't really know why I said no I just knew that I didn't want to do it. After a few weeks our first update came and the person who was appointed gave her recap of nutrition month. I listened to her speak and realized that I had missed a chance to be involved and get these kids to listen to me. I could have inspired them while talking about eating an apple with lunch washing your hands and drinking milk or water multiple times a day. Or, I just sat there and was in my little world.
There are other examples of me turning down chances to do something for no real reason. In fourth grade I had the chance to ballroom dance during a parents assembly and said yes and then later that day said I changed my mind. At least there I fake agreed to it. But I didn't want to do it. And for no reason. The event turned out fine and I missed out. Again I didn't think much about it. But as I've gotten older this is something that has happened again and again. I will regularly say no to things, have no interest in something only to find out that I really did want to do the thing I turned down. My knee jerk reaction is to say no. And I never knew why. Until now. Not to get too heavy but I carry with myself a low level of uni-polar depression. I think I've had an issue at some level my entire life even in childhood. I felt alienated and felt that something was different about me, not bad not good just different, and it made me feel off. As I've gotten older I can control it and not look like a spaz or anything like that. But as a kid I was alone a lot. Loved to read in my room alone. Read magazines and newspapers on the bus with my headphones on. But always liked to be alone. Kids would come to my house wanting to ride bikes and I would ask my mom to tell them I was sick or that I had homework (in July idiot?) or that I wasn't at home. Sometimes she would. And other times she would force me to be social. I would be lying if I said I didn't get upset at that. I was never diagnosed with any disorders. Not on the spectrum as far as I know. Just liked being alone.
But something about my personality drew me to the background. I would fantasize about being a comic or on tv but I would never take an audition for a play. Wouldn't play music solo only in an ensemble. Was totally a dove and not a peacock. I didn't realize who I was until I hit like 24. Here and there I need reminders and to pump myself up like Ahhnold. Just ask my friends I'm sure they'll love to vent I mean tell you about it. As I've grown up I've tried to be more open to new experiences. It's not always easy and there's still nights where a friend asked me to go out and (who if you're reading this I'm sorry) I said no to getting together with just because I didn't feel like it. But not nearly as much as before. I'm semi-out of my shell. Kind of like a gigantic hermit crab. Imagine a Paras with my head on it. (Gotta catch em all!)
Being open to new things is essential in our lives. It's what keeps us moving forward. It helps us learn about ourselves and each other. I put off doing two things I love to do (painting and writing) for years and for no reason other than because. But that's different now. It's such a relief to put myself out there. If someone likes it great! If not, go pound rocks! Or don't, totally up to you! I'm happy that I've opened up some. And I don't focus on the time I missed but rather the time to come. Everyday is a blank page and you can move ahead with the new experiences you've had. The new knowledge you've gained makes it all the better. But try not to limit yourself. I do know that I missed out on some great experiences and had I just been a little less afraid of not knowing I would have come out a little different. Not better not worse just different.
This year I committed to trying something new every month. I try new foods or new experiences. I try to do something new and make myself a little more open. This month, believe it or not, was the blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as I love writing it. And if there's one piece of advice I can give you, when they give you a chance to take a bear home for the summer take it.
- Armand Muniz
Armand is an intuitive, artist, writer, musician and comic. You can visit Armand's blog at: