I had a problem with idol worship. When I was not trumpeting the awesomeness, of computer technology, I was praising the perfection of the people I admired. For years, I adored any person that gave me comfort. When you idolize a person, you make the error of promoting the picture of them. I had forgotten that the problem with idols is: the outer visage. We never see who people truly are if we are using their “public picture”.
Publicly, my friend Stan (not his real name) was a lovable chef and a great “payer of compliments.” And if any person is without positive feedback, Stan was the man.
It was easy to idolize him because if he tells you, you’re his “world”, and you don’t value yourself enough…you will agree with Stan.
Stan was a scamp. He was brave enough to know what to say and when to say it. He also knew how to contort his face to con anyone into trusting that he was authentic.
I adored Stan because I believed he had listened to me complain about my problems. He had been my cheerleader when I had failed at dating someone I liked. He had been the perfect sidekick for my misery loves company charade. Stan had even convinced someone he once dated to do odd little favors for him.
On the outside, Stan advertised himself as a misunderstood, loveable person. This was only according to him. Over the course of several years, my social circle got bigger.
I began to discover that nearly every person that knew Stan did not want to see him anymore.
There was Sandra who revealed through a mutual friend that Stan was a cheater. Sandra told Michael who had worked with Stan, that he always borrowed money.
This constant need to borrow money would eventually cost me hundreds of dollars over several years. I was like Savannah on “Waiting to Exhale”. I could not look past the image that I believed Stan was. But Stan took advantage of my kindness.
An idol is a creature designed by any cooperative group of people. We all, with our own blind intentions, sculpt a vision of those we hold affection for.
In patience and kindness, we forget how warped our understanding gets. We oblige the failed connections, the missed phone calls, manipulative behavior, and the blind trust. And we affix our hopes on the sculptured art we have made on our own.
But these sculptures are made from the pride and arrogance our own thought. We do not adequately test all things involving the person we admire. We do not readily do the editing. We simply approach the data, the picture, and the feeling without asking questions of discernment. Worst of all, we lose our “spiritual” components because we look only to what friends say.
And friends are not who “friends” are made to be. I had made Stan into my own object of affection. I had refused to acknowledge Stan’s pathology for loneliness and moreover how my constant contact with him, turned me into a bully among the very people who were trying to impact my life positively.
When people are on a trajectory of loneliness, they tend to choose the loneliest people to connect with. Tragedy becomes the unseen currency that binds confused individuals.
Idol worship is a sickness that men and women contract because acknowledging an identity crisis is more painful than emulating Rihanna, Beyoncé, Meek Mill, or Tupac.
I’m an artist. I know the pain and desperation that occurs when you’re reaching for a dead relic like Kurt Cobain. The lure of a dead musician seems better than looking patiently for a living inspiration. I am not saying that we cannot celebrate the positive strides of dead people. I’m only explaining that there is a difference between acknowledging the past…and trying to create it in real-time.
There are people that have gone past mourning the dead. It is as though (Stan) — the devoted letter-writer to Eminem and Stan (the swindling Zbornak ex-husband) inspire hurting people so fervently…
They must find their own chaotic, contrived way to recreate the trouble. Idols have never had the power to save us from our pain. In my experience, STAN (and everyone like him) delayed me from facing the pain and promise of my choices.
In the end, you must free yourself. And you must have faith that you’ll survive until God sends an answer. Years later, I never heard from Stan again. But thankfully, I got myself together. Be careful who your shepherd becomes. The wrong individual can potentially lead you away from a gift that was unique made for you.