My #BeReal guest today is Laron Chapman.
I am drawn to him because he has a very welcoming smile. When he says, “Hey, whats up?” it’s not a simple greeting but a question he means for you to answer.
Recently, we spent time getting to know one another and my first impression was accurate but he is so much more. He is kind, thoughtful, and funny. He listens and absorbs your character. Because his passion is turning the everyday REAL around us into art.
Learn more about Laron and read his very personal compassion piece titled OUT OF THE FOG.
He is simply wonderful.
#BeReal; What an intensely powerful and timely expression that is. What is particularly fascinating about it is what is real to one may not be real to everyone. It is a universal inclination that is executed through subjective means based on our own personal set of beliefs, values, and life experiences. Still, it is something we all privately strive for in some capacity throughout the course of our lives; fleshing out our most authentic, true selves. For me, “being real” is synonymous with “being transparent,” exposing our truths, both personal and intimate, in a bold, daring fashion. This is a practice I have struggled with my whole life.
I’ve acquired many admirers, even more enthusiastic acquaintances, and only a handful of genuine friends. I take immense pride in bringing out the best qualities in people, highlighting their strengths, accepting their weaknesses, and embracing their imperfections as firmly as their most commended qualities. However, ironically, the same courtesy has not always been reciprocated which has given radiant life to some of my deeply rooted insecurities. It’s not that people don’t care, rather they don’t fully understand, me, that is. To be accommodating, I find myself constantly reinventing myself to other people’s liking, only projecting the qualities I know they will embrace, afraid of exposing my complicated nature. I’ve always said that I’m pretty much never fully expressing myself unless I’m writing, the only medium I’m unafraid to unleash my inner demons, my most vulnerable self.
To know me is to become aware of my core artistic passions including film, music, writing, and other various means of creative expression. These elements are intrinsically apart of my being. If you’ve made my acquaintance, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to my long-winded musings about the latest film release or my new favorite song. Subsequently, you’ve also probably heard me speak to you or give advice through the undying art of film quotes, song lyrics, or poetry. It’s not a practice I know how to shut off, so you’ll either lovingly admire it or begrudgingly accept it.
Art is a universal language that allows us to feel empathy for people, causes, cultures, and perspectives that we might otherwise never be exposed to. It is human nature to want to be understood. Through every trying walk of life, these mediums have always served as vessels by which I could channel the truths I’m often afraid to expose at face value. My mind is always racing; I always carry a pen and scratch paper given the prospect of unexpected inspiration; My imagination is ripe and complex; I don’t have regular sleep cycles; I don’t go anywhere without my iPod (I have a playlist for every mood; i.e. “melancholy tunes.”); With the arts I find balance, purpose, comfort, validation, and confidence.
To “be real” is to be emotionally naked, comfortable in our own skin, and loyal to our convictions even when our perspective isn’t the most popular. It is always refreshing to meet people who have accomplished this seemly daunting feat. I have not yet accomplished this in the flesh, but I have done so through creative surrogacy.
I’ve been described as charming, creative, loyal, driven, strong, easily distracted, ridiculous (affectionately), kind-hearted, and complicated. When people glance at an image of me, I imagine they see the genial, care-free, and disarming qualities that have served as my (perceived) governing character traits; my idealized self. I think what most people are surprised to discover about me is that these qualities mask an inner pain harbored from within. While these feelings have never compromised my pleasant exchanges with those around me, they fuel my creative pulse and give me the tools to paint my most vivid, honest self.
We are all unique in our own ways. No other person can see or experience life through the same lens that we’ve been privileged or afforded, which provides merit to every person’s walk of life, however tragic, beautiful, or vibrant. Never assume you know someone in their entirety, for we all harbor secrets within ourselves. However, I urge everyone to “look closer” at the people we love, to read between the lines, to be patient and understanding, and to always strive to be transparent. It takes courage to be daringly, fiercely, unapologetically yourself and there’s truly nothing more beautiful.