My #BeReal guest today is Matthew Blashill.
When I think of good guys, Matthew is always on that list. He has a beautiful heart, a wonderful imagination, and he is a loving husband and father. OK this may sound like a eulogy but he is very much alive and I am so very grateful for that.
He didn’t know I was posting this today so maybe we can share it like crazy and surprise him with lots of bloggy love. Better yet follow his blog and write lots of good things on his many wonderful posts!
Please welcome Matthew to this series and show a good guy some love!
I can’t remember a time when I liked school. Sure, there were moments, and teachers, and friends I liked, but the day-in and day-out grind of being there and being forced to “learn” always bothered me. I wanted to be on the soccer field. I wanted to be climbing trees and rocks. I wanted to be in the mountains. I’m not saying that a structured early education isn’t important, it is, but I will argue that my most important education came from the experiences I had away from school.
I can’t remember being taught how to fire my dad’s rifle, so let’s say that happened when I was five. I learned how to drive a stick shift when I was eight. I went on my first backpacking trip when I was nine. I made to the top of Mount Whitney (the first time) when I was 11. I did my first real drinking at 17. I still own and drive the first car I bought in college. I was married on a mountain, on 18 feet of snow, at 27. I became a father at 31. I’ve held 11 jobs with nine employers under 10 bosses in 16 years.
I’ve lived in the desert and at the beach. I’ve boarded down sand dunes and snow-packed slopes. I’ve seen the mesas in New Mexico at sunrise. I’ve seen Mount Rushmore at sunset. I’ve walked on glaciers. I’ve dipped my toes in the Pacific and the Atlantic. I haven’t been to nearly enough of the important landmarks in the United States but I’ve made a good start. I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, England and France.
I’ve seen beauty and pain. I’ve written them both. I’ve internalized them as well. I don’t always do the right thing. I don’t always care. I’ve cried from happiness and sadness. I’ve cried from exhaustion too. I’ve celebrated accomplishments that meant a lot to me and those that meant a lot to others as well. I’ve fretted over regrets. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. I’ve never wanted to be perfect. I’ve claimed to not care about being popular as a hopeful lie and bid to actually become popular. I’ve claimed I write for myself as a hopeful lie and ruse to trick myself into believing it. I’ve been obsessive, abusive, cowardly, aloof, elitist, sexist, racist, and on and on. I’ve been nurturing, supportive, loyal, brave, respectful, empathetic, protective, and on and on.
I’ve been a student of the world: observing my family, friends, and acquaintances, along with my own actions and thoughts, to learn what it means to be alive, to be good, to be real. Though the path will definitely be meandering, and I may not always choose to stay on course, it is a quest that I will pursue until my final breath.
What does it mean to you to be real?
A friend of mine from college is the most real person I’ve ever known. He doesn’t cave to societal norms. He doesn’t care what other people think about him. He does what he thinks to be right in every situation without thought to how his actions will be received by anyone else. He is a model of being real even though it sometimes means people blame him of being rude (because he is) or naïve (because he is) or selfish (because he is). And, isn’t that naturally part of being real? If you pare away all our modified behaviors because we are concerned with how others will perceive us, we are bound to act rudely, naively and selfishly at times. Despite the importance of being real, I struggle to accept that aspect of it, and that’s okay too, that’s just me being real.
What do you think most people think about you by just seeing your picture?
Skinny. Nerd. Lanky. Silly. This is a hard question for me, because I still picture myself as the scrawny introverted kid from middle school who was bullied. Sometimes I think I’m what passes for handsome, but not often. I’m not muscular. I have no chin. My nose is too big. My hairline is receding. My waistline is expanding. I know I clean up nice, but people rarely see me like that.
And what would people be most surprised to learn about you?
Where do I even start with this one? I think people see me as this “nice guy,” empath, who cares for others deeply, and they aren’t wrong. But, there are often conceptions about that sort of person, and I definitely don’t fall into those linked notions. I’ve voted Libertarian in the last couple elections and Republican in everyone before that since I was old enough to vote. How heartless of me, right? Well, haven’t we already established that I’m a caring individual and I take care of those I love? I guess I’m not heartless after all. I just think the federal government shouldn’t be responsible for things that are better handled by families, neighbors, communities, etc… on a more local scale. What’s the other argument for people who vote the way I do? Ah, yes, if they aren’t heartless they must be ignorant. Well, you are allowed your opinion, but that doesn’t mean I have to give it any credence.
After studying psychology in college and then getting lost in Corporate America for a few years, Matt realized he had a bunch of words trapped in his head that needed to be released. His stories range from fantasy to westerns and from silly to disturbing. In between larger writing projects you can follow along with the rest of his words, wherever they lead, on his blog: thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com.