Wayfaring Writer

Driven by a violent desire to write.

Break Out of the Box

A few weeks ago I was presented with a challenge. My partner and I would hitchhike from Chatooga National Forest in South Carolina to Gainesville, Georgia in three days. Just thinking about that made me twitchy, but then my partner spoke up and said he felt like he should do it with no gear at all. He then asked me what I would do and I answered, “We’re a team, if you have nothing then I don’t either.”

Thanks Buddy...

Thanks Buddy…

Our three days on the road with nothing taught me a lot, but mostly that if people are going to keep putting us in a box then we need to break out of the box ourselves.

Who You Are Should Not Be Dictated By Other People

So we had been out in the woods for two weeks by the time we started hitchhiking. We smelled terrible, our clothes were filthy, and our hair and beards were scraggly and unkempt. If Sasquatch had been driving down the road and saw us he probably would’ve sped up.

Sasquatch is notoriously judgmental.

Sasquatch is notoriously judgmental.

We walked for over six hours before anyone stopped to pick us up. Every time someone drove by us and didn’t stop I felt this sharp sting of rejection. On our second day we sat next to the interstate for a long time waiting for someone to pick us up and people hurled all sorts of abuse at us.

People yelled at us and told us to get a job. I could see parents slowing down and pointing at us and could almost hear them telling their kids that if they didn’t do better in school they would end up like us. Teenage girls drove by us laughing and taking pictures on their cell phones. It was pretty brutal sometimes.

Luckily high school prepared me for this.

Luckily high school prepared me for this.

But as time went on it bothered me less and less. Literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of people drove by me in those three days and judged me based on my appearance.

Lazy.

Homeless.

Loser.

But you know what? They had no idea why I was out there. I volunteered to be hitchhiking down the road. But just because they had this certain perception of who I was, it didn’t mean I had to be what they thought I was. Other people don’t define who I am, and they don’t define who you are either.

To be fair, I am pretty lazy.

To be fair, I am pretty lazy.

During those two weeks I was training to go to Asia and be a missionary to unreached people. I am a writer, blogger, and author. I have a wide variety of skills. Most importantly, I have friends and family who love me.

No matter what those other people thought or said about me it did absolutely nothing to change who I really am. Too often we let the opinion of others define our identities and dictate what we do everyday.

Enough is enough.

Break Through Sterotypes

We need to grow up as a society and stop pigeonholing people based off appearance, race, gender, etc. But that isn’t going to happen overnight. Or possibly ever.

I feel like I'd be waiting for a long time.

I feel like I’d be waiting for a long time.

But we can do our part. The first step is to not let other people tell us who we are. The second is to not perpetuate the cycle ourselves. It happens more than you think. Whether its with our friends and family, or the celebrities we see everyday. We judge people based not off actually knowing them but on what they look like or things we hear in passing.

Spending billions of dollar a year reading lies about other people lives instead of living our own.

Spending billions of dollars a year reading lies about other people lives instead of living our own.

Let’s start breaking down these walls, blowing up stereotypes, and for the love of God let’s live our lives to the fullest without feeling shame or condemnation for finding joy in our lives.

I am a large, heavily bearded man who likes mixed martial arts, musicals, the color pink, and watching cartoons. Leave a comment below and declare your own identity. Tell the world something about you that may surprise someone. Live your life, love well, and pursue joy.

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About Luke Geldmacher

I grew living on an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Currently, I live in a 40 acre farm in Cookville, TX. I sometime write about life issues, but my passion is sci-fi and fantasy storytelling.

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