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When you hear the term real deal, what does it mean to you, what images does it conjure up?
I hear it mostly regarding people. Sometimes it might mean they are not a phony, not a fake, that they truly are everything they claim to be, everything their label implies.
There’s the fake cowboy, and then there is the real deal. The real deal may dress more authentically cowboy, he may have dust and cow shit on him, and drive an old beat up truck pulling a horse trailer. Or, the real deal cowboy may be dressed up at a ranchers convention. But it’s what they do, it’s how they live their life, who they are when no one is around. That’s what really defines them, makes them the real deal.
I want to use this ‘real deal ‘ phrase and apply it to a non-human realm.
Which is the real deal, a tree or the board made from that tree? Which is the real deal, that rough-cut board or the one that is sanded and oiled and stained and varnished? Which is the real deal, the half finished painting on the canvas in the artists studio, or the framed painting in the gallery? Which is a real deal, the scribbled handwritten notes in the journal of an author with all of the mistakes and crossed out lines and crumpled pages, or the glossy covered bestseller book? Which is the real deal, the recorded song you hear playing on the radio, or a recording of the band practicing and arguing in the studio, or the song as it was first being written? Which is the real deal in all of the above scenarios?
There is definitely a need and room for both. The problem is we mostly see and evaluate and have learned to enjoy that finished product. Yes the finished product is the real deal. But so also is the rough-cut plank, the half done painting without a frame, the scribbles half finished ideas full of mistakes jotted down in a journal, the band arguing and practicing at the recording studio, or the songwriter half dressed and hung over sitting on his porch with only an idea in his mind and a guitar in his hand. Yep! I say those are really the real,real deal!
I don’t know about you, but I go through life not being really sure what the real deal is when it comes to me. I fear that I am more driven by how I want others to see me, to perceive me, I want them to see the polished and well dressed well spoken and well mannered real deal me.and depending on who it is or where I am, will determine the real deal me I show them.
I’m sure I could ramble on for hours about theories and opinions, but I think it basically boils down to fear of rejection, fear of ridicule fear of being shunned,not fitting in,and being driven out of the herd.
Horse trainers take advantage of that very fear that has been bred into the instincts of a horse; the fear of being driven away from the herd. That fear of being driven out to where the mountain lion lurk where the grizzly bear rooms, is what makes the horse a herd animal, makes him do whatever it takes not to be driven out. Because of that strong instinctual need, a horse will bond with a human to keep from being driven out, to have that sense of safety and belongings. A strong need in horses and humans. One big difference. We have a choice, or should anyway.
Do you love being part of the herd? Are you there because you want to be and feel your very best? Are you afraid to strike out on your own because of what might be lurking there? And then there is also the possibility that once you leave the herd and risk the dangers of the mountain lions in the darkness, you will find another herd, perhaps smaller, perhaps more like you.
So I’m slowly beginning to learn that there are plenty of folks out there who love and accept me just the way I am, the rough unpolished real deal version of me. And I reckon in the final analysis I’d rather have 50 friends who I don’t have to get dressed up for, write or speak perfectly for, have my song totally finish for, have my writing perfectly edited for, then 1000 friends who only want the polish.
Now I don’t know if that makes me a real deal or not, maybe I’m just getting lazy. Maybe I’m just getting more comfortable going grocery shopping in my sweatpants. Maybe I’m becoming less in need of other people’s evaluation and I am coming to rely more on my own sense of self. Maybe it’s sort of like finding out who your real friends are. Those friends who can hear the rest of the song you have not finished, or see the rest of that art piece, or really get your story even through the bad grammar, punctuation, run on phrases and too many rabbit trails.
Maybe I’m just trying to finally find my tribe, those other trailblazers out there. Hell, maybe I will start a therapeutic wilderness retreat, I will call it? Hm? Let me see? ‘Finding the real you blah blah’,’Taming the wilderness within’.
Wait wait wait, I got it! Of course! Simple! ‘The real deal’.