So there’s this guy, let’s name him Bob. Bob’s pretty young and his eyes can see the colors of the world. You can tell by the freshness of his look. He knows the world isn’t perfect, but he’s got this quiet confidence & excitation about the future. He’s not being impatient or anxious about it, he’s just curious of what will happen next. It’s like he’s 12 and he’s just wondering about how life will be when he’ll be 25.

Key West Pirates by Holly Masri

Bob is quite social, but not in a demonstrative way. He just enjoys most people’s company & have a few close friends. In his quiet confidence about the future, he decides to open up a bar. The place is quite modest, the atmosphere is chill & warm, it’s like the organic extension of himself. Bob is always smiling & the bar quickly earns the reputation of being genuine, good-vibed & authentic. The kind of place where you talk about ideas more than people and where dreamers often remake the world without judging one another. Friends of friends come in regularly and Bob not being pushy helps the clientele grow quietly but steadily.

Then one day, a few months after the place has open, one of the customers had one too many. He started a fight, pulled a knife & almost stabbed his rival. People called the cops & as the guy entered the police car, he swore he would come back & get the job done. Bob didn’t knew the aggressor, but he could tell from the beginning something was off with this guy. To be honest, he was deeply shocked by the contrast between the quietness of the bar & the sudden brutality of the fight. Few of his friends already warned him about that kind of behavior & recommended numerous times that Bob hired a bouncer. You know, that kind of “I told you so” situations.

Bob’s not stubborn nor has he a misplaced ego & after a few other altercations, he hired a bouncer, just in case.

Then everything changed.

The Return of Rip Van Winkle by John Quidor

Bob’s place was not so good-vibed anymore. You always had a eye watching you, always suspecting some odd behavior. It was subtle & silent but the atmosphere & the clientele changed. The free spirits & whole-hearted people slowly deserted Bob’s place & more fear-driven people came instead. Bob was not smiling anymore, he was afraid. Unconsciously he knew this place was not the extension of himself anymore, but he drowned this feeling into the illusion of comfort provided by the bouncer.

Problem was, fights were always happening inside the bar, even more. This ever-judging, ever-watching eye seemed to have built up more tension than it had released. So they decided to move the bouncer from inside the bar to outside the bar, so the he could prevent any trouble-maker to even enter the bar. Slowly but steadily, Bob’s place transformed into a shabby nightclub & Bob was nowhere to be found. Not only has he deserted the bar, but he also locked himself up in his office upstairs & stayed there alone in fear. As a matter of fact, the more tension & inauthenticity the place suffered, the more power & entitlement the bouncer started to get. You couldn’t even talk to Bob anymore, it was like the bouncer owned the place, deciding who entered & who didn’t. Even Bob’s friends weren’t able to either talk to Bob or to get in.

Starry Night Over the Rhone by Van Gogh

But Bob oddly felt safe in his ocean of fear & loneliness. Having a bouncer was numbing both his feelings and his ability to realize what was happening. His eyes didn’t cary the same freshness as they used to. They were cold as diamants & weren’t really looking anywhere, especially not inside. Bob had an illusion of control, not even realizing that the bouncer was ruling the place now.

I’m Bob. Sometimes. Sometimes you’re Bob too. We’re tempted to hire a bouncer because we’ve been hurt & we don’t want to deal with the pain. Sometimes our education & past experiences have hurt us so many times in the same spot that it creates a fear. And fear is just the anticipation of pain written into the subconscious. Sometimes we’ve been hiring a bouncer for so many years, giving him raises & promotions so steadily that we don’t even see that there’s a bouncer at our spirit’s door, ever-watching, ever-judging every people & every situation, anticipating an old pain that we’re often unaware of.

Amoureux de Vence by Marc Chagall

When we get angry at people, we often talk through our own personal bouncer. When people get angry at us, that’s often their bouncer talking. When that happens, try not spitting into the bouncer’s face. Try smuggling your way into Bob’s office, softly open the door & quietly comfort him with a whole-hearted “everything’s gonna be alright”.

It’s definitely more difficult but it’s definitely worth it.