“People think they are all sort of things they aren’t’ he had said. ‘They think they are talented when they’re not; they think they’re powerful when they’re actually just bullies; they think they’re good when they’re bad. People fools themselves all the time, and they don’t know that they’re fools”
~Luka and the fire of Life, Salman Rushdie
In the book when Rashid Khalifa, the storyteller of all storytellers gave his son the biggest lesson about who we are, he truly prepared him for life.
And maybe another day, in another life I would have countered it, chided him to show more faith in our race but today the feeling of waiting for this world to change drowns the loudest of my faith’s voice.
We spend most hours of our day idealizing ourselves, attempting to keep this image we have created in our heads, behaving in a ‘certain’ way, and playing by ‘certain’ rules. We tolerate all the anxiety and responsibility of the role we have assigned ourself. We imagine ourselves as a demigod but the truth is we don’t even behave half as human. Humans who make mistakes, who lose their path, who do wrong, who harbour all the negativity possible.
But what good is accepting a self inflated ego and medal that we have not earned, the victories that are only in our heads. What good is keeping our wounded brittle broken self hidden away from our own eyes? How the hell would we expect to make ourselves whole or whatever shape we are trying to be if we don’t even count all our pieces?
Instead of trying to save our dignity, we choose to live in a mirage. It’s not that we lack the ability to accept but we lack the courage. You see, all this while I used to think that our biggest flaw as a species is that we undermine ourselves but it’s actually worse. We tend to believe that we can’t be wrong. And worser, we tend to go any lengths to prove that we aren’t wrong about being wrong.
In this race to act like the wisest person known on the face of Earth, we forget the person who is well engraved inside us and we fail the test of the self-actualised.
Dark times, as they call it. But it’s not the times, it’s us, the people and oh how easily we refuse to take the blame and transfer it on to a mute construct. While I feel abandoned by humanity, I am itching to tell it, WAKE UP. And not by the voice that’s sandwiched between my diplomacies or politeness but through the loud hair-pulling screams.
I understand that we all carry a weight on our shoulders, of responsibilities, of judgment, of being a particular way but how are we ever going to deal with it until we set this bag down and peek into it.
We cling to our illusions, we resist to change.
All because we fear.
We fear loss. Losing people who love us, losing people who might love us, losing trust, losing temper, losing peace, losing reputation, losing success, losing identity, losing happiness. We pretend that it doesn’t matter, that it isn’t as bad as it looks like, we make ourselves feel powerless. We would rather find the comfort in flight than summon the adrenaline in our blood to fight, others and ourselves.
But newsflash my darlings- when we fail to lose, we fail to mourn. We fail to realise to final stage of grief and we fail to accept the reality- reality that circles around injustice and morality, concepts that we fail to distinguish between.
We fail to realise the relief that comes with the death of things we were pretending to be.
We are so terrorised by grief that it blinds us to the compassion that comes along with it. Compassion which allows us to understand self, compassion which allows us to accept our defeat. Compassion that shields us from revenge, from retaliation, from blaming others for our fall.
They say it’s okay to fall but never forget to get up. I say it’s okay to fall. And it’s also okay to stay there maybe for a moment, for a while longer than you had expected or even forever. Because it’s not the getting up that matters, but the seeds that you sow in that dark, barren, deep pit. Seeds that will reap growth even when the sun sets. Seeds that will nourish you till the end of time. Seeds that will give you enough strength to lose a personal battle to win an evolutionary one.
And only once you lose this battle to yourself, will you be unafraid. To be who you are and who you are meant to be- kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving, accepting, powerful, beautiful, flawed.
To be human.