I find that dealing with betrayal or abandonment of trust is very different now compared to a few years ago. My efforts to live mindfully have been beneficial. What previously would have resulted in a derailment of my train of thought, or my focus, now simply nudges me slightly from time to time when I consider the fickleness of relationships that have always been one-sided. The awkward silences, the abhorrent attempts at arrogance to feign confidence, the pretense of composure. It all seems so superficially desperate to prove that the betrayal was not in fact betrayal, but instead it was a statement. A statement of futility in the hope that the world will be convinced while those that peer too closely can be dismissed.
There is a part of the old me that wants to extend myself yet again to smooth ripples before they become waves. But I like the waves. I like the disruption and the provocation that drives people to follow through on that fakeness until they’re faced with the cold reality of who they are and what they’ve abandoned about themselves. I like the side of me that feels no need to apologise or appease. It’s the rebel of my youth that I have not abandoned, yet. But I’ve come close, far too close too often in recent times.
The toxic appeal of acceptance easily distracts us from who we are, or what purpose we may have been pursuing in life. Sometimes we start out making a statement, a sincere one, that we wish others would hear and embrace. In the process we become bold, filled with conviction and obstinacy refusing to give way to the drivel that drives us down the path of main stream acceptance. And then, somewhat unexpectedly, we find that our ideas, or our passions start gaining acceptance. Distracted by this sudden triumph of spirit, the emotions of the masses sweep us off our path and deliver us in the midst of the madding crowd. The crowd that forms symbiotic relationships of mutual delusion. The greater the acceptance, the more reassured we are that what we always fought for must be real, or must finally be embraced.
So we slow down to breathe. We take a moment to pause and reflect on the days when the struggle was real, the isolation intense, and the path lonely. We hold a quiet internal celebration believing that we’ve finally arrived, convinced that the crowd is true validation, and the embrace is an accepting embrace. Emboldened by these moments of validation, the spirit surges once again. The greater calling beckons, and in the belief that we are no longer isolated but are now seen as a source of inspiration, we take bold steps to lead that crowd to the next mound. It’s just a mound relative to the multitude of mountains that still await us. But that mound is better than the mirages of the past. The mirages that taunted us each time someone had a faint sparkle in their eye that hinted at some enthusiasm to hear our thoughts, only to discover that it was politeness disguised as conviction.
So we step up to that mound, glowing with hope that finally the cesspool we’ve despised for so long will finally be cleansed. Finally, the beauty of the mind we caressed for all those years will be appreciated for the wisdom it has nurtured, and the masses will follow. And as we find our footing on that mound we stop to look around. The sight is a familiar one, it’s just the vantage point that is different. The crowd receded, the politeness ceased, and there we are. No, there I am, standing on the mound realising that the crowd I courted was not the crowd I courted. They represented a hint of what I yearned to engage with, and in the absence of nothing more, anything less would have had to do. And so I settled without noticing that I settled.
The euphoria was temporary, and so was the triumph. But the spirit, the resilient rebel remained intact, ready to push forward with a renewed sense of self, because it’s only in abandonment that we are forced to question the relevance of our convictions or efforts. If done sincerely, we either re-find our grounding points, or establish new ones. If done superficially, we set ourselves adrift in a sea that will forever remain foreign.
Each time I tasted betrayal in my life, I found myself renewed as if emerging from a birthing process. A process that smelted away the tainted cloth that covered me to that point so that I could dress myself in a new garment of endearment for a path that I have yet to fully set out on. But each time I set out, I find myself closer to the moment that I yearn for. That moment when I may find a true sense of purpose or contribution. Contribution of good from a life that was lacking of the same.
Reset. No matter how many times it is required, it will never be too much. When the path is not the one that I set out to tread, I must reset. Restart. Recalibrate. Without such reflection and correction, I risk arriving at a destination that is not my own, nor of my yearning. Reset. Each time, with more wisdom than before, and therefore hopeful that my next attempt will be more informed, and as always, most importantly, more purposeful.