Reminiscing about childhood is a popular pastime. Idyllic recollections of a life that never truly was is bolstered by time that is kind to us . It allows us to forget the harrowing details as we protect our fragile souls from the harsh reality of life. Those that treated us harshly often became a memory of those who cared, especially when their harshness was all we had access to. We become captives of the weakness of brutes because our submission is the only significance that they may feel in life. I sometimes wonder how many realise that their self-worth is based on their ability to subdue others.
Time creeps by, as time tends to, while I find the present moment to pale in comparison to my selective recollections of a childhood that never was. Moments of peace that were in fact moments of isolation, and collective laughter that was often exclusive by nature. I speak of this as if it’s my own, but the incomplete smiles around me suggest that it is a shared reality that is often denied.
As time morphs the pain into beauty it also morphs the beasts into angels. Those that manipulate the vulnerable suddenly appear as the downtrodden when their loss of control is lamented as a betrayal of love or affection. I sit with morbid amazement as I watch kids who are barely teens reminiscing about childhood and the wonderment that went with it as if it’s a long lost part of their lives, and I feel sad. The sadness deepens when I witness how their recollections embellish events to make it more wholesome or inclusive than it really was. The disease of the adults appears to have transcended a generation that used to be symbols of hope. Those symbols of hope are quickly becoming reminders of despair instead.
The torch bearers have handed over the soot but retained the flames that should have been passed on as generational wisdom to guide the next. The next appear comfortable to accept the association with the soot as a gift of love while not noticing it is the self-love of their captors and not the love of their captors for them. That distorted reality shapes a distorted world that they set out to change, not realising that their efforts to change it merely taint it.
I looked across the bathroom at the mirror from behind the shower door and suddenly realised how many would see the mirror as foggy while ignoring the steamed door in front of them. Those that are living an assumption of reality would seek to clean the mirror, while those that embrace reality will open the door.
We all need to believe that our contribution, even if not appreciated, is a wholesome one. When we are deliberately offensive or destructive, we convince ourselves that it is needed to restore balance. When it works out in our favour, we believe we were right, and when it doesn’t, we believe we were wronged. The selective views we nurtured through life in our efforts to establish our significance and self-worth betray us with such subtlety that it leaves us convinced that we’re the misunderstood or unappreciated while everyone else is self-indulgent and ungrateful of our efforts to uplift them. Accountability rarely features for the distracted ones because it erodes the fantasy that has become their reality.
Our collective subscription to such distraction leaves us sympathetic towards this feeble state in which we find them. If they weren’t echoing our own weaknesses so loudly, perhaps we would be able to see beyond their feigned sincerity and disrupt the fantasy just enough for reality to peep through. But that would rob us of our legacy of beauty that we have to believe is our contribution to this world. Without it, we become that which we despise, so we find kindred souls that are equally tainted so that we are secure in the fact that any effort on their part to expose our weakness will be rendered incredible simply because the kettle cannot call the teapot black. In there lies weakness in numbers.
[I set out challenging myself to write a post about something beautiful and uplifting. My alternate view of reality insists that I achieved it, because if anyone sees this as dark, they don’t appreciate my beauty that I offer so selflessly to the world. So the darkness must surely be in them and not in me.]
P.S. If you can understand this ramble, or worse, if you can relate to it, I question your sanity, and pray for your peace.