I walk through life observing the struggles of others and I often find myself trying to draw parallels between their struggles and my own. There are times when those parallels strike really close to home and for a fleeting moment I feel as if I’m not alone. But it’s only ever a fleeting moment. My weakness drives me to seek comfort in being understood, but my conscience deprives me of that comfort knowing that such understanding will never be forthcoming. It’s hard to understand someone who has yet to understand themselves.
Sometimes, I watch movies or read stories that celebrate the lives of great leaders that rose from the masses, not those born into power, and I see traits in them that I believe I have as well. But the common aspect of their lives has always been that despite being surrounded by people that drew strength from them, they were alone when it mattered most. They were alone when they looked around to see who else truly appreciated the purpose of their passion for justice, or equality, or whatever other noble ideal they were pursuing, and despite having adoring fans and loved ones around, when they sat in the dark and reflected on their life, there was no one around that could truly appreciate the gravity of how much energy and tenacity it took to follow the path that they did, especially when everyone around them thought they were being naive.
Perhaps the commonality of traits is not as prominent as I would like to believe it is, but that feeling of singular awareness to what it is that plagues me has never, and will never be shared by anyone else. The realisation of this painful fact often eludes me when I’m distracted by the brief moments of superficial acceptance and popularity that others project when they wish to be party to something I’ve been bold (read ‘stupid’) enough to be vocal about. But just as soon it passes by and the fall from inclusion reduces me to the incomplete being that I was just a moment before. It seems that communal life is a collection of such experiences sewn together by fate. Those who continue to ride the wave of opportunism wherever it may lead them seldom find reason to reflect on the emptiness beneath the waterline, while those that choose to be painfully aware of the superficial nature of such collusion remain isolated even in the embrace of a nation. The ones that don’t stop to reflect are caught up in the false reality of acceptance and appreciation, not realising that it is garnered from those that are equally oblivious and therefore irrelevant. But it fills the void and makes life bearable, and because we know how difficult life can be when grounded in reality, we not only celebrate such escapism, we aspire to it.
My obstinacy denies me such an indulgence. So I continue faltering between naivety and reality, one minute hoping that I will find a kindred spirit that truly relates, and the next realising that this one true impossibility will always triumph over my optimism. So perhaps, without realising it, I’ve acquired a taste for indulging myself half heartedly in the ephemeral embrace of society, while never forgetting that the day when I will be presented with the scroll of my life, I will stand alone. I often don’t do justice to the good that I am capable of, but I do my best not to do harm instead. However, there are times when those around me require that I extend myself in the good that is possible, and my restraint in such moments is often interpreted as deliberate harm instead.
Seeking commonality between my life and the life of those that struggled and triumphed before me is nothing more than an indulgence in vanity. My need for such affiliation is to pacify the weakness of character that prevents me from knowing myself, and in turn, from others ever knowing me.