Remember when we were younger, when people would tell us to just “be yourself” and “don’t be afraid”? What happened to that? From where did this mass introversion come? What is the reason behind this trend of interpersonal identity fraud? Where in the translation did we lose the ability to see ourselves for who we truly are? Who told us that we were any less than loved? And what thief threatened to take away everything we hold dear? I wanna pitch a few things to you today. I’d like you to chew on them. Whether you agree or not, I hope you’ll at least try to come to an understanding of what I’m trying to say.
First, let me explain where this is all coming from. I’ve been on sort of a journey over the past couple years to try to figure out from where my sense of darkness within me comes. I was once this happy, go-lucky, nerdy kid. Something changed, and I didn’t know what. I think, however, after a lot of contemplation and searching, I may finally have some answers.
Alright. Let’s begin.
The first thing I want to present to you is this: we have all been lied to – every last one of us, without exception or discrimination. There are two questions I will now present regarding lies: how, and why? The how is simple: prevent the truth from reaching its destination. This can happen through directly lying, by omission, or through many other avenues. To be more blunt about it, lies are barriers between opposing truths that are – and here is the “why” – too afraid of their own destruction to allow themselves to collide. Take, for example, cheating “lovers” (quotations because lovers wouldn’t cheat). The cheater isn’t usually going to willingly to confess to his or her offense. The offender omits the truth and when necessary fabricates falsehood. The only problem is that no lie is perfect. Eventually, someone is going to slip up or get worn out making the lies until they run out of material. This is where the war begins. One the lies start to crumble, the two truths finally have no choice but to annihilate each other like opposing charges. Then what? When it’s all over, and the two forces have unified into one, that is when the future truly become simultaneous unclear (how we want to proceed) but obvious (how we must).
Secondly, what happens during that collision? Change of direction. I learned something about collisions in my physics class semester: p = mv, or in words, momentum is the product of mass and velocity. When dealing with collisions, however, not only do we look at the momentum of a system but also the direction of the system. Basically, when two systems going in different directions collide, the course of each body changes some depending upon the angle of collision, just like if you break a set of billiard balls playing pool. This is something completely inevitable, but what if you were content to be exactly where you were or to be going where you were headed?
So let’s recap, but a little more bluntly. Firstly, are we not worthy of genuine truth? Well, maybe “worthy” is the wrong word – let’s not presume we are gods in any way. Maybe a better way of putting it is: are we not worth it? Is the knowledge of the truth somehow too good for us? Secondly, if the truth causes us and the ones we care about to shift directions, are they, too, not worth it? After all, does this not come down to a question of sheer worth? Think about it, you who have been bullied, abused, lied to, stolen from, heartbroken, enslaved, in general victimized. What does it boil down to for you? Is it objective or subjective? Does the hurt come from the gaping hole where something used to be, or does it come from the pieces that were left behind? Something has been taken from the core of you. You want it back, but it may not return, and even if it did, it would take time for it to return to normal function, and even then, it would leave scars. In the healing of wounds of body and of soul, there are scars, and it is completely impossible to avoid that unless you find a way to avoid injury, and the only way to avoid injury is isolation, or burying stuff… or is it?
Let’s take a look at the two behavior patterns. Isolation: involves the placement of sheer distance between oneself and others. Burial: the addition of irrelevant, useless stuff around the person being protected – you could also call this “putting up walls” that anyone who cares enough about the person in hiding will try to tear down.
Isolation is very self-explanatory, but has a lot of aspects to it that we don’t usually think about on a conscious level. For starters, how lonely we have been told we are has the potential to make us live out that loneliness whether or not it was initially true. Yes, loneliness does happen, but is it not a matter of degree? Even if we are completely abandoned, why should we live it out? Why should we not seek those who would ally themselves with us through faith, through career, through taste, or whatever? After all, we did not come about of our own volition, so does it not stand to reason that there is someone (including God) out there who still wants us around? After all, would we have come into being to begin with were it not for someone wanting us here? Would it not also stand to reason that, despite our varying degrees of pain, that He who put us here has a better reason for doing so than we understand? Even though we may not get why we feel alone for the moment, what reason could we possibly have to perpetuate this feeling other than a true sense of self-loathing? How, then, can our loneliness disappear without seeking allies? I don’t by any means think that we must always seek in desperation, even though we can get that way sometimes. The fact is that there are so many people out there who have been through the same things or seen people go through them. Someone who has shared your shoes definitely wouldn’t consider your loneliness or the things you’ve been through ugly or any reason for you to isolate yourself. As a matter of fact, company is often welcome.
What about the things we bury, then? Well, first of all, I would like to restate that because most people think that they are burying “things” when in reality they are burying themselves. But what builds this coffin? It can be a lot of things. It could be drugs, alcoholism, promiscuity – you know, the typically talked-about things. There are others, though, of which we tend not to think. For example, drowning yourself in work or study, over-zealous pursuit of hobbies, and others. The list could go on, and these things don’t even have to bad in any respect other than being used by a twisted soul for a twisted purpose. All of these things and more, even if they are good in and of themselves, can become the sludge that people have to wade through with all the strength in their bodies to get to the hearts of the ones who matter most to them.
Yet we find ourselves beyond the ability to escape the truth of the matter: no matter what we do, be it distancing or be it putting up barriers, we are perpetuating lies by instigating a disconnect between two opposing truths, a reality so inescapable that the fear of our own destruction as punishment for not being good enough for others and for harmony with them is the only thing that we can understand, even if we don’t truly understand how real such fear is to us. It merely takes time for the lies to unravel and for reality to be faced in spite of the dream, and when we do finally encounter that reality, there is no longer any dream from which to awaken. The worst part about it is simply that over time the lines between the dream and reality blur into one. Sure, at first you are fully aware of what is happening, but once you have been lulled to sleep, things are no longer clear until you start seeing things that make no sense, things like pain, separation, fighting, degradation, loneliness, violence. Then you are left at a crossroads at the corner of remembering what is real or changing your mind about the rules that are incapable of changing their mind about you.
It is at this crossroads that we begin to lie about the worst thing we could lie about: ourselves. We change the way the world sees us so that it doesn’t see the scars, the pain, the birthmark, the learning disorder, the family problems, the trauma. Why would we want anyone to see that? I know why now. Because…
Sometimes, we get tired of running, tired of lying, tired of pretending we have walls when we don’t even realize that we are our own walls holding up a rooftop we wish would stop caving in on us, scared to let go and trust the walls that God already built for us. Those walls weren’t made to hold us prisoner but to protect us from the outside. After all, Jesus called Himself the door, and if the most perfect prison has no doors, how can His offer be anything less than freedom?
I’ve been sort of undergoing flashbacks lately, trying to separate the past from the present. I didn’t realize that I had put up so many walls because I was too busy carrying the ceiling. I haven’t been buried in rubble because I haven’t let myself. So maybe, just maybe, I need to just let the ceiling fall, praying that I can just crawl out from under it. I got my identity mixed up. I wasn’t meant to be the walls, and I wasn’t meant to hold up the ceiling.