Faking It

authentic-386651_960_720

We all do it, all of us. We pose. We play roles. We say things we don`t want to say.

Once, I took this fakery to be an inevitable part of human life and. Not only did I not see it as wrong, but – what was perhaps a greater tragedy – I saw no other way of living. After all, how will we live if we constantly tell people how we feel about them, I reasoned? Won`t the world fill with violence? Murder? Wars?

It is filled already.

Humans are great but fallen creatures, and it is partly our ‘fallenness’ that makes us grasp and search for life where life cannot be found, and ignore the cry of our heart, which we should take heed to. And so, after the awe-filled, hopeful heart of our childhood has been beaten into a shape which fits the ‘normal’ world around us, we no longer see the tragedy. And so a well-polished poser like myself – once a wonder-filled, bright-eyed boy whose heart was later buried under tons of falseness, brought in its place by the pain of rejection we all suffer – today wonders what it is that makes him so unstable, ungrounded on the inside.

When a man spends a lifetime deceiving his own self, he often loses it, as if a dark, malicious god answers his unspoken prayer by taking that which the man wishes to hide away. Many of us have begun their journey in such a way, and although some may still wonder what is their real self, most of us are certain that whatever it is, it is either too wicked to be brought out again, or too weak and pitiful, and therefore, too shameful for anyone to see.

Like  most, I have been living with a false self for many years although, thankfully, I have never quite gotten to the point of accepting it, as if I knew, deep down in the youngest, not-quite-dead-yet part of me, that it is not myself, but a necessary disguise. As if by my bitter hatred for my weakness and later, by my deception, I was somehow confirming that in my true heart, I was in fact as strong, and as true as I wished to be.

For decades I suffered until I could suffer no longer and surrendered to death and the terrible, hidden force which I did not know but cried out to in my dying soul.

But then, oh wonder – I came alive again, more than I had ever been before…

Of course, there are those who suffer worse than I did. I speak of those whose false self is raised upon a more solid ground than mine ever was, those who have so hid their true self behind the mask that it is no longer in the way of the mission they believe must be accomplished so that the world (or their long-dead, unsatisfied parent, or even they themselves) will accept them at last, and secure a place for them. Beaten long ago into submission, the real, once glorious self, is no longer in charge. Its ‘childish’ dreams, hopes, and desires, are snuffed out, replaced by survival skills that, though unable to bring real joy, ensure success, a high place in the hierarchy of the jungle…

In the world as we know it true people are a rarity.

Take today for example. I have been at my present job for nearly three years. Although I love the work and would not trade it for most things that the market can offer someone like me at this moment, I must confess that, I have been growing restless lately. My heart is no longer stirred as it once was at the possibilities to make a difference, and my mind does not stay focused as it did before. In fact, you can perhaps take a guess at where I am at this very moment, as I write this. Yes, I am at work, doing what I enjoy most.

It happened only a few moments ago. As one of my clients, a young man, was reached down to take a document in order to answer a question I had asked, I was already regretting to have asked it. I stood there, saying nothing, being nothing (or at least not that what I should have been), slowly becoming aware of the rift that exists within me. In all truth, the information which he was seeking to present to me, was of no interest to me. As was the whole issue we were discussing. Yet, I lingered, looking like I was available to him, while I was not. Then, time stopped. The seconds that had passed while he was picking up the paper and searching the needed paragraph in it, slowed down and came to a halt as I watched, helpless to do anything but observing this deep division within myself. During those seconds – or maybe minutes, who could tell – I did not know what to do, or what do be.

I know, of course, that we have all had ‘real’, and far worse experiences, tragedies even, but the fact of this only proves my point – why couldn`t I be myself, and stay truthful, even in such a small matter? What has that division done to me, over the years, that I have lost the precious ability to act, speak, and simply be – all from the same self?

Where has my integrity gone – the integrity I was born desiring to have but never quite had? Has it simply vanished, along with the Eden we once lost? Or has it been…stolen?

How often do you endure a conversation because…well, because you have no other way of going through it? How often do you stay quiet when there is a scream inside of you? How often do you stay in silence, confused, scared, and alone in yourself, while others need you in their suffering, and their joy?

Two natures are at war within me, like two beasts struggling for survival. One is cold and calculating, it works with facts and little else. It promises security, reward, and much gain. In exchange, it asks of me to commit a murder and perform a funeral. It does not mind me remembering the dearly departed with joy, and it has no problem with me coming to the grave with flowers every now and again. To get its approval and eternal assistance, I have to do the only thing it required me to do – kill, and bury my victim…

The other nature is the opposite – it promises nothing, and it offers nothing. But it has a sweet voice, the sweetest of them all. When it speaks to me, it brings whispers of a world that bears no scars. It sings like the birds on the roof of my childhood home. It dances like the countless sounds which were once blended into one eternal song, back in those forgotten summer nights. It fights like those men of the legends who long time ago stood up against the evil done by other, weaker and wicked men. This is the part of me that I must kill.

I do not doubt that it will work…I know it, because I see every day around me the lives of those who have done it, those who seem to be free to live the way they want to.

But I suspect they cry at night, and, although there no tears ever well up in their eyes, the tomb within them does not give them rest. To live red-handed is not to live at all.

I will not do it.

I will not kill my heart.

It was once buried, but it never died. It took a hand, far stronger than mine, to rouse it, and it is now alive.

The veil of fakery I choose to keep at bay until one day I am free from it forever.

Turn Around

salmon-1107404_960_720

What will you do? Where will you go? How will you escape the pain that ever gnaws at you, that drives you to strive, labour, and work endlessly as one who is lost, the pain that leaves you silent at the end of each day, drained of life and of the truth about yourself, the truth you do not know, yet do anything to hide your face from…

At the start of the day, do you run like a hunted animal, doomed to die in its flight but unwilling to stop and, for a moment, be true in the face of the monster that chases all of us from dawn til sunset? Or do you, like I still sometimes do, lay in bed, neither awake nor asleep, looking for a reason to get up and live the life that those around you are expecting you to live? Do you fill your mind with the constant noise of music and television, with the soothing black letters of your books, yes even your holy books, only to silence the scream which will arise from the depth of your hurting, broken heart?

Do you, as you run through your day like a mindless robot, cold, calculating and efficient, sometimes pause, only to be quickly overcome with unknown despair, grief, or horror as you find yourself gazing into an abyss too dark and too vast to ever be faced?

What is chasing you?

What has dogged your heels ever since your younger days, what is that fear which you once sought to escape by building not only a castle, a secure kingdom for yourself, but also your very personality? What is your biggest obsession? What do you dread? What have you become in order never to face that monster, while, in your frantic flight, you buried the gold that was once in your heart?

What unseen beliefs, convictions, and deep desires, drive you as you push your tired self through the endless days, ignoring the cry of your weary, thirsty heart?

Shakespeare said: ‘A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.’

We are all cowards.

We all fear.

We have all lost heart.

And now we all run.

But, friend, what if you stopped running? What if, for once in your life, you turned to face the monster that has chased you through the years, the terror whose hot breath upon your neck has made your life a living hell, worse than any death you may ever face?

Throughout the centuries, people who have lived best have proven to be the people who, at some point in their life, had turned in the opposite direction than the world around them was heading. They chose to lose their life, and they gained it.

What are you afraid to lose?

What am I afraid to lose?

I may not have lived too long, but I have lived, and I have learned a thing or two. And I will tell you this:

Turn around. Face the monster. Grab it by its horns and scream in its face. You will know a different life then. Do not be afraid – can it really be worse than the nightmare you now call life? Fear not – it is time to live your life, and, for once, be its master, instead of letting it master you, run you, as it has done so far. You might find that the monster is…yourself. Or a person, who is yet to be forgiven. Perhaps even a parent, whose words spoken long ago still ring in the vast corridors of your broken heart, driving you to excel only to prove them wrong, and risking the loss of your very soul…

Perhaps the monster is your own lost self, your own strength and courage from which you chose to run once, far before you could control your choices…

Perhaps there is no beast. What if this is true? There is only one way to find out.

Go now, turn back, and fear no darkness.

It is the darkness that fears you.