From everything. From everyone.
I like it.
Withdraw into myself. Place my mind into another world, someone else’s world, a fictional world.
Deep breaths return me to reality for a millisecond before I cross the dimensional barrier and my mind functions differently. My choices are affected by this world. My mind is constantly relating my actions to a person in this world.
It’s not real and yet everything about me is transforming. Words created and edited and revised to form sentences that explain the parts of life that matter. Especially the parts of life that don’t seem to matter, but do.
We always disregard those parts; our emotions. We disregard them to fulfill our ‘higher purpose’
You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously. – Dr Steve Maraboli
Now, I don’t mean to undermine Dr Maraboli, but having a ‘purpose’ in life seems to cause me more trouble than what this ‘purpose’ is worth.
I say this having grown up in a world where being the best is the bare minimum. If I am anything less than that, it’s not good enough. It’s insignificant. Doing something without recognised achievement or ostentatious significance is pointless.
There is an inexplainable, unbearable force that drives me to perform tremendously and incomparably. And although it is a brilliant weapon, it is a weapon that often inflicts wounds on me.
The force not only brings forth my most extravagant performances, it brings forth a dreadful, bitter feeling. A feeling that cannot leave me no matter how hard I try to drown it in fiction or metaphor. It is not affected by mere emotions. A feeling that doesn’t leave me even when my mind is so far removed from everything and everyone else.
This feeling is that no matter what I do, it is never enough.
And although this worthless feeling is brought upon by my own mind, my own perception, it doesn’t help that the people who I believe see the world most clearly cultivate and nurture this mindset.
I try to sit and clear my head in the middle of the day. The sun shining, the world bustling about. I try to find the quiet amidst the discord but as soon as I find it, my own destructive thoughts begin to sound, louder than anything else.
A million voices scream at me. I hear every single “YOU SHOULD”, “YOU NEED TO”, “YOU HAVE TO”, “IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO” phrase bounce around and reprimand my stillness.
‘There is still so much that I haven’t done…‘
Tears don’t ever fall when the golden sun grazes over my cheeks but they do threaten their presence.
How is one person expected to do everything? In fact, why do I have to do anything?
Perhaps I’m supposed to live for a purpose. Perhaps those who tell me what I ‘need’ or ‘have’ to do simply fear that I will float along and slosh around with time until all my time is gone. Perhaps they fear that my life goes to waste. Perhaps they fear my eternal unworthiness. A waste of space and time and potential.
Perhaps I fear the same thing and that inexplainable force is not so inexplainable after all. Perhaps I’m just afraid of insignificance.
But why is life determined by what we do? Why are the lives of individual human beings dependent on whether or not they have a purpose? Why can’t I live my life like water, molding and bending and adapting? Feeding those that need it and then moving on? Following an indefinite, uncertain path? Why do I need a purpose in order to be validated?
We survive years of institution; school, college, work, to what end? In order to fulfill our purpose? For some, it’s so irresistibly simple. They can go through life believing that certain things are right and others are wrong. Some people can irrefutably argue that certain actions, deeds, people belong is silver-stained boxes which they have fabricated from their previous experience and outside influence. Some people have created the perfect path which they can follow in order to achieve something magnificent.
These people have created purpose and meaning for their existence and they write books, discover breakthroughs in science and medicine, change the world. The little things, like a good diet, a healthy mind and a good work ethic mean everything to them.
The ‘perfect’ people know that they aren’t perfect. Even though everyone’s version of perfection differs, why does perfection always involve a higher purpose or goal?
Why must this mindset be forced upon me when all it does is create a pressure that I would love to be free of?
Yes, success is it’s own special kind of ecstasy but it is still a drug. And with drugs, the more you have, the more you want. If I am told that I need a higher purpose, what’s stopping my purpose from changing? From getting higher and higher until it’s so high that I can no longer breath because the atmosphere, full of oxygen, is now below me.
I see people who are striving for this higher purpose. They work wonders and reap success’s rewards. But they are not done. They are not content, no matter what they say or do. They may fool themselves into thinking that they are happy with their lives, but their actions say something else.
Either they are dictating to their children what they should be striving for or they’re abandoning them in order to better themselves.
They always want to achieve something better, suit their idealistic life even more. Become the person in their mind and as soon as they become that person, a new one takes it’s place.
Why don’t these people, striving for something so large, take a moment to look at themselves.
Not their achievements or the people around them or where they stand. Not what they’ve done to change the world or what difference they have made in someone else’s life.
Can they remove themselves from all that is righteous for just a minute and say that they are truly happy with their mind? Can they say that they are truly happy with their relationships? Can they say that all of their love and compassion is coming from their hearts and not their minds? Has everything become a strategy, a means to an end?
Do they only want to achieve ‘peace of mind’ in order to succeed in the office? Do they only want to give to others because it brightens their moral wellbeing? How do they know that anything they do is genuine?
I have found that with myself, as much as I wish and try and fool myself to appreciate everything as it is, I am always thinking of the end. I am always relating situations to my fabricated ‘higher purpose’. I write because I can get good at it, not just for the feel of relief I get when my thoughts can finally escape. I dance to be able to impress others when the need arises, not to feel the rhythm shake my hips and rattle my bones.
I learn hard because I want to be someone in the world, not because I simply need to know. Knowledge is power, not beauty. I eat to sustain my life, not to appreciate it. Even if I do feel gratitude, it is synthetic because I am supposed to be grateful to be ‘a good person’. I am supposed to love God because that is my religion.
Do I do anything just to do it?
No. And I don’t really blame myself. I am constantly told not to watch too much TV and to study hard. I am told to hone my talents and suck up my feelings.
The only thing that I do just to do is feel. And even that, I do halfheartedly. If I could get rid of every feeling and convince myself, as many others have, that they’re just a compilation of hormones, I would.
But they’re the only sacred, human thing that I have left. I feel, not because I must. I feel because I just do.
I just wish that he’d stop telling me what to do. I have a plan to succeed my created ‘higher purpose’. I am already sucked so deep into this purposeful void that even trying to claw myself out, limb by limb, would be an impossible feat.
That unbearable force has already gotten hold of my lungs and is threatening to suffocate them further if I mess up. I am already drowning in its demands and expectations. All I can do is sink or swim.
It’s forcing me to swim. But eventually I’ll sink anyway. My energy will run out, I won’t be able to move. I’ll drown and land beneath the earth, just like every other athlete that has swam oceans. Just like every musician that has traveled the world. Just like every scientist that changed textbooks for centuries after them. Just like Cleopatra and Frank Sinatra, I will end up sinking.
Everyone dies and even their legacy will eventually die.
Is that higher purpose really worth every bit of humanity within you? Do you live for the world and willingly give yourself?
Not that you really have a choice. If you’re stuck, you’re stuck for good.