Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being Pretty

Some days I wake up and wish that I was materialistic, superficial, self-absorbed, and dumb.  That’s today—thinking so much has just made me tired.  But, if I was a narcissist my life would be so simple.  All I would care about is me—what I want, when I want it, with no regrets or sense of consequence.  The only thing that would occupy my mind first thing in the morning would be my outfit.  Then as soon as that was settled, I would focus on my overall look.  And I would look gooood.  After that, I would go about my day without caring about others, because all that mattered would be me.  I would stop at every mirror and observe the glory of my life—making me look good.  I would walk to look good, I would eat to look good, I would sit, sleep, and speak to look good.  I would have no problem with this because I would be too dumb to know or care about anything else. 

But this is impossible. 

It’s not that I ever really, truly want to be a shallow, narcissistic wad of a human being, but I do often think it would be easier.  Things would be less complicated if I only loved myself and no one else.  There would be less stress in my life if I didn’t care about the happiness of my family.  How simple life would be if I didn’t care whether or not my cats are content, healthy, and fed.  Work would be undemanding if I didn’t care about what we did, what we stood for, and the people I work with.  Life could be less hard.

But this is impossible.

This is impossible because no matter what you do—no matter what you want—the world is one big web.  We cannot exist as self-sufficient individuals; we are always connected to a network of people, places, and things.  It begins from the moment we are born and we are instantly connected to at least one person—even if through basic necessity.  Overtime our need turns into love, compassion, empathy, and devotion.  This cannot be helped, we as human beings want and need connection with others.  We want to help, it makes us feel good.  The excitement on my mother’s face when I did something great meant the world to me.  Then I wanted to pass that on, keep that feeling going.  Happiness is addictive!

With age, our web expands, relationships grow and we learn the complexities of the world.  We learn how our actions affect others; we learn about consequences.  Our emotional world becomes more diverse and difficult as we learn of pain, hurt, heartbreak, and pride.  We lose trust, we gain responsibility, we fail, and we accomplish success.  We learn lessons through mistakes.  We make lots of mistakes.  Life becomes harder.  Life becomes scary.

But it also becomes unimaginably wonderful.   In every situation that I have struggled, I have realized an appreciation.  It can be a feeling so intense, you want to squeal—and I often do!  For example, if I worked out really, really painstakingly hard in preparation for a track meet, winning the race meant that much more to me.  I would be brimming with adrenalin for hours.  High on accomplishment, I would simply float.  Then, after I had the first devastating heartbreak, finding love again felt oh-so-good.  I would fight to hold on to this love—hug it and squeeze it and never let it go. 

I know that the thought of losing something allows me to love that something more completely, without judgment.  Being able to see life like that just makes it more fulfilling—makes every day worthwhile.

So, I imagine that if I really were that shallow, self-absorbed person that my life might be easier and simpler.   But it sure would suck.

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