Nothing tears us down quite like the things we don’t acknowledge in our lives.
The subjects we ignore – like weight or the effects of smoking or a toxic relationship. The need to move on from a soul crushing job. That was the impetus behind the Birds Fall haiku; the idea that what ultimately defeats us is not the thing we saw clearly, but the thing we never saw at all, or tried desperately not to think about.
We let it slide until it’s too late, until it’s too big of a problem to fix without suffering some serious collateral damage.
I know I have these blind spots. Depression. Shyness. Alcohol. Weight. The aforementioned soul crushing work. On any given day, there’s probably a half-dozen to a dozen of these types of things I’m actively trying to avoid thinking about, and probably twice that when you factor in the stuff I’m so oblivious to that I won’t see it coming until it punches me full in the face.
Life ain’t easy. Presence and awareness are wonderful watchwords, but most of us could never do it so consistently that we actually manage to have most of our shit under control. Control is an illusion. We do our best to avoid suffering and increase pleasure in the moment (more often opting for less suffering than actual pleasure), because that’s the best we can do.
We haven’t been raised to pay attention to these things. I suspect our world would be a very different place if we were. Capitalism, fascism, Trumpers, conspiracy theorists – all gone, because we’d be able to face our greed, our lust for power and control, our willingness to smother our brains in delusion and the false promises and outrage of others.
We’d look straight in the mirror and say:
This is bullshit. We are bullshit. We need to do better.
And then do better. Or not. Who could ever tell?
The world will end one day and it won’t be because we opened our eyes and called ourselves out on our poor behaviour. It will be because we squeezed them tightly shut and pretended there was no such thing as consequences.
Target: 100 words
Written: 213 words, short story: The Ineffable Hat