When I was kid life seemed so infinite and so possible. But eventually the world revealed itself to me. Slowly, I learned that several of the mysteries presented to me as a child had answers. There was a reason why the sky is blue, how a light bulb works, where the water in a toilet always vanishes to. That endless wonder is replaced by the heaviness of facts and logic, and the world is never quite the same.
We could still live in wonder. But we don’t. We choose to embrace the capability of intelligence hardwired into our brains. Well, not everyone. Being human is a tricky thing. We can harness our full potential or put an inordinate amount of time into suppressing what we’re innately capable of. Denial requires intelligence, right? Maybe not.
But it’s amazing how our daily life is so consumed with denying our impulses. You deny yourself food you desire because its contents are harmful. You deny the infliction of violence on those who annoy you because you fear the legal consequences. You deny base sexual urges because you’re not a goddamn animal (or because you fear the legal consequences). You deny yourself instant gratification because you convince yourself that the delay will pay off. All of the denial seems worth it because in the end you’ll get what you want.
But waiting’s the hard part. You imagine your future and it’s only limited by your imagination. I can get that job, you think. I’ll look forward to coming in every day and it will fulfill me. I’ll get married, you say, but only to the right person. I want someone who respects me and completes me. I’ll travel, you promise, and I’ll see the world. I don’t want the walls to close in on me every day. I’ll be this person. I won’t be me forever.
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Maybe everyone around you changes and you stay the same. Maybe the pain, the grief piles on you like sediment and you climb through gasping for air. Maybe you get everything you want. The carpet’s rolled out and every door magically opens, as you were led to believe it should. Maybe you turn off, like a light switch, and you never experience a moment ever again.
Delusional hope. That’s what gets us through it. The hope that things will improve or that our dreams will be matched by the timeline of reality. But it’s not possible. How could everyone all be happy? How could everyone’s dreams possibly come true? Several people want the same thing, the same person, the same job. They can’t all have it. Someone has to suffer. Someone has to be unhappy so that someone else can be fulfilled.
You can live a moment and feel like a hole is blown through your heart. Your heart will regrow each time, a little more crooked with each regeneration. Your heart can swell to the size of a balloon. The happiness can feel unreal, undeserved. And in one sharp moment, it will all make sense. But you’ll forget. You can never remember.