I feel a lot like I am beginning to find my feet again. In truth, although I have been happier enough in the past few months, I haven’t made any progressive decisions and have chosen rather to avoid confrontation as opposed to facing it head-on as is necessary. I’ve been wanting to find myself and my interests as an individual for a while now and it would be a lie to say I haven’t felt the pressure of wanting to define myself. Yet, I am so much happier now because I have finally learnt that as individuals we needn’t be bound by limitations and of interests. It might have come as something of a revelation, but here I now realise that it is perfectly acceptable—and normal, no less, to never know exactly who you are and where you want to go. It is fine to listen to both pop and punk and in fact, we should be encouraged to explore all areas of the creative arts! I do not owe any apologies for wanting to be a surgeon today and a ballet dancer the next. We are still so frightfully young and it seems the world is so eager to want to put us in context and trap us there for the rest of our adult lives.
The world frowns upon the Dreamer now and we are made to feel that we are wasting time, wasting money and saddest of all, wasting potential. But, I pose to you, is it really such a waste to send our children on adventures that both broaden the mind and strengthen the soul? You will hear them complain about their ‘drifter’ niece and you should make sure to pay particular attention to the scorn in their voice at this point. Is it still considered ‘drifting’ when our youth seek knowledge overseas? Will you welcome them home with open arms when they return home from a year on an aid camp? I grant you that their purses will undoubtedly be lighter, but I would challenge anyone to prove me wrong when I say that the children of today will come home with a far heavier heart.
The world is old. It can teach us things that you will not find in the pages of textbooks. We spend so much of our childhood weighed down with the stress of examinations and the pressure to mature the quickest that we forget to remind our children that it is perfectly okay to be soft. We forget to tell them that leaving behind fairy-tales is not a necessary requirement of growing up. We forget to tell them that learning is not constrained to just the classroom.
Opportunity is all around us. We must move to seize it.
It seems to me that we always doubt the power of our words. God be damned if something I said has hurt you! I didn’t mean it. I swear. More fool me if something you’ve said has hurt me. Perhaps the lesson is not to surrender to silence, but to cease to underestimate words time and time again. They dare to prove us wrong. Here is spite! Here is anger! Here is our end!
We might not understand at the time that when we’re saying ‘I was trying to get away from you’ we are really saying that we are running from all that they are, that we have exhausted ourselves doing so, that we were trying not to love them.
Of course, this is never what we truly mean—but what we mean and what we say will never be mutually exclusive.
Ask yourself this: does he realise that when he tells you ‘I will love you forever’ he is really saying that he will love you for this year, for this hour, until he meets the other ‘one’, the ‘one’ he’s ‘been searching for all this time’? Does he realise that when you shiver it is not out of love but out of fear?
You know what is coming, but you choose to ignore it. You nod and you smile. You tell him you will love him forever, too. This is not what you mean.
You see, it is not what we mean but what we say that is important. Why is it that we are surprised when someone runs from us and even more so when they cry? Why is that we are surprised when our partners leave us, never to return, when two weeks ago things were still so ‘perfect’?
“We were so happy, I don’t get it,” he will say, shaking his head in denial. “She said she’d love me ‘til the end of time, for gods sake!” He’ll shout and punch his fist in the air.
“Are you sure she meant it?” she will ask tentatively, placing her hand atop of his.
“Of course she bloody meant it! We had no secrets! I would have known! Are you really that stupid?” he will shout, snatching back his hand.
The girl is stung. She will turn away. She will wipe her tears.
He will wonder why she is upset.