We write, or create other kinds of art, because we know no other way to live. It’s akin to breathing. In that sense, our words are what our souls need.
But we all look to share as well. Teach perhaps. Inspire. Amuse. Provoke change. Make a difference. And this is where the frustration comes in.
Some days, it feels pointless to write, and whatever we’ve written thus far seems to make no difference. We crash against the same wall, and we don’t see even the slightest dent in it.
For me, it started with the morning routine. I scanned the headlines, my favorite publications, random posts on FB, Instagram and Twitter.
I read through rants and counter-rants on the various political scandals, and I shuddered. In what seems like another world, art exhibits opened, films were made, and science shattered another boundary. Most stories though, sadly, were about every horror imaginable happening somewhere.
And it’s all people hurting other people (and animals) who are more vulnerable than they are. For reasons.
To be fair, I also watched a video of two very brave men saving a giant, angry cougar, whose front paw had been stuck in a trap.
And then, there they were. Posts with quotes from the enlightened, the artists, the writers, the philosophers. It was the Dalai Lama on kindness, mindfulness, accountability, compassion. A musician writing on love. A few more quotes by an assortment of writers and spiritual leaders about civility, honesty, integrity. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t use others. Make good on your word. Be generous.
All this wisdom, all these famous people, now, and since forever, saying the same things, again and again. Thousands and thousands of books, posts, videos, seminars.
And look around! Look at what people do to each other. Not just on a global scale, but in families, among friends and partners. Like it’s so hard to be a little kind, honest, decent.
So, of course I asked myself what is the point of my writing, yet again, on the same damn subjects. Hundreds of posts preaching to the choir.
Those who should pay attention aren’t touched by famous inspirational work out there – far better than anything I can produce – let alone by my words. And those who do care, already know and struggle as I do, and have their own words.
Honestly, all the education and life experience didn’t bring me one step closer to understanding why so many people are so damn unkind, callous and especially dishonest. Even the smart and informed ones. Perhaps especially those.
My psych degree doesn’t help either. All I ever end up with is some complex diagnosis, which means that entirely too many people in our world are so broken and ill that they can’t help but hurt others in an effort to hide from their inner torment, or else because they don’t have the capacity to genuinely notice what they’re doing….or care.
It seems to me we all do stupid things all the time, and life is not easy. Everyone has a million hangups, we all fail every single day in so many ways. Tempers flare, everyone has their priorities and beliefs, we all struggle with daily stuff that isn’t all kittens and rainbows by any means. So why would anyone deliberately create more problems when it takes less effort to make a positive contribution?
My god, how difficult is it to do a decent job on most days and be a little considerate of others? How hard is it to buy a flower, a card, be a little grateful and patient with another human being who you see tries so hard to show you love?
How blind and wretched are all these self-centered men and women who take back their own words, who lie and lie, who manipulate and injure? And always this bullshit about good intentions not quite understood, grandiose promises that somehow vanished, poor-me childhoods and the likes!
And here we are, with our little buckets full of letters and tiny brushes, looking to make the wall vanish somehow by painting it with beautiful things.
On days like today, I sit and stare at the frustration. There is no answer. Except the one answer.
Why do I write? Because I know no other way to live.
Maybe the wall will always be there. I am inclined to think so. But isn’t it our duty, if we can, to be honest to ourselves, to nurture our souls and minds and let them sing freely, regardless of what others do with theirs? It’s why we’re here.
In some ways, that hateful wall is also a mirror. Reminding us to forget about the likes, stats, the awful things people do or say, the ignorance and the cruelty. Forget about money, fame or validation.
Simply, and always, shine that light, however small it may seem, that we carry. Just because it’s beautiful. We have enough ugly, vulgar things in this world.
We need that light for ourselves, and on occasion, maybe the wall will at least shimmer a bit, and those stuck on the other side might see this curious flicker that might inspire them enough to investigate.