On monsters

For the past month I’ve been contemplating on what to write about. I’ve had way too many long, late nights recently where a lot was said and done, but not a lot was written down. I’ve had suggestions on the topic of my next post, ranging from issues of time and how it flies by, to notions of personality and how it is expressed and reflected. Still, nothing came out.

It’s been a good year so far. I feel like in these past three months I’ve done more than I did all last year. This time has been productive, thought-provoking, exhausting, rewarding, challenging and somewhat entertaining.

The element of choice is one I’ve dealt with extensively but it keeps popping up, much like karma and its minions, and since January 1st I’ve had to make several. I’ve learned more in the past four years than I have all my life, it seems. It now feels like I had been doing a literature review for more than three decades and now I’m finally doing some solid research. The first bulk of data began to come in only a couple years ago. Ever since I’ve been struggling to interpret it and analyze it in a way that not only makes sense to me (which it often does not) but also enables me to learn from it and use it constructively.

Fuck, it’s hard.

‘People don’t change,’ we keep reiterating. ‘What did you expect?’ is what usually follows. We know this, we see it daily; we might not acknowledge it because it doesn’t suit our purposes, but we see it. Yet, we keep making choices that reflect our utter inability or, some would argue, unwillingness to accept that.

We live our lives based on two things: habits and patterns. They are both cyclical; we are all snakes eating our tails. Most of the time we chew with our eyes closed so as to avoid confrontation with our inner selves, the formidable I that we all dread, fear and shrink from. Every once in a while our circumstances allow our eyelids to ascend and our retinas to take in exactly where we are in the process of deceiving ourselves.

Now this…this is a time for choices. This minute window of opportunity is given us in the hopes that, since our last viewing, we’ve had the chance to watch, observe, assess, reject, surmise and finally decide.

Alas! We have done none of that. Instead, we have complained, been bitter, enraged, disenchanted, and finally, what we did decide to do was capitulate to a state of histrionic stagnation. We’ve resigned to splashing around in the muddy waters of our hypothetical lives: all the things we have not lived, done, dared or realized, and all these lovely, albeit overwhelming, ideas we have not even had the courage to entertain.

It’s not about shame, disappointment or guilt. What you should feel is qualm. You may not be capable of making choices every single day, but you ought to question everything to the point where the choices you do eventually make have gone through thorough analysis and deliberation.

It’s not easy to break patterns. In fact, it may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. There is an expression in Greek, one my mother has always loved and offered me as warning: “ουδέν μονιμότερον του προσωρινού,” which translates to “nothing is more permanent than the temporary.” It is sadly true to the point of uneasiness. It creates an itch that we keep scratching but have no idea where it’s actually coming from.

Nothing is permanent and yet we insist on deifying the very concept as we hustle to prove to ourselves that if we chose something once, we are somehow obligated to keep doing it, to stick with it, see it through to an obscure maze of bad decisions, oversights and transgressions.

We are not. We need to be told that changing our minds, our priorities and our ambitions does not make us monsters.

We need to be told; and then, we need to believe it.

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