Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The following statement is false: the previous statement is true.

You tell yourself it’s going to be ok, it’s all going to be fine.

It’s a habit we get into from trying to comfort other people: “Aww, hey, hey, it’s all going to be ok. It’s going to be fine.” And it’s easy enough to say it to the other people, easy enough to believe what you’re telling them—because you really have no idea. You don’t know whether everything is really going to work out for that person, you just want to make them feel better, so you make an optimistic guess and pass it off as prognostication.

That’s how the habit starts. It starts from telling other people “it’s going to be ok,” and then we get used to that kind of unjustified optimism because we’re convinced that it really helps people feel better, and what else are we supposed to do?

Then, because we’ve trained ourselves to accept the irrationality of the impulse, we start telling to ourselves, whispering or thinking, that it’s all going to be ok, that everything will work out for the best. When we’re most nervous, or when we’re really genuinely scared about the progress of our lives or the well-being of our loved ones, we slip back to that same hollow knee-jerk reaction.

It can give us some comfort sometimes, wrap us up in a blanket of illusion, protect us from the truth. Because really, truly, sometimes it’s not going to be ok. Sometimes it’s not all going to be fine.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes good people do bad things, sometimes the ceiling that we thought was unmovable and indestructible comes crashing down on our heads in a shower of shards, broken. Sometimes bad chapters are written in our autobiographies and we suddenly realize that we aren’t the authors like we thought, and we can’t even go back to erase what was written. Sometimes there is real damage that cannot be undone. Sometimes it’s not ok.

Then the lies we tell ourselves, the foolish misplaced optimism vanishes, burned off like a low fog in the noon sun. It shrivels in front of us, mocking our belief in itself, exposing itself with pagan delight as a false idol of human thought, seizing its own last moment of existence in our mind and twisting the knife with its last strength before it returns to the abyss of nonexistence from which we were foolish enough to summon it.

We are left empty, called out by ourselves as liars.

Sometimes it seems like everyone is thinking the same thing, but we all still think it’s not right to say it, that it’s somehow impolite or abrasive or scandalous to the other people, even though we know they’re thinking it already. He knows. I know. We both know that the other knows—but somehow we’re afraid to say anything.

This reluctance to face the facts is the flipside of the lie. Instead of saying what we both know, we look in each other’s eyes and say “it’s all going to be ok.” We start out down a path of denial because we don’t want to face the hurt just yet, we want to hold onto the status quo, stretch the bubble as long as we can before it bursts.

Usually, it only makes the burst bigger, the fall harder. Usually it exposes us to ourselves as both timid and manipulative, afraid to face the truth but bold enough to bend it. The lie serves us no purpose in the end, only moves us heavily toward disintegration. Because sometimes it’s not all ok.

At least that’s what I’ve heard. For me, everything’s always been fine. But I feel bad for those other dudes sometimes.

4 comments:

Jacob said...

You're playin' a whole 'nother kinda' game, like a mind game...

tiff said...

hmm, what beautiful supposition.

crysOakleee said...

One time the ceiling fell on me and my cousin. But our Guardian Angels told us at the last minute to go into this little nook - so we did, and then when the ceiling fell it didn't kill us. It was pretty sweet.

Winter said...

Wait, everything is not going to be okay?