There comes a point when ‘sorry’ loses its meaning, where the power of apologizing dissipates in the pain that was caused. Sitting in Balzaks coffee roasters I enjoy a coffee with a work colleague. Bumble and I have always had an immediate attraction towards one another, maybe it was our innate extroverted personalities, but we immediately knew that we would get along. As I get comfortable in the old elementary style tables, I look down ad read the graffiti engraved into my desk. For the first time in my life, my desk taught me a valuable lesson, “To define is to limit” (Oscar Wilde).
Nestled into the grooves I feel the shape of each letter. Each character permanently notched into the wood. Oscar Wilde: Irish poet and writer spoke words of truth veiled through hazed eyes. After Bumble and I went our separate ways, I began to head home. With the heels of my loafers clicking along the pavement, the words of Mr. Wilde resonated with me.
What does this quote mean? What does Wilde aim to point out? Is he attempting to explain our obsessive need for control? Is he explaining mankind’s need to place the world into tangible patterns and rhythms that we begin to lose out on the undefined?
While we can interpret the quote, we can never know the true meaning. In my own interpretation (opinion not truth), the quote exemplifies how labels are used to pre-define others and to organize our own lives into slots.
We are surrounded by labels: Gay, straight, black, white, bitch, asshole, the list goes on. While these labels may be just words, labels are what aid in human interaction and association. Have you ever looked at a person and thought, “That girl looks like a bitch, I’m not going to talk to her”, or even “He is wearing baggy pants, a snapback, and jordans, he looks like trouble”. We place these pre-assumed notions onto others to either avoid or engage with the rest of the population.
I listened to a motivation speaker discuss positivity. She made the assumption that if one is feeling sad or ‘depressed’, positivity can combat these feelings. While I would never dispute the effective role of positivity in the sustainability of mental health, I do however rebut the statement that calming oneself down and thinking positively can eliminate depression. Ever since my breakup and life changes, I have been trying to live life through positivity and happiness. While YES this may be good for the soul to think positively, “uplifting thoughts” does not stop my active mind. We CANNOT control external circumstances and We CANNOT help those who do not want to be helped. Why slot ourselves in these categories of happy or sad, depressed or stable, living or dead. Why not explore the realm of the undefined?
I recently began thinking about where I am in my life: Where I am mentally, physically, and spiritually. My conclusion is that I am not happy. When I speak of ‘not being happy’, I am not referring to being sad or depressed. I am referring to the feeling of contentment in everyday life. I do not like being content…I do not like to dwell on the media of contentment, I aim to experience. Instead of looking at this through a negative light, look at unhappiness as a positive. My unhappiness is acting as a catalyst to stimulate change. I am seeking something bigger and my current state is being fuelled for the common goal of personal betterment. Why be stuck in this emotional purgatory? Contentment breeds boredom and boredom leads to a breakdown.
I was forcing myself to label everything. Instead of living freely, I was labeling my thoughts into categories. I was no longer letting things happen at whim, I was seeking control of the uncontrollable. Seeking to know all the answers, and to understand the world around me, I worked to understand what could not be seen. Through every photo posted, every comment made, and emojis that are used, I analyzed and examined in order to find the truth. What did I realize? I realized that I am contributing to my own downfall, for I am letting someone else affect my own personal state. Thinking about my situation subjectively, I realized that situations are only hurtful if you let them be. Nothing can hurt you If you choose to ignore minuscule details. You can be invincible.
When I lay in bed and night and close my eyes, I realize that nothing has changed. I experience the same thoughts but through different people. The pain that was experienced can not be erased, nor can it be removed out of the mind. Use the pain. Use the pain to fuel your need to break out of your label and to find peace within the world and in yourself. I am working to better myself and to not let the pain of yesterday tarnish my goals for tomorrow. Life can be difficult, but the only thing that you can do is try.