Today I realized something, and I think it’s one of my truest revelations to date:
“If you try hard, you can truly know yourself.
If you’re lucky, you can truly know someone else.”
I say this because it’s the truth. In this world, there’s not a lot of people that we can trust to be who they say they are or who we think they are.
I believe this, but it’s not because I’m a cynic. In fact, I sometimes wish that I could be a little bit more cynical. It would definitely spare me a lot of unwelcome surprises and unnecessary disappointment.
Thing is, the saying “nobody’s perfect” is accurate to a fault, and it’s such an understatement that it belongs to a whole new category of understatements. I guess that makes me lucky to know that if I try hard enough, at least I won’t be shortsighted by myself (because I can't really say the same about anyone else).
It’s kind of sad, isn’t it? Every now and then, I look around me, and I don’t know what to think. All I see is deception. Lots of it. Life starts to feel like an ongoing masquerade, and suddenly it’s like we’ve spent our whole lives playing this unspoken game of charades. No one will admit it, but we all know it’s true: In the end, none of us win. None of us get the last laugh. It doesn't matter which role we played. Somehow the joke is always on us.
While I'll be the first to admit that there are a lot of unfortunate things I’ve not experienced in my own life (knock on the wood), which I’m mostly relieved about because they amount to little more than loss and pain and despair and maybe lessons learned, I’ve never been immune to heartache or betrayal. The perks of being human, right?
Not even joking—the more I know about the people around me, the more I appreciate my sweet, uncomplicated, loyal dog. Buster, you’re a godsend, and it breaks my heart that you’ll never know just how much you mean to me.
The same goes for my parents (although they're obviously not as simple-minded and uncomplicated as Buster). I don't thank them enough, but I mean every word when I say that I'll forever love and appreciate them for revealing pieces of life unabridged to me since I was old enough to think. They've trusted me to see with my big girl glasses on, and while the view has often been uglier, I've been able to know with more certainty that what I see is what I get.
While Mom and Dad have always been my buffer and my shield and the light to the darkness in this “big, bad world,” they’ve rarely denied me the "birthright" of being exposed to all the "big" and "bad" in it.
The reason that I mention this is because even though I'm relatively young, my age and my parents haven't stopped me from knowing truths about people who don’t even realize that what they've done has broken my heart. It's weird since they haven't done anything to me directly, but the fact that they've made certain choices in their own lives has hurt me. They think I don’t know what they’ve done and what they do. They think I’ll never know how dirty and despicable their true selves really are. Or maybe they don’t have enough of a conscience to really care that I do. I mean, if they’re cruel enough to even be those people and cross the lines that they’ve crossed time and again, why would they care? Personally, I don’t even know why I care so much.
Mistakes and errors and accidents are one thing. They're forgivable for the most part because the wrongdoer is repentant and the act itself isn't so heartless or black and white that it's unforgivable. But indecency and callousness are another. And I just can't wrap my head around the horrible, inexcusable things that some people have done and continuously do to others. Especially when they are people that I personally know.
(It's okay if I'm making no sense right now. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who can understand what the heck I'm trying to say anyways.)
To some extent, their ugliness undoubtedly has an impact on how I see the world and how I trust the people in my own world, but I'm usually not the one who has the right to be truly hurt. It doesn’t matter how I feel about any of their indiscretions because the only connection that I share with those people is that we’re occasionally a part of each other’s lives. I'm not actually affected immediately by what they do. I'm not even collateral damage. More often than not, I get to go on living my life. However, the way that I contemplate theirs is never, ever the same.
I’m just glad that I don’t see these sorry excuses for human beings enough to have to pretend that I idolize them and respect them like I once foolishly did. I’m definitely not a good enough actress to be able to pull that off, so... phew.
I know I probably sound like I’m speaking in riddles. I wish I wasn’t, but there are secrets and stories that I never asked to become the keeper of, and I definitely don't have the right to reveal them. If I did, I could potentially hurt a lot of people, and it’s not my place to make that call. It’s not my heart or my life or even my own family’s that’s on the line. At least not this time. But I’d be lying if I said my extended family didn’t have enough dramas to star in their own reality show.
Scratch that. My cousins alone could make a sizable splash. At least we don't live on the same continent. To be fair though, family drama is an everyone problem, so who am I to complain?
Right, anyways... You may agree or disagree, but I just know that there are people in this world who don’t deserve the people around them. There are people in this world who have the power to break their children's hearts, to crush their parents' belief in them, to send their spouses spiraling into deep and dark bouts of depression. There are people in this world who really aren’t fit to say that they care for someone else, because they’ve done a really pathetic job of showing it. And more than anything, there are people in this world who can still breathe easy and laugh with their diaphragms while knowing that they’re hurting someone who loves them because that's just the class of people they are. It's no wonder some people insist that we make each other’s lives more difficult than life makes living.
To be clear though, I’m not referencing anyone in particular right now (though I have a few people in mind), and I’m not talking about someone who affects me directly or is part of my daily life. But I’m devastated to know the truth about this person, about these people all the same. I’m embarrassed to have thought better of them and cared more for them than they ever deserved. I’m indignant for the people who continue to be deceived by them because they’re too trusting, too loyal, too unsuspecting to realize that they’ve let betrayal and heartache right into their lives. But more than anything, I’m shocked, because as much as I hate to admit it, maybe it’s true that the people closest to you, the people you’d least expect to hurt you, are the ones that not only have the power to do so but that actually DO.
I’m sorry to the people who are hurting right now. I know who you are, but you don’t know that I know. As a matter of fact, few people know what you’re going through, and I can’t tell them or comfort you—not that it would somehow just make things all right—but it sucks anyways, and I’m furious for you. I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to live with what you do.
So, yeah. I stand by what I say. If you try hard, you can truly know yourself. If you’re lucky, you can truly know someone else. Because in the end, it all comes down to luck. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never entirely beat the odds of being blindsided—at some point—by someone you thought you knew. Not unless you’re lucky enough to always care for people who care for you enough to do right by you. I'm going to take a guess, however, and say that you’re probably not the kind of person to shoot and never miss, so I'm going to believe that you have enough empathy for the “hurt” to not be a “hurter.” That probably doesn’t make any sense, but we can pretend, so let’s do that.
Trust me, I know how this all sounds. But even in all its shapes and forms, love just doesn’t conquer everything all the time—especially when it’s just half-hearted lip service. There aren’t a lot of people in this world who will love like they say they do, but there's a silver lining, and it's that the reality of all this could be different in your world.
At least for me, that's reason enough to keep hoping and believing in the people who’ve yet to disappoint me. That's also why I can’t even begin to express how fortunate I am to know with all my heart that I at least have parents who love me that way and then some. Agonizing as it is, some people don’t even have that (when they deserve so much more).
That said, the truth remains that even in my world, there are only a handful of people that I truly know. I'm lucky that I know anyone at all, but it's disturbing nonetheless. For one, anyone who knows me and feels jittery while reading this right now is probably not one of those people. They know who they are. But most of them don’t because they'll never read this. That’s probably why I’m bold enough to even be writing this. And ironically, even if there are people reading this who know what they’ve done and know who they are, I might never. Just as some criminals are never caught, some people are never found out. And that’s something that I’ll never like, but I'll manage.
I don't know if it was a sign or a coincidence, but I was flipping through some old notes the other day, and I came across these words: “There are people that I’d rather trust with my life than with my heart.” I always wished that I’d change my mind someday, but that’s yet to happen. Maybe it never will.
But there are also people in my world that I can almost trust without any restraint, and that’s enough for me.