I hate cliché happy endings. They are insincere. They lie to us. They put us in a false state of mind, a false sense of security that life is fair. They are an inaccurate representation of life.
Clearly I have issues…no?
Here’s my attempt at psycho-analysing myself.
I am a hopeless romantic. Notice the present tense, yes, I still am, even post-disillusionment.
I grew up in a bubble, a beautiful bubble, where there is a very distinct line between right and wrong. No blurred lines existed then. There were rules and rules were followed! Whenever rules were broken, there were consequences.
I lived in a world where the person that worked the hardest got exactly what they deserved, where effort was duly recognised, no short cuts, no skipping lines. Everyone’s opinion was valued, we all cared and looked out for each other, an unspoken brotherhood existed, even in instances where we may have only known each other by sight and barely interacted.
A community of love and understanding…sigh. I had it really good back then!
This is how I would describe most of my primary and all of my high school life. I loved my school days, many of my friends from back then seem to have very varied opinions of how things run in our school but I am entitled to my opinion and I loved every moment of it. If ever there was anything I did not like, well, those memories are clearly suppressed now.
School ended and…life began? (Life seems to always be beginning, I can’t keep track of when it really actually begins. At conception? At the end of your comfort zone? At the end of high school? At the end of university? Who knows. I like to think every day is a beginning, but I digress excessively now.)
School ended and life began, along with the disillusionment of Kathleen.
In the years that followed, 5 and counting, I have learnt that, not everyone is nice to you because you are nice to them. Even strangers, people you have never met, people you do not know, sometimes mean you harm. Where is the justice in that? Where is the justice in the world?
Let me tell a little story, of a time I was in town waiting for a friend of mine. We were supposed to go somewhere together, he was running late, so I picked a comfortable enough spot and waited there. I put on my earphones, had some music playing and also took out a novel and was occupying myself completely oblivious of the world at large, minding my own business, out of everyone’s way, doing no one any harm. Have I emphasised enough the fact that I was minding my own business? You’d think the world at large would have the good sense to reciprocate.
I noticed some commotion out of the corner of my eye and looked up just in time to catch sight of a rugged-looking man raise his hand as though to hit me. If I had not grown up in the bubble I had, I might have had the sense to run, to perhaps duck and avoid that blow, but instead I stood there and thought to try decipher what this guy wanted. In my head, despite his appearance, I saw no reason to fear this man. I had done him no wrong, I had never even met him. So I took out one earphone with the intention of saying to him, “Please, just leave me alone”, when he hit me harder that I have ever been hit before. He slapped me right across my face, one of those back hand slaps, and then he simply walked off!
Yes, it was painful, but past the pain, what really disturbed me in the few minutes that followed and to this very day, was the fact that I did not know why this guy had hit me. What had I done to him? Why did he slap me? Surely he could not have done it just because…except as far as I can tell, he did.
A trivial example it may seem, but the incident has stayed with me a good long while…and represents the world as I have began to see it. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I know this is obvious…these things happen, right? We have no control over them, but I really did grow up believing that good equals good and bad equals bad. Believing that you get exactly what you give in a literal sense.
Another example, I was taught that fornication leads to HIV/AIDS. Which is true, sleeping around exposes you to the risk of infection. However, the way my mind initially digested this information was that, when you have sex outside of marriage, trust my Catholic upbringing, God instantly gives you HIV/AIDS. I did not understand it as a transmitted infection, from person to person, I understood it as punishment for sin, for fornication and adultery. As though God had sat down one day and decided, what a promiscuous bunch these people have become, I shall now punish fornication and adultery via this disease. Two people have sex outside of marriage, they automatically earn themselves this incurable disease.
I still remember the science class in primary school when we covered the topic and it dawned on me that an unfaithful spouse could infect their faithful partner. I had one of those days where I felt cheated, it was not fair! Why should the faithful one have to suffer for the sins of the unfaithful one? But alas, this is the way of the world. Being a good person does not entitle you to a happy ending like the movies would have you believe.
Watching movies with happy endings, the ones that you see coming from miles away because the characters lived by a certain formula and certainly they have earned a happy ending, movies where good equals good and bad equals bad, takes me back to how cheated I feel. Life sometimes feels like such a raw deal!
…and there you have it, the disillusionment.
This constant reminder that life is not fair has me plotting and planning a massive bubble within which to raise my children in. So they can live in a fair world…I wish!
How funny that after ranting about the insincerity of happy endings, I feel compelled to end this post on a bit of a lighter note. Here’s a quote a friend of mine shared with me once when I ranted about the unfairness of life to her(Thank you Ethel)…it has contributed in a big way towards my acceptance of the world as it is as opposed to how I have always thought it should be…
“You expect a lot because you are willing to do that for others. Darling, that isn’t how everyone is. Don’t live your life thinking that people will be good to you because you are good to them. Don’t think that they’ll jump off a bridge for you because you’ll do that (for them) without a second thought. Don’t think that makes you overbearing. Don’t hate that about yourself. We are fathomless. We feel empty but we still keep on giving and giving. Never lose the will to give love. No matter how much unkindness you suffer. Don’t become them. The moment you reciprocate their hatred with hatred, it’s over, you’re one of them. Breathe, breathe in all the rage, all the hurt and breathe it out. Let it go. It’s okay. The world owes you nothing.”