Monday, 20 September 2010


"Ammu loved her children (of course), but their wide-eyed vulnerability, and their willingness to love people who didn't really love them, exasperated her and sometimes made her want to hurt them- just as an education, a protection." - The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy.

I profess this very often I feel, but I adore childlike qualities of trust and faith. I love that they're unhindered by experience, disappointment and conflicting messages coming in from the world around them. Often I've been warned by older people, those that have experienced much more than me in many ways, that life isn't as beautiful as I want it to be. That my standards need to lower, that I need to expect difficulty and hurt. That I need to be less like a child, that I need to be more like an adult in my expectations. It distresses me that wisdom and cynicism are so interchangeable in some people's minds.

When I was a teenager (a proper teenager), I decided that I'd fight against the tide of dysfunction and depression around me. I was determined that no matter what I heard, saw, experienced, I would remain a Romantic (capital 'R') and believe in something better. After a short while and some dangerous events involving characters more sinister than I originally gave them credit for, I realised that believing in something better had to be mixed with a certain streetsense. To be naiive to the darker things of the world was not the aim, nor was it to be ignorant to people's suffering or to put myself in danger when danger could be avoided.

I was ridiculously distressed when I realised a couple of weeks back that I had, despite my vows, become cynical and resigned. I let too much of the bad in the world through my eyes and it became my lens. Things happened which should have disappointed me, but instead left me with an apathetic satisfaction. It was expected. No hopes were raised, no defences lowered. This is in one sense a problem of pride- I cheated the system, I didn't get hurt, I'd seen enough and experienced enough not to feel it again. This was much worse in my eyes than being hurt and disappointed. At least with disappointment, it comes from hope. Hope of something better. Not always fulfilled, but always fulfilling.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” - C S Lewis.

There is no safe investment. But my word, I'm casting off cynicism, I'm putting on childish hope again. I would rather be disappointed by the world a thousand times than forsake the hope I have. Other wise, what's the point?

I need to look at the world, people, events, with a different standard in mind. I need to hope for that standard. I need to be disappointed daily. I need that to drive my actions.

There's more to this, and much more coherency I can't reach right now.

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