Was (is) it real?

Hands almost touching.

Image accessed from Pixabay 1 December 2020.

How do you tell if something is real? How do you know if your version of events is really accurate? What if that comes into conflict with what someone else sees or thinks? How do you tell if what you think is what’s really going on? How do you know?

Human beings are a mess. A collection of emotions that we try to label, and memories we pretend aren’t distorted by those feelings that we don’t even understand. For me, I’m trying to disentangle all of this and ask myself these questions in my life: What is really going on? What do I really want? What do I really feel?

Sometimes I think we, as people, say that we believe things and feel things just because it’s the path of least resistance in that moment. Sometimes that applies more broadly. Maybe we become habituated to acting in a certain way, and that’s all our lives really become. We just get used to things, and keep on doing them. Relationships, career, hobbies, it’s just what was the easiest thing to do at the time and we got stuck in it. We don’t do what’s difficult.

Or maybe we get caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. We grab some pre-packaged narrative off the shelf and tell ourselves that’s who we are. It’s nice to believe that there’s some point to our lives, and that’s what these stories provide. Labels like “Dad” or “fire-fighter” or “loyal” become something we repeat to ourselves over and over again. It becomes so fundamental to the narrative in our head that even though our identity was something we had almost no hand in, we have to live up to the story because it’s all we have.

Maybe though. Maybe some things are real. Maybe it’s not just because we get used to it. Maybe it’s not just because it’s easy. Maybe it’s not just a story we want to believe in. Maybe some things are true and will continue to be true in spite of all those other pressures on our lives.

I’ve been saying “maybe” a lot lately. I guess it’s because I’m going through a fairly significant process of reflection and uncertainty. I don’t have the answers to my questions yet, they are only going to be revealed with time.

Tagged in what messes with your head