People often think being idealistic is impractical, that it’s either one of the two; idealism or realism. Very few things are that black and white, if any. Why can’t we be idealistic and realistic? Dream big, keep our hopes high and work towards making them a material reality?
Often the biggest hard core ‘realists’ were once in fact idealists. They did hope. They did dream. But when they were laughed at and mocked for their ideas they gave up. They didn’t try, they didn’t work. They accepted people’s words as the truth and joined their ranks; battering and tearing down those who still had the audacity to hope and dream. These new recruits can be an idealist’s biggest obstacle. These people never got the chance to realize their own dreams and seeing yours makes them feel like an even bigger failure. They see you, with ideas for a brighter future and envy your carefreeness. They see their past selves in you and wish they could still have hope in the word too. They point out flaws and setbacks, laugh at your naivety and try to make you be realistic so that they can validate themselves. If you fall off the bandwagon it affirms their belief that yes, there is no hope and they were right to give up.
Hopes and dreams are one thing. Basic human decency is another. We are the product of our experiences. You don’t get a say in the hand destiny deals you, but you do get a say in how you react to it. Our choices are always our own, as are the consequences. Some people who get hurt repeatedly become frustrated. They see the world going about as though nothing had happened, no one caring about their pain and wonder if maybe they’re too emotional. They vow to not let anything get to them and grow cold and insensitive to the pain of other people too.
People who once trusted other people too easily and were betrayed begin abusing other people’s trust reasoning that that is simply how the world works. People who try to live honestly see their corrupt coworkers earning more, getting promoted and getting away with it and wonder why they’re even trying to be honest. Their colleagues come to the office late, waste time and no one says anything to them. They live comfortable lives while you’re putting yourself through hell and for what? No one’s watching, no one says anything, everyone does it. With this reasoning the honest forego their ideals and resign themselves to the status quo.
Now, change frames. Before, it was you who was getting mocked for your ideas, now you’re doing it to the next person. If the person gives up it was because of you. You were the representative of the world to that person. When someone is hurt and you see them going through the same thing you went through once, you have a choice, you can be cold and insensitive, like people were to you, or you can empathize and make sure the person knows they’re not alone. Again, you represent the world.
You betray someone’s trust; you teach them that the world doesn’t hold trust sacred, just like someone once did to you and someone may have done to them. Each person in the chain, changing the world forever through their actions. Same goes for corruption. Each person in that office thought they were making a decision for themselves, that it was normal. The fact is, they normalized it by accepting it; paving the way for all those to come.
There was a nice analogy of the world in a book I read. It went something like: ‘The world is like a cauldron and your actions, thoughts and ideas are the ingredients you get to add.’ –Forty Rules of Love, Elif Shafak.
Your actions and choices are your contributions to the lives of all the people you ever meet, even for a second. People make up the world. The world is made up of people. You are people to people just as they are people to you. Know this. A friendly wave, a smile, genuine concern, every minute small thing you do is how the world looks through someone else’s eyes. Know your power.
Don’t lose complete faith in the world, it’s the equivalent of losing faith in yourself. Use your struggles as fuel for hope; if you can stay a dreamer, emotional, trusting and honest, so can other people.
Have faith in yourself.
You are the world.
I sigh loudly as I watch the old woman, jogging past in her track suit. Her smile, her passion and her love for life usually make me all warm and fuzzy inside. Today, I feel nothing. If she can’t lift my mood, no one can. Hoisting my backpack on my shoulders I begin the twenty minute walk to my school, eyes down, mouth slack. The cracks in the concrete don’t entice me, I no longer care what magical world could possibly be lurking inside or what wild species of bugs might have mutated to survive such drab conditions. It does not matter.
My feet move mechanically. I know the path like I know my house, who cares about the back of my hand. The colours in the world aren’t as bright. Is it just me, or is life pointless? My thoughts are wandering. If I don’t control them, they could wreak havoc. I submit, they can do what they want, I feel masochistic as they slowly unfold. One after the other the pictures, the memories rise from behind the withering shield. My granddads smile, his warm hugs and his love……a flashback of me holding his hand, walking home from school. Another flashback, him favouring me over my brother….my eyes start to water. He’s taking me with him to Queens market now, we’re on a bus and he’s gazing out the window, he pats my back. My breathing gets heavier. He looks at me, with his big blue eyes, disoriented from the medication, so weak, so helpless, but still he pulls me closer and tells me he’s proud of me. I try breathing slowly and deeply……. It was a mistake to let it come out, I’m a few streets away from the school. I don’t want anyone to see me like this, I don’t want anyone’s sympathy. I wipe away the tears that apparently spilt without my consent. There’s not point in crying, I should pray for him.
As I round the corner, my name being yelled out breaks me out of my reverie. I look up, confused as a shape hurtles towards me and yanks me into a choke hold. I gasp and register the familiar scent of lotion. I laugh and untangle myself from my best friend’s arms. I grin at the group of teens before me. With them, I can forget for the time being. All is right. I am safe.
‘The fox sprinted across the field, too quick to be struck by the arrow which landed a meter away.
“Guess we’ll have to do without dinner tonight, little one.” sighed Ellie’s father. “It’s getting late and the animals have the advantage.”
Ellie’s eyes begin to water but she looks down so that her father can’t see. She hadn’t had a decent meal in days and the famine was getting worse. They had sold their land and poaching animals for their fur was their only source of income. But her father was trying his best and the least she could do was support him, after all it wasn’t his fault he had to……………’
I jerk back to reality on hearing my name. My surprise and shock quickly turn to irritation, what now? Sighing, I close the book and lazily get off the sofa. Might as well get this over with. Slipping on my hideous yellow flip flops I make a mental note to tell my dad again, how much I hate them and trudge towards the kitchen, where I think I heard my mum calling me from. I hope she’s calling me for milk or something….. but then again would I prefer milk over chores? I hate milk, no hate is a strong word and you shouldn’t hate food……well then I dislike milk. Maybe chores would be better, I decide just as I reach the doorway, I mean how much work could she possibly need me to do at this hour? It’s almost 10.
The kitchen however, is empty but I groan when I see the mess inside. Bilal has obviously been experimenting again, leaving everything for me to clean up. As I redirect myself to my mum’s room I already know the verdict. The injustice makes my blood boil. What the hell? Why should I clean up after him? He’s fifteen for God’s sake. He’s old enough to be held responsible and accountable for his actions. But that’s not how it works in my house. No sirree it’s my job to pick up after my brother and sister because I’m the oldest and I’m a girl. I don’t mind doing work around the house, what I do mind is doing their work. I mean, they should do it themselves; I’m not the only one with hands. Not this time though, I vow to myself.
Feel free to take out mistakes……. 🙂 still working on the rest. This is NOT the full chapter.