I wrote this reflection last semester after my teacher insisted we (my classmates and I) write a piece around the theme ‘Evolve’. The criteria was very open-ended, and being a philosophical slightly-deranged lunatic, this was what I came up with. Yep … only emma dee and her big, over-thinking brain! Ashamedly, it’s not the most cohesive, well-structured piece of writing I have produced, but nonetheless, it is honest. And somewhere in between all the ranting, there’s a little bit of life’s truth … a hidden message just for you. Well, I think there is. (Hopefully it’s not too hidden!)
Life would be SO much easier if we stayed apes.
Imagine only ever thinking about eating, shitting and mating—life would be a dream!
Instead the universe and its scientific mysteries made us evolve into Homo sapiens—complex human beings who, not only do all of these basic instincts, but also assume they must be on some sort of “spiritual journey” too.
Don’t you find that utterly ridiculous?
The divine creator must have been blind drunk bringing us into existence. Either that, or—he/she/it—was a dimwitted arsehole!
Because being a human is hard, if not exhausting. We all know this. We are in a continual conflict with our logical thinking and our emotional wellbeing. We justify uncertainties with facts and figures, with beliefs and theories, or we choose plain ignorance to make ourselves feel better (mainly about ourselves). In other words: we dilly-dally through life having no real clue as to why we are here. And yet we still like to soothe our egos by assuming that we, ahhh, are “intelligent superior beings”.
But let’s just cut the crap: at what point does it make sense that we are intelligent? Superior? Sophisticated? Seriously: we live with undeniable imperfection; yet, for some stupid reason (that I can’t seem to make sense of), we spend our lives seeking absolute perfection. And worse, we argue—to ourselves and to others—that our innate imperfections aren’t good enough. We put on an I-have-it-all-together mask while secretly foraging for deep-and-meaningful explanations that must—surely God—give reasons for our shortcomings.
Are we simply afraid of being—dare I say it—ordinary?
You see: I think we are doing it all wrong. And yes—I use the inclusive term—alike the rest of you folk, the human desire to capture meaning and “improve” my status has frustrated me for, ahh, years.
Yes, even in the springtime of my youth (I know: I had been blooming with far too much enthusiasm), I debated these said “ideals”. It’s true: I have been a freakish over thinker for so long that my mind is now a tangled mess of chaos. But, even so, the human psyche continues to intrigue me … why, on this earth, are we here if our innate gifts are not enough to satisfy us? Is there a reason why we are so hell bent on wanting more?
Despite what you may think, this is not an essay answering life’s greatest mysteries, or even a whimsical glimpse into our ‘souls’ … I am simply fascinated by humanity and why we seem to complicate, well, everything.
I find it rather bizarre that fundamentally, you know: we’re all the same. We are intellectual and emotional beings who really only want one thing: to love and be loved.
We are no longer the same as our primate relatives: it isn’t just about reproduction and making certain our “species” survives.
Human beings need more, which is why we want it so damn much.
But we are constantly searching for the wrong kind of more.
‘More’ isn’t about meaning and improvement; it isn’t about soul searching or becoming a better ‘you’ … it is about this: loving and being loved.
That’s it. That is why we are here. Why that divine being created human bloody beings: the arsehole only ever wanted human connection.
It explains why we are vulnerable, why we were not ‘made’ perfect and why our emotional and intellectual abilities seem to confuse, complicate and contradict the absolute shit out of us.
So why then do we hide these basic human traits as if they happened only to us instead of every one of us?
Because, my friend, we do not want to be vulnerable. We do not want to admit to ourselves, least of all to others, that we are deeply flawed and that there is nothing we can do to change it.
It is horrible truth isn’t it? Well, no. It is simply the truth: we are the ones responsible for making that truth ‘horrible’.
Vulnerability is not weakness. Imperfection is not ugly. Confusion is not madness. They are: being human. And they are the birthplace of love and human connection.
“Wow”, you must be thinking, “this girl is so wise!”
Unfortunately, this is not so.
On the contrary, darling.
Brenè Brown, the brilliant researcher who studies shame and vulnerability, was the remarkable woman who said that ‘vulnerability is not weakness … it is the birthplace of love and human connection’ at her TedTalk in 2010. And it was Marilyn Monroe who stated that ‘imperfection is beauty’ … and I’m sure at some point another iconic individual has uttered the words ‘confusion is not madness.’
You see: what I am telling you is nothing new or some miraculous phenomenon that I, alone, discovered. No. I am merely a twenty-three year old gal who is as shit-scared as you are about being vulnerable.
Do you think the years I spent searching for meaning and improvement made me some sort of enlightened Supreme Being? God no! I am still on antidepressants, struggling with major anxiety and trying to perfect my life with an eating disorder.
Not really. But that is what human beings are: we are not the beautiful façade we pretend to be, or think we should be. We are all slightly damaged and necessarily flawed. Because without these things: we wouldn’t need to love and be loved. And that is why we are here … isn’t it?
It is hard to admit, I know. When I finally worked out that I must, not only accept my vulnerabilities, but also show them … well, it sure as hell didn’t do wonders for my anxiety levels! I half-hyperventilated and half-decided-to-call-it-quits all within the same gasping breath. U-huh, it wasn’t my finest moment.
But then I remembered: I am not alone.
I am not the only one terrified of being seen—of really being seen—we all are.
Yep, it all comes down to being fundamentally the same. And perhaps our imperfections are different, and perhaps we do not hide them in the same way—or even hide them at all—but there is no denying it: we are all imperfect.
And that makes us terrified.
But it also makes us human.
So you see: I think we are doing it all wrong. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to stop pretending that we aren’t what we inevitably are, you know. Perhaps then we could just love and be loved, and connect in a way that divine being wanted us to.
Or we can keep doing what we have always done.
But the choice is ours.
Flaws can be flawless, you know. And perhaps our imperfections are what make us perfect.
But what do I know? I’m just a girl in the world, trying to make sense of her complicated over-thinking mind in a world that, quite often, doesn’t make sense to that mind at all.
And maybe I might ‘figure it all out’ … or maybe I won’t.
Because I am human and, just like you, I might get it wrong.