Authentic Toxicity

Therapeutic expression has been elusive for some time now. Deliberately writing to finish a compilation of thoughts tends to constrain the thoughts themselves. It feels like herding cats, a sensation akin to seeking constructive engagement in a toxic environment. The benefit of a toxic environment is that it tends to provide sufficient distractions from the emptiness that it fosters. That emptiness is most prominently experienced when you exit from such a toxic space.

The toxicity provides a sense of morbid purpose at times. That morbidity, however, is only ever felt when the efforts to achieve a positive outcome from herding the cats results in the dispersal of the cats, and a box of litter in your hands. The optimist looks at the litter in the box and celebrates the fact that it is contained. The pessimist looks at the litter and feels cheated out of the purring comfort of the cats that littered only to be left with the litter and not the affectionate embrace. The realist takes the litter box, empties it out, and moves on to find another cat to fill the litter box in the hope that the next round of litter will be accompanied by an affectionate exchange as well.

Sometimes we’re so fixated on the hurt or the pain of betrayal that we hold on to that litter believing that it is an essential and defining part of the box. The box, of course, being our capacity to embrace life. Speaking in metaphors remains a cryptic skill that avoids unwanted scrutiny. Scrutiny is only good if not practiced for the sake of gossip or morbid curiosity. There are too many that show an interest in the problems of others simply because they need to feed their egos by internally (sometimes overtly) comparing the wholesomeness of their own lives to the life of the one that is feeling at odds with the world. Far too often that sense of wholesomeness is grounded in the convenience of being surrounded by others that have less. It doesn’t feel so wholesome when surrounded by others that have more.

The sincere ones focus on those that have less so that they (the sincere ones) can gain an appreciation for what they have, while the insincere focus on the same so that they can feel superior and be recognised for their superiority. Authenticity does not feature for the kind that live their lives in the spotlight, even though that spotlight is powered up by their own egos for most of their lives. The meek under-estimate what good is in their own lives, and therefore celebrate the same icons who power up their own spotlights. Icons can be created through manipulation of the truth, but authenticity will continue to escape such a manufactured reality. That lack of authenticity leaves most feeling unfulfilled, including the icon worshipers. The realisation of such a lack of fulfilment manifests itself in the lives of the worshipers as an incessant subconscious yearning to have more and do more than the fickleness of the idol.

We cannot wish away problems or adversity just as much as we cannot wish happiness into reality. Both are outcomes of our contribution towards its ends. Inactivity never yields happiness, it only ever yields complacency at best, and a festering of adversity at worst. A sincere choice made towards alleviating the adversity will provide a sense of fulfilment even if the outcome was unsuccessful. There is much joy and reward in knowing that you tried and failed, than to one day regret not having tried at all. That reward lies in the fact that despite your best efforts, the good you tried to impart was not thwarted because of a lack of effort on your part, but rather because of a lack of gratitude or awareness on the part of others. In that lies the secret to a peaceful life. The willingness to accept that despite our best efforts, success is not guaranteed, but in spite of the threat of failure, we chose to prevail.

A brain dump carries its own sense of release from the angst of existing. Existence is a consequence of being, whereas life is a consequence of choice. I have always chosen to live, rather than to survive. A deep breath was never about regaining my composure or my footing, but instead, it was to take in the sweetness of everything that defined my experience in that moment, be it good or bad. Internalising the whole of the experience builds character, while internalising only the palatable feeds the ego. The ego does not exist independent of our choices. It is our choices. Too many blame their egos on their innate nature, when their innate nature has been stifled from fear of owning their life because of the risk of ridicule, or failure.

Authenticity is in short supply. Everyone goes out searching for it in others, but very few offer it to those that seek it. Even less offer it despite them defining it as the minimum standard against which they will choose to show others due respect, or consideration. In a transactional culture, instant gratification is only a symptom of the insincerity of the masses to give before they receive. The epic proportions we have reached in this regard means that dignity is optional, and self-respect is not a consideration because self-respect has come to be defined by the trinkets of success that we have on display to the world, rather than the sense of accomplishment we have as a human being.

Being human eludes us, while doing in humans has become a global sport.

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