It has been a long year of journeying. I am tired and the mountain air grows thin the closer I get to the summit. As my brain cries out for oxygen, the world I once knew slips away.
No journey is harder or more gruelling than the journey to your true self. There is no guidebook. There is no map. There is no hiding from the truth because it is by coming face to face with our own truths that we heal. If you imagine that these truths relate to your deepest secrets, then think again, because your real secrets are so much deeper than you could ever imagine.
If you think that you can get through this with just your mind, think again. You cannot think your way through this. It is not a journey of the brain, it is a journey of the spirit, for that is the only part of you that is true.
To rebuilt yourself in your true image, you must first strip yourself back to nothing – dismantling everything you thought defined you. Then as you travel even deeper down the rabbit hole, you will find that the world as you knew it will also be stripped away. Like a psychedelic dream, up will be down, left will be right, and round will become square. You will lose your grip on everything. You will feel like you have slipped your mooring and there is nothing left to hold onto or orientate yourself by.
This is where I am tonight.
After a week of complete uncertainty, where something happened to me that I was unable to fathom or understand, it is an insight into that uncertainty that has completely flipped the way I see the world.
My truths at this moment are:
• Every relationship has give and take. Even if you feel like you have been treated badly, you will have got something out of it, if you will only take the time to look.
• This world can be a very painful place for some people to exist in.
• Love can take many different forms.
• There is no right and wrong, except where we label things as such.
The fact is, I have cared for someone for three months, only to find that it was an illusion. With nothing but lies between us, it was hard to find an ounce of truth anywhere. I feel like I didn’t even know him. But then do we ever really know anyone?
As I dig a little deeper, I start to find shards of truth. Enough for me to pin down a few corners and stop everything from blowing away in the wind.
What truth is known about this person is perhaps the saddest thing I have ever heard. His reality is painful. His future is uncertain. And there is nothing I can do to help him, except tell him I do not hate him for what he did to me.
For he did nothing that I did not let him do. I played along with the game. I revelled in the fantasy. I ignored the feelings that told me things were not as they seemed.
And what did I get back in return?
He did not diminish me, for I chose not to let him. He did not injure me more than I would injure myself. He took nothing from me that I was not willing to give.
However, on the flip side, he taught me to dream again, to believe in myself and what I was capable of, and to imagine a very different life in the future, beyond the mundane. He provided me with the opportunity to be as strong as he taught me I could be.
He opened my eyes to another world, even if it was a dream… a fantasy. A world where the wilderness calls, where anything is possible, where round is square, where clothing is optional, where feathers instil bravery, where the whiskey is honey-sweet, and where we are safe from the zombie apocalypse.
I loved this world as much as he did. It wasn’t real, but for us it was, if only for those three months.
For him, this world is brought about by a distorted mind. But what is my excuse? I’ll admit to having a creative imagination, yet the deeper I go down the rabbit hole, the more I realise that the world is not “real” anyway. Our brains love certainty and it seems to be such a normal thing for people to have rigid mindsets and to buy into cultural norms. We are supposed to “behave ourselves”, not do or say certain things, live our lives in a particular way, and follow in the footsteps of many boring people ahead of us.
Let’s face it, if you are going to dream, you should dream BIG. Don’t just go for the feather – find the whole bird. Shoot for the stars, not just the moon. And just because no one else has ever done something before doesn’t mean you can’t.
My friend is unlikely to get the help he needs to manage his life and relationships, and that makes me sad beyond belief. Because I see a part of him that is so much saner than many of us. There is a part of him that wants more, believes in miracles, and most importantly, has not lost the strength and innocence of an untainted soul.
So, what is “real”? What is “sanity”? An existence devoid of dreams, where we march in lines, taking orders and behaving? Is this not the world that is currently making us insane? Or is the real world a place behind the curtain, where we can set sail to exotic places, take up our swords to fight, and where we are only limited by the imagination of the universe? Because this sounds a lot more like sanity to me.
Let me leave you with these questions. Maybe what we think of as a “real” life is actually an illusion of control? Maybe true freedom of the mind has been labelled as “insanity” so that we do not seek it out. Maybe it is more important to prepare for the zombie apocalypse than anything else in our tedious lives?
And most importantly, is it possible that the illusion of the last three months has been the most real experience of my life?
“There are some people who live in a dream world and there are some that face reality. And there are others who turn one into the other.”