The Silent Parts
Best paired with: Wave by Beck from Morning Phase
For the last few months, I’ve made a concerted effort to refocus my lens on the world. For several years, I grappled with a negative, myopic outlook on reality—fueled by the loss of a parent, in-built emotional shortcomings from illness in my youth, and a realization that some reparenting of the self would be necessary after acknowledging some hiccups in my upbringing.
The parts of myself that I’ve been cultivating in solitude are the deep beliefs I have in the will of the individual and the positivity that emanates from that place—in seeing the development of character through intentional sacrifice and difficulty. Growing up, my perception was decidedly split: a warm, nurturing maternity that never gave up despite persistent challenges and a narcissistic paternity that eschewed hard work while expecting royal pleasantries. In my own consciousness, I’ve grappled with these two razors: a freakish combination of creative, happy-go-lucky artistry and a self-absorbed industriousness that seeks “world domination” without the effort of personal sacrifice or investment in the spirit of the other.
As you might imagine, this has led to an adult life that at times is bright and whimsical, while at others is dark and isolating. Fortunately, the former always seems to win, blinding the darker parts with its overwhelming beam. I’m grateful for this, because I’ve never felt more vile than when my lower instincts have won the battle—the pinnacle of which occurred about three years ago.
As I transition into prime adulthood, I’ve decided that those more quiet, positive parts of myself deserve amplification. To trust others and myself, to avoid the perspective that “everything is terrible,” even if that means the occasional flub due to naive optimism. On that path, too, I’m hell-bent on fatherhood, primarily because I see no bigger failure than allowing those bleaker parts of my DNA to be the final sentence in my familial novel—to die knowing that I didn’t right that wrong in the form of a sunny Xerox would be my biggest regret. In respect to perpetuating a narrative of negativity and religion of the self: I am the last stop; all passengers must exit the train.
More recently, this has left me moody and conflicted. Not because the right choice was unclear, but because the malevolent side had rooted itself so deeply in my subconscious. It was decidedly beneath the surface—usually coaxed out on the rare occasion that I’d drink (rare because the character that emerges during these trysts rapidly shifts from silly and fun to overwhelming and unpleasant). Lately, though, it’d emerge without spirited charming—a conversation with an unsavory character would swing me from absolute optimism one day to irreversible doom the next. I was cautious to let that show in my day to day, but in my head It was like the arc of a Hitchcock film playing out.
Thankfully, this all seems to be coming to a resolve. I’ve accepted that the wisest and most self-respecting path is one of forgiveness and belief in my own ability to overcome. A concerted effort to quell the filial demons that nudge me toward falling into the pond as I admire my own satiated reflection.
For those with which this narrative resonates, the best advice I can offer is to let the storm pass. Be self-aware of the poor choices you make in response to the evil surfacing in your thoughts. I’ve found that it’s far too easy to want to destroy yourself when the lower parts of yourself bubble to the surface. Being self-aware of what excites your tendency towards implosion is worth its weight in gold.
I hope for a quiet future—one that involves less friction. Less tugging at the heart (in a negative sense—first finger grasps and steps are welcomed warmly). One that’s friendly and warm, interested in others well-being, and enjoyable to be around. Never from a position of weakness, but one of strength and understanding that belief in yourself and others can coexist. That self-determination needn’t be propelled by self-obsession. That the world isn’t ending and that "hating people” is a symptom of a lost heart, badly in need of mending—not a “cause" to trumpet in lonely protest.