The worst sort of sadness is the sadness you feel for other people—because when it’s someone else who’s hurting, you can’t do anything about it. Powerlessness is a thousand times worse than pain or rage. When it’s your own hurt, you can psychoanalyze it. Your ego can step off to the side and pull out a legal pad and take notes on the id so the super-ego can later turn it into art and/or viral articles on the internet.
But feeling someone else’s pain? That shit is emotional herpes. There’s nothing you can do to make it go away.
Here’s why I’m an arsehole: I texted Alex the other day and told him “caring for people is such a burden.” Naturally he responded with anguished emojis + “my wife thinks I’m a burden.”
It’s good to know he knows I care.
But come on, it’s true. It’s so much easier to not care about other people. In my heart of hearts I’m a crusty old hermit with a scraggly beard and a bird nest in my dreadlocks. If I could sequester myself in the wilderness, I would. But we all know I’d run out of cheezits by Day 2 and die from poisonous berries.
Maybe I’m self-absorbed, but I’m on a constant quest to understand myself. When people say stuff like “Today I married my best friend,” I scoff because I’m like “psshhh you can’t marry yourself.”
And yet, in trying to comprehend who I am, I run into all these maddening dichotomies.
50% of Aussa = Lizard brained monster with a heart made of whatever Pluto’s made of that got it demoted from being an actual planet. I can be so cold and exacting and detached from anything that might sway my resolve.
50% of Aussa = Network TV trauma victim, staggering through life with a head wound and a skewed-camera angle view of the world. I look at people—PEOPLE I DON’T EVEN KNOW—and worry about them. Not just the normal people you’re supposed to worry about (panhandlers, skittish women, haunted children) but people who by all appearances are probably perfectly fine: the guy at the stoplight next to me. The girl texting while walking down the sidewalk. The person who just asked if I have a Target Red Card yet.
I worry about all of those people. I want to cut myself open like that Star Wars Space Alpaca and let them crawl inside my body so they stay warm. Does it matter if this kills me? No. Because I’m not even alive right now, I’m a disembodied bubble of worry for the 7 billion other people on this planet.
10 seconds later I’ll see a picture of someone who’s been in my life for the last 15 years and all I think is: “I hope you get eaten by a family of bears.”
Honestly, though. How do you keep living when someone you care about is in pain? Point me in the direction of an IV drip and I’ll skewer myself like a bag of saline if there’s a chance it might help.
*drip drip drip*
“Here, I will literally give you my life force if it will just make you OKAY.”
I could really use some Harry Potterish type magic. Give me a wand or a timeturner so I can undo this entire situation for you. And yet– despite years of trying—I’ve yet to manifest magical abilities. I’m subject to the same laws of the universe as everyone other muggle, which means my remedy to pain is the same as yours:
T I M E
Ugh, time. I do not understand you, I rarely appreciate you, and I do everything in my limited mental capacity to pretend you don’t exist. I want to defy you, to gain some second sight that frees me from linear perception. But if this is the way it has to be, then fine. I’ll let you do your thing. But please, hurry.
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