I’ve recently heard a lot of people talking about the grief and turmoil of the Human Condition – that underlying, ever-present general feeling of malaise and light terror that seems to afflict all of us on some basic level. We’ve come to accept a certain amount of visceral misery as unavoidable fact and part of some melancholy birthright, like the secular version of Original Sin.
The fact that we’re talking about it is good. Very good. It means that it’s not acceptable to us any longer; that were ready to transcend this tragic hand-me-down and find the joy that we know we are all entitled too. We’re starting to feel our own worth, and claim it as valuable.Â It’s also an indication that people are finally starting to get real. So many of us hide behind the illusion of our outer circumstances, whatever their implications may be, in the hopes that our insides may eventually catch up to our seemingly contented outsides. And if they don’t, well at least we can rest assured that no one knew how afflicted we were, so long as we kept them occupied with conversations of finishing a basement or designer hybrid sod.
I have this friend and coworker (we’ll call her Vanessa) whom I’ve envied for as long as I’ve known her. She seemingly has the perfect life: husband, job, house, kid etc. So long as I kept her at arms length with my jealousy, we never became close. It wasn’t until we started sharing (and laughing at) our respective neurosis and dysfunction that we started to become real friends. Today we trust each other with our issues and advice, and she is one of the easiest people for me to be around. Had I chosen to see only what she wanted me to see, and vice versa, no real growth in our relationship could have occurred. We’re very different girls but we’re also quite real with one another, and that fact alone brings us closer together.
Something really amazing happens when we drop the facade and share in our collective dysfunction. We begin to feel less competitive and less lonely. When we discover that we aren’t the only ones who’s kitchen sponges smell and who’s family is marginally certifiable our relationships become that much stronger. It’s then that we can truly support each other, and lift each other out of the metaphorical muck in which we’ve sentenced ourselves from birth. Because I am not good at telling myself that I’m a valuable individual, but my friends are.
Someone introduced me to a song a long time ago and that song has recently resurfaced in my life. It goes something like this: Â “They told you life is hard, misery from the start. It’s dull. It’s slow. It’s painful. But I tell you life is sweet, in spite of the misery. There’s so much more. Be grateful. So who will you believe? Who will you listen to, who will it be? Cuz it’s high time that you decide in your own mind.”
It’s really that simple. We’ve got to stop accepting the mediocrity that we’ve been handed. It’s a choice. The greatest thing about Â “The Human Condition” is that its treatable. A condition implies a pathology, a wrongness about a state of being. And if being human is an illness, the cure must be spiritual. Spirituality starts with simple kindness. Togetherness. Realness.
So get real.Â And be the remedy for what ails us all.
Love the reference of a “collective dysfunction”. Really enjoyed this one, keep up the great writing.
Great to see another post, Sara.
I typically avoid Biblical references at all cost, because it tends to feel forced and icky. However, what you’re capturing here is essentially a metaphorical return to the “garden” where we can stand naked together without the guilt and self-consciousness we naturally feel. It’s as if we not only separated from God, we separated from each other. And restoration requires us to no longer hide and pose. It requires us to stand “as is” and accept each other “as is.”
It’s a beautiful metaphor. Well done!
Great post. Totally true.