Recently I’ve been feeling something. As a human who lives, effecting people with my actions, building relationships no matter how small, and assuming what is thought about me… I’ve come to the conclusion, with assistance, that no one will ever be able to completely understand me. And that I will never be able to completely understand anyone else.
As daunting and melancholy as that sounds, I’m not trying to be depressing. I’ve started to learn that that is a kind of fact about our lives, that we are alone to an extent.
It’s not that we’re trapped, and it’s not that we don’t attempt to express to those around us our thoughts or who we are… It’s more just like being unable to express to someone how you feel about the things you don’t think about. Unable to tell someone how you feel about the scar on your palm that no one has been able to look at before, but you see all the time and constantly run your fingers over. Unable to put into words what your tattoo means to you, how your perspective of it might change every day but it remains the same, and how you like that. Or being unable show to someone, how your assumptions of someone else’s perception of you, can bring a force of doubt, similar to peer pressure, that might as well be as up-front as some ass-hole asking ,”Why don’t you just have sex with her?” It’s the things that silently affect you… The thoughts that linger in your head even though they seem to have no relevancy, at least to other people…
But it’s okay that we’re alone like this, it really is. Especially if we take the time to understand how and why it sometimes isn’t possible to necessarily express things directly to another. Not only is it sometimes hard to be honest about ourselves, but it’s also hard to share this kind of information with someone who might not care.
Something important though, is that I think there are solutions or ways of looking at this fact that make it something beautiful and not something to be saddened about.
First is that we’re at least together in this. Every person on the planet is looking for their own way of making themselves understood, and there are soooo many people in the world. Thinking of it as one with a nearly infinite amount of people, full of diversity that you’ll only be able to see so much of, honestly excites me sometimes. So much to discover and understand about the lives of different people, who live under completely different circumstances as you,, and finding out if they really are different from you or not. A curiosity or need to understand everything might take over you, like it does for me, and you’ll be able to thrive knowing that there’s so much to learn about the diversity of people and how extensive that diversity is.
Another way to look at it is that with such great diversity, comes great similarity. Among a sea of people there’s bound to be someone who’s similar to you in many ways, or someone who can lift you up in the things you want to do,, or for the very least recognizes that you may never be able to see eye to eye, but that you can try anyway. It could be the feeling of loving and devoting yourself to your spouse, or wanting to have deep friendships and a strong community, that makes you feel understood when really it’s you being brave enough to put yourself out there to be understood in the first place.
I think that you should always seek ways to be closer to others. Learning about how we all live can simply leave more possibilities to live yourself. But if you’re like me you want more than that. If you’re like me you want to learn about other people, other cultures, other art, other ways to express yourself, so you can show yourself in whatever way you see fit. So that you can learn who to reveal yourself to and how.
If you’re like me you want to learn. So that you’re not afraid of yourself, so that you’re not afraid of others. You want to learn so that you can be learned. So that you can be understood.
I think there’s a Winston Churchill quote that goes something similar to this…
Even if you’re never understood in your lifetime, there’s someone who will read your literature, look at your painting,, and know exactly what you felt. Through your work, through your attempt of being immortalized,, you may find someone who will see it and truly understand. Whether they live in your lifetime or not doesn’t even matter,, especially to them,, through your actions you made something that can be understood. You made something so that you can be understood, and you prevailed.