I look back on my past self and wonder how he ever survived. I think of myself back then, looking forward at the me I am now, and wonder how I could have ever become him.
A young man who thought he was unloved and unlovable. One with nothing but an interminable loneliness stretching out before him. With arms aching, a very real physical sensation of aching, arms that will never hold someone. My heart breaks for him. It is so sad. How he looks to this stranger in the future. How much he desired that man’s art and that man’s scope. How he saw that future man, and how these things he desired most contented least.
That young man first really encountered Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet in the TV series Beauty and the Beast. He was transfixed with the “hideous” Vincent, and his tortured soul, but a soul of intense beauty. And the love that existed between Vincent and Catherine. The young man was overcome with emotion, how a simple sonnet expressed everything within him.
I remember studying this in school. What really struck me about it was the beautiful play on words – with “contented”. How it has the dual meaning of enjoyment and containing. These things he enjoyed most, he had the least of.
So how did young man became the one I am today? One so full of love and hope, of joy and openness. How did he transform from the youth who couldn’t write about himself into the author of this very blog?
There were certain markers along that journey. Strange events, full of grace. Many of which are written in this blog. A movie, a chance encounter with a strange girl (yet to be written about), finding a job where he excelled, falling in love with his soul-mate.
But there was also always something inside him. He knew it was there, he just could never admit it. Because admitting it meant that he had a future that could be risked. It meant that he could rise up and risk being knocked down. I guess I just got tired of it. I got tired of being knocked down. And strangely, letting go was the answer.
There is one thing above everything else I hope comes from this. Someone recognises that young man in themselves. And they realise that the young man with no hope, with no prospects, and nothing but misery before him can turn into someone so full of life, power, and the ability to change lives, change the world.
To the young man I would say this: Strength hides itself deep within ourselves. It is always there. Biding its time. However bleak our present may be, the future is unknown, full of promise.