Six months ago I saw my world crumble around me. Everything I had built, all the hard work I had put into "belonging" was ripped from me as easily as paper. It's an illusion. What you have, what you think is yours to keep. I am no longer able to convince myself that treading water is the same as swimming. When your world collapses at your feet, movies and the media will fool you into believing it will be from one large catastrophe that will strike the rest of the world, just as surely as it has struck yours. It's supposed to come from the sky and burn the cities to the ground, or from the sea and wash those cities away, or perhaps the earth will just swallow you and your good neighbours up. Any which way the end comes, you're rest assured in the knowledge that from the ashes a unity will carry on. The catastrophe will make us stronger as we take each other's hands, cry on each other's shoulders and eventually rebuild. You never acknowledge the possibility that the world ending event could be yours and yours alone.
Never was this more apparent than the morning after discovering my son was ill. That night I went to sleep, exhausted and hurting. The terror of it was indescribable - it still is. So when I blinked my weary eyes and listened to the early morning sounds of the day, I was genuinely shocked to hear the birds, and the happy voices of neighbours, and the shouts of my children calling for me. Where were the screams that would match my own, the sobbing that could drown out the ones that wracked my own battered body? Where was the suffering that the world should have been in? Why didn't anyone else see it and feel it? Was I the only one privy to the knowledge that we are all fragile? That this wool blanket we have wrapped ourselves in and called society is only as strong as the people in it - and no one is as strong as they need to be.
I can no longer see the world through those special glasses we are all conditioned to wear - you know the ones - the rose colored ones that paint our world with the bliss of ignorance. I am shackled by this experience as much as I have been set free from it - and it's confusing to me. Armageddon doesn't come the way the movies claim it will - it will stalk your neighbour, pick off your sibling, destroy your boss - for "this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper".- T. S. Eliot
I am now a shadow of my former self, tethered to my own experience with the distinct ability to grow darker in the brightest light. I have grown acclimated to this pitch black, to the darkness I see around every corner, even as I carry the bright lamp labelled 'hope' and march forever onwards into it's abyss. Don't get me wrong, it is not a worse world, just a changed one - one where possibilities of all forms can seek me out - the good with the bad, the real of reality...