The burden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Written 2019

I resent our society's attitude to mental health issues. It's all hushed up. We listen but we don't feel. Say, someone troubles the dull and decent lives of our bleak and sensible citizens by calling himself a burden. Well, we'd tend to agree. Privately, there is head nodding. But what we tell that person, who has intuitively declared himself a burden, is always something along the lines of: 'cheer up, chap! Your feelings matter more than your observation itself. Your feelings are valid.' See how the main article has been dodged? See how the response has devolved to rhetoric.

The stuff is in the statement. Someone who thinks himself a burden, even if they never even were, will begin to unconsciously adopt characteristics of a burden. When one finally recognises this, these new qualities will simply be seen as fresh evidence for their plight. 'I am a burden!'

And then the cycle starts anew. One complains some more. One expresses suffering some more. One is placated by benign benevolence some more. One is looked at funny some more. And in the end, one has become even more of a burden than when this whole shemozzle began.

See, people are cowards. Especially in our culture. No one will tell you to your face you're a burden. You must fall over yourself a few times before you pick it up. But if you continue to throw out your arms for help, you will never learn to fall. And that makes your falls all the more severe.

So, you're a burden. Well accept it. Most burdens, myself included, use this knowledge as an excuse to act out, to protest their very nature. But this is mere spite. 

Oh? I'm a burden, huh? I'm wasting space? I'm unwelcome, yet nobody will acknowledge it... Are they gaslighting me? Am I in a grotesque Truman Show? Better start acting like it then! If I already am a horrible human being, then I can do you one more! 

If you'll allow me, I'll spitefully lash out, until one of these cowards finds the nerve to be real with me and not just look at me funny, awkwardly lying to save face and avoid confrontation, in order to preserve their dull, quiet lives, without the fear of having to challenge themselves at all, thereby becoming vulnerable to humiliation. Safe in their comfortable, private bubbles, they clench rosemary beads as they share the tacit conviction that I'm a just another wack job loony, worthy of nothing less than condescension and certainly not respect, that if 'things get any worse' so to speak, referring of course to my precarious mental state, the most adventurous one of the lot must only out himself just enough to have me shipped off to some loony bin, some controlled place of isolation from which we all turn our heads, and never feel inclined think of me again except in some vague fantasy. 

They will tell the kids, the only ones who might be curious, that I've 'gone away on holiday' (and various other nauseating euphemisms) and the one who bravely sent me away will be rewarded with the emotional equivalent of service medals and commemorative ceremonies. He who exemplified the ideal man, who saw and swiftly dealt with that threat to our pretend utopia. He was able to move past our funny looks and judgemental thoughts, in actually applying the principles we were all taught to hold (which then must be correct, that is of course if one loves his country (that sinister, binding emotional blackmail of patriotism - the state is inseparable from the community) ) - someone who thinks he is a burden is just that, and let us torment him by facilitating his direction as he forges his way into insanity. Let us drag the self-aware burden down with us, the blissfully ignorant burdens, for we do not see ourselves as burdens and therefore are not.


Submitted: June 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 olive tree. All rights reserved.

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