When a friend rests in a perpetual state of hesitancy or lacks faith, I christen myself the mental martyr who will emotionally exaggerate my buddy's qualms in order to grant him sympathy. Whether my friend needs or desires this sympathy is a question of viewpoints, vices, and virtues.
More than an altruistic inclination to improve the lives of loved ones, this habit of prematurely settling debacles stems directly from the unrest I personally accrue from immobility. If I encounter even the slightest hint of suspended progression, I will do everything in my power to tug it back to life. Simply put, I cannot bear the fruitlessness of a layover.
I do not detail this internal monologue to color myself in any shade purer or nobler than the norm. By contrast, I wish to reveal the multifarious upshots of forcing onto life a strict linear as opposed to a circular narrative.
Not only in friends, but in myself I often notice a halted drive to better myself, a state of mind we all experience but, I believe, would never wish upon anybody. And why would we? It's not as if uncertainty or writer's block damages one's quality of life to a perilous or often even noteworthy extent. Nonetheless, it's these little dangers to creativity and liberation that really get to me. The thought of myself, a friend, or any human wasting a substantial portion of his life to no avail irks me to the end of time. To be clear, I don't consider frequent spouts of fun-loving recreation to be a waste of one's life, nor do I dismiss any acts held in high esteem by the actor, no matter how controversial. What I do consider a waste is a departure from one's goals or intentions, whether big or small.
Of course, such a life of incessant striving and repairing is unsustainable. I know this, but I still go through with it. I continue to view my own lapses as existential crises, threatening my worth and potential. Why do I do this? Part of it is innate psychology, another is ambitious plan-of-action, and yet another is hopeful deliverance.
I don't claim to be the most selfless sort of humanitarian. In fact, I reflect upon my own life and compare it to those of others probably more often than I should. This lifestyle will occasionally hurt my psyche and pride to extremes that almost convince me that ceaseless struggle toward fulfillment is not the way to go. And for a lot of people, it isn't. But why does it work for me? Despite how many times it has induced a headache and endangered my confidence in myself and in humanity, it has afforded me some of my most momentous and empowering insights and accomplishments. Yes, I think too much about the meta and too little about the simple pleasures of life, but that mindset has gotten me where I am today and given me the knowledge and initiative I need to distribute empowerment to others. I've got a long way to go before I discover a comprehensive and rewarding antidote to humanity's strains, but the process of getting there is something to write home about, if only in the metaphorical sense.
Be proud of your life's endeavor. And on a more literal note, remember to write and thank your first-ever inspirations: your parents!
Dress: Express. Shoes: Express. Bracelets: Prada and Ann Taylor.
Photos by Alex Zhu (top two) and Sean Su.