“I care too much,” she told herself, “That’s my problem. It must be; what else could it be?” The more she thought about it, the more she thought that it was either that, or people didn’t care that much at all. These were the only two explanations that she could conjure to explain her perceived plight: a hollow loneliness that never seemed to evade, even when surrounded by countless loved ones.

In everything that she went through, she seemed to always wrap herself up in unequal relationships with the people around her. Even though she was convinced that she, indeed, cared more than most, a part within her brain reminded her that everyone thinks that they’re the good guy. She truly couldn’t think of anything out there that would allow anyone to think of themselves as rotten apples. “There are instances in everyone’s life, sure, but on aggregate, everyone does think that they’re the good person in any relationship,” she thought to herself. “We know how we feel and how we think, but we don’t know how others experience life. We never could, despite how hard we try, to see things from their perspectives.”

It all clicked for her at the time. “There was no right or wrong to anything,” she told herself, “just different interpretations of the world around us.” The more she thought of it, the more she realised that the answers weren’t very satisfactory. Nevertheless, she still felt pulled by an ardent need to reach a truth that she knew didn’t exist, maybe because she so deeply wanted it to exist. “Where does one draw a line, in that case, between hopes and realities? Does reality even exist? Is our own version of the truth the only truth that we’re ever meant to know?” She couldn’t answer any of those questions, so she circled back to her original query. The only way she was going to get an answer was if she boiled it all down to its simplest building blocks.

She hoped to determine whether she cared too much compared to other people or not through defining what it means to care in the first place. She had no explanation for that simple act or feeling that we all encounter through our various lives at first. The only definition that she could pin on it is that it was living. It made sense to her. “Caring is to living what seeing is to believing.” In other words, they were inseparable.

Based on that, she asked herself a question that she knew she had no tangible answer for, but could answer confidently nonetheless: “Do I feel alive?” The answer to that, in her mind, was an unequivocal yes, which made her agree with her original position on caring even more. The more she thought about it, the more she realised that the most alive moments in her life were those when she, for better or worse, cared about something deeply.

Now, she felt comfortable asking herself again about whether she cared more than other people. She recognised that bias was going to be involved in whatever conclusion she would come up with. Then again, bias was involved in everything, but that was something that she steered her mind away from almost instantly. Since she couldn’t figure out how anyone else was feeling inside the individual yellow submarines that they inhabited, she decided to let actions be the ultimate judge for all. It didn’t matter to her how many times people professed their love or admiration for anything or anyone, unquestionable acts of care were all that mattered.

She looked within herself, analysing nearly every instant that she remembered. Little by little, she grew uncomfortable to be even thinking about this that much. She could see clearly that she passed all of the caring criteria that she had set for herself, but knew that she couldn’t realistically meet all the ones that were expected of her by other people.  She turned away thinking that acts done out of a position of care were the most righteous ones that she could envision. Then, she remembered that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Unsatisfied with any and all of the conclusions that she was coming up with, she understood that she couldn’t ever define caring or classify it into different levels or categories of righteousness. She convinced herself that the need to find an answer was enough because that, at least, has got to count for something.

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