There’s a definite difference between the two.
Being friendly: The act of saying hi when you pass by. Making small talk out of courtesy.
Usually categorized by blank stares, open gazes, nods and cordial agreements, it’s quite telling when a person is frankly disinterested in the idea of forming a relationship that lasts. In my eyes, there’s no point in forcing meaningless connections when ideals, experiences, lifestyles and interests simply don’t match.
Friends: A shared understanding and a love of being around each other.
If I could use only a word to describe friendship, it’ll most likely be resonance. The compatibility of individuals. The undeniable chemistry. Shared deep understanding, empathy and compassion that binds a duo or multiple folks together. Figurative sparks flying upon meeting. Good independently, even better as a whole.
How many people really know you?
I tell myself I’m not letting go of my dreams, just setting them aside for now in the quest for something more stable. I will get back to them eventually; when I have the time, energy and capital to do so. It’s a mad dash but I’ll do it.
But who knows when I’d actually come back to it? I might be settling into the daily grind and deluding myself just by thinking of the future that’s always out of my immediate grasp.
Maybe it’s a way of coping, an escapism of sorts. I’ll be able to put up with the challenges now for a brighter future. Here’s where my thoughts begin to diverge: The selfish part of me craves for success. Maybe it’ll be assured if I put my mind and work hard for it. The altruistic me is more practical, drawing me back from making the impromptu: There’s no guarantee of success. Why give up stability for something volatile?
My motivations are simple and clear. Love what I do and bring in the dough for the family. Not necessarily in that order. So what if I sacrifice the first just to do the second? If my education is already a heavy investment, it’s only right that I return the favour and make enough money to treat my parents well. Is it altruistic of me to give up my dreams in order to achieve that? Maybe it’s just a selfish and altruistic way to live. I’ll sacrifice what I deem necessary to keep the status quo but I’ll never really be able to step outside the comfort zone, to bring myself to fail thanks to the convenient excuse I fed myself – I’m doing this for the greater good.
And it’s not due to a lack of sleep.
It’s the sea of possibilities. How you’re only tied to one in a lifetime. It’s the people. Who are here to make things harder with their snap judgements, stereotypes and criticism. Having them squash opinions down my throat, harder to swallow than the most bitter of herbal tea. As if I wasn’t already overwhelmed by comparisons and stigmas against my own generation and gender.
If it is in human nature to grow and progress then why are we so afraid of cutting loose our degrading labels? Why, despite the progress in societies physically, do we still seem oh so stagnant and set in our ways of thinking and acceptance?
Something that wasn’t foreseen, though not unwelcome.
It hits me out of the blue. A single chilling, mind-numbing thought.
Where am I going?
This marked the start of my adventures down a rabbit hole. Except I wasn’t Alice and wasn’t warped into some magical land. It marked the start of the questioning of my future, the paths that were seemingly laid out but obscure all at once. The future is tenuous but all too real and tangible. So… If I am to believe that there are invisible strings tugging me along or a current that I am supposed to follow, isn’t my life preordained? But I can’t prove that it is. Am I facilitating the choices myself or is it pure chance? If so, will chance push me along in the right direction or wrap its snaking arms around me and pull me down into the depths?
What is my purpose in life?
The torrent of questions continued. No matter how many times I circled around, this question always remained unanswered. Living and existing have distinctly separate connotations. I breathe, eat, think and, therefore, I exist. However, the concept of living seems to incredibly tangled. Maybe one needs to touch and change lives, be remembered for heroic acts or someone in the spotlight. Those who wield power, those whose voices get heard are widely celebrated, championed and memorialised. If I don’t leave a mark or a trace behind, would I have just simply existed for a time before blinking out?
What do I amount to?
At this point, a sense of worthlessness lurks in the back of my mind, ready to consume me whole. And sometimes I let it. Yet at others, I have already made my peace with my current state of being. Everyone has a purpose, crude or not. Acting on what’s simmering inside you makes a difference. Either you make a name for yourself (be it good or bad) or you live in relative silence, untouched by the world and only noticed by a handful. And maybe, just maybe, that’s okay. But sometimes, it’s also human to only want for more.
On the surface, you seem cool.
I am anything but.
I know I have quite the temper. And when it snaps, my facade breaks. The walls that I so carefully constructed to make it seem like I’m casually indifferent to the world just falls apart, in the blink of an eye.
Do you even care?
Trust me. I do.
I’ve just been hurt so many times I fear giving you the power over me. That’s why I’m overly cautious, it’s just hard for me to trust easily. And the closer you are, the more dangerous you are, the more threatening your words are. It may be a slip of the tongue or something that you’ve tried so hard to keep hidden but once it’s out there are no takebacks. And I hate that part about it. So I stifle my words around people that I care about because I don’t want to cause them to hurt unintentionally. It’s just… Sometimes… I wish that people would do the same for me.
I try to pull myself back from the abyss with simple methods.
I think of my parents. How disappointed they’d be when they came to learn that I couldn’t take on the responsibilities even after being taught countless of times that yes, one has to shoulder the challenges. How they’d talk to me only to realise that I wasn’t there to give a response. How they’d reflexively pass me bags to hold only to turn around and be greeted by open air.
I think of my brother. How he’d have nobody to challenge his views, how he’d have one less person for a verbal sparring session. I wonder if I disappear if he’d be less colourful, less vibrant and more stagnant.
I think of my friends. Wonder if they’ll still remain as close as they are now if I were to scar them beyond belief.
Would people feel the impact if I choose to live selfishly?
Maybe. Perhaps. I’m never certain.
I’m scared. But I guess most people are too.