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"Inevitability"

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Wed 16/03/11 at 22:56
Regular
"Author of Pain"
Posts: 395
Inevitability. It is not a word to be used lightly; ejaculated from thoughtless mouths with unfettered abandon. It is a powerful word with decisive connotations. It implies finality, an understanding bordering on prescience and an insinuation that failure to accept its implications are not only wasteful but futile.

Inevitability. Say it aloud in a room by yourself. Mouth it in clear voice, pronouncing each syllable strongly. Without intention, the word pierces the silence around you like serrated dagger yet closes around behind it like the wake of an elegant sailing boat. Without deception or encouragement, the word sounds almost like a command. There is potency in this. It cannot be ignored.

Inevitability. Say it again, slower this time. Let the word roll over your tongue as though even as the word escapes from your lips you are tasting some small part of its authority. This is not a friendly word; not a word anyone would use to give hope or to encourage positive reactions from another. This word is a reminder of our mortality and with it, our every limitation. For what can more effectively prove the utter futility of humanity than the implication that we can see the future and that there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it? Inevitability.

Be mindful of all this as I continue; not for the sake of internalising my take on the word, but simply to understand my perception of it. Words are among the most magnificent of all humankind’s creations, and as with all such things, there is a right time and a right place for such things.

It’s been a while. I often questioned myself if there would ever be incentive, opportunity or justification for once again contorting my introspection into something tangible. While it is impossible to convey the thoughts and feelings I endure via this tragically inadequate (while brilliant) medium, it is nonetheless with a sense of resigned inevitability that I write this. And yet, despite the overtly public sharing of this embarrassing fact, I’m going to ask you to stop reading here. Because what follows is something from me that people do not often get to see. It is a part of me that I do not *want* you to see. It is private, and I do not wish to discuss it with you. Not now, in this rare moment of self-critical sentimentality. Not ever. I want you to not read this, to go look at something else and forget that this message was ever here. Because what follows is the truth.

It was a long time before I ever wrote a single word on paper that was not fulfilling a simple obligation; the completion of some mundane yet necessary task of learning. It never occurred to me – largely because it was never mentioned, much less encouraged – that the skill of writing letters and words had any application beyond the communication of simple fact across a distance that surpassed the strength of my own voice.

It wasn’t a moment of passion – red, blue or any other colour – that opened my eyes to the usefulness of words. It was not by any urging or competitive opportunity or even through a pathetically romantic desire to pass a weakly scrawled note under a table confessing some adolescent desire that I discovered the magic of words. It was a mistake.

Without ceremony, I found that I was sat in a poorly lit cupboard, with only a half chewed pencil and a sheet of thin, poor quality A4 paper for company.

“Write a few paragraphs” I was told by some teacher whose name I forget and even whose features have faded from a memory that cared too little about such frivolous details to warrant any attention to them. “Just anything, maybe something about your family”

“Err…” It was difficult to formulate an answer. The introversion that has crippled me for so many years now had planted its roots some years before, and this was as uncomfortable a situation as my feeble and underdeveloped imagination could envisage. On the other side of the cupboard door, the school’s top English class awaited the judgement on the newest pupil on the books. I wouldn’t be one of them; I didn’t belong among the intellectuals or the achievers. I was a nobody; a passable student purely by virtue of my inability to interact with anyone enough to disrupt from my attention in the classroom.

“Ok.” Was the only word I was subsequently able to squeak. What was the point of this, I thought to myself as the teacher exited to the other side of the door. A class full of children will bear witness to the judgement of my insufficiency. They will sit and whisper and titter and laugh among themselves as they hear my sentence, as I am cast down firmly among the under-achievers.

In silence, I stared impotently at the paper before me, which looked a faint, dingy orange colour in the bad light. Why I remember this specific detail when so many others have been eroded by the sands of time I cannot tell you.

You may not know what it is like to be introverted. It is not a compulsion to keep yourself to yourself that makes you so, or that you feel your own company is of particular value; it is fear. Fear that in every situation you will be measured and found wanting; and worse, that the world around you will see it. And judge you for it. Living on the brink of being a complete social non-entity, the only thought you have to accompany you through the rest of your miserable and pathetic existence is the horrifying possibility that your last tenuous link to the rest of your ‘peers’ can at any moment be snatched away leaving you an anonymous nobody, destined to be mocked and reviled by everyone around you. It is as close to a fear of death as any ‘ordinary’ person might feel. Except that you feel it every day. In every situation, every interaction; always.

I hope then you can imagine the fear that coursed through me as I stared at the paper and felt it staring back at me. My hands trembled and I felt my face flush as the tears threatened to come. This wasn’t fair. Plucked from one school where I had comprehensively failed to make a useful social imprint, I had landed at another where any opportunity to make any difference was about to be violently torn from me before my feet had even touched the ground. The other crippling symptoms came in turn; my mouth opened in a silent scream, the heat rose ever higher in my cheeks, my hands clenched into fists and my neck found it could no longer support the weight of my head as my body began to physically curl in on itself.

Outside the cupboard, the classroom shed their human disguises and began leaping around the room like the demons they truly were. The walls began to burn and the sound of mocking laughter floated up from the floorboards. My world was ending. And all because nobody had told them in advance that I wasn’t any good at this. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Thrown in at the bottom I could endure my fate or work upwards for a better existence. But cast down in front of the elite? This would only ever be a one-way ticket.

Of course, as my throat had completely closed, preventing any sound from escaping, nobody heard me scream. As I felt my tears trickling over the palm of my hands and down my wrists, a cold stillness crept over me. It was the emptiness often felt in the aftermath of a powerful emotion. When your mind has exhausted its capacity for feeling, there is nothing to replace it but emptiness.

In a moment of clarity it became obvious that inadequacy was a terrible fate, but the perception of complete incompetence would be an order of magnitude worse. The most disastrous outcome would to be pulled from the cupboard and dangled in front of my judges still clutching a defiantly blank piece of paper. Given that failure was already guaranteed, that judgement and social rejection was already unavoidable - an inevitability, I had to choose between the lesser or greater of two evils. And so as the calm took control, as a brief and rare quiet washed over my soul – I determined to write.

“Just anything…”

Hand still trembling from a surge of adrenalin, I somehow gained a grip on the pencil and slowly brought the scratchy tip into contact with the paper – was it more yellow now? As my feeble brain struggled to accept the reality of what was required of it, as my imagination stalled on the concept that it now had to create, something within me desperately sought inspiration.

“…about your family”

And without even so much as my consent, the first words began to form themselves

My family...
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Wed 16/03/11 at 22:56
Regular
"Author of Pain"
Posts: 395
Inevitability. It is not a word to be used lightly; ejaculated from thoughtless mouths with unfettered abandon. It is a powerful word with decisive connotations. It implies finality, an understanding bordering on prescience and an insinuation that failure to accept its implications are not only wasteful but futile.

Inevitability. Say it aloud in a room by yourself. Mouth it in clear voice, pronouncing each syllable strongly. Without intention, the word pierces the silence around you like serrated dagger yet closes around behind it like the wake of an elegant sailing boat. Without deception or encouragement, the word sounds almost like a command. There is potency in this. It cannot be ignored.

Inevitability. Say it again, slower this time. Let the word roll over your tongue as though even as the word escapes from your lips you are tasting some small part of its authority. This is not a friendly word; not a word anyone would use to give hope or to encourage positive reactions from another. This word is a reminder of our mortality and with it, our every limitation. For what can more effectively prove the utter futility of humanity than the implication that we can see the future and that there is absolutely nothing we can do to change it? Inevitability.

Be mindful of all this as I continue; not for the sake of internalising my take on the word, but simply to understand my perception of it. Words are among the most magnificent of all humankind’s creations, and as with all such things, there is a right time and a right place for such things.

It’s been a while. I often questioned myself if there would ever be incentive, opportunity or justification for once again contorting my introspection into something tangible. While it is impossible to convey the thoughts and feelings I endure via this tragically inadequate (while brilliant) medium, it is nonetheless with a sense of resigned inevitability that I write this. And yet, despite the overtly public sharing of this embarrassing fact, I’m going to ask you to stop reading here. Because what follows is something from me that people do not often get to see. It is a part of me that I do not *want* you to see. It is private, and I do not wish to discuss it with you. Not now, in this rare moment of self-critical sentimentality. Not ever. I want you to not read this, to go look at something else and forget that this message was ever here. Because what follows is the truth.

It was a long time before I ever wrote a single word on paper that was not fulfilling a simple obligation; the completion of some mundane yet necessary task of learning. It never occurred to me – largely because it was never mentioned, much less encouraged – that the skill of writing letters and words had any application beyond the communication of simple fact across a distance that surpassed the strength of my own voice.

It wasn’t a moment of passion – red, blue or any other colour – that opened my eyes to the usefulness of words. It was not by any urging or competitive opportunity or even through a pathetically romantic desire to pass a weakly scrawled note under a table confessing some adolescent desire that I discovered the magic of words. It was a mistake.

Without ceremony, I found that I was sat in a poorly lit cupboard, with only a half chewed pencil and a sheet of thin, poor quality A4 paper for company.

“Write a few paragraphs” I was told by some teacher whose name I forget and even whose features have faded from a memory that cared too little about such frivolous details to warrant any attention to them. “Just anything, maybe something about your family”

“Err…” It was difficult to formulate an answer. The introversion that has crippled me for so many years now had planted its roots some years before, and this was as uncomfortable a situation as my feeble and underdeveloped imagination could envisage. On the other side of the cupboard door, the school’s top English class awaited the judgement on the newest pupil on the books. I wouldn’t be one of them; I didn’t belong among the intellectuals or the achievers. I was a nobody; a passable student purely by virtue of my inability to interact with anyone enough to disrupt from my attention in the classroom.

“Ok.” Was the only word I was subsequently able to squeak. What was the point of this, I thought to myself as the teacher exited to the other side of the door. A class full of children will bear witness to the judgement of my insufficiency. They will sit and whisper and titter and laugh among themselves as they hear my sentence, as I am cast down firmly among the under-achievers.

In silence, I stared impotently at the paper before me, which looked a faint, dingy orange colour in the bad light. Why I remember this specific detail when so many others have been eroded by the sands of time I cannot tell you.

You may not know what it is like to be introverted. It is not a compulsion to keep yourself to yourself that makes you so, or that you feel your own company is of particular value; it is fear. Fear that in every situation you will be measured and found wanting; and worse, that the world around you will see it. And judge you for it. Living on the brink of being a complete social non-entity, the only thought you have to accompany you through the rest of your miserable and pathetic existence is the horrifying possibility that your last tenuous link to the rest of your ‘peers’ can at any moment be snatched away leaving you an anonymous nobody, destined to be mocked and reviled by everyone around you. It is as close to a fear of death as any ‘ordinary’ person might feel. Except that you feel it every day. In every situation, every interaction; always.

I hope then you can imagine the fear that coursed through me as I stared at the paper and felt it staring back at me. My hands trembled and I felt my face flush as the tears threatened to come. This wasn’t fair. Plucked from one school where I had comprehensively failed to make a useful social imprint, I had landed at another where any opportunity to make any difference was about to be violently torn from me before my feet had even touched the ground. The other crippling symptoms came in turn; my mouth opened in a silent scream, the heat rose ever higher in my cheeks, my hands clenched into fists and my neck found it could no longer support the weight of my head as my body began to physically curl in on itself.

Outside the cupboard, the classroom shed their human disguises and began leaping around the room like the demons they truly were. The walls began to burn and the sound of mocking laughter floated up from the floorboards. My world was ending. And all because nobody had told them in advance that I wasn’t any good at this. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Thrown in at the bottom I could endure my fate or work upwards for a better existence. But cast down in front of the elite? This would only ever be a one-way ticket.

Of course, as my throat had completely closed, preventing any sound from escaping, nobody heard me scream. As I felt my tears trickling over the palm of my hands and down my wrists, a cold stillness crept over me. It was the emptiness often felt in the aftermath of a powerful emotion. When your mind has exhausted its capacity for feeling, there is nothing to replace it but emptiness.

In a moment of clarity it became obvious that inadequacy was a terrible fate, but the perception of complete incompetence would be an order of magnitude worse. The most disastrous outcome would to be pulled from the cupboard and dangled in front of my judges still clutching a defiantly blank piece of paper. Given that failure was already guaranteed, that judgement and social rejection was already unavoidable - an inevitability, I had to choose between the lesser or greater of two evils. And so as the calm took control, as a brief and rare quiet washed over my soul – I determined to write.

“Just anything…”

Hand still trembling from a surge of adrenalin, I somehow gained a grip on the pencil and slowly brought the scratchy tip into contact with the paper – was it more yellow now? As my feeble brain struggled to accept the reality of what was required of it, as my imagination stalled on the concept that it now had to create, something within me desperately sought inspiration.

“…about your family”

And without even so much as my consent, the first words began to form themselves

My family...

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