Saturday, March 16, 2013
The fallacy of ‘truth’
“The real loneliness is living among all these kinds of people who only ask one to pretend!”
- Ellen Olenska (The Age of Innocence)
“What we had was real,” he used to utter. It was said like a mantra that I felt there should have been something like “as opposed to…” at the tail-end of the statement. But most often than not, I’d kept quiet. For as much as it was said as softly as possible, it was definitely spoken with conviction.
I, on the other hand, didn’t want to interrupt his soliloquy. I knew where he was coming from, and I understand that he was saying it more for himself than for me, a mere spectator. What could I contribute that would be more precious than my silence?
I have told him repeatedly that this is not a fair world and that we should learn to sail by it calmly, no matter what. I had been through so much already to learn that I have to take my happiness into my own hands. People will always have something to say.
In retrospect, he and I were alike in so many ways. We love to read. We can devour books like there is no tomorrow. We appreciate art – he’s into painting, I am into poetry. We are both sentimental in a way that when we fall in love, we fall hard and fast. But there, our similarities end.
He is mindful of what other people say about him. I don’t really care. At least, not a lot. It may have something to do with the different roads we’re trudging. His is more capricious, while mine is quite obscure. I have long since learned that ours is a world wrapped in various colors of hypocrisy that often standing by the truth can be painful and that staying true to what one feels may spell the end of a career.
I was 25 years old when I learned the very basic lesson of burying one’s emotions under the comfort of a lie well lived. When I fell in love with my mother’s cousin, I suddenly couldn’t understand why there was outrage in the family; after all, by law we could even get married. Then again, as Jennifer Cavilleri said in Love Story, “We’re not talking legality, preppy…” And so for close to five years, our relationship was forced to go underground. It didn’t make me happy. I think he felt the same way because we eventually parted ways. But it was this relationship that taught me how to live outside the imaginary box.
“What we had was real.” Perhaps. Still, I know that no matter how real the feelings are if you don’t fight for it, it will eventually wilt…and die. That’s the sad truth about it. Some of us may not be brave enough to fight for what we feel, but we have to respect that. There are different strokes for different folks. What I cannot condone is the careless twisting of the truth to diminish it. That’s definitely the coward’s way out and I don’t think anybody who does this deserves respect in its most basic sense. I was warned about hobnobbing with “artificial” people in show business, where I worked for a while. In all honesty, I have never been immersed in a more authentic world where people – at least, those who were working behind the cameras -- were plucky enough to verbalize what they truly thought or felt.
To my dismay, it was outside showbiz that I met highly accomplished people who conspire and scheme to stab others at the back. I couldn’t fathom the kind of unhappiness that forces them to do just that, but I do pity them. After all, only miserable people can be livid at the accomplishment and happiness of others.
“What we had was real.” The point is we all have a choice and when he consciously let the “real” go so he could embrace his false paradise, I was left to thinking that no destiny could ever be more tragic.