“‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here.’ These mysteries I read cut into stone above a gate. And turning I said: ‘Master, what is the meaning of this harsh inscription?’
And he then as initiate to novice: ‘Here you must put by all division of spirit and gather your soul against all cowardice. This is the place I told you to expect. Here you shall pass among the fallen people, souls who have lost the good of intellect.'” – Dante’s Inferno
They sit on every corner. Some of them stand. Some of them meddle. Others beg. Some try to steal. I smell them. I feel them. I find some of them sad, others pitiful and a few more of them absolutely wretched. Some of them I even want to crush.
Their dirty hands implore me to stay with them. They pull and they drag at me. They wail. They try to steal my dreams and I find myself fighting more and more of them the bigger and bigger my dreams go.
They peddle negativity and jealousy. They scream out words like silly!, impossible!, why?, ridiculous!, stupid! and foolish! They peddle addictive drugs like fear and stagnation that feed my self-doubt and encourage me to quit; to accept something other than my dream, like they all did.
But you aren’t happy, I say.
We know, they reply, and it’s forbidden for you to be as well. We’re all nobodies just like you. How dare you think yourself better than us? How dare you! Settle for your place in anonymity here with us. Settle for smaller, easier tasks. Aren’t you tired of struggling? Aren’t you ready to lay down with us, yet? Look at you. Look at us. Are we not better off materially right now? Look at our life compared to yours. Our’s is a good life. There’s a lot less pressure and we all have comfortable houses and nice cars.
But what about your dreams? I ask.
Dreams are not meant for grown-ups. They are for children. Pull your weight, work the way we work and do not think for yourself. It is much safer and easier here in the herd. Look at it this way, there are a lot more of us than there are of you so how can we be wrong?
But I believe I can do better, I mutter, feeling myself breaking inside.
Believe? Believe! Where have you been? Nobody believes in themself anymore, that’s why so very few of us are to blame for anything. It’s not our fault. It’s liberating to think so. Say it with us, it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. Point your finger in some other direction and go on with your life. It’s absolutely wonderful to have minimal responsibilities and accept your place.
After some thought I find myself replying, Yes, it is. It is your fault.
Because you gave up. You decided, of your own accord to quit fighting and yield. And that is something I simply cannot do. I believe I CAN because to believe I CANNOT means I’m already dead… Now get the fuck out of my way.
I will not abandon hope. I will not go down the road of broken self-promise so many people before me have gone down before. Because I believe in myself. Even on those dark days or at the darkest hours. That is my power: believing.
Which is simple, in a complicated sort of way.