I can sit here and admonish all the rapists and the serial killers from the comfort of my home, but that’s not going to stop them.
Crying for all the homeless and the sick and the downtrodden isn’t going to change their lives; all it does is make it that much harder to go on with mine.
And my empathy doesn’t extend to that old lady with a rag for cover stretching her hand for a coin or two, because – how do I know if she’s really homeless? What if it’s a trick, and if I stop to take my purse to give her money, one of their gang snatches it and disappears. And if I stop and give her money, I’ll have to give the other person I see something too, because otherwise I’m being unfair, and the other one, and the other one… and how will my two coins help them, exactly? They’ll be there the next day, and the next, until one day they’re not.
So I pretend not to see her and walk past her, cringing in self-loathing while I do so, but walking past all the same – blaming the government for being so negligent about the less fortunate. Soon I forget this entire incident altogether, until I cross paths with another one… and repeat.
As I write this, I know I sound like a horrible person, but it is the harsh truth, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t run away from me. I think that the most important thing is to be true to yourself, and while I may not do the things society expects me to do, at least I’m not delusional to think that a million likes for a picture of a starving kid on Facebook isn’t going to fill his stomach.
And when I truly want something, it’s not the people who are worse off than me I think about – it’s the millions of people who have what I want.
I used to care, I did. But there is so much violence in the world that it is not humanly possible to think about it without breaking into pieces. The extent to which people will go to please their deepest, darkest desires is unimaginable and, frankly, not something I want to think about when I can’t do anything about it.
And because I can’t seem to do anything – anything useful, that is – I try to detach myself from these horrors. It gets easier once you try. When you’ve heard about serial killers with 11 murders to his credit, hearing about one with 2 is almost a relief.
Because they’re strangers. And it’s easier not to care because of that. Not to think of them as fellow human beings with hopes and dreams and loved ones whose lives have been snatched to satisfy a whim, or some wild fantasy.
So I focus on finding answers to my problems, and leave world peace for other people to tackle.
Mean and selfish, I know. But also the truth.