Thursday, December 6, 2012
Just Smile And Wave
"Take it from me kid," the old man I was sitting across from on the bus said suddenly, ripping me violently out of my thoughts, "try and help the world and the world will swallow you up whole, without a second thought and spit you right back out in front of more people you'll be inclined to save only for the process to be repeated over and over again."
I stared at him blankly, he must have heard the conversation I just had on the phone or maybe he could read the thoughts on my face, either way I'd been through enough to be inclined to believe him. I smiled at him, "giving me advice is contradicting yourself is it not sir? You're trying to help me by suggesting I give up on people? Why not just take your own advice and let me suffer?"
He looked at me a nodded slowly, "ah, but you see it's too late for me, my whole life has been about putting myself second for others, at the age I am now and the downfalls I've been through because of my sympathy, what could simply giving advice to a young girl do to me?"
"Assuming I don't listen, make you feel like you failed?"
"Will you listen?" He countered.
I reflected on his question for a moment, it had been about a year since I started getting involved in others problems and tried to help them as much as I could, I couldn't remember a moment where I actually stopped to think about myself and what help I needed, I guessed this is what he was talking about, but I also couldn't think of a moment in my life when I was happier actually being able to help someone. Although those moments were few and far between.
I looked back at the man who was watching me closely, judging my reactions at his words. "What if I'm actually helping these people? Giving them another, sometimes more coherent view on their problems? What if, by stopping with my caring I cause more problems for them? What if I'm the only one keeping them sane? The only one they could turn to?"
"DO you believe you are? Their saviour? The one and only person they will ever talk to ever?"
My chest tightened, knowing, as much as I wished he wasn't, that he was right. Yes, I'm probably the fool who cared the most, but I was also the dispensable fool who wasn't actually a dependent part of anyone's life. I was lying to myself and somehow this random man on a bus had seen it and pointed it out.
Looking away from him I reluctantly answered, "no."
He nodded sympathetically. "I'm sorry."
Sick of this man and his "wisdom" I shrugged and decided to studiously ignore him. He seemed to understand and ceased trying to talk to me.
After about 10 minutes I turned back to him suddenly, "what if I depended on them, huh? What if I depended on feeling needed? The only way of feeling self worth? Thank you, sir. You just stripped me of anything that made me feel good of myself. I applaud you, another person you tried and failed to help. And you're right, giving advice to a young girl could have no adverse effect for you, but did you ever ponder what effect it may have on me? No? Shame."
And with that I stood up, leaving the bus on a stop which was still half an hour from my destination.