Princes, Paupers, and Players

Some of us common folk are always being berated for what we look like. The eccentric nature that we who are just outside the circle of the normal forces us into splash-zone seats at public hangings.

The way we dress, act, and talk does not match up with the structured typicalities of society. For those of us who belong to a “family” bigger than just their own person, it is an embarrassment when this difference is displayed for others to see. The haughty conformists’ greatest fear is that those they feel they need to control may go rogue, sometimes defeating even the lowest expectations and setting a new standard for the rock bottom of near insanity.

The confusion and condescension of self-proclaimed elite creates a smoke screen that blinds them. We were given one face, but we are demanded to make ourselves another.

But the outliers don’t want to be the paupers who scramble to convince the world that they are princes. They don’t want to be the princes who attempt to create an illusion of modesty when so often there is no higher hubris than their own. They are the players that do not make legitimized contenders. They observe. They find odd ways to make their marks in history, and interestingly enough, it is more often that one of them gains true recognition in a world that once saw them as unacceptably outlandish. It may sometimes be negative recognition, but it is recognition all the same.

Better to be a dark mark on a permanent record than fall into dull shades of gray. I have never known anyone who marches to the beat of their own drum to step back in line for perfect harmony.

Unless they are afraid.

And unfortunately, that fear isn’t rare.

Sometimes, they are an ear and a pen, and that’s all there is. There isn’t any more.

Madeline.

Empathetic Evisceration: For the Greater Good

I really have to call into question the whether there are levels of empathy. Can you be both empathetic and not empathic at the same time?

Allow me to give some context. I have a close friend who was recently dumped by her boyfriend of five months. I dislike this man for multiple, some would say very valid, reasons. So when I discovered that he had broken up with her, I felt somewhat…happy, elated, severely satisfied.

Basically, I was dancing with jazz hands in my head.

And I don’t feel like that makes me a bad friend. I think it makes me a good friend, that I was reveling in her pain.

Not her in pain. The cause of her pain.

And that brings me to my point: is it possible to be sincerely empathetic while also feeling satisfaction about the thing that created a person’s distress? Is that comparable to, let’s say, being happy that someone is sick because it kept them from doing something that would get them hurt?

Or are both of those things horrible and retroactively irrelevant because the “greater good” is an inconsiderate concept with the faintest taste of self-serving malice?

Is feeling no satisfaction in either side of a symbiotically complicated equation the only way to have an emotional reaction that isn’t morally bankrupt? Is lying about it to create a kind of pseudo-empathy to avoid out-kicking your coverage worse, or does honesty still go a long way, here?

Incidentally, I think honesty is very rarely the best policy, but that’s a whole other discussion.

Also, thinking about marriage at nineteen is insane.

I think I have the moral high ground, here.

I may not be very good at this friendship thing.