Rage against the avoidance

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”

Saul Bellow

Avoidance is a way of death, of growing smaller and smaller, shrinking and shrinking until you force your whole being to crouch down and curl up and fit inside the little shell of identity that your fears have built. And that’s where you have to live now, that’s your home, that’s your whole world actually.

And you stay there and you’re compressed and confused and uncomfortable. But you feel safer and more in control so you’re not willing to leave because avoiding something like pain or discomfort or rejection or whatever has become the most important thing to you.

So you endure the lack of growth and the compression and the smallness and the stillness and the stagnation and being crammed into something that doesn’t fit and doesn’t change. You pretend you like it. But you have all this secret rage against it, all this anger, because nobody wants to be limited like that, not really. Because the human drive and need for freedom never never goes away. Because trade-offs are always required but avoidance is trading everything for nothing.

So you can’t admit you’ve made a bad trade. You need to pretend this is the whole world. You need your choices to be okay. It’s not a thing you can consider: that you’ve wasted your life for nothing. So you demand agreement and you demand conformity because you can’t stand the idea that someone could live with more—more freedom, more openness, more comfort, more joy, more risk, more out-there, more connection—and could be safe. Could be okay.

It would mean you’ve given up all that opportunity, you’ve lost all that time, you’ve limited and chained yourself up for so long for nothing. For no good reason.

You made a bad trade.

Trading everything for nothing is a bad trade unless nothing is what you want.

The reason was good. The reason was survival. Survival is worth fighting for and worth sacrificing for. And there are always trade-offs. To keep what we value most, we have to give away what we value less.

You had a good reason. A good reason doesn’t mean it was a good trade.

If you made a bad trade, maybe it’s time to make a different one.