Sixty One

I’ve started listening to a podcast – The Partially Examined Life – which is basically a bunch of dudes discussing a paper written by a philosopher. The episode I listened to today was on “An Absurd Reasoning” by Albert Camus.

They were talking about life and meaning and how meaning in life was to be meaningful to someone. Does that make sense? Basically, there is meaning in life if you mean something to someone. Then one of the hosts made a comment about how that was the function that deities, or religion fulfilled. That is, religion gives meaning to people because they feel that the deity finds meaning in them.

Is that all religion is? A tool to hold human beings back from nihilism?

Oh man, I don’t know. I don’t know how to deconstruct my faith constructively. I don’t want to just pull it apart and leave it at that. I want to seek truth but I don’t know how to do that honestly and objectively. But maybe it’s not possible to do it objectively? Damn it, I keep coming back to this issue with free will. I know that I’m born into a life where I’ve inherited a lot of the decisions that other people have made for me (we all are), so my thinking and values and beliefs are already skewed from the get-go. All I can do is my best with what I know.

…But what do I know?!

Thirty Nine

Feminism and faith – this was the topic discussed at the Contemporary Feminism panel talk tonight. Something that one of the panellists said really struck me – they said that we tell the stories we’re told.

Doesn’t that just hit the nail on the head? How often does society just perpetuate the same narratives that it’s been fed? Without being conscious of what we’re consuming, it’s only natural that we regurgitate the same old story.

I’m 27 now and only in the last several years have I started unpacking all the narratives that I’ve internalised, deconstructing everything that I took to be absolute truth and trying to understand reality in a more raw form. I’ve only just scratched the surface, there’s still a long way for me to go in taking apart all these things I’ve learned as true.

When the panellist said that, it reignited the fire and desire in me to write children’s literature. One of the narratives that I’ve internalised (to my detriment) is of the classic fairy tale ending – the princess being saved by the prince. Only now as an adult do I see how harmful that narrative is. There are so many problems with it!

  1. It’s heteronormative.
  2. The princess is always secondary to the story – just a prop for the prince.
  3. The happily ever after is when the prince saves the princess and they get married.

Being single terrifies me, because being alone terrifies me, because I’ve subconsciously absorbed the idea that I can never be truly happy, can never have my happily ever after on my own. I need a man in it. Maybe that’s part of the reason why the breakup with J was so awful – it wasn’t just losing him, it was also losing that fairy tale ending.

I don’t know if it’s possible to untangle myself from this narrative now, I feel like it might be too late for me. But it’s not too late for kids. They can learn a different story – where diversity is celebrated, where princesses are go-getters and do whatever the fuck they want, where the happily ever after is all sorts of relationship statuses.