This I Believe

Elizabeth - Seattle, Washington
Entered on July 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: courage, fear
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In thinking about what I believe, I began to envision the perfect woman, my perfect self and what she believed and valued and honored in her life–things like honesty, integrity, passion, sensuality, authenticity. But I realized it was lie to say “this I believe” because the truth is I believe that we should punish ourselves with obscurity and boredom, that we should fear life and ourselves and what we are capable of, that to love someone ensures our retreat into loneliness, that passion leads to hopelessness or boredom or embarrassment, that fear is the winner in any contest and its mantle should be worn at all times, that I matter but only by virtue of the pain I cause and the damage I inflict, that despair is more interesting than hope, and happiness is for simple people or ignorant ones. This I believe.

So I read Kierkegaard, listen to Ray LaMontagne and call my best friend in Oakland late at night. I get her opinion about my latest piece of writing and I offer my praise of her latest painting or sketch that she’s posted to her blog. We talk for the three hundredth time about what life is supposed to be and what we think happens after we die. For us now in our thirties (and there are many more of us out there) the existential questions of our college years have not gone away. But I have answered at least one of those meaning of life questions. I believe, I know that the goal of my life is not happiness rather it is freedom and engagement. To think deeply is to be free, and to face despair over the evil in the world is to engage in the world and when I engage I have the power to change things. This I believe.