Today, my childhood friend Diane tagged me in a post on the Humans of New York Facebook page. The post read:
“My mother died rather suddenly when I was 18. One thing that I didn’t expect was the amount of resentment I would feel. I know it’s not fair of me to put that sort of thing on other people. But when I see someone walking down the street with their mother, I feel jealous. I know their relationship is going to have its ups and downs, and it’s going to evolve, and it will have this trajectory to it that I’ll never have, and it just seems unfair. Of course I know it’s absurd to talk about fairness in the universe.
Why is that absurd?
Because there’s no such thing as karma. I mean, when you’re a good person, people can sense it and they’ll reciprocate that goodness. But the universe isn’t keeping some balance by guaranteeing you a reward.”
She encouraged me to respond, and so I did with this, which ultimately I can sum up as being your own karma.
My mom died when I was 10 and my dad when I was two. I grew up with my brother, 18 at the time, and my sister, 14, so I basically raised myself. I’ve definitely had moments of jealousy about my lack of parents and what they provide.
I’m planning my wedding right now so I’d love nothing more than both my parents to be here to walk me down the aisle and help plan, but ultimately, I have an amazing life and I am so blessed to be living on this beautiful earth.
So, I’m not quite sure I would throw this life away in order to have the life I was “supposed” to have with my parents. I really can’t say I would because I really don’t know what that other life would’ve been like; all I know is this life is pretty good even with all the struggles I’ve had to endure. There is beauty everywhere if you want it.
Back to choosing a life with my parents versus the life I have now. Of course, it would be an extremely hard choice because it would be an absolute dream if I could see my parents again, but how do I know if my life with them would be like I imagined? After all, this picture only exists in my mind; not in reality.
I realized that every time I see a mom or a dad and felt a twinge of pain or jealousy, all I saw was the projection of my desires. So what I used to be jealous of was actually my own feelings that I put onto others. I asked myself how I could be jealous of something that doesn’t exist.
How can I only look at the good? We might have had a terrible relationship. Thus, instead of living in this imaginary world of painted “what if” pictures, I can really only look at my life and how it is now, and despite it all (the days of food insecurity, self inflicted pain and the never ending black hole in my heart that no one but my mom and dad will ever be able to fill), life is unbelievably beautiful day in and day out.
Life is this beautiful and this breathtaking to me because of the effort I put into my own life and the way I’ve grown to see the world. Look at your every day life and look at who exists in it daily—that’s you. You are the most important part of your own universe so don’t wait around for the world to recognize the good in you and the good you give out.
Let yourself give you the reward you need because there’s no one else better in the world to do so than yourself.
Be your own karma.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Mark Muniz/Pixoto