Too Hard to Believe
Some things are too hard to believe, so we refuse to believe them.
Some things, like our inability to comprehend our meaning and purpose, are too hard to believe, so we don’t accept them. Instead, we create and accept alternative, more digestible beliefs in their place.
Many things are too hard for us to believe, so we hand the really difficult stuff over to the philosophers and theologians and mystics to tell us what else to believe.
It’s too hard to believe we can’t comprehend the fullness of our existence. It’s too hard to believe we can’t comprehend the reality beyond what our minds and senses afford us.
It’s too hard to believe we’re simpering, whimpering, blind fools meant to agonize and suffer in a darkness we can’t accept. It’s too hard to believe our suffering is meaningless, so we believe it to be a noble thing – a belief which, in turn, oxidizes us with the patina of the nobility of our suffering.
It’s too hard to believe that with our understanding of reflections, we don’t treat ourselves any better than dogs or mules or apes treat each other. It’s too hard for us to believe that our mathematics and poetry and instincts aren’t much better than instinct alone. It’s too hard to believe, so we don’t.
It’s too hard to believe each of us is capable of unspeakable horrors and atrocities. It’s too hard to believe, so we blame them on some other and their particular God-fearing or godless ways. Or whatever else they pledge their allegiance, compliance and complicity to that doesn’t align with our own.
It’s too hard to believe our loved ones don’t love us as fully as they should. Rather, as we wish they would. It’s too hard to believe when we’re not worthy of their love, so we blame them instead of ourselves for the failure.
It’s too hard to believe the culture and traditions that produced us might be shit, so we put them in a box with a ribbon and wrapping paper instead.
So many things are too hard for us to believe, like the gorilla looking in a mirror, unable to believe – because he can’t understand – can’t comprehend – that what it sees is a reflection of itself.
It’s too hard to believe that our institutions of the arts, spirituality and politics are inherently, necessarily, fundamentally corrupt. So we believe, instead, in the ideals preached of what art, spirituality and politics could and should be. It’s too hard to accept mankind’s corruption necessarily seeping into and spoiling all its institutions. It’s too hard to accept, so we fantasize of ideals, wasting our days whimpering or festering when reality doesn’t conform to our silly conceptions of perfection.
I knew a girl who said she was abused by her step-father. She told her mother, but her mother wouldn’t believe it, since believing it meant having to leave that piece of shit who’d plucked them from the rural Georgia countryside to live in an upper-middle class suburb in Ohio. Her mother couldn’t believe her daughter about the abuse, since believing it and accepting it meant needing to start over. It meant risking everything she’d rebuilt from all she’d abandoned. It would have meant the shame the mother carried over the affair that led the step-father to divorce his first wife and mother of his own children wasn’t worth it. It meant losing what she had coming to her when he died. It meant losing everything, potentially, so she decided not to believe her daughter’s testimony about the abuse. How could she, after all, risk everything over the claims of her daughter who still pretended to believe in the Easter Bunny and her mother’s commitment to her family’s welfare?
Some things are simply too hard to believe.
In the end, it didn’t seem like the mother lost anything. She may have jeopardized the love of her daughter, but cunning mothers know how not to lose the things that are most valuable to them. They will fight, claw, manipulate and deceive. And she did such things to maintain a bond, but not to protect her own daughter from the predator that threatened them both.
I sometimes wonder how the mother’s denial affected her daughter. I sometimes wonder if that girl ever had a daughter of her own. And how her grandmother’s denial, affecting her mother, might have, in turn, ended up affecting her.
I can’t help but wonder if all those things – the reality of all the compromises and deceits – wouldn’t be too hard for the granddaughter to believe.