This is war. I fight every day. It’s not me, it’s a projection of what I think they want me to be. I do well. I survive. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Caged. That’s what we are. We can leave but few of us leave. Our lives depend on it. Livelihoods count on it. Happiness and success dangle. Sticks and carrots both jab and both hurt. It’s war, baby.
There are really only two options here, two choices, if you can call them that. The first is to lay down. The second to stand up. The ones who lay down are rewarded. The ones who stand up are gunned down. You end up on the ground either way, so I choose the dirt. I put my nose in it, breath it in and get angry. I channel the frustration into work, focus, quit asking why (‘why’ is not on the test) and answer correctly. I get rewarded.
I have guilt. I am guilty. I help others. Tell them the answers. Hell, I give them away. It’s not a fair system, it’s not you’re fault you don’t know, the whole battle is rigged anyway. If you don’t know you’re in a fight it’s hard to fight. No amount of beating will change that. I see it, so take what you need to get through. Even the guy that used to beat me, it’s not his fault. It’s the war, one day you’re enemies, the next day your allies. Why? They said so.
The competition. The problem: if you win I can’t win. If I win you can’t win. Scarcity. There’s not enough to go around so only the best survive. If you’re not one of the best, well, hit the dirt.
Look back while pretending to look ahead. He did that so now I have to do this. Being proactive. Or reactive. It doesn’t matter, we’re all dead in the end.
The survivors are held up for the next to worship. The winners are given shiny things. Apotheosis achieved. War won.
Those who didn’t make it? Losers. Failures.
How incredibly unfair it is to label another human being a failure.