Of Fortresses

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There is a romanticization of the difficult genius: someone prominent, skilled, and isolated – all too preoccupied and important to spare you a glance, to care; to even give common courtesy. The prominence or talent of such a person isn’t even the excuse for their behavior, but the reason behind it. These people have walls built from which they sit behind in solitary confinement. To be let in is a miracle; for them to express concern or ardor a privilege.

I know I’ve actively chased people with that line of thought. I know I’ve used it to my own advantage, thinking of my intellect as something that characterizes me as irreplaceable. I know I’ve snubbed many with the same concept.

But I’ve always wondered why we persist on knocking on doors that won’t open; on what grounds is love defined as fighting, over and over, for one to notice you’re worthy of care and attention. I’ve always wondered why we must punish others with purposeful indifference; distancing ourselves from love and emotion in exchange for the appreciation we crave. Now, you’ve seen what you’ve lost.

We love to build up walls. We love to try and break someone else’s; fighting to get an even ground with their preoccupations. In the end, we still, inevitably, get hurt – no matter what precautions taken, no matter how much we’ve exerted ourselves.

Still we ask: was it all worth it? To let my guard down; to chip away at the walls?

As if there was ever any security to the fortresses constructed out of ego and naivety; as if there was ever any triumph in a never-ending battle of love. As if the worth of all the actions you’ve taken could ever be concretely measured; as if it wasn’t something you could simply decide for yourself. And still, we keep playing the same old game.

•••

Photograph: Charlotte Bracegirdle (British, b. 1973, based London, England) – New York 1932, 2010  Acrylics on print source, image by Lucienne Bloch

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