We come into this world naked and empty. We grow up and we grow old, but we still feel empty. Most times we feel like we’re searching for some precious thing that’s been taken away from us a very long time ago. On rare occasions, we realize what that thing is.
Ever since I was a small boy I knew I was different, so much so that I felt there was a invisible wall separating me from the others. I didn’t like to go out and play with kids my age. I liked to read and write and imagine a world that was entirely different from the one I was inhabiting.
I was afraid that they’d see me for who I really was. And I didn’t even bother to pretend like I was just like them. A recluse, that’s how I spent my childhood years.
And, to paraphrase Mark Twain, I was lucky enough to find out why I was born at the tender age of thirteen. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to inspire people, to change enough so the big world I was inhabiting would resemble the one in my dreams.
At first I thought it would be easy. I was proven otherwise. But still, I kept on trying. Never gave up on this dream of mine, no matter how difficult life became.
But, at the same time, I just wanted to be happy. Vague concept, this one. Happiness. Most times we search for it, yet we find something else instead. Maybe the exact opposite. But I knew how happiness looked like: I wanted to love and be loved back.
Simple as that.
But, well, life’s kind of ironic.
I fell in and out of love countless times. Yeah, with the wrong people at the wrong times. I’ve been hurt, I’ve suffered, I’ve cried. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde this time, it did feel as if my heart was made to be broken.
Of course, I’d lose a little bit of hope each time. Pain does that. It takes away hope, slowly, without you even realizing it… until it’s too late, that is.
Over the years I’ve been broken by health issues, pain, heartbreaks, hunger, disappointment, anger, until I became selfish, impatient, and bitter. But, well, one of my few redeeming qualities is that I’m a very hopeful person. I’m a dreamer. So I kept trying, I kept searching, and even when I gave up searching, because I was sick, tired, broken beyond repair (or so I thought), I still hoped.
Hope is stronger than fear, stronger than pain, stronger than everything your eyes can see and your hands can touch.
And, as I previously stated, life is kind of ironic, because the best and worst things happen when you least expect it. That’s why when searching for something we always find a bit less than what we were hoping to find. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is.
I have lived in physical pain for two years. It’s something you never get used to. It does become a strange constant in your life; measuring time better than a clock. And, then, after several treatments, the pain subsided. I was free. Free to see the world, to focus on something other than the insidious pain. I could think clearly, I could see clearly, and I could hope for a better future.
Around that time my books started selling. This blog became more and more crowded, and people from all over the world wrote me nice e-mails.
Then I found love. Real love.
I’ve always found it that love is more of an “in spite” type of thing. She loves me in spite of my many flaws, which is more than any human being could ever hope for. It makes every moment seem unique, magical in ways never before possible.
But then again, you can’t have it all.
Slowly, the pain returned. Unannounced, I might add. And when it comes, late at night or in the middle of the day, it leaves me alone. It does not take kindly to tears or screams of help. It does not care about the future I have planned for myself ever since I was thirteen.
No matter how long it lasts, it takes everything away. Leaves nothing behind. Just a little bit of hope.
Hope that, maybe, just maybe, it will never come back to haunt me.