When the Rules of the Game are Changed and You aren’t Ready.
By Kimboak Benham
Most of us have had the feeling. The one which dutifully comes when realizing that all of our hard work has been for naught. When life altering failure hits hard, and unexpectedly; like the wind, once reassuringly at our backs, now an unmanageable, bearing changing, human will shattering, head wind. It is a sickening feeling. Much worst than losing a game with set rules. In a game with set rules one is said to have won or lost fair and square. But in a game where the rules vary, while presenting themselves as firm, all participants are destined to lose. Such isn’t a game of champions, it is a game of fools.
When one awakens to this, life either goes backwards, around in circles, or stands pat. No real advancements are made, nor can be. Unless one learns to see their wishes and reality as two different things, they are most likely to press pause, or repeat, and eventually, to the same end, do it all over. Then cry again.
Inevitably with the end of our quest comes questions of self. Perhaps we weren’t, aren’t, and never will be good enough. Perhaps we weren’t cut out to successfully travel the path we’d chose. Perhaps we’d been had, set up, used. We ask ourselves, over and over, what were we thinking? What went wrong? How’d this happen?
Waiting on satisfying answers to come, we come to despise those who led us down the path of unfathomable dejection without warning. We look back over our plan and our pain. We retrace our footsteps. We search and search for a cause and are told we are the cause. Not your parents, not your preacher, not your school teacher, not your siblings, friends, enemies, bigots or come what may. And the mirror doesn’t smile back.
How could that be? We did as we’d been taught and told. We worked, and worked well with others, as demanded. Ducks lined up in a row and everything. Sorrowfully still the moment of truth comes. Without notice the rules of life, and your participation in it, seem to change. The floor moves beneath you. Your long pursued goal proving to be an illusion, forever out of your reach. Your perfectly aligned ducks; your blood, sweat, and tears; suddenly meaning far less than you as a child ever imagine. Instead of being invaluable you now feel devalued. A worthless adult, kicked.
These feelings (though not unique to America — are common in America) are experienced more by some than others. More common to those who grew up in creole cultures (African-American), where the spirit of overcoming, due to no justice and injustice, became so deep-rooted that ideas of what “destiny” meant to others came to mean something totally different to them.
Against all odds.
Generational endurance is the greatest of teachers. It prepares people for the variables, for the broken promises, for the stolen valor. Over time, lessons passed on from parent to child, one generation after the next, and on to the next, for several generations, become the standard view of what is and is to be expected. False expectations are disallowed. Such sayings as “you can’t get blood from a turnip” becomes part of the teaching. Disappointment can become such an expectant show that it can cripple the aspirations of a people — those who are prepared to be disappointed, learn to cope much better than those who aren’t.
As variable outcome possibilities increase, stocked with disappointment, but sold at a high price, as they are now, it begins to affect the confidence of those not used to having to constantly work just to keep from falling. Having no, or very little savings, with all other options looking like a mirrored reflection of pain, they stand pat. Which means, ironically, that power will soon start to shift from the corrupt to the defrauded and mistreated. Soon thereafter they will not fear looking into the mirror, for it will no longer be unforgiving. The paradigm shift will have been completed. They would have finally stood up for something greater than self.
As long as the pursuer remembers to keep an eye on the Robber Barons, the shysters, the ever moving goal post, and their enemies, their personal ability to vary with the deception will provide them with more options than just pressing pause and then repeat.