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Certainty—Certainly Not

By Horisun Antunee

For a long time, I thought that I knew everything. Well, maybe not literally everything, but I still acted like I did. I was sure that it was okay to condemn whoever I wanted for whatever I wanted, because, of course, people weren’t complicated. It was okay to condemn drug addicts for their addictions, because it was a choice. It was okay to condemn every parent who wasn’t perfect, because they had the option to be better. It was okay to hate, because some people just didn’t deserve my forgiveness.

And then I saw that I didn’t like being that person—the one that knew everything. I didn’t like being an arrogant prick all the time. I saw how I’d been—how far from myself (from that little inner Jiminy Cricket voice) I’d strayed. And I realized that I didn’t need to be that person anymore. So, I started to acknowledge that I didn’t know everything.

But I overcorrected. Now, it’s like I’m afraid to say that I know something. Or that I believe anything. Or even that I think something. I cut myself off from feeling like I could have an opinion. For a long time, after I’d say almost anything, I felt afraid that I was being arrogant in some way. And I felt like the universe would punish me for it. So, after speaking, I’d follow up what I said by saying, “No offense. Knock on elements.” And I’d knock my hand against thin air in a mock gesture similar to that of knocking on wood (cue the large orderlies with the tight straight jackets). But knocking on wood wasn’t good enough for me (or unique enough—maybe). I had to knock on everything in existence to insure that I wasn’t going to be punished for being arrogant (better cover all your bases—right?). I think I felt like if I acted sure of myself again then I’d become that other person. And I was—I guess I am afraid of that. I don’t want to be that other person again. I won’t be that other person again. Ever.

But, I need to be able to have an opinion. I need to feel okay saying that I believe something. I probably even need to be able to say that I know something about myself or the world around me (this one will end badly upon occasion, but not always). I just need to be able to do those things in a more balanced way. I think that allowing some internal certainty in my life again might be the only way to break out of a mental prison that I’ve cultivated—a prison that I’ve trapped myself in for a long time. I think it might be a step that I need to take in order to become more of a concrete person—to become more like myself (cue the inner Jiminy Cricket voice).

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