Creative Nonfiction

A child is born.

A whole new cosmos of opportunities and possibilities sparks into being, much like a big bang in itself. 

A blank slate, a new life.

The child comes into this world innocent in the purest meaning of the word, for it has no memory of what came before and no knowledge of what is yet to come. The child knows nothing, its mind, and heart untainted by understanding, experience, or opinion. It simply is, raw and vulnerable in its infancy, unable to survive on its own without love. And yet, it has such an immense capacity to give love that the whole universe trembles at the sound of its cry.

The child’s first need, when it is born, is to be loved. It will carry this need with it through life, seeking out love and approval in any way possible. It will search for it wherever it can, chase after love like a cheetah chases after a gazelle, or like a teenager chases his crush, or like a magnet chases an iron fillet. 

It is a force of nature, a safety mechanism, and a pre-set modus operandi. Since the child cannot survive on its own, it depends on the love from its environment, and operating in this way gives the child the best chances it has for surviving. Provided there is a mother or a father to give it that love.

Since the child has no memory of it ever existing before it is born, it takes onto itself everything like a sponge. Things like sounds, sights, feelings, and emotions that may seem mundane and trivial to the parents get imprinted into the child’s heart and mind like the commandments of God or like the laws of the universe. It has no basis for evaluation yet, therefore it accepts everything purely on faith, trusting the love found in its environment. If the child is lucky, that love is true and authentic. If not, the child already leans toward trauma before it's even aware of its own self.

In the beginning, the chase for love is sincere and unapologetic. The child will cry when it wants something or when it doesn’t feel loved enough. The mother and father will try to do everything they can to figure out what their child needs, to make it stop crying. They will pamper it, feed it, comfort it, or yell out in frustration, as they cannot understand the simple crying request for love.

As the child grows, it learns from its environment. It learns of gravity way before it can understand the concept, as walking and standing seem near impossible things to do if you’ve spent all your life floating in a womb. Eating has to be done manually, the jaw needs to be opened, the tongue needs to lick and swallow, no longer is the feeding automated by an umbilical cord. 

Such mundane things, taken for granted by the child’s parents, are pure miracles for the little one, and it takes no small amount of effort to perform a miracle. Yet, the child learns to stand, it learns to walk and eat. The child learns to make sounds with its vocal cords that evoke a favorable response from the environment. It learns to behave in a way that promotes its survival, be it receiving more food or more love. Sometimes it will use crying, other times giggling, sometimes it will hug and sometimes it will hit.

The child doesn’t know what is best to do, so it tries out everything, like an enthusiastic explorer or a scientist, figuring out how life works. And the environment is its teacher, the benchmark for what is acceptable and what is not, what works and what doesn’t. The environment tells the child which of its actions and behaviors will give it love and which will take that love away. A mother’s warm embrace or a father’s harsh yell. A mother’s cold withdrawal or a father’s fun playtime. Through interaction with the environment, the child learns of good and bad, concepts previously unthinkable. It learns that love is not unconditional, as it thought before, but rather highly conditional.

And the condition for receiving love is to behave in a way that pleases the environment. To not behave in certain ways, even though the child feels like it, but to suppress its own emotions and authenticity, in favor of receiving love from outside.

The child is tricked into playing the game of approval. It is there that its innocence is lost forever before it even consciously understands the meaning of that word. And the environment, the mother and the father as well as others in the child's life, without realizing it, program the child for trauma. Program it for inauthenticity, tricking it into believing it’s someone other than its true self.

They lie to it. The more the child grows up, the more they lie. Only they mask the lies in good-aiming advice and make it sound rational, pretending that they know how the world works, forgetting that they themselves were once just like this child and they too were told these things from their parents, who likewise didn’t know any better. 

It is a never-ending cycle of victims, trying to teach other victims how not to be a victim, while not realizing they are victims.

By the time the child, that blank slate, that absorbing sponge, enters society, it is already programmed for failure, in most cases. It enters the world at large with the belief that love is something it can only find out there and that the only way it can get it is by acting in a certain way. Either by pleasing others, doing what they want to get their approval or by manipulating them, to make them give that approval.

Society feeds into this dynamic further. Society lies to the child without shame and without restriction. Compared to the parent’s lies, these ones are like lies on steroids. The child learns how it should behave in school, in public, in a work environment, how it should present itself to friends, to the opposite sex, to authority. The child learns what things it should value in life, what is supposed to be meaningful, what society deems is appropriate, and what things to avoid, what things not to do in order not to get rejected by society. The child learns it cannot be fulfilled without people in its life, without friends, family, relationships, material possessions, social status, a model-type body, and a million other things that its brain is bombarded with every day. The child is young and it absorbs everything it can and as much of it as it can, for the more it knows, the better its chances of survival are. The better it can find ways to chase down the love it so desperately craves for. 

The child is sent to school by its parents, where other children, who were also lied to by other parents, raise the child in collective toxicity of unresolved trauma. The child learns human interaction by looking at how other children behave around it and adjusting its own behavior to best suit its survival, either pleasing or manipulating. Chasing after love.

As the child grows and enters puberty, the trauma builds up to unbearable heights. The child can hold it in no longer and explodes with rebellion, seeking out ways to express its outrage, hurt, and feelings of betrayal. The child defies the norm, rejects what it learned from its parents and from the teachers at school, and instead finds solace in others like it, other children who too are experiencing the same frustrations.

The child continues its chase for love in the most obvious ways. It seeks out sex, a lot of it. The more the better. The dirtier, less committing, the better. And if it cannot find love that way, in intimacy, it will chase it in friendships, substance abuse, porn, video games, social media, and thousands upon thousands of other coping mechanisms. Some of them are obviously toxic, and some more subtle, like perfectionism, working too hard, chasing fame, success, and money. 

As the child grows into adulthood, becoming a young adult by social standards, it is already so confused, so misinformed, so filled up with lies, distractions, and haunted by trauma that it cannot function as a healthy, mature individual. The child never grows up into an adult, not psychologically, not emotionally, barely even physically. On the surface, it tries to do so, and it presents itself to others like a well rounded, grown-up individual, who has its life in order. And the really damaging part is, that the child believes in its self-constructed rationalizations. It looks at society for validation and if the child has a job, a house, a family, it can rest assured - it did all there needed to be done in life. If not, if the child lacks in either one of society’s ideals, then the child will feel miserable. 

Either way, thinking of itself as a winner who has done it, or thinking itself as a loser who can never get it done, the child is a victim. It lost all sense of self, it's true values and feelings overwritten by culture, society, religion, childhood upbringing, and other traumatic events. The child is not even an individual anymore. It has become a machine. Reduced to a reactive state of being, where it only ever does what it is told to do, and even then doing the bare minimum it can get away with. 

And the child isn't’ even at the halfway point of its life yet. As it reaches its thirties and forties, the child’s psyche is cemented, its emotions crystallized, its soul reduced to a state of quiet desperation. Or, sometimes, very loud desperation.

Still, the child’s prime need in life is to feel loved and accepted. Despite all its programming and conditioning, this is one thing that society or anyone else cannot change. The child will forever chase after love and the means by which it goes on doing this do not matter at all. As long as it can get the hit it needs, be it the things it indulged in when it was younger or finding new ones, the child’s craving for love is unquenching. All its life it has been told it needs to find love out there, distracted from looking within with flashes and bangs like a magician distracts the audience with fireworks.

The child goes through the remainder of its life following the rails it found suiting its survival best. No matter if some dreams got sacrificed for it, or some authenticity was lost in the way, as long as there is survival, there is still a chance to chase on that elusive love. 

And before the child truly realizes, its life is spent. It grows old and frail, weak with sickness, sick with regret. The child dies, oftentimes never even realizing what it missed out in life, never knowing who it truly was and how different life could have been. Sometimes the child does get glimpses of these alternative ways life could unfold, but these moments are either dismissed as fantasy or quickly ignored, as they are too painful to bear. Knowing what could be, but isn’t, is a heavy burden to consider, especially when your life is trickling to an end. Sometimes the child might choose to ruminate on its misery, and that only sends it down deeper into a spiral of self-pity and depression, until it can take no more and kills itself.

The child, that miracle, that blank slate, that tiny cosmos of opportunity, ends its existence, completely lost. It got mislead in the very beginning and it didn’t have enough wisdom on its own part to see through the lies and the delusions, see through the self-deception that humanity is collectively a part of. It never stood a chance. 

The saddest thing is that the child failed to realize, in its whole 80 or so years of life, that the thing it was chasing so badly after, was inside of it the whole time. The love was never out there. It was always in here. Not in the flesh of another human being, but in the child’s own heart. Not in the approval and acceptance of others, but in the acceptance of oneself. Not in fame, money, and friends, but in being present in every moment of waking life, regardless of its pain or pleasure, mundaneness, or excitement.

How many children chase love in this way? How many are told lies before they can even understand words? How many lives lost before they even truly began to live?

The answer is all of them. All of us. We are this child.

We are all victims of victims.

Served lies on a silver platter of divinity, taught falsehood from the doctorate of truth, shown how to do devilry disguised as acts of selflessness.

And we did this to ourselves. The environment is not to blame; it didn’t know any better, it did the best it could. It brought us to this point, where we can finally recognize the game being played here. We can finally start to see through the veil of our lives and make sense of the mechanisms at play.

We can start changing things. Break the cycle of victims creating new victims, break the cycle of belief programming, break the cycle of indoctrination in ideologies and dogmas.

We can break free and open up to the truth.

We can stop chasing love outside of ourselves.

We can stop being the victim, realizing we have within us all that we will ever need.

The child can grow up.

And a new cosmos can be born.

July 17, 2020 21:29

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Claudia Knight
22:43 Jul 22, 2020

What a poetic interpretation of the chase prompt. Great job and so true!


Harken Void
06:16 Jul 23, 2020

Thank you Claudia, I'm glad you liked it :)


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Katy S.
12:50 Jul 21, 2020

That last line was sublime. It was really amazing.


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Corey Melin
21:55 Jul 19, 2020

Very well done. I believe we try to be in full control of our lives and spread what we think is right to everyone else creating what we are seeing in the present and the past. Time to break the machine


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