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The Virtue of Romanticism

By Punkerslut

Image by Eric Drooker
Image: By Eric Drooker

Start Date: Sunday, August 24, 2003
Finish Date: Sunday, August 24, 2003

Romanticism: An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.

-- Dictionary.com

     I remember once seeing a small child at a bus terminal, covered in a blanket and carrying a piece of luggage that was close to her size. I looked again. I didn't know where she was going. I didn't bother to ask. But there was something there that maybe a painting could capture, maybe a song could express, that I saw. And I looked again.

     It is my sole contention in this piece, that the greatest value of life can be derived from our emotions. To deny what the heart truly seeks, whether it violates the principles of conventional society or not, is to deny the liberty of happiness. I contend that no man is free who cannot live with himself. A prison will form around his spirit, as he seeks any means of understanding. To truly live, one must be able to know who they are. Image, whether it is age or gender, are unimportant in this aspect. The important part of knowledge, of the wisdom of self, is not what the world may see when they see you, but how you and your intimate friends know about how you feel. And in our society, there is so much inhibition, about recognizing our shame, our guilt, our happiness, our fears. To speak that your words become the expression of your soul has been turned into a weakness, believed by the masses to be the epitome of a soft mind. If a man were to find his happiness in a lover, in the secret smiles of watching the movement of one who captures your dreams -- if a man discovers his own peace in this world of ours, then what true argument can we offer that it was not his own emotions that granted him this most perfect truth? If a child is kept up at night, to the hours of the morning, plagued with misery of memories of abuse of cruelty, would it not be inhumane, to tell him to ignore it -- to tell him to close his eyes to the daemons, while they increase in size with every passing year?

     And I contend this: that to truly live, one must be free with their emotions; and by this, I mean that a person cannot hide from what they feel, and true happiness is only accomplished when they speak all worries and dreams with those they are close to. It is a tragedy to think that billions of men have died on this planet, before they could truly live.

     I remember one night when I saw a California sunset. The orange melded with the red, almost searing the sky into peace. I'm not sure I ever saw anything so beautiful. And I am glad that I spent that moment with those I consider to be my family. When one thinks of family, they think of blood relatives, whom they have to aid and harbor in times of distress, due to social norms. When I think of family, I think of a group bound not by blood, but by love, and when I aid or help a brother or sister in their time of need, I do not do it out of an obligation I think I am tied to -- I do it because they were a shoulder to cry on, they were the first to stand up and speak when I was accused of wrong doing. It didn't matter to them that it may have been a massive army threatening me, just like it didn't matter to me that I had to travel for three days straight so I could see their faces.

     Dreams keep me from forgetting how much I love them.

     If a woman was asked who she was, and if she could not answer, I would have a hard time believing that she was happy. If you know that you truly love someone or something, there is always an inhibition or a fear in telling others that you feel this way -- but the greater part of our population has gone even further in this, by having such a fear or inhibition in even telling themselves. It is here that society turns our emotion into a crime, turns our hearts into convicts. By knowing ourselves, our wants and fears, perhaps our shame or guilt, our love and hate -- by not only knowing, but understanding, the dreams and nightmares of our soul, the dreaded possibilities that our minds tumble over every night, the magnificent fantasies that make us soar with a shy smile -- by understanding our emotions, we can find an honest path to happiness. If we were to engage in an activity, because it is expected and not because it is our wish, it is a lie -- not only to our close allies, but also to the greatest individual in our life: ourself. When we lie to ourselves, so we can fulfill a social obligation, or a family obligation, it deteriorates our soul, it destroys the fundamentals of happiness. Because in that sort of situation, another day is another excuse for deceit, another confrontation or encounter is another chance to hide the lies. A sincere person will find distress in telling a lie to themselves while keeping a clean conscience. Whatever may be the effort that must be exerted in portraying an image that society demands, it would take all the effort in the world -- but it is the act of lying to yourself that weighs heaviest on the soul. Romanticism is about knowing and understanding the truth of your emotions.

     There are so many expectations, so many things that we must do to uphold our image. Society has already given us a schedule, a uniform, and a routine. Failure to comply will make people not trust you, and the idiocy of this is that this is how they respond once you learned to trust yourself. The sort of expectation that you are given can vary. Children are expected to obey and love their parents. There can be hardly any doubt to the origin of this rule: it was written by adults. Besides that, children are naturally submissive and needing of parental affection. There was little objection to this rule. But it became harder to understand and accept the state of things, when a child realizes that their parent is doing something wrong, something cruel, merciless, and brutal. The only crime was listening and judging for himself, and still the child will be regarded as a failure of the family for having an alternative opinion. But imagine if the child had complied with the demands of the family and spoke lies, that he believed what the father had done was right -- if they forced themselves to believe this all their life, every day would be draped in the idea that it is okay to lie to yourself, if it pleases another. Independence is perhaps the greatest thing to have. To be deprived of it at such an early age and for so long is a crime. Perhaps it is a lover and their expectations of another lover, or perhaps it is a friend and their expectations of another friend. Perhaps someone is expected to be sexual because of a stereotype, such as their gender, and perhaps someone is expected to be non-sexual for the same reasons. If a person follows these expectations to fulfill the image that others have thrown on them, they will never find real happiness. They will find that their days are full of deceit. Such a life is not a real... All that I ask of my brothers, my sisters -- my comrades and my friends -- is that they never deny how they feel, to themselves or those who they trust; and I ask them this, for their own happiness. Their suffering is my suffering. Their poverty is my poverty. And my riches are their riches. Our love belongs to us.

     When a lover apologizes to their significant other, when they are not at fault, just to end the conflict so they can be back in that blissful affection. They are lying to themselves and their lover by giving in, but they are honest in one respect -- that they will do whatever it takes to satisfy the person that means the most to them. I admit it. It may very well be true that when a lover apologizes to end conflict, when he or she is not at fault, such a relationship should most likely end anyway.

     And when we think of our friends and our family, sometimes it is hard to say how we feel, what our heart has told us for so long. Because society keeps telling us that it is a source of weakness, or a source of depravity. Let society think as it shall. Social rules should never be a reason for a person to condemn their lives to sorrow and pain. When I think of my family, I think of the society of those who have touched my heart, of the kinship I have formed, of the connection of our minds. And I remember again...

     Dreams keep me from forgetting how much I love them.


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