They say the ability to experience emotions of others is to be human — that our ability to connect to one another is perhaps the most sophisticated aspect of our race. To identify with another’s happiness or pain is to identify with another’s soul.
I believe that someone’s empathic abilities should be filter-less. To truly live is to breathe in every ounce of another’s emotional spectrum from unbridled euphoria to the most adamant hatred while simultaneously identifying all as valid feelings arrived at through a combination of someone’s circumstances and their perception of them.
To numb oneself, then, is to do the opposite. When you’re numb, there are no responses to be recorded. When you’re numb, your connection with others is dampened. When you’re numb, the solitude becomes deafening.
These two extremes are rarities — the people you see everyday experience one of the infinite shades of the between. Only a handful of souls ever see one full side or another, and the sorrow or acclaim they garner from others through time fashions them as icons, deities, or parts of legend. Warped from stories, these people don’t exist.
One of the most terrifying things then is to understand this duality and come to the realization that you are slowly numbing yourself, moving from one hypothetical end to the other. Understand that the process is not instantaneous or synchronous; it progresses slowly, crawling with a venom that numbs on contact. You may be numbing yourself to the pain of others to maintain an illusion of positivity and control of your own life. You might numb yourself to the love of another through memories of another recent heartbreak. You may be numbed to progress due to an inability to separate journey from destination. You might be experiencing all of these, or you might find yourself numb to a horde of others.
When you realize you’re numbing yourself, you awaken amidst a din of uncertainty. Suspended in a vacuum, there is no force for exertion to mark a trajectory. Sense of self fades, and the snowflake your mother once compared you to more closely resembles a cog.
When multiple people numb themselves, the empty infinities raging through each mind go unnoticed by others whose infinities are equally hollow, though they ring with different vibrations and echoes.
When the anesthetized find themselves as a community, apathy manifests. And as apathy manifests, we lose our humanity.
When you realize you’re numbing yourself, and you’ve thought it all out, what seemed to your subconscious as a way to protect yourself suddenly seems to be quite the opposite. All that remains is to regain sensation.
All that remains is to be human again, to feel, to sympathize. To care.