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To the casual observer my life as a child seemed perfect. I had a mother and father who loved my brother and I, and were able to give us anything and everything we could have asked for. However, this wasn’t the case. My family life behind closed doors wasn’t as happy as it seemed, and it had to do with the relationship between my parents. As a child I always seemed to have a positive outlook on life, and believed in that story book ending; “and they all lived happily ever after”.
I ignorantly held onto my dreams of the perfect life, as well as the perfect marriage, but seeing how marriages turned out around me I began believing in this less and less. Love is always perceived to be very powerful, where it has the ability to change anything in an instant. This is how it was explained in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Love was able to change Siddhartha in such a positive way, which was one reason he was able to reach enlightenment.
I’m able to relate to Siddhartha in some sort of way because love also changed me. Although, I would say it changed me in a negative way. Upon seeing the shortcomings of the relationships around me I began to ponder the question- is love even real? I don’t believe in the idea of true love, all relationships seem to be is pain, and sometimes anger toward one another. Why would someone choose to put themselves in this position?
My realization regarding the disbelief of love all began with my parents.
My mother and father always had a bumpy marriage, even when I was little they never seemed quite happy together. They would constantly bicker and have arguments that seemed to be never ending, and as a child this affected me. Being as young as I was at this time the situation I was in made me question whether or not love is actually real. There would be times in my life where my parents would argue and the result would be them not speaking to each other for weeks. It got to a point where I was no longer surprised at their anger toward each other, and I couldn’t help but ask why are they were still together. My mother did all she could to ensure my brother and I that her and my father still very much loved each other, but seeing love this way made me wonder why I would ever want to be in love.
My skepticism of love was truly reinforced when I became a witness to my father’s infidelity. At the age of ten I discovered that my father had been cheating on my mother for months without her knowing. I was always taught that a father is supposed to be the first man that a daughter loves and is expected to teach them how their significant other should treat them, but after seeing this I became scared to love someone if all it ends in is pain. After facing this situation it has caused me in my teenage years to trust people less; I couldn’t help but worry about people’s true intentions because of my father who betrayed my mother. As a teen I couldn’t help but assume that no boy would want to date me, I was never surprised when I wasn’t asked to a dance and I’m still not surprised that I haven’t dated anyone yet. After all, my father had chosen another woman over me, so I had expected other men to follow in his footsteps. Having been so young when this all happened it caused me to feel scared of “love” and it didn’t help that I felt I didn’t have anyone to turn to; my mother fell into depression, my father was gone, and my brother was at that age where he was too moody to speak about his feelings let alone listen to mine. It was at this time I came to the realization that love was simply a myth, and I still believe this to this day.
Love is known to everyone to be an amazing thing, it’s written in stories and shown in movies to be an unbreakable bond. It’s even shown in the book; love is described as something that can be good and bad. Siddhartha dealt with the pain that love has caused him by having his son reciprocate his feelings, but it is only when he is able to appreciate love and the pain it comes with in order to reach enlightenment. After reading the story I couldn’t help but think of the way I perceive love; Siddhartha was able to learn to appreciate the pain and the happiness that love can give, but why can’t I? I want to be able to view love the same way that he does, but as I thought of this more and more after reading the book I realized that I have not experienced that “life changing” moment. I have yet to be put in a situation where I will be able to look at love a different way. After reading about Siddhartha’s journey it makes me hopeful of what’s to come in the future. Although something or someone has yet to change my attitude or perspective, it doesn’t mean it’ll never happen as I get older. In a way this book as well as being able to write this essay has caused me to reflect upon my perspective on the subject of love. The more I wrote down my feelings on my father and the pain he has caused me it made me feel better because I no longer have the pent up anger that I’ve been keeping for all these years.
Witnessing the broken relationships around me really had me look at the idea of love in both a positive and negative way. I became more realistic when it comes to relationships, however it also made me wonder if I’ll ever truly be happy with my significant other. I couldn’t help but ask myself this question because I’ve never seen the bonds between people last. Discovering my father’s infidelity at such a young age caused me to hate love and ultimately question its existence. However, after reading the book Siddhartha and being able to write this essay I learned that my skepticism may not last forever. I may not feel the same way that Siddhartha about love, but I hope that sometime in the future that my mind will be changed.
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