By Nwabisa Mlandu
Walking on campus everyday with earphones on loud, one is deeply consumed by one’s own thoughts. Moving swiftly about, you try to avoid bumping into people that could force you to exit that state of mind. These seemingly insignificant moments define us in ways that we hardly reflect upon. Seeing as we’re merely bouncing about in bubbles, thinking no-one else could possess a mind as intricate as ours.
Perhaps we’re justified in our thinking as each one perceives life through their own eyes based on the exterior provided by their bubble or the lack thereof. Each person carries within them a story, one that is not always visible for interpretation by others. Some walk around campus sheltered in bubbles, their lives insulated by the privilege bestowed upon them. Their views are fabrications of a life of luxury, making them incapable of seeing beyond the veil of privilege provided by their bubble.
Although it would be an injustice to blame them for a quality they inherited, one can’t overlook how it allows them an unfair advantage in soaring according to societal standards. Often, those sheltered by bubbles are more likely to advance higher than the rest in society due to less exposure to the struggles of the real world. Additionally, should their bubble ever burst, their impact with reality will always be cushioned by their exhaustive resources. In contrast, there are those that walk around carrying weights heavier than their souls. Some hide it so well, a slight limp and a slanted shoulder but always maintaining their composure. These people are what society deems “strong.” They are applauded for carrying their pain so graciously so as not to disturb others’ comfort. These people are in touch with the crudest of realities as they don’t have the refuge a bubble provides. Yet they struggle to trust anyone with their pain as everyone walks around carrying their own weight, each one being stifled by the pressure but fearing to show a sign of weakness.
Society can be blamed for the misguided meaning of true strength in this case, which leads to a deterioration in one’s mental health. Some are fearless enough to perform their pain, a cinematic display of complex trials and tribulations. The intensity of their struggles seems surreal, probably unimaginable to those living bubble lives. They are forced to perform as they wrestle demons both in their minds and in the physical realm. Yet their pain is invalidated and disregarded as it causes discomfort in others. Maintaining status quo takes precedence and this pushes them on a downward spiral, suffocating from the weight. Society is oblivious to the magnitude of the weight they’ve had to carry since birth but unwittingly adds onto it.
The intricate aspect of this is that one can’t simply decipher, by looking at someone, a sense of their life. We’re all complex beings, each with our own problems. So it is essential that as we walk on campus, we are all sensitive to each other’s struggles and don’t merely exist as though we’re incapable of empathy. The only way of grasping the depths of reality of the people around you is bursting that bubble.