“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
For some reason, I never had to read Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, for English class. I recently picked it up, in hopes of putting some perspective on my own life and remembering what is more important than myself.
Little did I know, how much it would take me into myself.
“I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
Anne records “all the kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart,” including “extraordinary things [that] can happen when people go into hiding.” Her Jewish family and a handful of others were secluded in a secret annex during the Holocaust of WWII. She questions, “I wonder whether you can tell me why it is that people always try so hard to hide their real feelings? … Why do we trust one another so little?”
She writes of difficulties with her parents, falling in love, hopes for the future, fears of the present, air raids, burglars, and politics they hear on the radio
Near the end, she talks about how she has two sides to her, how she is a “little bundle of contradictions.” Her “dual personality” is jovial and cheerful on the outside, and deep and introspective on the inside.
This has been on my mind too of late – reconciling my “happy” and “sad” sides, my “good” and “bad” sides, my “wanting” and “trusting” sides.
I recently learned that suffering happens when we are on one side or the other – when we think in sides. I am happy right now, and I am afraid of losing this happiness. Or, I am sad right now, and I want to be happy and afraid I won’t get what I want. When we live in these extremes and sides, in this dualism, there is always somewhere to get or stay, so we are continually striving and living in fear instead of just being where we are.
The two sides are one: yin and yang, polarities, a duality. There must be a whole in order to have opposites.
When I live in the whole, knowing both sides are in me and there is nowhere to get to because they will always be there, it somehow appears less stressful. It sometimes feels more real, more me, more loving.
But, this often seems easier when I am by myself.
Living in sides is frequently activated when we are in relationship with others. For a host of reasons, which I am only beginning to understand.
Anne’s last entry:
“A voice sobs within me: “There you are, that’s what’s become of you: you’re uncharitable, you look supercilious and peevish, people dislike you and all because you won’t listen to the advice given you by your own better half.” Oh, I would like to listen, but it doesn’t work; if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks it’s a new comedy and then I have to get out of it by turning it into a joke, not to mention my own family, who are sure to think I’m ill, make me swallow pills for headaches and nerves, feel my neck and my head to see whether I’m running a temperature, ask if I’m constipated and criticize me for being in a bad mood. I can’t keep that up: if I’m watched to that extent, I start by getting snappy, then unhappy, and finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and what I could be, if … there wasn’t any other people living in the world.”