Page 14 - HEF Pen & Ink 2023
P. 14

Knowing is Pain, Knowing is Beauty
By Meika Arensmeyer
She had fallen for a lie; knowledge is not always beautiful.
Knowledge is powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it tears people apart and drags them down without warning when they least expect it. And then, they come back again and again because their naivety tells them so. They say igno- rance is bliss.
A small note: It is not.
Have you ever seen it when someone learns about a secret and they let it rip them to shreds? She had, and she never wanted to be caught like that, deranged and out
of her mind like someone who had lost their world and the color had drained from their insides. She knew if she learned as much as she could about anything, she might be able to save herself just a little bit from the heartbreak that bluntly drops in when someone finds out something they didn’t know before. So, she learned.
Really, her life was the color of grass. So lively and lus- cious as it was young and then it grew before becoming dark, but not hesitating to come back when it was sprin- kled with the right kind of love. Though I suppose that all lives are like that, aren’t they? The first time her strands lost their color of contentment for a time was the dread- ful premier of the second educational system in her life. Second of many more that would follow and tear a piece away from her each time.
A background of the girl: She had skittishly and fearfully made her way through the first half of kindergarten, each day being filled with terror that quietly dissipated as time walked along, holding her hand and yanking her through when she refused to keep running. She was then relocat- ed; the family had moved yet again. Thus began kindergar- ten experience #2.
There were many tear-filled days in those next five months of school. She wondered how something so beneficial could be so cruel and haunting? Though she later realized it wasn’t the learning that hurt her. Of course it wasn’t. She knew she’d never let the things she didn’t know before hurt her later. It was the people. Every step she took dragged their cold, harsh gazes along her spine, quickly fleeting when she turned to glance back. Paranoia would be her close friend, every little thing the people around her said that she couldn’t hear: “They must be saying mean things
about me.”
Another reason she learned like she did: To prove others (Insert: herself) wrong.
She knew it was hard to make friends and she never understood how people could do it so easily. Did they not have to think about every little thing before they said it and still let the wrong thing slip? “No,” she thought, “That’s impossible” because otherwise she could have done it just as easily as they did. She never knew what to say to people and couldn’t get the words out so she already knew they would never respect her for the way she talked to people or the sense of humor she didn’t really have. That left only one option. To be smart. At least, that’s how she saw it at the time. She hoped that if she could be a source of knowledge for others, maybe they’d respect her then. Naturally, it didn’t matter; she eventually would gain the knowledge that the things she does don’t have to be for the people around her who didn’t really care anyway.
She would not remember what it felt like to learn for the first time. No one would. The very first thing people ever learn is how to breathe, how to do these things that are considered so mundane and instinctual that no one ever thinks about them. She would remember how it felt when she was praised for learning, however. I presume that must have been where it all started.
A definition: praise – express warm approval or admiration of.
Warmth is often synonymous with comfort, which should explain why humans feed off it so much. It is quite pa- thetic to see if I am being honest. They want the secret
to happiness and cannot realize that it is right in front of them and are only making their own lives more difficult. Yet they never stop searching for it. Now that is what I do admire about them. The thirst they harbor for even just a miniscule amount of information is meritorious at the very least. Learning for her seemed like the only thing worth liv- ing for. Sure, she had her family and loved them along with the sense of comfort they provided, but all she wanted to do was learn. In her mind, nothing was even comparable to learning, it was the stuffed animal she never held onto in the night. There was always more to learn. In a sick way, she loved it when her brain felt like it might make her fall over because she knew it had been weighted with knowl- edge.
In all the years of her life so far, she would never “give

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