Have you ever felt like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? I guess we all get that feeling from time to time. Parents tend to feel that burden more often than others. In general, if you are the kind of person who care about others, you carry more of that weight than those who only care about themselves. I like to think that good people develop stronger shoulders. They have to, because they carry a heavier load.
I used to work as a therapist until I started writing full time and every word my patients told me will stay with me forever, or until they give me permission to share such information. Some of those stories are a heavy burden to carry, and I can tell you that I no longer believe in the clichés that are being served us, especially not the one about there being something good in every human being and that every person deserves a second chance. Some people are just bad and there is nothing more to it. One of my jobs was to help victims, and the stories I heard, of which a large proportion were confirmed by reports from medical personnel, were the stuff of nightmares. I know of six rapists, one notorious wife beater and one who made a young girl take amphetamine, which resulted in a serious brain haemorrhage and spastic cramps. By the way, I was told that this made him point at the girl and laugh.
Since their victims were too scared to go to the police, these criminals are all walking around among normal people and they’ve never had to face any consequences for what they did. The wife beater is now blogging about «healthy values» and how to help young girls build a better self-esteem and I believe he is spending a small fortune advertising for that blog. The amphetamine dealer is around 50 now, but he had a career in a Norwegian black metal band and enjoyed some fame. Most of these people have families and kids now. Their victims have not had good lives. They have struggled with drug addiction, suicide attempts, depression and anxiety.
My shoulders are strong. They have to be. But I get tired, and I am not really happy about the fact that the weight I carry, seems to get heavier as the years go by. As a therapist, you get a gut feeling about people — sometimes you see right through them. I recently got that unsettling gut feeling about one guy I encountered in my professional life as a novelist, and he recently reveiled that he has the most inflated ego I have seen in many years — he actually believes himself to be above the law and that he can do whatever he likes. There is something deeply disturbing about people like that and the fact that you tend to find these people among celebrities, politicians and others living an «exposed lifestyle». I will not attempt to give a diagnose on the basis of tv interviews, but I must say that some of the celebrities I have seen — especially musicians, by the way — show signs of clinical psychopathy and I can’t understand how their fans fail to see that this is quite simply a very bad person who lacks the ability to feel empathy. I guess the fact that homo sapiens is a pack animal explains it, and some get easily attracted — like flies — to anyone standing in the spotlight.
I have found that if you want to be a good person and do what is right, you need character. You need to be strong. You need to prepare to stand alone, because most people are not brave and they usually choose the easiest way out. I have never had the ability to back down or to look away. On one occasion, I faced a gang of aggressive, young men of Middle Eastern origin. I can’t remember their numbers now, but they must have been more than 20. And no, this has nothing to do with heroism. It’s about placing yourself in front of those who do wrong and telling them that it stops here and today you are the one stopping them. And yes, you will get injured and you will get scars. But looking at yourself in the mirror and being ashamed that you didn’t do anything is far worse.
I wish we could all carry the world together. But we all know that will never happen. Some will carry more than others. Some will carry nothing at all. Who will you be?
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
Categories: Life and living