Threads of life

A theme I often find myself writing about is the concept of what I call “threads.” I doubt it is a new or unique concept; I am all but certain it is a very common theme in many works. In essence, it is the idea that there are things about our lives that are set in stone and some that can be changed by our own actions — or lack thereof. Threads are pathways that shift and alter, yet remain constant. They are mysterious, yet certain. They are malleable, yet forged. They are the roads of life that we unconsciously form through our own actions, inactions, the natural world we exist in, the influences of others, and so many other factors that result in our lives. A thread is something like fate, yet nothing like it.

A working example would be the death of my mother. What would things be like had she not died? What small and large differences would the past four years have been for me had she still been alive? There are so many uncountable changes that it is hard to predict. Maybe I would have found more success as an author. Perhaps I wouldn’t have met the friends that I have today — but perhaps I would’ve met others. My skills would be different due to pursuit of alternative objectives. Possibly there would be less of a rift between my sister and I. These changes then go beyond myself: what would life be like for my two nieces? My father? His friends? The people I know now? The effects are broad reaching, complex, and so chaotic. Trying to make sense of it could drive one to madness.

For me, this is what threads are. There are threads out there where my mother didn’t die. There are threads out there where I remained at Club Fed. There are threads out there where I was never deaf. But altering a thread alters more than just one individual; it alters the paths of many and as a result, the world as a whole. Sometimes, it becomes so very tempting to alter threads through our own wills. This is impossible, because threads cannot be changed like that. I often find myself trying to do so, to bring things back to a thread where my mother didn’t die or that I didn’t quit Club Fed. But this is short sighted, as painful as it may seem. Because if you go back and start making those changes, you’re left guessing what might result afterward. Further, why stop there? If I could go back even further, there are so many other things I would change on this thread that eventually, the very thread that makes me who and what I am would alter me to the point I wouldn’t be this person. You can’t manipulate a thread while maintaining a sense of self, because that comes from the thread as well.

Yes, it is painful to live on a thread where you feel as if so much has gone wrong, that you’ve made so many unforgivable mistakes. It seems impossible at times to move forward with the knowledge, the guilt of being so flawed. But that is the nature of what we are. A thread is an iteration of what could be, what has been, what will be, and what never will be. It is the stage of a play and we have no choice but to play our parts.

Four years on after my mother’s death, I still struggle to continue with this thread. Yet at the same time, I feel compelled to do so. There may be answers through the journey or at the end. Equally probable, there are just more threads. Perhaps, eventually, I will become content in the fact there may never be an answer. Simply threads.

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