Finding meaning in a vast world— a vast life— is an extremely heavy game of hide-and-seek.
Conformity is counting; she speed-speaks to twenty and runs rampant, checking every obscure hiding spot and locating the players in her game instantly. Conformity lures her players out of their hiding spots and sends a monotonous grey color through their bones; it silences the sounds of individuality and dampens the diversity of human life. She finds the players and changes them.
She straightens shoulders and neutralizes expressions; Conformity sucks the individuality out of humans and shoves them into an endless line of the other humans changed by her. Nobody is completely hidden in this game. She checks under every table, every chair, every blanket. She seeks, and she succeeds.
Being sedentary is not the way to outsmart Conformity; I don’t remain hidden under a blanket, stunned from the shock and scared of the seeker. I’m not hiding in horror of the monster that is Conformity— no, I’m running away from it. I’m constantly on the move, constantly feeling the fiery pain of worn-out lungs, constantly cutting corners in order to avoid Conformity.
My worst fear isn’t death. It’s a life ended too quickly by Conformity. My worst fear isn’t being forgotten. It’s being noticed by Conformity.
I am controlled by Conformity. She hasn’t shoved me into the line of the same humans walking the same worn-down path yet, but the only reason that I’m not on this path is because I’ve been so busy running. She doesn’t control me by forcing me to walk the path; she controls me by forcing me to run. I’m so focused on avoiding Conformity that I haven’t had time to stop and think about what I don’t want her to take away.
What do I have that I want to keep? What am I longing for that I want to hide from the greatest seeker in the world?
Conformity wants to steal expression and individuality. From me, she has stolen a sliver of my seity. Forcing me to constantly run, constantly outsmart, constantly hide, she has taken what I value most: individuality.
She values it, too, evidently.
But she values it for the wrong reasons; her greedy fingers push the needle that shoots grey through the veins of her players, and she collects it and stores it for herself.
Persistently protecting my sense of self has only perished it. Running— running constantly— has worn down who I am and what my goals are. My individuality is gone, and fear has taken its place. I’m not walking the worn-down path that Conformity threw everyone onto, but I might as well be.
Because I am empty. I’ve run out of steam.
Conformity has taken my individuality and integrity. I don’t take pride in my mind like I used to. I don’t take pride in outsmarting Conformity, because I can’t anymore. I can’t hurriedly relocate to a new, undiscovered hiding spot anymore because they’re starting to mesh into the path that Conformity shoved everyone onto. She knows my every move because I’ve already performed all of them.
We’re in a never-ending game of hide-and-seek, and she’s inside the one thing I used to treasure so deeply: my mind.
Conformity stole the integrity of my mind as soon as my hiding spots became more and more predictive. When I started to lose steam and strength, my mind started to weaken, too. That’s when Conformity took control, and I started losing in her game of hide-and-seek.
I wish so immensely that I knew what meaning I want my life to hold, but Conformity stole the depths of my mind. She dangled my integrity in her greedy, unapologetic fingers and waved it right in front of me. It was just out of my grasp; I saw my own mind before my eyes and couldn’t do anything to gain it back.
Laughing maniacally, Conformity threw my mind into the farthest and deepest ocean and sent me on a new path to run breathlessly on. Not only am I playing the longest and most intense game of hide-and-seek with Conformity herself, but I am now seeking my mind and the meaning that I want my life to have.