In my more oblivious years, my mother gave me some advice that I’ve put on repeat since.
She told me, “Just remember that many of the people in this world don’t have the advantages you’ve had.”
She didn’t say any more.
Consequently, I tend to push away all judgments, a silent observer before I speak, a habit that has opened many other advantages to me. The contemplative mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears, and so in college I was marked as being a representative of the Other, because I was keen to pick up the secret griefs of the unknown. Many nights I would lie awake, realized by some sign that an intimate revelation was quivering over horizon underneath the realities of the others around me. Mornings I would wake up with half-moons still hanging under my eyes.
But reserving judgments is the substance of infinite hope. I’m still plagued by circumstance dealt unequally at birth, some rigged card game the masses continuously flock around.
I like to think demeanor may be created for more than appeal, but after a certain point I’ve come to realize for most it isn’t so.
When I came back from the East I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever, in harmony—Only Key, the woman who gives her name to chaotic essence, was exempt from my reaction — Key, who embodies everything I have an genuine disdain for… Yet if personality is a continuous series of successful signals, then there was something gorgeous about her, some heightened sensitivity to the truths of life, as if she were made from one of those machines that pick-up earthquake shakes ten thousand miles away.
She was an extraordinary gift for hope, dazzling with some romantic readiness I’ve never found in any other person and which I’ll probably never find again, no — But Key turned out all right in sincerity; it’s what fed on her, a glowing which floated in the wake of her dreams which closed out her interest in me and consumed her short-winded elations into grief, regardless of advantage or lack-there-of.
–The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (opening rewrite)