I have never met, dated, married, encountered, befriended or worked for a perfect person. I don’t believe they exist. Starting with myself, I would be the first person to point out countless flaws in my personality and every other aspect of my being.
I think everyone of us have had moments in life where we do not live up to our own expectations of ourselves. We might ascribe to living a specific life by a specific code of ethics, morals, values, personal rules, but I don’t know anyone, myself included, who has been able to walk the perfect path through those parameters.
So, by definition, being true to oneself comes with an almost impossible expectation. One that we self-impose, predicated upon our morals, our code of ethics and our values.
Sometimes, for me, all it takes is a pint of Baskin-Robbins pistachio almond ice cream and suddenly my personal rules are getting jettisoned in favor of self indulgence and personal payment for the stress I have put my life into.
The recognition of how fragile our own will and determination can become is, in my opinion, incredibly valuable, because it frames the construct of the personal promises we make to ourselves in the light of day to day existence.
So if I am able to discover that a small bowl of cream, sugar, and pistachio nuts can destroy my willpower and my personal resolve, what then would be the influence of getting whipped and beaten within an inch of my life on a day-to-day basis?
How would I possibly be able to project what my own personal strengths could be in circumstances where every day I am waking up and being tortured? Would I have the resolve to stand my ground and retain my own personal self respect under those circumstances or would I say or do anything to make it all stop?
I don’t care what any of us think we could be capable of doing under those circumstances, it’s just so absolutely foreign to anything that any of us have ever experienced.
When Frederick Douglass was young, his “master“ felt he was too unruly and sent him to Edward Covey who was known to be a slave breaker so that Frederick would be smashed into submission. Edward Covey lived in a house that was called Mount Misery for obvious reasons. It was here that he tortured Frederick Douglass and other slaves to extremes with the expectation of converting them into docile workers. It certainly would qualify as a torture chamber if any property were to qualify.
It was Frederick Douglass’ writings about being a slave and about having his entire sense of self almost destroyed in this home that awakened the abolitionist movement in the United States which brought about the end of slavery.
I think it is fascinating, and all together fitting, that the person who ultimately purchased and lived in Mount Misery was Donald Rumsfeld, the person who, as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, got us into the Iraq war with lies about weapons of mass destruction and cost the taxpayers of our country more than one trillion dollars. ($1,000,000,000,000,000.00)
Being true to oneself is a task of a lifetime. Finding the personal resolve to do so under the most insane of circumstances is as rare as it gets. It would be clear from the statement that the evolution out of slavery in this country stemmed, in part, from Frederick fearing to incur his own personal abhorrence.