Why I Chase Suffering

Recently, ISIS has beheaded two Japanese journalists. Not too long ago last year, they also beheaded two American journalists. Were they soldiers? No. All they were was just normal people who wanted to travel to less fortunate places to help out. Some may call them brave, and I guess and in a sense yes they are. I’ve been mulling about it, though, ever since I was talking about this to a friend.

There was a picture that I stumbled upon, and here it is:

Photos like this stun me. (This won the Pulitzer Prize by the way.) They attract me. The deepness, the pain, the shame– all of it just really connects this to me. If I were to pursue anything in photography, I’ d like to take pictures like these. To be honest, in the bubbled society I live in, there’s really nothing too interesting to take pictures of. I mean, I could take pictures of streets or birds or flowers and make them WOW quality, but in the end, I don’t really connect that much. It’s just a picture. And the humans at my place are too well off to take anything too interesting. But I feel places of suffering are something more attractive, something much more connective.

When I showed this to my friend, he asked me, why do you want to put yourself in harm’s way? And he pointed to the journalists in ISIS and said I could end up just like them. True, true, I’ve always wanted to live in Honduras, and I know I’d probably be killed too. But my response would be– why wouldn’t I? I don’t want to grow up like the typical person, get a job, go home, and sleep everyday. That’s boring. I don’t want to be the ordinary person who just lives in the comforts of his home. I want to step out of this society and do something.

You see, I believe everybody’s life is like a story. Most people decide to write their lives normally– college, jobs, family. But I want my story to be an epic– I want to experience experiences not normally experienced. I want to be the protagonist who goes through many tribulations but passes them. I’d rather have a short dramatic life than a long, boring life.

And it’s not just that. It’s also because, there is something beautiful about suffering. If our whole world was an Utopian society where everybody was happy and well-off, well bullshit. That’s stupid. I guess for most people it’d  be nice, but then what becomes the point of life then? Just to live happily and that’s it? There’s no purpose.

You see, when one suffers, something human comes out. Your weak places are exposed but your strong parts are revealed as well. You learn something too– you learn what it means to be human. It’s hard to explain, but maybe I’ll touch upon this later for another post.

Or maybe I’m just addicted to suffering. Ever since my incident, the only thing that really comforts me is suffering. There’s something that feels out of place when I see people laugh and have fun at my place– it’s a good feeling, but I feel something off. The balance is off– they’re having fun, but they’re not suffering as much. It’s like me and them we have it too good.

The point is, why do journalists like those beheaded by ISIS do what they do? I doubt it’s because they chase heroism. I doubt even if it’s just really only for a good cause. At least for me, it will be because I’m searching for the right place where I belong. I know it’s not where I live, and maybe it’s not in those poor places either. But I want to go where suffering goes, merely for the sake of it, even if I end up dead. Because if I don’t go, who I am will be dead. My spirit and identity will be dead.  My art won’t flourish.

Well I realized I accomplished practically nothing in this post haha. Signing off.


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