The Imprisonment of Temptation

The sun still shines brightly, even though it’s the middle of October, and I can see the serpents on the road before me. I can feel all of the temptations pulling at me but none will succeed. Temptation comes in the form of all of those people who try to get me to settle for less than I’m worth.  All of those individuals who try to get me to stray off track. Whether they know it or not they will forever be avoided.

 

The sun over Lake Merritt

 

But alas the whole world can be seen as an evil temptation as well as everything inside of it. Every human being has an agenda. Every beautiful woman has a seductive voice and every one of your friends wants to use you for something.  As I have grown older I have learned that temptation exists only in the soul of the individual; not in the outside world.

 

We are all weak. We all have urges and we all transgress. No one wants to be confined by rules that constrict the very essence of humanity. So we cheat on our spouses, we take pills that promise us a foretaste of heaven, and we take things we feel we deserve, instead of working hard to attain them. It is only after we are sober or after we get caught that we feel ashamed and I have discovered that it’s always easier to gaze through an open window than it is to stare into the mirror.

 

 

No woman has ever put a knife against my throat and forced me to cheat on my girlfriend. No friend has ever threatened to kill me if I didn’t have a drink with him. I exercise my own free will and I do the best I can but alas; I am weak. I confess to being selfish and I further confess to being judgmental afterwards. While under the influence of my many misconceptions about how a man should behave I found that it has always been easier for me to act than to verbalize my emotions. Instead of telling her that what she said hurt me I went out and became intimate with someone else. Instead of asking that man politely to respect me I jumped on him and tried to prove myself violently.

 

We are all in jail. We all need to see others in bondage in order for us to feel free but we often forget that we are what we project.

 

 

If I hold the key to the lock, which holds another man in captivity, and I must check on him every hour to see whether or not he has escaped am I not in a state of imprisonment myself? Am I not a slave to the actions of the man who I am attempting to enslave? If I try to put my mistress down by calling her a whore but I have risked the love and respect of my wife and children in order to spend time with her then wouldn’t that make me less than a whore?

 

I scrutinize every syllable/ letter/ sentence that I write while I compose this, however, I live my real life in a perpetual state of looking back. In the moment I am naïve, easily moved, and always weak. I look back on my past and try to make sense of senseless mistakes. I look forward only to close my eyes and shudder at the enormity of my own fear. I stumble backwards into the comfort of my own insecurities. I look back nostalgically upon a time in my life when I never once thought of looking back.

-YB

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