“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.”

Today’s prompt reminded me of that immortal line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem. Of course, it’s pleasing to the ear, but what does it truly convey? I think the beauty of a poem is that it needs not convey something; merely urge our thoughts to action, free to arrive at what they will.

Imposter is truly the perfect word to describe both triumph and disaster. Neither of them are truly what they seem. Indeed, they are only what you perceive them to be.

There is no rigid definition of success, no golden rule etched in stone. What constitutes as triumph is merely a comparison of your hopes and outcomes. When the latter exceeds the former, you have your moment of elation, of ephemeral eternity and satiating contentment.

You’re all guaranteed to run into these two fellows on your path through life. And neither of them would truly last. Your moments of basking glory will end, as will the nights that have no shine of hope.

The imposters are mischievous, persuasive. They will not be content with encountering you once a while; both will attempt to drag you towards them, urge you to masquerade as one of them. They will both offer you their masks, whispering in your ear to label yourself as one of them. Consider yourself in terms of black and white, announce yourself either a triumph or a disaster. And it is of crucial importance that you succumb to the wiles of neither.

One would chide you when you’re down, trying to keep you there. But the wings you wear can only be clipped by your own hands. The chains on your ankles may pull you, but chains rust and you do not. Patience and perseverance and you shall rise, as surely as the sun will.

The other imposter is far more seductive, painting visions of eternal fortune and glory. Of sunsets that don’t end and chocolates that make you thinner. When you’re high in the sky, gliding through the clouds, it’s easy to forget the earth. But from earth you rose and to earth you’ll return. Wings don’t flap forever, no matter how much triumph argues otherwise.

In the midst of the pressure to don a mask and pick a side, you must create your own. You must cling to your own identity, and clutch firmly the knowledge that you can change whatever you wish. It’s all in your hands, and to quote the wisest words I’ve ever read,

“Power resides where people believe it resides.” – Varys, A Song of Ice and Fire

Pay attention to the two and beware that if one’s with you right now, the other is probably be right around the corner.


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