"The Power of Perception: A Tale of Perspectives and Humanity" by Elijah Rainey
Indulge me for a moment. Let's imagine there was a man who was decrepit, roguish, and unsavory. The hunger in his eyes was evident, and his malnourished state made him appear weak. He walked with a definite limp, perhaps due to an injury sustained earlier in the day. As he stumbled upon a bakery, the aroma of freshly baked bread permeated the air, creating a soft fog. The man's eyes were glazed and bloodshot, indicating that he had either not slept in days or had slept uncomfortably. He reached out with his bony hand to open the door, which swung open to reveal an even thicker haze than the one outside. He made his way inside, his stomach growling with every step, and set his sights on a loaf of bread. Grabbing the loaf, he turned to leave as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the baker had just finished working in his kitchen when he saw the thief with the loaf of bread in his hands halfway out the door. Anger boiled up within him as he watched the thief flee. He had grown tired of the stench and unpleasantness brought about by the poor. He reached under the counter to retrieve a not-so-clean steel bat that was stained with dark red spots and dented all over. His grip on the handle tightened as he marched out the door to confront the brazen thief who had dared to steal from him. However, what he saw only served to fuel his fury even more. The man he encountered was covered in filth, had a limp, and was trying to run away with the loaf of bread. If the baker's grip on the bat could have tightened any further, the bat would have been crushed like a tin can. The baker approached the thief in what seemed to be a single bound, brandishing his bat. With a heavy swing, the bat found its target.
The thief found himself crouched on the ground clutching the loaf of bread, being barraged with the blunt end of the bat. The thief winced in pain as the bat made contact with his skull, causing him to almost drop the loaf of bread buried in his arms. He stumbled to the ground, trying to regain his balance, but the blows kept coming, each one harder than the last. The downpour only stopped when the baker had finished venting his anger and turned back with a dripping bat in hand to return to his kitchen.
The man lay still on the concrete for a while, only getting up from fear of the bread going stale. His limp had worsened after the onslaught of strikes, but it wasn't the first time he had been beaten to such an extent. The man walked off until he reached the slums of the city to the north. There, he came upon a shack made of cardboard and loose steel. A tarp sat draped over the hovel, shielding the inhabitants from the harsh winter weather. Inside the hut, a child lay bedridden. Their nose ran green, with a deep red covering its tip. The child let out a rough cough, producing an even deeper red than what was on their nose. The hoarse hack howling out of the child only let up with a sparse drink of dirty water. The child turned towards the door, or what served the purpose of a door, to find a man shuffling through it. The boy's savior appeared before his hazed eyes, with a faint scent of bread. The man had long since been taking care of the boy despite having no relation. It was by chance that the man had happened upon the withering boy and brought him home to the hut that stood erect regardless of the elements. The savior had been with the boy for as long as he could remember. The man knelt down beside the child and handed him the loaf of bread. The child's eyes lit up with joy, and a weak smile crept across his face. The man felt a pang of guilt as he saw the child's condition, realizing that the bread he had stolen earlier would not have made much of a difference to him. He silently cursed himself for his impulsiveness and recklessness.
As the child eagerly tore into the bread, the man couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction. He knew that he had done a good deed by bringing the bread to the child, and it made him feel a little less guilty about stealing it. But deep down, he knew that he had to change his ways. The more he thought about this, the more he found it ironic. It was the world that had made him homeless, a thief, and a beggar. Yet, it was the boy who made him feel human.
In telling you that story, I hope to show something - that all humans view the world from different perspectives. Whether you are seen as the man, baker, thief, boy, or the savior, it is not up to you to decide. We are simply the culmination of what others perceive us to be, whether or not we believe it ourselves.
It's important to recognize that everyone has their own unique lens through which they see the world. What one person perceives as right, another may perceive as wrong. What one person finds beautiful, another may find ugly. And this is okay. Our differences are what make us human and what make the world interesting.
It's also important to realize that we have the power to shape how others perceive us. While we cannot control their perspectives entirely, we can control our actions and how we present ourselves to the world. By being kind, honest, and genuine, we can help ensure that others see us in the same positive light. Or something like that…