Hypothetical Imperative

by Elizabeth McGinn on February 25, 2021


girl hiding face
photo courtesy of pixabay.com

by Kate Ward ’23

My sophomore year of high school my parents gave me some advice
You can’t control how others react, you can’t control their emotions
At the time this was some pretty bad advice and I threw it to the wind
I can do whatever I want, people will listen to me

Four challenging years later I sit awake at night
The whispers of lies about me swirling through paper thin walls
She’s rude, attention seeking, a liar
I come back to the advice I had received as my heart begins to break

I can’t control how others react to my differences
I can’t control their emotions towards me
It all seems fairly narcissistic if you think of it
But then again, it takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations

So I make a new hypothetical imperative
My goal: be my truest self
My command: relinquish control over others and be true, be firm in yourself
I don’t know if Kant would like me much but then again
I can’t control how others react