Doomed for All Time? A self-help essay
by M. Pearson
Sisyphus was known by the Gods as the most cunning of humans. He used his silver tongue to trick Hades and cheat death twice. On Sisyphus’ third attempt, Zeus stepped in, deciding to give Sisyphus a punishment worse than death. He doomed Sisyphus, forcing him to push a boulder up a hill. and when Sisyphus reached the top of this hill, the boulder would always roll back down. The Sisyphean task is a punishment not of pain, but of futility, of weakness, and of melancholy. The Myth of Sisyphus is a myth often seen as a tale of tragedy and sadness. However, it is believed by some that Sisyphus was never broken by his task, and that he lives a fulfilling life as he taunts the Gods and pushes the boulder up his hill. You are living the Myth of Sisyphus, boulders aren’t that heavy and an eternity of punishment is inevitable so have fun with it.
Here’s what you did in Olympus. You thought about doing something. No. You, a peasant, practically vermin, trash in the gutters of this golden city, you dare to even think about doing anything but crying about how pathetic you are and wading in your own filth? You thought about creating something and changing yourself. By even thinking about being something more than you are you angered the Gods. and they gave you a boulder, a hill, and an eternity.
You are in fact doomed to this hill for eternity. or what of eternity your mortal eyes will live to see. Being stuck on this hill for all of time means that you are more than likely qualified to do, literally only thing you can do, on this hill. The Gods would be fools if they didn’t make sure that you were just barely strong enough to roll this rock to the unstable peak. You can at least push the boulder.
What is your boulder? What eternal plight have you been continually putting off until next week? What book have you been wanting to write or what workout have you been saying you don’t have the time or energy for? What boulder have you avoided pushing? and what mountain are you going to push it to the top of?
If you are plagued by the Sisyphean task, then you are a story, a myth, or a legend. Live like a legend. Tell your tale of boulders and mountains, the tale of that marathon you ran, that book you wrote, or that time you read this really good essay (yes this one, please feed my ego on the way out). Live like you are still on Olympus. Treat yourself as if you were one of the Gods as you push an insignificant pebble up an anthill.
If the Gods punish you, take it as a challenge, see it as a workout, or a meditation of zen. Enjoy your task, simply because the Gods don’t want you to. Spiting Gods seems like a petty thing to do, but you must understand that human mythology often represents the Gods as extremely petty beings
Just past the top of the hill, if you peer through the clouds, you can see Olympus, not the mountain but the city, the city of Gods. You went there once but it wasn’t as great as you had thought it would be. All the gold looked a bit tacky. The scenery at the bottom of the mountain was much nicer. You speak with Satyrs and other friendly creatures as they walk to the top of the hill with you. Even on this hill, you are not alone. Even on your hill with your task, there are things to see and people to talk to. You don’t need the scenery of Olympus. This quaint hill is all you could ever want.
The hill is a peaceful place to live: just you, the grass, the birds, the occasional Satyr, and the boulder. You can rest on this beautiful hill and just before the sun rises, as the dew catches the light of dawn, you lift yourself and prepare for another trek up the hill. If there is an eternity of work, then there is an eternity of rest. But of course, there must be a place to rest.
If you cannot live in Olympus, you must simply make your own. On this hill you can build a great community, a city fit not for the Gods, but for you. Your own little paradise built out of a simple garden; there an olive tree, maybe some ramps, and small roads to make watching the boulder roll down the hill a little more interesting. To build your own Olympus is a challenge to the Gods and to be satisfied with it is a victory.
As you grow each day, so will your task. You will never reach the top of your mountain but the boulder is a dream you can’t give up on. and that hill is a beautiful place to live. You are Sisyphus. Live life as a challenge to the Gods.
Mosadi Pearson is a tenth grader who likes to draw, write short stories and essays, create cardboard props, and play fighting games. Mosadi likes to use scientific concepts, mythology psychological phenomenons, and old songs.