Amber had no choice. It didn’t matter.
She knew it wasn’t right.
There was a shame that exceeded all others. You had to know what you were doing was wrong. Everyone you knew had to know what you were doing was wrong. Everyone in the world had to know that what you were doing was wrong. It also was very important for everyone to be aware you are doing it.
The key was silence. The key was the look of sadness on everyone’s face as you failed morally. Amber had never known that look.
She knew it wasn’t right. She felt the shame.
It’s easier to hold two conflicting values than she had realized. She deeply needed for her family, friends, and everyone to be proud of her. Society had days of judgement for everyone. This judgement happened once a year. On these days, it was determined if you were a good person. If you deserved to even exist. Everyone went through them. It kept society working towards a common goal. Society needed to know what the common good was, and these enforced that.
The best result could be everyone acknowledging you as a complete human. Someone who exemplified the execution of their role in society. Someone who didn’t harm others. Someone who was happy and made those around them happy.
The worst result could be a complete rejection of you as a member of the society. This required someone harming others. This required someone failing at their job to the extent that we would have been better if they did nothing. Amber didn’t fail at her job. Amber failed at her personal life.
She knew it wasn’t right. She felt the shame. She didn’t know what to do.
Everyone in society knew her. She was an exemplar of doing her best. She was conscientious and never made mistakes that anyone was exposed to. She was 31 years old and at the top of her profession.
There was one flaw in everything. She had never started a family. She had never known love. She was a pretty girl. She had never given anyone the opportunity to tell her as such before. She had a distance about her in any personal conversation.
That was the old version of her. The new version of her was desperate. There was something that she couldn’t control. She had started making mistakes that were unlike her. She had no idea why. Amber wishes she knew why.
She knew it wasn’t right. She felt the shame. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know who she was.
It was important to know yourself. Even more important might be being okay with yourself and who you are. The challenge is that people aren’t perfect. You are more than the sum of your parts. Biology has a way of making you into something that no one recognizes, least of all yourself.
No matter how perfect you are, you will be wanting something. It is why humans have achieved so much. Some people want to improve themselves. Some people want to improve others. Some people want to improve the systems within society.
Those different motivations aren’t the only aspect of humanity, though. Some people want to destroy themselves. Some people want to ruin others. Some people want to see society come to a grinding halt.
The challenge was knowing which aspect of humanity your action represented. You had to choose if you really wanted to do something. Sometimes, even if you didn’t want to do something, you did it anyways. You could know it was wrong, but you had no way of stopping yourself from doing it.
The easiest way for this to happen is if your inaction would cause something horrified. What happens if you are society’s hero? What happens if you are the perfect being and everyone depends on you? What happens if you choose to do nothing? Does society fail? Amber knew the answer to this question.
She knew it wasn’t right. She felt the shame. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know who she was. She wanted to be left alone.
No one can be perfect every moment of their life.