The Staircase: To Ascend or Descend

By Christina Kim - November 04, 2015

The ambitious climbs up high and perilous stairs, and never cares how to come down; the desire of rising hath swallowed up his fear of a fall. 
- Thomas Adams -


The Staircase.

It is a representation of many things and has been used as a metaphor in many parts of life.
It is symbolic and it brings that perspective into many thoughts as one ponders on their life.

What does the staircase mean to you?

I am not here to tell you about the metaphors, or the interpretation of the picture of a staircase from a psychological point of view.

Rather, I am asking you, to take a look at the staircase and just think, what it really means to you.

In your own interpretation.

Sure, we could be guided by a lot of provoking thoughts out there, shared by millions of people; experts on the matter.

We could have that "Aha" moment when something just hits us and strikes off that chord in our heart, that just seems to resonate with that exact sentiment we have deep down in our souls, which we never knew was there until that moment of enlightenment when you come across that very topic.

We all have our very own ways of looking at a situation; through our very own kaleidoscopic lens.
Perhaps there is a general representation, but some perceptions are just unique and only meaningful to that particular individual, for that meaning only he or she understands.

We can learn and be told many about the many different things in life, but in the end, it is about what truly means the most to you and what you really think.
Which hit that nail on the head (your head, literally speaking), and that path you decide to take on; the one which you, and only you can see, from the lens of your own vision.

The Staircase brings many images to one's mind and holds distinctive perspectives depending on the angle on which it is viewed.

I have always been quite fixated on staircases.

I find it fascinating due to the many steps which form its very own structure and that wide array of possibilities it seems to be holding, and beckoning to one.


It is that mode of connection; between one floor to another.

One can be ascending or descending the staircase at one point.

But as you stand before a staircase, which way do you really see; which direction first comes to your mind?

Leading upward or downward?
Ascending or descending?

This is really just a matter of perspective; there is really no right or wrong and is just simply a way of looking at it.

Remember the story or that famously (often overused) depiction of the glass of water; whether you look at it half-full or half-empty?

Well, this is just probably that same angle of perspective we can look at the staircase.

I'm sure most would just say, it really depends on that particular spot from where you are standing and from which angle you would looking from.

If you are standing at the top of the staircase, of course naturally you would be inclined to bow your head down to look at it heading in the downward direction.
In this case, you would see the staircase as a way of descending to the ground floor.
This would be certainly logical and applicable; provided there are no more fleet of stairs leading upward, of course.

Unless, there is that third scenario, which gives you an in-between dimension to put you on the spot to look at it in a multi-dimensional aspect.

Focus on that, that would be the outlook, and the perfect platform to just really think about it in depth.

It is natural to look down when you're standing at the top, and of course, when you're standing at the bottom of the staircase, you would just tilt your head to look in the upward direction.
So it is a straightforward manner to define whether it's upward or downward; in both directions respectively.

Now, when you are stuck in-between, which way do you perceive the direction of the staircase?


This is the grey area.

If the other two represent the black and white, this would be the grey.

It is the way you look at it.

Most of us would think of the upward, simply because, if you are right in the middle, you must have made it from the ground floor and hence, you will need to continue exploring by ascending the staircase.
It makes sense, doesn't it?

What if you were from the top?
You were done with the exploring and is now looking to head back downstairs, back to the ground base and you would need to descend the staircase.
That is also logical.

It is pretty straightforward.

But a forced matter of throwing one in the middle of nowhere and stuck in a zone where you have to make the decision, you will take the time to think and then analyze where you really came from.
There are additional possibilities to consider to sum up the alternate deductions.

That is how life is like.

The staircase is really just another way of bringing into perspective how life is really like.

We all start from ground zero; at the level of the base where it is all flat.

Then we see the staircase.

We will climb up the staircase.

We see the upward the direction of the staircase.
It represents growth, it represents possibilities and that cavern of opportunities.
We don't know what is up there; especially when this is not a staircase in the familiar home environment.
(Even in your own house, sometimes you may not known who or what is up there. 

Sometimes you just climb the staircase to get to your room, because that is the only way to get to your space of comfort or to grab that thing you need from your own room).

We want to know what is up there.

Mystery is somewhat scary yet enticing to almost every one of us.

It excites people, because everyone wants to know the answer to almost everything in life.

We seek answers, because we simply do not want to be starved or deprived of knowledge.
We want to know.
It could be to satisfy our self-seeking desires.
It could be to fulfill that need to know.
Both of which; if not treaded carefully could be just synonyms for pride.

Pride could lead to much more; greed, lust, envy and vices that could eventually consume us and leads to self-destruction.

We climb the staircase as we grow.
We want to see more.
Possibilities await and the more we climb, the more we see.
Some yearn for the top, because that is where they feel they are in total and ultimate control.

When you find something at every level following your climb, you find satisfaction.
That is the achievement you find yourself enjoying; with every age or as you grow through life.
That excellent academic achievement, that work promotion, the development of career, the discovery of a new and fulfilling relationship, the arrival of a new baby, and more of these positive achievements just anchor one's sense of self achievement.
It makes them feel as though they are working towards their life goals, and that they are a step closer with every milestone.
It is fulfilling and it is a rewarding experience.

Some would be content, and they could stay at a level where they decide that they have reached their goals.

There could be more stairs leading upward but they are not inclined to take another step; not because they can't but because they do not want to.
It is their choice.

There are also stairs leading down, but they want to remain at where they have reached and settled.
That is the point of their contentment.
They are happy at where they are.

The options and possibilities would just stare at them; either going up or down, but they would not look at either, not anymore.
These possibilities would slowly fade, with time and that represents the process of age.
They would eventually just be gone from the picture, and that means they are no longer even looking at the staircase.
That level is already their ground.

There are those who would be really good at ascending the staircase.
They nail it at every step.
They move forward and they make it to the next level.
They continue their journey upward.
Nothing stands in their way.
They just know the top is the ultimate goal.
Sometimes they can see the top and they keep it in their minds, making sure that reaching that top is their only objective in life.
They went against all odds, regardless of the objections or even those who disagreed with them in their vision.
They could risk everything, just to reach that top which is already embedded in their mind.
They don't see anything else but that top.
When they reach the top, they feel they are in absolute control.
That is the peak and that is their universe in which they are the center.
That is their achievement.
The definition of their success.

They work hard in pursuit of their ambition.
Sure, some could balance between their ascent and their need to pause in between once in a while, before they continue their journey upward.
Some would be obsessed and would just continue to move forward; even when their energy level is already low and they need that break.
They would not stop.
They have come this far.

What if the top cannot even be seen?
You have been ascending the staircase, like forever, and yet you still don't see the top of the staircase.
You don't even know how it looks like.
It looks like there are still so many steps leading upward.
You have no idea where it leads to but how it really looks like.
You only know that, as long as this is heading upward, you must move in that direction.
You only want to reach the top.
Even if you don't know how long it takes, or how it even looks like.

You are just obsessed with ambition, yet you don't really have an idea what you really want to achieve in your life.
You just need to feel in control; you just want to keep heading upward.
It is not that you have not achieved anything in life, but nothing seems enough for you.
You just want to continuously pursue and run after the invisible wind; or that imaginary cloud on the top which could take you to even higher levels.
You think it is about ambition and about reaching the peak, but you don't even know what is the peak.
You never seem to be content with everything, even when you already seem to have more successes in life than everyone or anyone else you know.

These are the many possibilities the staircase can tell you.

Sure, we can always look upward, in that straightforward old-fashioned staircase style which is just simply designed that you take the fleet of the staircase and move upward.

There is also the spiral staircase that could take you on a spinning turn towards the upward direction as you walk up the staircase, and you could end up feeling dizzy and nauseous.
It looks fabulous and just so enticing but the journey is taking a toll on your mind and soul.
You can't stop because it's just designed in such a way that it would be scary to walk back down and you are afraid you will just stumble and fall to your death.


There is also the zig zagging type of staircase; which stops at floors but looking haphazardly so.
It seems confusing yet with that sharp edges jutting out at every level, but less obnoxious as compared to the spiral staircase.
You get to your levels but you need to plan.
You can choose to continue or to stop.
There is break.
It may seem a little disorderly, but it is just as complicated as you make it out to be.
It is the way it is designed that you perceive it so, but really, the cutting edges are just part of the grand design and sometimes practical too.

How about the width and the height of each step?


Some staircases are just so steep, and the steps run out gradually with time that you can no longer make out its outline.

Some are just so close and narrow that you would have to walk sideways to get a hold of your footing.

Some are too wide and you feel like you are leaping with each step.

Some have that open gap between the steps; which if you are not careful, you could even lose your footing and just fall, or get caught between the steps.

What happens when you fall?

Why are we so afraid of falling?

Why are most of us more inclined to look at the upward direction?
Because ascent is always more positive?

When we fall, we are thrown back to the ground.
It could hurt, it could be humiliating.
Sometimes it could be fatal.
We could died on the spot.

That's the fear we have.

We don't want to think of falling.
Some won't even take the step to climb Up the staircase, because they are afraid of the fall.

Some climb halfway, then they fall.
They feel hurt, and embarrassed, that they swore off the staircase forever.

Some climb, fall, yet get up and climb again.

Some made it to the top, but at some point, decide to try taking the way downward, heading back to where they came from.

Some wants to climb only to get that thrill or that experience of climbing a staircase, but then they head back down.
They get to see the sides of both ends of the staircase.

Some never really wanted to climb that far anyway, it was just the pressure or that part where they just joined the crowd or because they were told to.
They longed to head back down, but out of pride, they stayed put.

Some climbed, then cannot decide whether they want to climb further or head back down.

Some climbed without an idea where or why they are climbing and don't even know the upward versus the downward.

Some make themselves believe that climbing up is the right way and just head up anyway.

Some don't even notice the staircase is right there.
They don't even realize the existence of the staircase.

It is what life is trying to tell us sometimes.

We could be so obsessed with a staircase, we could be so obsessed with the upward because it is right.

But, who says it is right?

Who decides the upward is the right thing to do, and that it should be done that way?

Why is downward a bad thing?

Why can't we head downward?

Downward doesn't mean giving up everything or losing everything; neither does it represent failure.

Sometimes it could be the representation of home.
That ground where we came from.
The origin.

We did not all fall from the skies, honey.

Sure, blame it on that whole idea of how we were blatantly lied to about how storks brought the babies, but really, we must never forget our roots.

The ground represents the roots.

That home, that base and it could be that safety ground.
We started from nothing, but that is not the full representation of the ground.
It is not nothing.

If it was nothing, why do we need to go home every single day, after work?
Why do children go back to their parents during weekends, or when there's a school break?

The ground is more than just level zero.
It is that home base.
It is where our feet stands.

Sometimes, the journey upward could be fulfilling, but a journey downward may not be any less.

It depends on where or what you are really seeking for in life.

The Staircase is really just that picture to give you that perspective.

Most of all, don't be afraid to even take a first step.

And don't even just live your whole life, looking down at the ground (and on yourself) and miss out on the things around.

You never know when a glimmering staircase covered with lush velvety red carpet is standing right there; staring at you in the face.

Take that step, but always remember to stay balanced (watch your footing) and be aware of the price to pay, for walking on a glamorous staircase.

Some staircases could be deceiving; leading you to think it is heading to heaven, but you make the choice.
It is your call.
Just decide wisely.

Don't always fear the fall, sometimes you may not realize it but an accidental fall could make you realize that the ground is safe, or that place where you belong or prefer (your true calling).

Accidents to happen, but don't let it hold you forever.

Take the step, no one dictates where you should go upward or downward.
Only You make that decision.

Move forward, and choose wisely.

You don't need to see the whole staircase to make that first step, sometimes you just need to take risk.
Life is all about choices and risks.

Most importantly, Believe in yourself.

Have Faith.

You may not even need to climb, sometimes you can just sit.
Of course, to save you all that trouble, you could even just take the elevator, but that's a totally different story altogether.
Besides, you know what they say, the faster you go up, you could also just drop in an instant, and mechanisms fail sometimes.

So, the staircase is still safer albeit old-fashioned but some old things never go out of style.

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase
- Martin Luther King Jr -


*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal expenses, opinions and preferences and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

This is based on my personal experience and is told in a subjective manner, entirely from my perspective.

Photos all belong to me and are copyrighted.

LIKE my Facebook Page
Follow Me on Twitter @Angelstar
Follow my Google+
Stalk me on Instagram @AngelstarChristy
Check out my Pinterest @Angelstarc

  • Share:

You Might Also Like