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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

KILLING HOPE

In general, I think that people would call me a hopeful person.  But, Life has taught me that hope can be a dangerous thing.  Hope in a hopeless situation can be more destructive than good.  It is a tricky thing to determine.  How do you know when something is truly hopeless?

The only answer I have found is that a situation is hopeless if hope rests on the chance that another person will change.  Taking a year away from relationships has afforded me the time and focus to watch other couples.  Some are great!  They epitomize all the things that I hope to one day have with a partner – mutual love, respect and trust.  Then I see many more who are ill-matched; making it work because that is what they should do – hoping for something to change that will make them happy again.  It is distressing. 

I find it particularly difficult because I spent years of my life in the same situation.  I did the same things: try to make it work; hope things will improve; be supportive, loving and determined; attempt every remedy known to man – only to wake in the wreckage of hope.  Yet, even as I stood amongst the rubble of my former life, the tyranny of hope raged on.  It would be another three years under its rule before a relapse would lead to the final slaughter of the hope that ruled my life for over a decade.  The hope that a person would become the partner I needed.  The partner who is best suited to me and I to him.  The hope that needed to end so my life could begin.

I will recognize that people do change – I have changed immensely in the past 8 months alone.  But at core, I am still myself.  My trouble was that for many years I had lost connection to that true self within and built a fa├žade which I presented to the world.  I denied my core being.  I denied it to accommodate myself to another person.  That is a recipe for disaster.  Then you sit and hope that since you are sacrificing yourself, the other person should do the same.  That is the hope.  That is where hope becomes toxic.  The other person is who they are.  Neither of you can be happy if you aren’t true to that person.

Some may argue that people have fought for years to get people to change – I dispute this.  Throughout history, people have never really changed.  Slave owners didn’t suddenly realize what they were doing was wrong and release all their slaves through a grandiose moral epiphany.  No!  They did it because they were told to by a higher power.  It was like-minded people who rallied together and stood up to say “this must stop” that exacted the change.  Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. did not change the minds of people (at least not the people who weren’t open to the change in the first place), they were a voice to which those afraid to speak could lend their cry.  Change came through generations taught that the hatred of the past would no longer be tolerated in the society in which they lived.  The change that these history-makers hoped for was not change within the oppressors, but the unification of the oppressed.  The hope that if one person stood, others would stand behind them.

It is a tricky distinction to make, but an important one.  Hoping for the sake of being hopeful won’t do you any good unless you are clear on what it is you are hoping for and I can’t state firmly enough that hoping for change in a person is like hoping for the sun to rise in the west.  The only way to exact change in this world is to exact change in yourself.  You can only control your own actions.  When you sacrifice your own well-being for another, you are allowing yourself to be oppressed.  You must decide your life.  If hope dwells in the shadow of doubt, it should be forsaken.  Hope shines like a beacon which guides you when you are lost.  It ripples inside of you and emanates from your core, which says “there is no other way.”  It makes you stronger.  If you are lost in hope, it is a fool’s hope to which you cling.

Friday, 4 April 2014

MONTH #8 - THE MIST DESCENDS

As much as the arrival of Month 7 was celebrated with all the pomp and fervour I could muster, so alternately Month 8 passed unceremoniously, barely noticed by the conscious mind.  I have reached a point of passive apathy.  It is like my libido has abandon ship in search of more plentiful harbours.  I spent most of the month working on the road, which is always enjoyable and helps the time pass more quickly.  Mostly, I feel like I’m in a funk.  The extreme highs and lows seem to have evened out.  Perhaps this is because I had been away from therapy for a while, so my natural defences have had opportunity to rebuild their walls.

I’m exhausted.  Even writing seems like work, which is usually very therapeutic.  I have been working non-stop contract work for quite some time now and I’m slowing down.  This makes me paranoid that I may not be as hirable, which then triggers a tailspin of self-doubt.  What if I can never find another contract again?!  I’ll be homeless.  I shouldn’t spend any more money because I’m going to be living on the street in a couple weeks.  I can’t believe I booked a trip overseas.  I could save the money to stave off homelessness for another couple weeks.  You know, that kind of irrational stuff.  The funny thing is that I am doing really well in my career and have received many glowing recommendations from clients.  Even if I were doing terribly, I have always managed to keep a roof over my head thus far.

Recently, mostly due to fatigue, I have been lusting after a punch-clock job that ends at the end of the work day.  I could then spend my time off focused on my writing rather than all the other things that my current work demands.  Not that I would, I do love my job, but the idea floats through my consciousness sometimes.  My sister and I have discussed running away for a year and working just enough to cover basic expenses and make a go of writing careers.  We still might.  After all, a year isn’t so long (though, I have never been so aware of time passing as much as this year).

It’s quite funny.  The year is flying by but dragging on is so many different ways. Work things are flying by and I can barely blink without a week having passed.  Then on the other hand, it feels like it was 10 years ago that I started this year without sex.  I can barely remember the sensation.  This is also a new record for the longest time I have gone without kissing a man (because I cheated during this year!).  I don’t even have a crush on anybody right now.  It is a proverbial desert.

I drink alcohol straight now.  No wasting time with mixing.  Not that I drink much (not like I used to).  But it helps.  Sometimes.  Dulls the sensation of nothing.  Or at least compliments it.  My therapist says this is my existential phase.  I don’t like existentialism.  The awareness of the futility of life doesn’t send rainbows shining through your window.  I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway as of late.  I feel like he understood.  I think that’s why he killed himself.  Likewise with Sylvia Plath.  There is an understanding.  Now, don’t go phoning the suicide hotline.  I’m not done with this world yet, but I get it.  I can see why someone would.  I’m of the opinion that death comes to us all in time.  Life is the rarer gift.  I may as well use what I have while I have it.  No one knows what is beyond the curtain of death.  I’ll find out when that journey comes due.  There is no need to rush there.  There is still so much yet unknown in this world.

Anyway, that’s where I sit right now.  Tacit resignation.  Could be worse!