I finished a good book today, one that I’ve been reading for a few weeks now. I will not insert its storyline here because I don’t want this blogpost turning into a book review. But let me assure you, I slammed the stupid thing shut when I finished it, tossed it dismissively onto the floor in disgust and haven’t been able to shake its frayed ending out of my mind since.
It was a great suspense novel, quite unpredictable in its plot twists and left-fielders. I hung in there, simultaneously trying to figure out the protagonist’s next move and trying to learn the tricks of writing a good white-knuckler. The frame of this literary house was one mess of a marriage between two seriously deranged people who loved and loathed each other, at the same time. I was certain that someone would end up in jail or dead because somebody deserved it. Malicious, vindictive and truly hateable people hid behind the pretty faces of those characters and I needed somebody to win in the end. Or lose. I couldn’t wait to see who went down, finally. What made me hate that book (well not the whole book but definitely the ending) was that nobody did!
And then, the story was just over. SO unsatisfying.
I don’t hate anyone. Not anymore. I hope I’ve grown out of those exhausting years when the upheaval of mid-life caused me to lose control over my emotions in a disturbing variety of ways ranging from boiling anger to unbridled gossip to….smoldering hate, a hate so palpable that it used to make my armpits sweat and my heart pound! I don’t let loose those parts of my id anymore; I’m too old and hopefully much more mature, and frankly I just don’t have it in me to sort out the carnage of one of my warpaths. But in certain relationships in our lives, relationships we can’t just amputate like we would like, the same people still hurt us, don’t they? And is there ever, ever proper closure to those sad storylines?
I want to write a different ending for so many of my relationships, but I don’t know how.
I keep waiting for a set passage of years to go by or for the flip of a page over to a fresh, new chapter of my life-book, bringing relief to old, set-in resentments towards people I’ve known a long, long time. I want a life without them, those people I mean. Most days I stay pretty caught up in the busy excitement of my every-day and they don’t bother me, I don’t even think about them. To borrow an old adage from my past, Life Is Good, almost all of the time.
But today, I am chewing on things. Bad things. Old things. Brutal things. Past things. Betrayals. Disappointments. Things that make me feel hate again. Because sometimes people who go away always don’t stay away. It was reaffirmed to me recently, as if I needed reminding, that people don’t change. I was shown for the umpteenth time that kindnesses often go unreciprocated. Love is withheld. Jabs are taken. Loyalties are an illusion. People disappoint. Not everyone is good. Nothing is as it seems.
Thinking on these things, I felt my peace slipping from me and a warpath unfurled, asking me to come take a walk.
So for about ten minutes, my mind lowered heavy iron gates down around my inner circle, slamming them shut before anything else that was painful was allowed to crawl in under them. I considered a rampant delete-fest of infidels from my social sites to get those people out of my life again. I thought about disappearing from my social media altogether, to hide and protect the things I do with the people I love from the people I wish would just disappear. I mulled over every false and fake interaction I’d played a party to for the last few years. I felt myself swirling up inside an emotional tornado, trying to look in any direction for a sign that I’d missed; when did I stop noticing that people were pulling one over on me? I’d gotten soft, my old garrison – the one I’ve spent years building up around my life – was crumbling. They were the thoughts of a crazy person, controlled by hate again, so it seemed to me, anyway.
That’s my old self talking. I allowed ten minutes of emotional inner-nastiness to take place because I needed it, but it was unleashed only inside my own head. No relationships were severed and no vitriol was spewed because I need to think of myself as having restraint over those feelings now. I realize that no one makes me walk that warpath. I choose it, or I don’t. I said a small prayer asking God for self-discipline and decided to write about my struggles instead of acting on them and because I felt comfort in that, and because I am certain that we all have those people in our lives, I allowed the moment to just pass without doing anything about it.
Refreshingly, my peace returned soon enough.
People don’t change. No one is any less to blame now for the things I believe they did than they were an hour ago, or many years ago but I control none of it. I can’t protect anyone else from it. I can’t even protect myself from it. I can only control what I do about it. And that is…not a damn thing. So unsatisfying sometimes, like the disappointing end of great book, but so much better in the long run.
How’s that for a crappy ending to this story? <Sigh> I know how you feel.