I love it when you read to me.
You can read me anything.
–The Magnetic Fields/The Book of Love
“Not only are there no happy endings,” she told him, “there aren’t even any endings.”
–Neil Gaiman/American Gods
In an imaginary conversation the other day, I mentioned someone who’d done some shitty things to me having been a catalyst for a lot of positive changes in my life.
Full disclosure: the imaginary conversations I write are often full of reality. Snips of actual conversations. More than snips, sometimes. Things I think, but only to myself. Things I wish I could say, but can’t for some reason. Some of them are pure wishful thinking. Others are things that I want to acknowledge in some way, like a positive change coming from something that appears to have ended pretty badly.
For whatever reason, it is important to me to recognize that someone brought a lot of good into my life along with some bad. A need for gratitude, maybe, even though the situation as a whole makes me incredibly sad. Or maybe just a need to recognize that few situations are entirely without some sort of positive side.
Or, maybe I am being pathetic trying to make something where there is nothing. Maybe I feel like I need to be extra fair, since I can only give my own side of the story.
There are many possibilities, and in the Land of What If, I am the Queen.
Here is my working theory:
The bad doesn’t invalidate the good any more than the good erases the bad. If someone was, is, this important to me I would really rather remember the good than focus on the bad.
Do my reasons even matter? I guess not. What matters is that I feel a need to recognize and be grateful for the good stuff, and give credit where it is due.
So. The good.
There is so much good, it far outweighs the bad.
The spark, or sparks, of change came out of a long series of conversations that we sometimes called our book. Those conversations always lead to a lot of thinking. At least they did for me. I’ll miss the book, and the thoughts that came out of it.
Thinking about what really matters to me. Thinking about what I want for myself, and not what someone wants me to want or needs me to.
Discovering how much I was refusing to feel and deal with in my life.
Acknowledging how I had completely shut down many aspects of myself.
Inspiring a process of introspection that has been both painful and ultimately healthy.
Leading me to discover that trying to block out painful or uncomfortable feelings just leaves you numb.
Learning that in order to trust people, you have to trust them. Learning that if you trust people, some of them won’t deserve it and you should stop trusting them while continuing to trust everyone else.
Figuring out that if you are your real self, even if you are weird, people will like you better for it. People may even love you for it. People can’t love someone if they don’t know who they really are.
Realizing that there is no way to completely avoid being hurt or hurting people. You just have to do your best to be kind and empathetic.
Discovering that I really would rather hear the truth, even if it hurts, than be left with a half truth or a factual statement that hides the truth.
Realizing that no matter how much you love someone, there might be things that make it better to create some distance. Maybe in the short term, maybe in the long term.
Helping me understand on more than just an intellectual level that I can only change myself. And then, starting to do just that.
Good stuff right?
Did he directly cause any of this? No, not at all. He just got me thinking. I can’t even say he lead by example. I started the process of change myself. I am the only person I can change.
What has changed?
My whole life.
I’ve hurt people in the process, and been hurt myself, but I wouldn’t change it. Couldn’t.
For the first time, I actually enjoy being around people. I enjoy talking to people more and more. I will probably always be shy and introverted, but it won’t be because I am afraid people won’t like me. Some people won’t. That will hurt when it happens. I’ll muddle through.
No matter what things happen, I think that is the biggest positive change. I’ve learned that everything will be fine. Better than fine.
My life is a gorgeous, funny, complicated, wonderful place.
Being me rocks, mostly.
Thanks for putting me on the road to seeing that being me is a good thing, Clarence.
There’s nothing but love, you know, even when I don’t like the way you end a chapter.
Say hi to Kitty.