I have been corresponding with an old friend for a while now. Like many friendships, this one had its good points and its amazingly low points. In the end, neither of us were very good friends to the other, though we cared for the others well being very deeply. So, through a certain googled name, we came in contact again… it has been interesting to say the least. It has brought back a lot of the anger, on both our parts I think, on how we treated the other. Which is a shame, but it is a very interesting process. In part, because we are speaking honestly for the first time in a very long time, also, because the process has been very liberating as well as humiliating. Facing ones nastier past is not the easiest of tasks. You are forced through their or ones own dialog to look at ones actions, not from the ego point of view, but from the more global view. Looking at how one behaved as an adolescent, in my case, requires a lot of self forgiveness and exploration of the reasons why I treated some folks so terribly.
There was one friend that I once told she was fat, to her face. In retrospect, she was not fat, (and you don't know how mush I fought to not write "all that" here) though she was most certainly not the nicest person and did hurt many friends of mine... but, frankly, that did not give me license to hurt her feeling so badly. Now, I have to admit, it this occurrence of calling her fat, happened after imbibing a few bottles of champagne while in a hot tub (these do not mix BTW)… but what gave me license to drink that way… for one it was illegal for me to drink (though I did often and well during these years of my life) and it is also, and most importantly, quite contrary to my nature to behave that way. Sadly, that was not the only time I was mean to that girl. And when I think about what I did to her (in absence of what she did to me and any one else), contrition is not enough, I almost feel worthy of a hair shirt and self flagellation.
Now, that is also an interesting idea… that feeling of intense remorse that makes one feel that worthiness is not attainable, unless through acts of contrition. I think my growing up in a South American catholic environment may be the origin of some of this, in addition to trying very hard to be a good person and hating ones failures in that attempt. After all I did join in on a pilgrimage where we crawled on our knees to the church once... I was 6 or so and it was my choosing.
Where can I find solace that the long term repercussions, of these times when I behaved so abominably, are not negative ones to her anymore? Can I assume that she took these situations and turned them into more positive ones? I do not fear damnation, I know in my heart that I try very hard to be a good person; that I try to behave honorably, to be patient with folks who think differently than I, that I work very hard at tempering my tongue when I hear or see things I consider unfair and/or condescending... When I don’t think people are trying to attain a higher standard themselves. Now this may be what some may call my standard, but I think there is a universal ideal on how folks should be treated… that standard is the one to which I am referring. Sure there is a gray area, but all the religions touch on it, the most famous probably being to love thy neighbor or the golden rule…
I guess my point is that it is always hard to face that in the past I was not the nicest of people and that I could sink so very low, and that I allowed a sense of retribution to direct me to behave poorly.
PS I am listening to the Magic Flute - I always get reflective when I listen to Mozart.
Tags: self, blair