It’s become pretty clear to me that kindness isn’t just for the people around you, and random strangers that you let go ahead of you at the grocery store.
I’m pretty tough on myself; the result of a reversal of many years of denial and bullshit and stupidity, turned the other direction. Once I came to the realization that freedom and responsibility were inseparable, that we are both entirely free all of the time, no matter our scenario and entirely responsible for everything we do, say and think… well, it was only a matter of time before the previously repressed and desperately ignored guilt over behaving like such an asshole came to bear.
It’s been almost a decade since that realization and I’m still an ineffectual nobody; I just now more intimately aware of how my own actions, the thoughts I have and the things I say impact the world around me. People love to put realizations like this out as epiphanies, but that’s bullshit. A lifetime of behaviour, whatever it is, doesn’t change in an instant – not for the vast majority of it and us. Change is often gradual, tiny realizations we come to that shift our values, our needs, our wants.
For example, I wanted to be rich once. Now, I just want to make enough of a living not to worry about money too much, and to be able to do the things I want to do. I’m more interested in a simple life filled with joy than a lucrative one filled with bullshit. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, as they say.
(Of course, whoever complains about being rich should be forced to be dirt poor or homeless for a while. Extremes of poverty and riches each have their own particularly nasty repercussions.)
The point here is that kindness begins at home. I have to start being kinder to myself; forgiving myself for the way I behaved as a teenager, as a young man in my twenties, as an idiot finally beginning to realize what an idiot he is/was, and now, as a man in my forties whose fears and depression dictate the level of risk he’s willing to endure.
Ironically, my DNA tests suggest I am a risk taker. Perhaps I would be, under different circumstances.
For now, the biggest risk is to forgive myself, to let go the sins of the past and finally, to remember them, but to learn what they’re trying to teach me, so as not to repeat them.
(And maybe stop referring to them as sins, but rather mistakes. Whoopsies. Duhs.)
Target: 1300 words
Written: 218 words, novel: Father Lightning