Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bitterness and an Onslaught of the Darkness

Very rarely does a passage in a book hit me over the head so hard as to insue a bout of the Darkness. The Darkness being a word that Liz and I have picked up to describe feelings of ill will towards one's self, and a general poopy-ness that accompanies the Darkness. I was reading this section from High Fidelity, and it sent me into a tail-spin. A right ol' nasty spin to be perfectly honest about it. I've been debating on posting this at all, as I generally try to keep a sunny disposition even in the face of Life's bullshit, but this is just too good, too succint to ignore, and to be honest the impact it has had is reason enough to put it into the open. I read this to my friends who were over this weekend trying to describe any funkiness that they were sensing from me, and they all agreed that this is some pretty dark shit- you've been warned:

     "I guess you could see it as bitterness, if you wanted to. I don't think of myself as bitter, but I have disappointed myself; I thought I was going to turn out to be worth a bit more than this, and maybe that disappointment comes out all wrong. It's not just the work; it's not just the thirty-five and single thing, although none of this helps. It's ... oh, I don't know. Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself when you were a kid? Or pictures of famous people when they were kids? It seems to me that they can either make you happy or sad. There's a lovely picture of Paul McCartney as a little boy, and the first time I saw it, it made me feel good: all that talent, all that money, all those years of blissed-out domesticity, a rock-solid marriage and lovely kids, and he doesn't even know it yet. But then there are others- JFK and all the rock deaths and fuck-ups, people who went mad, people who came off the rails, people who murdered, who made themselves or other people miserable in ways too numerous to mention - and you think, stop right there! This is as good as it gets!
     Over the last couple of years, the photos of me when I was a kid, the ones that I never wanted old girlfriends to see ... well, they've started to give me a little pang of something - not unhappiness, exactly, but some kind of quiet, deep regret. There's one of me in a cowboy hat, pointing a gun at the camera, trying to look like a cowboy but failing, and I can hardly bring myself to look at it now. [...] I keep wanting to apologize to the little guy: 'I'm sorry, I've let you down. I was the person who was supposed to look after you, but I blew it: I made wrong decisions at bad times, and I turned you into me.'" 

-Nick Hornsby "High Fidelity"


Liz said...

I've totally felt like that.. and I would venture to say that I've been in a place like that since yesterday afternoon for no apparent reason. This is the moment when I like to go spend time with little kids or other people who remind you of the best things about yourself when you can no longer see them and who remind you that you have until the day you die to build a life that makes you happy. You just have to accept that what ends up making you happy might not be the things you originally thought. It's really hard to crawl out of that hole alone.

Matt Fate said...

Its all to easy to overlook the fact that you are greater than you ever expected or perhaps even realize in more ways than those in which you fall short of the promises and expectations of the past, impressed upon you by others or perhaps yourself.

It is truly an incomplete assessment if you judge yourself, or the amount of potential that you believe you have fulfilled, before your last breath has been issued. As time passes, I imagine that you will be less concerned about what you haven't done, what you couldn't do, what you should have done, than you are happy about what you DID do. This is especially true of kind hearted individuals who do good things, such as yourself. Happiness is less about society and one's place therein, and more about personal relationships you have forged over the course of your life, goals you've reached, and the lives your actions have touched.

Lasting regret is wasted headspace, a self-perpetuating Darkness. You can, at any time, change what you don't like or make amends (even to yourself) for things you wish you hadn't done or do things again that you wish you had done differently. Regret in small doses is your conscience disapproving of your actions, telling you to make it better; but left to fester, it and hopelessness are aspects of the same dark blade of malaise.

Now go take some more bad-ass pictures, work your healthy mind and body, love your friends, family, and awesome girlfriend, taste of the beauty all around you, and be yourself freely. Oh yeah, and come meet our new puppy!!! :)