We all deny. We all justify. They’re both great and frightening traits of being human. We need to do them, sometimes simply just to keep living with ourselves; sometimes we take them too far and actually buy into our own press and lose sight of how we and how others and how things really are. It’s a tippy balance as well as a slippery slope downhill and a long and often winding way up. Do you know yourself and are you staying true to it while still striving and working to become the person you wish to be or are you simply getting lost among your own illusions and delusions and fears and hopes and buried remorse and unspoken wish? Is the line still there and can you still see it? And are you honest enough, including to yourself, to tell the truth when you don’t? Would you give yourself a slap in the face and get a grip when you finally admit to yourself that somewhere down the road you lost the way or is it more convenient to pile on and keep on paving the road to hell with good intentions? Can you face the is and fuck the could be? Will you choose the want or the should and handle whatever consequences or swallow whatever regrets that come later?
We deny. We justify. And eventually what we do becomes who we are.
I had a friend once, who gave me a 2-year silent treatment for being ‘boastful’. Something about me always asking around about other people’s grades and comparing mine with theirs after tests and stuff (this was when I still went to University, which I eventually abandoned. And yes when I was that kind of student, I was that kind of student) or maybe something about being a family-supported brat and having a car and chauffeur and money and being matter-of-fact about it. Mind you, this is the same person who once publicly shared, “I completely believe in the power of faith. Like the other day, I was thinking how cool and fancy a Mercedes would be and the next day, lo and behold (okay, okay I’m paraphrasing) my father brought home this huge cool and fancy Mercedes. Oh happy day (yes, still paraphrasing)!” Of course, being caught up in intense rapture, the person missed the slight eye-rolls and exchanged looks in the audience that day. Apparently it’s only ‘boasting’ when someone else does it; when you do it, it’s called ‘sharing’. And boy, isn’t it oh-so-nice to share?
And a couple of years later, upon discussing a celebrity gossip about a saucy Hollywood starlet, this same person made the similarly public statement of, “She’s such a bitch. Stealing someone else’s husband like that. That’s why I’ve never liked her.” A statement that would’ve been much less ironic and invoked considerably less stunned silence and awkward topic change if the person saying it was not, in fact, committing an affair with someone who was originally someone else’s husband. When others commit, it’s sin and trespass; when we commit, it’s human nature and perfectly acceptable. As much beauty and intelligence this person possesses, self-knowledge is not one of the more well-known attributes.
I no longer talk to this person. Disregard the fact that I was the witness and confidant from the beginning of the affair to the heat of it to the marriage. Never mind that a couple of weeks before the wedding, the person came crying to me because it might be cancelled because of the person’s my-Dad-was-horrible-so-I-don’t-trust-men issues. Let’s forget the time spent in discussion, working over the person’s sexual inhibitions and handicaps together. I was dropped just like that after my having an altercation with another friend. The person for reasons unknown, without once asking my side of the story, decided that it was my fault and began yet another silent treatment. No, no this is not an attempt to make amends. I did that once and not about to make that mistake again. What I’d like to say is that through the years, I saw the person clearly. I knew the person. Still I accepted the person being who the person was. Yet extending a courtesy doesn’t always mean receiving the same in return, yes? Especially from someone who though I knew, did not know themselves well enough.
Denials. Justifications. To live in the comfortable shade of our carefully maintained ignorance or the unforgiving glare of self-awareness is a choice we all make for ourselves. I can’t make others see themselves for who and what they are but, as far as whoever and whatever I am is concerned, I can make damn sure that I do. I know my faults and virtues, my altruistic actions and darker desires. And as I look back at that particular episode of my life spent walking through it with that particular someone who was once a friend, I thank all that’s happened that taught me a little better about myself and others. And as I write this, I wave goodbye contentedly and am smilingly at peace.
Micha, speaking up and signing off.