The Lash of Truth May Draw Blood
“To free the soul from the chains of illusion in order that the lash of truth may draw blood at a greater number of points.”
− definition of Disenchantment by Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary
There are certain questions which have two answers.
One such question is – Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?
One answer is a dream of reality, which may be based on reality but is more a hoped for state. Who we’d like to be, what we’d like to do, how we imagine handling something or someone. But it’s theoretical. We’re not in that situation, we’re thinking about it, musing, and answering from that perspective, safely removed and detached from the earth of living, floating just above the ground, maybe even high enough to sit on a fluffy cloud and ponder our better self who is rather lovely and would be decent and good.
We like to paint pretty pictures of ourselves (photoshopping out the blemishes and bad bits) when telling others about who we are and what we do.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”
― Henry David Thoreau
And one answer which is the actual reality. Who we actually are, what we actually do, how we really handle something or someone, when push comes to shove. It’s not theoretical, we’re in the situation, reacting to it, acting on instinct, programming, whatever impulse is live in the present. No time to think things through, be or do what we imagined. Our feet are firmly planted in the mud, dirt, and basic experience of living, being and doing. This version of us can be slightly different from our better self, and definitely isn’t as lovely as we’d like. It can be the a-hole whom we prefer to pretend we could never be (and may blame others for it – he/she made me do it, feel this way, it’s not my fault, etc).
The self-portraits our actions and words paint in the moment can be rather shocking to the aesthetic of cosmetic artist within us.
“Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.”
― Martin Amis
Both of these answers can be experienced by the person answering as the truth… even if they contradict each other and others may have a different opinion of the matter… as they are alternate forms of the truth.
Extenuating circumstances have bearing on the answer we give at any given time.
If we’re in a good mood and things are going well for us, or if we’re in pleasant company (or perhaps trying to impress those asking), then we might believe in the best of ourselves (having forgotten, and perhaps also forgiven, the worst side of us because that part is not needed at this time and frankly we’d rather not think about it).
However if we’re in a bad mood and things are going every which way but where we want them to go, or if we’re in dubious company (and want that person or people to know that they really should not mess with us), then we might opt to portray ourselves in a different light – a dark one.
Whichever way we go… all ways eventually meet up (and may have a bit of a brawl when they do – our separate sides don’t necessarily get along).
“There is an odd synchronicity in the way parallel lives veer to touch one another, change direction, and then come close again and again until they connect and hold for whatever it was that fate intended to happen.”
― Ann Rule
Being a bit topsy turvy, I tend to portray myself far worse than I actually am.
It’s a habit borne of… many things, reasons…
some of which are manipulative – tell people how awful you are and they are more likely to be pleasantly surprised when you don’t live up to your own bad press. Tell people you’re better than you actually are and… they’ll spend a lot of time and effort trying to be disappointed by yo, which can sour the relationship.
some are fear-based – I can come across as rather green, naive, stupid, and this can complicate matters as people think I’m an idiot – I can be one (one who is aware of being one), but not always in the way that people may think – and try to take advantage.
[Note to the salesman who thought that I’d pay a ridiculous amount of money to sort out the septic system of my house – I am fairly certain that you based your judgment on faulty parameters. I am not desperate, not in a hurry to sort it out, I can wait………………………… nor am I afraid of my own shit, being dirty, and living in a basic and wild kind of way.]
and some are… quirks of living and being – I grew up being told the awful truth about myself every time someone else had a problem with themselves they’d rather deflect elsewhere. It’s a difficult and intricate piece of nurturing to remove… and I’m not sure I want to remove it, it has its uses.
When faced with a question about holding grudges, forgiving and forgetting, anger and the like…
my preferred answer tends to be…
a fantasy of the reality of things.
I’d like to be far fiercer, far more grudge-filled, unforgiving and with the memory of a very pissy elephant than I actually am… but I’m too lazy for that, and tend to get bored of holding onto things which are easier to let go (just don’t mistake my moving on for letting you off the hook if you did something that inspired my anger – it takes ages to ripen, but once it does…).
“Based on the experience of my life, which I have not exactly hit out of the park, I tend to agree with that thing about, If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. And would go even further to: Even if it is broke, leave it alone, you’ll probably make it worse.”
― George Saunders