I have an admission to make. I am the ultimate optimist. You would think that is a good thing, but let me tell you, sometimes it’s not. A friend said recently that hope is a very bad thing and I shook my head. How can it be? Hope is a good thing, right? As long as there is hope, you can carry on? It is the thing that fuels perseverance. It is the thing that allows people to get second chances. It is the thing that allows forgiveness.
But sometimes, it really isn’t a good thing. There is such a thing as being overly optimistic. And it can cause a lot of pain, because it allows people to disappoint and hurt you time and again. Why is it that they say a donkey only bumps his head once, but as humans we can do it over and over again? Because we hope that the next time we won’t bump our head. Because we hope that the next time, miraculously, the obstacle will vanish and the road will be cleared. Reminds me a bit of the definition of insanity…you know, doing the same thing, but expecting a different result.
I started drafting a blog a week ago. It was a letter. I wasn’t sure whether I would publish it, but I wanted to be honest with myself. I wanted to put my feelings down on paper. It was an open letter to the one person who managed to hurt me more than anybody has ever done before. It was a letter to the obstacle that I bumped my head against over and over again these last, almost four years. A man. A compulsive liar. A cheater. A manipulator. But one that I loved. And one that managed to convince me over and again that next time I won’t bump my head again. Next time the road will be cleared. Until I finally kicked him out last year. Not a moment too soon…I found this quote last year which explained the madness a bit…
We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are ~ Anais Nin
I am an optimist and I believe in the best in people. I believe that most people are inherently good. And that most people will inherently aim to do the right thing. That circumstances, things that happen that we have no control over, cause us to deviate and make the wrong choices. And that we will be conflicted because we didn’t do the right thing. Because that’s how I am. That’s what I am like. Sure, I have done lots of wrong things in my life. But like waking up with a hangover and knowing that was stupid, I am able to reflect on my mistakes and aim to do it right next time (still looking for the hangover cure). I feel bad about my mistakes. But I realise that some people just don’t. Maybe it is a gene. I will dub it the guilty gene.
You see, I just don’t get the scorpion and the frog story. I don’t get it that some people by nature are just bad, even to their own self-destruction. That they will try to do well, but will end up stinging the poor frog, time and again, because ‘it is their nature’.
The scorpion in my tale owes me money. Quite a bit. A little while ago, I realised that he was owed a huge tax refund…more than he owes me, so I offered to do his tax return, if he will pay me from the money. He promised, because he wasn’t ‘bargaining on the refund anyway’. Of course I knew there was a risk that he won’t pay me once he got the money. But, surely he will do the right thing and pay me back. Even if it is only to get me off his case? Ta-da!! The scorpion stings again. And when I started ranting and raving about it, he had the audacity to tell me to keep my panties on (in little less polite words). He will pay me. Yeah right. He didn’t say when.
I was livid. I was fuming. Do you know what I was blogging about a week earlier? You ready for this? About how I was comparing every man I meet to him. Looking for the qualities I loved and avoiding the ones I despised. This is what I wrote:
I even have my moments where I wish I could repackage you. Prune away at the lying, cheating bits and voila! The reality is that it would be more like cutting away at a rotten apple and the more you cut off, the less there would be left over, and in the end you will just have to toss the remainder in the bin.
Unbelievable. You could say I am an ass. But that would be an insult to the poor donkey. The same boyfriend once gave me Candide from Voltaire to read (I really should have seen that as a sign…). In short, it is about the illegitimate son of a Baron who gets banished when he falls in love with the Baron’s daughter. But being ever optimistic, he keeps believing that “all is for the best”. In a satirical tale, that takes him to the end of the world and back, onto riches more than you could ever dream about, but in the end he is left with nothing, even a dog-ugly wife, and finally realises that life does not always turn out for the better.
So I am tossing the whole damn rotten apple in the bin. And then I am throwing out the bin too. I am done with trying to justify myself to someone who only sees one point of view, his own. I am done with working myself up and begging someone who does not have the guilty gene. I can threaten to hang out his dirty laundry (of course he has lots of that), but it won’t make me feel any better about myself. So I am walking away. If somewhere down there he does have some sense of righteousness, he will pay me back, whether I rant and rave or not. An expensive learning experience, I know, but you can’t buy peace of mind.
And to celebrate, I will open the bottle of Dom Pérignon that was a gift from him. I will finally get off the rollercoaster, feel the firm ground beneath my feet and make a toast to life, the future and happiness!