Saturday, April 27, 2013

ONCE UPON A TIME IN DREAMLAND

The British smart boy Samuel Johnson has reared his head once more — twice in one week, not bad for a guy with Tourette syndrome who's been dead for more than 200 years.

"Despair is criminal," read the fortune in the cookie, and at first I ignored it because the last fortune I got was advice I should have ignored. But Johnson authored the despair quote, and despite his tics and overall prissiness, if he's good enough for HST he's gold.

So I think about Johnson's words on this dreary Saturday, a day made more dreary by an unpleasant email exchange with a visitor from Dreamland. I think about despair and what it does to a person's insides.

My takeaway from the past couple years can be summed up in one sentence: I don't trust my gut. I thought I carried a pretty good internal barometer of people, only to learn through bitter experience that I was wrong. Some people are not what they seem.

I have been in despair because of it, and that despair has led me down dark corridors to rooms where there is no hint of sunshine. It has made me flirt with hatred — at people I once loved, and at myself. It has made me think that destroying myself would be the best revenge, that it would teach people to quit playing with the emotions of others.

That would be wrong. That would be criminal.

I refuse to lash out at the selfish, no matter their cruel ways and deeds. They don't deserve my energy. And I refuse to hate them. Stupidly, I still trust them. One day I hope to look back on the time I knew them with some hint of fondness. That time is not here, not yet, and I'm not sure there are enough days under the sun for that to ever happen. But I can hope, and I do. No matter what else, I still have hope.

As for my gut: I still don't trust it. Like despair, that, too, would be criminal.

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