Unexpected Epiphanies: Emotional stretch marks

Okay, this is a rarity: Two pieces of nonsense from me in one day. Just in case you didn’t get enough of my bullshit in one 24-hour span…

After 2.5 years, and that is a great deal longer than it sounds in some ways (and a great deal shorter in others), I have forgiven my ex. I heard from him randomly last night – ironic that I’d just included a mention of him in my blog yesterday, huh? Reading his note I realized that his brain injuries and 40-plus medication cocktail work together to wipe out a great deal of his memories. He asked me how long I was going to continue living in a past he barely remembers.

He’s right. I’m wrong. If I was expecting a confession, or an act of sincere contrition after deep periods of meditation on his sins against me… Well… That just ain’t gonna happen. I have to accept that I will never get the honest, heart-felt “I’m sorry” that I’ve been wanting from him. He isn’t capable of giving it to me. That doesn’t excuse him in any way, but what it does do is force me to recognize something: I have been making the choice to be miserably afraid of people.

Putting down the weight of “The Scott” isn’t a relief. Without him as a scapegoat I now have to be responsible for all my faults. Everything I don’t like about me I can no longer put on “The Scott.” I’m not sure yet that any of this makes life easier, but it does make all my shortcomings that much more stinging. Especially since I know what all my faults are.

Wait. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? Can we ever know all of our own faults? Could we ever live long enough to consciously scourge them away? Is it enough to know that we have them (so many of them), without having to quantify or identify each one? Wouldn’t we then forget to be thankful for our many strengths and gifts? Do we not have failure, so that we can appreciate success?

Perhaps I’m self-flagellating too much. But this is part of my process: I have to flay the skin down to the bone. At UCLA one of my professors told me that I was begrudgingly brilliant in my own time. He meant that although I resist journeys that I don’t like (offering all sorts of alternatives and detours along the way), and that although I may take longer to arrive at what others discover quickly, that I get more out of the pilgrimage as a result.

Come what may in the upcoming days, at least I know that I am now living with the conscious choice to no longer live in fear of repeating “The Scott.” I learn. I grow. I get stretchmarks. I use aloe. I’m thinking that it will be very nice to once again expect the best from people, rather than looking out constantly for the worst. People give you what you want, after all.

I told Joe yesterday that the Golden Rule states, “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you,” but that the Platinum Rule might sound more like, “Do unto yourself, as you would have others do unto you.”

(Update, 7/20/13: To know more about what “The Scott” did specifically, see “Revelation 13:1” in the collection “The Gospel According to Anteros.”)

Author: Devon Hunter

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  1. I take it your ex is HIV+? Does not sound like he is in good health. Considering what he did to you, I admire your ability to try and move past the bad experiences, but on some levels in the brain the traumas will always be there. I guess wisdom comes with knowing how they have impacted you so that you can move forward in a healthier fashion. I also like your professor’s remarks. Quite a smart guy by the sounds of it.

    You are still very young in my books Devon. When I was 32 I was lonely, depressed and not knowing where my life was going. Just as well I didn’t know, but things eventually turned out for the better after a lot of struggles.

    I always look on the bright side. People who have had an easy and happy life are often not very empathetic to others. You and I probably have empathy in spades by now (although my experiences with partners is nothing like yours).

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  2. devon,

    now is the best time to put the platinum rule into play. my sayings are not as witty or well written as yours; however, i like to think they speak for themselves……look out for number one or step in number two.

    if you need a support system to help you get moving, you know that many people care deeply about you and we are here for you.

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  3. Oh yeah. That’s a lesson I’m working on, too. It’s unavoidable. For me it’s that I have to accept that refusing to be vulnerable will not protect you from being hurt. It’ll just buy you a different brand, and make it even harder to fix.

    “Do unto yourself, as you would have others do unto you.”


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  4. I’m totally going to use the platinum rule somewhere, and you are getting full citation on that.

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  5. lol – thank you brady… every once in a while i say something that makes some sense.

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  6. Well, Devon, here I am again, late as usual, but I cannot pass this up. It’s great to experience a person’s journey from fear and anger to a place where he can say that he will once again expect the best from people. Platinum indeed! A priest I know shook his listeners out of their malaise by telling them that the commandment,’Love your neighbour as yourself’ starts working when they realize that in order to love a neighbour with ALL their faults and bright spots, you have to first love and accept yourself. We are not as good as we imagine, nor as bad as we think. Neither is the guy or gal next to us. It’s a pilgrimage I start new every day. Thanks for this reminder. Platinum words from a Platinum guy!

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