I finished Killer Elite last night, and am attempting Ulysses next. Which will be a tiny bit of a change, I’m sure. Joyce doesn’t interest me as much as he probably could–except for his love letters to Nora–mostly because he’s one of the Dead White Men of Litrachur. (And frankly, Nora’s vanished letters interest me much more.) All the same, reading to understand allusions other authors have made is good for one’s soul, and one should try things one suspects one will dislike regularly, in order to keep a certain flexibility.
Other than that, work continues, as usual. I was a trifle surprised yesterday when someone labeled me a “hater” for saying “you might want to think about why your mind immediately went that, good luck.” Of course, the instant one doesn’t respond the way someone else thinks one should, the labels start to fly fast and furious. I noticed this in the most recent breakup as well. Most people have a script, and if you don’t give your line, they suddenly become towering, rage-filled petty dictator-directors, throwing the pages at you and screaming “you’ll never work in this town again!”
My response to that has become strangely blasé. Mostly because I grew up in an environment with constantly changing “scripts” roiling around me and the adults in my life ready to severely punish any wrong answer. I’ve become troublingly good at unpacking the response the other person truly wants, not just what they say they want. (Like any sharp tool, it cuts both ways–but that’s say it with me, another damn blog post.) The luxury of therapy is that I’ve trained myself to stop and make a conscious decision to give what the other person wants or not, and feel much less guilty when I misread someone else’s agenda. Gone are the days when I jump simply because someone applies the electrodes of “I NEEEEED this from you!” Which is a pretty damn good feeling, actually.
That all brings me to another article I read yesterday, on what grown children might “owe” to abusive, toxic, or destructive parents. I went round and round, in therapy, over my feelings of obligation versus my need to keep my psychic, emotional, and physical integrity intact so I can care for those I have a greater obligation to–namely, my children and the one or two people who have proven themselves to be trustworthy friends. In the end, the guilt is less than the damage that would be done if I ever re-engaged with any number of toxic people. I suppose getting older means weighing two evils in just such a manner, and choosing the less cumulatively calamitous one.
Outside, the hyacinths and crocuses have lifted their little green heads. Daffodils have begun showing signs of tiptoeing forth as well. It’s a bit early, but after our last deep freeze winter’s been very mild, all things considered. It might turn out to be a good year for the garden.
Of course, getting older also means you look at a sentence like that and constantly think, well, it’s too soon to tell.