Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pick Your Poison

Would you rather be destroyed – lose all that you had, all that you cared about, all that held you together – or know that you had destroyed something beautiful and worthwhile?

Would you rather be broken – shattered into a thousand pieces, sobbing on the floor, staring at nothing and contemplating the worst – or know that you had broken someone else?

Would you rather be angry at someone you love – have someone to point to and say, “It’s your fault I’m like this and I hate you for that!” even if that person was once the only one who kept you from being like this and you love him for that – or know that you have only yourself to blame?

Would you rather hate yourself for your cruelty… or your weakness? Be ashamed of your selfishness... or your solitude? Feel guilt… or despair?

Would you rather continue living a sham – pretending that you could move on, that it wouldn’t hurt anymore, that you’d forgotten – or disappear forever and be remembered as a coward?

Tell me – help me decide.


Anonymous said...

Destroyed? Lost it all? You haven't, even though you may not realize it now. Destroy another? You can't control another person's actions or reactions, only your own. Be broken or break another? Only the unyielding break. Bending to the winds of change may hurt, but growth and strength result. Be angry? Anger is a secondary emotions. Be willing to look at the primary emotion and work to grow through it to heal. Blame yourself? What good has that EVER done anyone? The same goes for hating yourself and shame. If you cannot forgive yourself, what good does anyone else's forgiveness do? It is not a sham to believe that your life will go on and even be good again. It's called faith...believing when there is no evidence to back up that belief. Disappear, whether physically or emotionally, would be to take beauty out of the lives of those you have touched, however remotely.
For myself, I would rather go on, step by step, believing that I can grow and become stronger from painful times in my life. I believe that there is good for me and that I deserve that goodness. I forgive myself every day and I practice gratitude for my life and all that is in it. That is how I go on, in spite of setbacks and heartache.
No one can help you decide. That is yours alone to do. I can pray for you and love you, and I do both more than you know.
(The mom in me truly wishes for the days of bandaids and kisses as the solution.)

Anonymous said...

Its always easier to blame.

Blame someone else, "if only you hadn't...".

Blame yourself, "if I were just different..."

We resist stronger than anything the idea that some things are not faulted, not deliberate, not decided by someone. We resist that some things just are.

As the Buddhists tell us, life is suffering. The good, the bad, all of it, are gradations of the suffering. As much as some of us (guilty as charged) might wish it, life is not a problem to be solved, and some of these things cannot be solved.

Either or decisions like the ones you pose here are to some extent a part of our suffering... so long as we spend our efforts trying to decide between two bad situations we are trapped.

If we can focus on the now, perhaps some of the pain can be alleviated. I am not hungry now... that is good. The sun feels nice upon my back... that is good. As best as I can be mindful of now and not tie myself into the what-ifs and how-tos of the future, I am content.

I think that it is harder for intelligent people to meditate; their minds are always busy, and it is a habit that is hard to break. For that same reason I think it is more important that intelligent people learn to meditate, to let go the suffering of always thinking, analyzing, planning ahead, and live in the moment. Live for a few minutes each day with no thoughts, soaking in the light of the love of the universe, the love of people, and if it is your belief, the love of God.

I've kind of rambled on about things that don't help you answer your questions... but I hope they perhaps help you in letting them pass.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think it's better to overcome and thrive even if it means breaking another.

Sending you fluffy, happy thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with paragraphs 7 and 8 of Kevin's post. The world is beautiful and complex; but one must examine it actively to see beneath the glaze we place upon it in our humdrum daily living. Some of my favorite things: live music, hiking, paragliding, lying on the grass staring up at the sky through the rustling leaves of a tree, counting satellites and meteors in the Milky Way-laced night sky. The list is endless and varies according to the person; the common feature is that the world abounds in beauty and we each must learn to perceive it.

I've been single for years and plan to remain that way quite possibly for my whole life. At first it was hard; with practice, now I'm quite talented at living alone.

Frankly, the many choices you present in your post I find irrelevant. You needn't decide between any of them; discard them all. The central difficulty you face is constructing a new manner of living.

When was the last time you hiked the foothills around the Big Dish? Or watched the squirrels in the grassy area SW of the business school? Or stood on the ceiling balcony of the STEP building to watch the pink clouds at sunset? Perhaps you might attend tomorrow evening's concert at Campbell Recital Hall if you haven't been to a concert recently.

Juka said...


Your pumpkin was the best.

I am praying for you, Kari. I agree with your mom - though it may not help much now, time heals great hurts. We learn from great mistakes. As C.S. Lewis writes in Perelandra (and I can't find the exact quote I want - Eric might have it, about God turning good out of bad):

"The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished, if it were possible to wish - you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other."

Anonymous said...

Common antidotes to poison include:
-caring friends
-compassionate solitude


Sending you good thoughts across Cal. Ave =)

Anonymous said...

I do indeed have it, and it's well worth reading. A really excellently written novel, and not very long, either.

Me? I think your choices suck, and I'm not going to help you decide one way of wallowing in self pity over another. I will love you whatever you do, wherever you are, whoever you are, till the end of time, but the only thing I'm ever going to help you decide is to face up to our God and find the only real way out.

Lara said...

thanks, all, for the kind thoughts...

mom - (i miss the bandaid cures, too.)

kevin - ah, but some things are faulted. what to do about those?

jenny - fluffy thoughts? well, aren't you sweet. thanks for stopping by to visit!

nona - the concept of being alone for my whole life is absolutely terrifying to me. also, i generally despise the outdoors, fyi...

justin - i'm glad you liked the pumpkin. as for that fruit, the picture is VERY fuzzy right now.

tali - thanks for the suggestions. and the good thoughts.

natalie - wow, bringing on the tough love, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

(1) Being single doesn't imply one is alone.

(2) Generally I tell people I abhor dancing. I usually feel awkward and have a hard time finding the beat. But on a few occasions I've found dancing exhilarating, particularly waltzing. It's important for me to feel really, super-duper comfortable with my partner before I can begin to enjoy it. And I need really to understand the music.

Perhaps the same applies to your ostensible dislike for the outdoors. I suggest you just haven't been introduced to the outdoors properly. Maybe you find bugs disgusting, and the outdoors is rife with all sorts of tiny organisms; but it turns out that with few exceptions, they're perfectly harmless. And, really, I invite you to drop all preconceptions you have about bugs and study a few up close for a long time. They can be quite charming. As with all joys in life, the first step is to neglect convention and prejudices.

One type of dance I've never been able to enjoy is swing. Now that I've been on my soapbox about enjoying nature, perhaps I can get off and let you have it a for a moment so you can tell me why I should like swing.

Anonymous said...

To some extent, I think faulted things have to be dealt with similarly to non-faulted things. If you know its you, accept the blame and try your best to move on. If its someone else's fault, acknowledge that and move on.

This makes it sound easy; its not, at all. I still have things from years ago that I blame myself for and haven't completely moved on about. Or things that I think 'really' were someone else's fault. But over time, the sting diminishes... and pushing ourselves to move on and accept that neither we nor anyone else is perfect seems to help with that process.

Looking over this, what I've written kind of reads like I'm sidestepping things... but thats not what I'm trying to do. Maybe you can figure out what I'm trying to say and come up with a way to express it better. I'm trying to point to what may actually be trying to address a harder problem, one of how we deal with moving on after issues (blamed or not). I'm nowhere near as good at this as I'd like to be (even for short-term things like one-off debates, much less bigger issues).

Thinking about it... I think this is maybe something we should all try to learn from kids. Young kids seem to be really good at letting go of things once they're unfixable. Somehow, as we get better and better at fixing things and trying to solve things, we lose the ability to recognize when things are unfixable and let them go.

If you figure anything out that helps in this area please let me know, its a constant area of struggle for me.

Lara said...

nona - (1) and not being single does not guarantee that one will not still feel alone. (2) yeah, i do hate bugs, especially ones that fly and flutter. moths and butterflies freak me the F--- out like you wouldn't believe. i also hate dirt, which gets in the way of my indoor life, so you can imagine what that does to my outdoor adventures.

and i'm afraid that soapbox will have to stay empty. i can't think of a single reason why you *should* like swing. it's a particular style of dancing, and it's just not compatible with some people. i like it for lots of reasons, but i also understand why other people don't.

kevin - i think i've fully accepted the blame. it's the "moving on" part i'm having trouble with. i understood what you were saying - i'm just not sure i can do it.

Anonymous said...

If you want to call it tough love, that's fine. I just love you.