I’ve spent the evening, like a good little bear, doing my homework. My homework – from a counsellor – was to write as many recollections of my time with my ex as I could. No analysis, no emotion, no reflection, just recollections. I’m not sure that the idea was to buffer myself with a couple of beers beforehand – but it’s the world’s oldest painkiller and if I’m to spend the evening face-to-face with the darkness of my past – well then, fuck it, I’m having a beer. Because I know that the idea is to remember this stuff in a controlled way – it’s the shock of these recollections being triggered out of the blue which is distressing as much as anything – but one recollection triggers another and I don’t know whether I want to cry or be sick or smash something or blast Ravel’s Bolero – my go-to music when I’m struggling with strong emotions – at maximum volume through the quietness of a Friday night in my apartment block.
What I do know is that this is horrible, and I loathe the recollections that are coming up and the million that remain below the surface, and that I’d like to wash my mind and soul out with bleach to sear this stuff away. I know that I need to honour these experiences, to uphold them as something that I’ve suffered and survived, and to uphold myself for getting through them. But to be honest, I’d rather honour the contents of a toilet.
So here’s what I’m going to do. Yes, I’ll drink beer and let the alcohol help me get through it. But I’ll draw the line at two. And the paper-knife on my desk will remain a paper-knife, and the stereo will remain at a discrete volume (with music conducive to sleep), and the temptation to splash the sordid stories of what happened to me – every foul detail – across the email inboxes of everyone I can think of who has a connection to my ex: well, that will remain a shameful temptation. Because I have integrity. And because my watchword for this year is care: of myself, and of others. And because I take that seriously. And because I’m damned if I’m going to finish off the job that my ex started, in screwing up my life. Even if I do regret the beers come morning.
In related news, I came across a quote a couple of days ago. I haven’t been able to track down its source but it’s relevant to tonight’s grim job: “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behaviour. Forgiveness prevents their behaviour from destroying your heart”. I do not want my soul destroyed by this behaviour. But to even begin the process of forgiveness, I have to acknowledge what there is to forgive.
Honestly, I’d rather drink. Or (better for my liver) eat chocolate.