Thursday, May 13, 2010

Buddah, Christ, Alanis Morissette, and me

When I said I hated you, I never ever meant to be so unkind but I just can't get you off my mind

The Darling Buds

In this story I address “hate” as I know it, in my life, in the lives of people I know. I will not even attempt to tackle true hatred as in hate crimes, hate that indulges itself unspeakable ways. I in no way intend to downplay the heinous nature of true hatred. My intent is to bring up the subject of hate that regular folks like you and me sometimes feel, and feel ashamed of feeling.

Hate. Hate, hate, hate. HATE. Such a strong word. Such an ugly word. So filled with venom and pain. Such a deeply felt emotion. It doesn’t come up too often for most of us. Oh sure, it comes up in lesser degrees such as, I hate coconut. I hate hangnails. I hate hats made from roadkill. For the bigger stuff though, like hating, oh this is bad, I’m gonna say it, here goes, like hating . . . ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. Yikes. Then hate becomes an emotion filled word. I’m going to write about it though because we have all felt it at some time or another and the word is in our vocabulary and the emotion is in our palette of human behavior so let’s just be with it for a while. Don’t stop here because it started ugly, read to the end.

Conventional wisdom gives us the equation: Tragedy + Time = Comedy. How true it is. Most of my stories start from a painful occurrence. I spew it out on my computer and wait for the poison of my pen to mellow into something humorous, from sour grapes to grappa to wine. With this one though, I think I will try to delve into the feeling of hate that I am currently experiencing. Yeah, I know, it’s bad, but that’s why I’m writing about it. I’m hoping it will be cathartic but moreover, I hope to remind everyone that we all feel emotions that do not make our mama’s proud. What do we do when this happens? Get H A T E tattooed on your knuckles? Well, it’s an option but I’m not sure you’ll always be happy with that decision. Over indulge in alcohol and start drunk dialing? No, no, and no. Let me say it again, no.

I recall Robin Wright Penn’s character, Jenny, in "Forest Gump", furiously throwing rocks at the house she grew up in. How relieving it looked. She had so much anger built up toward her father. So many words she likely had not said because we are taught it’s wrong. Swallow those sour words and smile your fake smile and never delve into what’s really going on and surround yourself with people ALL THE TIME so you never have to face what goes on inside your head when you’re alone. We are taught to always be happy, or at least give the illusion of happiness. When tough times come along go cry alone for a wee bit, then pull yourself up by your bootstraps, little weak one, and show the world how strong you are. That which has not killed you has made you stronger and now you are immune to such petty emotions and you will not feel like crying and rock throwing and screaming the words “I HATE YOU” because as we all know . . . it is wrong to hate.

Feeling hate, outside of coconut and hangnails and roadkill hats, is actually a jumble of so many other emotions. At least in my experience it seems to be. After all, do we really hate that which we claim to hate? If something is truly so awful don’t we generally just walk away and not give it another thought? I have no interest in wearing a Hawaiian shirt . . . ever. Do I hate the Hawaiian shirt? Nope, couldn’t care less. No regard whatsoever. Hate though, with its bitter tears and agonizing stomach cramping, is a close cousin to its equal and opposite feeling of love. Why does Forest Gump’s Jenny hate her dad? Because she loved him and he hurt her. Why does Meg Ryan’s “Sally” sputter through tears “I hate you Harry, I really hate you” to Billy Crystal’s “Harry”? Because she loves him and he hurt her. We do hurt the ones we love, because there is no power to hurt and hate without love. Are they so different? Yes. No. Do we hate the person or their actions? Does it matter? The person we love did something that hurt. Who gives a f*** about the semantics of words vs. person?

Yes, I used the f-bomb, ok?

I think of what and who inspired this story. I think of the times my eyes have been a thunderstorm of lightening flashing in anger and sad rain pouring down my cheeks. I think of the times I have crumpled into a heap wanting to scream “I HATE YOU” at the top of my lungs, but I’m afraid to wake the neighbors and have them think I’m a bad person who experiences the very negative emotion of hate. We all are though, maybe the neighbors would be relieved to know others feel yucky sometimes too. Is hate bad? Yes, if it goes on too long, if it manifests in felonious ways, if it usurps all your joy and overtakes your life. Is it bad here and there? Small doses? Few and far between? I don’t think so. You have to get it out somehow in order to keep it from overtaking your life and usurping all your joy. Go throw rocks at an old rundown shack. I’ve said it before, owning that rock throwing at a shack business is a million dollars waiting to be had. Maybe I’d call it Jenny’s Place. Five bucks let’s you throw all the rocks you want for five minutes. $100 bucks gets you in until your arm withers. Maybe the rock throwing thing could help alleviate another component of hate. Guilt.

Oh the guilt we feel when we hate the one we may or may not actually love. It gets convoluted doesn’t it? I don’t feel guilty about hating coconut, but I feel guilty when I feel badly about a person, regardless of how they’ve hurt me. I don’t want to hate. I’m not a hater. I don’t praise hating, I’m just sayin’ we all feel it sometimes, especially when you can’t hate that person through and through. To get you through the hate you may look back in your rolodex of memories on sweeter times, then you feel happy, then you think how wonderful that person is, then you feel guilty for hating and the good things make you wish they were standing in front of you right now and then you think about all the bad things again and you’re back to hating because that person has something good inside and damn it they f***ed up. F- bomb again. Hate is messy. I think it’s messy because in most of our lives it’s not real, it’s just confusing. I hate hangnails. I do. But do I really hate another living, breathing, sometimes loving, sometimes selfish, human being? Yes. No. Maybe. Sometimes. Tuesdays. Never. Always. Last week. Right now. But can it really be real?

The Buddah taught us peace and enlightenment come from within. I look deep in my soul to find my Buddah components along with my J.C. facets and I wonder what the f*** would he do? We are all made in the Divine’s image, including Buddah, which is why Buddah’s story and J.C.’s story have so many similarities. They are both in all of us and they both encourage us to find their beauty in others. It’s there. Oh it is my friends, it’s there. We are all beautiful. Sometimes we are all beautiful messes, like dreadlocks. Buddah and Christ (did you think I meant Jiminy Cricket?) are in the perfection of each moment and when we hate, are they dismayed? I don’t know. Did they ever hate? I don’t know. They were both human so it's at least plausible they felt hate.

During a yoga class a few weeks ago the instructor, Kitty (love her), encouraged us to find our own mantra for the day and throughout the class reminded us to think of our mantra. I said to my inner self “Love flourishes in my life” and for that 90 minutes love truly did flourish. I felt so loving and forgiving that I wanted to join some sort of 12 step program, if only I had some sort of addiction. Crap. But, then I step out into daylight and I feel like a schmuck for feeling loving and forgiving of deception and selfishness. You can’t treat me this way, I’m somebody damn it! Then I realize I have left my inner Buddah and J.C. in the yoga studio. I have a choice. I can revitalize them in my soul at any time, and yet sometimes I choose to indulge in the negativity for a bit. It does me no good whatsoever. Why have I made this choice? Because I am human. I am frail and like Alanis Morrissette I’m here to remind you that sometimes we’re all a damn angry mess.

We all hate sometimes. We hate because someone that is important in our lives hurt us. Maybe that person hurt us knowingly, maybe not, but we are hurt and feeling discarded. We think we hate because really, we love, and we hurt, and we’re human. It’s ok. It happens. It will go away.

In the words of J.C., this too shall pass.