I Found My Line

Many years ago, I had written an entry asking, “Where’s My Line?” I had just started my blog and decided to tackle the heady concept of honesty. What an opportunity to wax philosophic. And I did. I, also, stated my own lofty ideals as to what I thought honesty should be. The comments I received where intelligent, thought provoking, and eloquently stated. I gained perspective in my own life from their comments and for me, all of this, writing or reading, is selfishly about my own personal growth. Because of that, I was very pleased with what I had written.

A month prior to that I had written an entry entitled, “The Power of Words” and it can be easily summarized by this excerpt:

“We singularly give this recognition of substance to the written word. And that should not lessen the abilities of the greatest orators, whose speeches can vilify, praise, or rally people to action. But alas, these orations have the life span of fresh-cut flowers. Quickly their words fade along with the feelings or emotions they exuded. It is only the written word that holds a timeless eloquence. There is permanence to them. They will exist forever just as they were written. And whenever they are read, they will again bring rise to that which the writer hoped to stir in his/her readers.”

The last line hear clearly rings of my understanding of the permanence of the written words, but I foolishly state that the words will only hold sway on future readers. I come to find that they can have the same future impact on the author. And here is where the epiphany happened.

I recently had to end a relationship. I knew there would be hurt feelings on the other side and she was truly someone I have never wanted to hurt in any way. I am sure I had hurt her feelings before this, but I had never said I was walking away and we all likely know how that other person feels unless you have been fortunate enough to never experience a lost love. When I was younger, even when I was older, I would easily succumb to the easier, and rationalized less hurtful, mode of just fading away. Men are known for it. But years of being that person have shown me that not allowing for some closure is a hateful thing to do. That strength is never shown in the lack of action or compassion given with a lack of honest words.

The combination of rereading those two entries gave the permanence of words to the ideals of honesty I had set forth. I was faced with reading the about the type of person I wanted to be while not yet making a clean break of the relationship I was allowing to twirl in the breeze of not knowing. I was not being the person, years ago, I had said I wanted to be. Even though the period of time I allowed us to drift apart, offering only the required pleasantries needed to extend the belief the relationship was still solid, was very brief, I was not honest immediately. I could say it took a few days to distill my thoughts, but I don’t believe that. I believe I stumbled and struggled to be the person I want to be. I can say this, as soon as I reread those two entries, I felt compelled to live up to the ideals set forth in them. I wrote, what I hope was received as, a very honest and compassionate letter to a woman who deserves better. In the couple of communications since, she has hidden any pain well, but she is a strong woman and I would expect nothing less. We have agreed to end all communication and will likely never see each other again. That may seem like a harsh and fatal outcome for two people who cared about each other. But we are not at the epiphany yet….

After finally getting around to doing the right thing by this lovely person, and somewhat pridefully so, I was eager to share with my readers how the impact of what I had written years ago could have an impact on my own life in a way I can only dream of for a reader. In ending a relationship, and struggling to do the right thing, I found providence in reading what I now see as what I expected of myself. But that is where the REAL struggle began. I would have to be honest with my readers. Honest about the fact that I struggled to be the person I want to be? No, we all struggle with that, and if you don’t please share the secret. Honest that I jumped headfirst into a relationship earmarked for failure? Okay, but who hasn’t put a few red flags aside in the face of mutual attraction? Honest that, only now, the things I have written in the past I recognize as ideals I have set for myself? Okay, that was unexpected, but not shocking.

No, the struggle came when being honest with my readers meant I had to admit I had been involved with a married woman. Yes, the epiphany and the struggle that ensued came from the permanence of my ideals on honesty. How could I approach anyone about how I had successfully chosen to do the right thing and been open and honest with someone in the face of hurting them deeply, when I was too embarrassed to tell the whole truth? Yes, I could have left that out and still conveyed how exceptionally I was surprised to be moved by my own thoughts that have been thought and put away. But I would be no closer to the true ideals of being honest. The true ideals are harder. And they are supposed to be.

I fell for a married woman. However brief, this is not acceptable behavior for me. I don’t want to be that guy, or the other guy for that matter, as I have been both. Both suck. But there it is. I have behaved in a manner that does not live up to my own ideals. My Taoist beliefs would expect no good to come from the bad karma I have generated for all involved. I want no pity. I bear my crosses alone, always have, always will. I am embarrassed. My honesty must all be laid bare and given the permanence of the written word. I do not fear judgment from my friends or family. People that pious do not remain in my circle. Judgement from people I don’t know or my readers? Eh, I assume that happens whether I know about it or not and it oddly doesn’t hurt my feelings. Future employers? All I can say is “glass houses”. No, the toughest part is passing judgement on myself, and being honest that I fell way short. So, my behavior fell short, but I was able to find the strength to be completely honest. One step forward, one step back, does not have any real progressive ring to it. I going to chalk it up as half a step forward. Every inch of moving to a better self is hard. I’ll take what I can get.

3 Responses to “I Found My Line”
  1. I know that this was a tough lesson to be learned. Many would have found a way to slide away quietly from both the relationship and the lesson, rather than face either – or both – head on. Kudos to you for tackling both with consciousness and kindness. It is my sincere hope that, with time, you will feel less embarrassment for a ‘mistake’ many of us make.

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  1. […] completing my entry “I Found My Line”, I turned to a trusted and well-respected friend for counsel regarding the publishing of that […]

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