Fucking Up and Making It Right

screamingIf you live long enough, you’ll find that you’ve hurt someone important to you. You may have done it purposely, you may have done it in reaction to some perceived insult, you may have done it inadvertently. You may even be doing it right now as I write this. The important thing is to apologize, and try to make it right. If you can’t make it right, then at least apologize. An apology may mean something to them, it might not.

Often we don’t take the time to think when we do things. We don’t consider the effect they have on others. Once in a while you’ll find out that something you said or have done in anger will be the catalyst for things never being the same again. You’ll fuck up and you’ll never be able to forgive yourself. Sometimes they won’t forgive you, and you’ll never get a chance to make things right. You’ll die a little inside, and you’ll never be able to get that piece of your heart back.

Everyone has done things they weren’t proud of. It’s life. It’s how we learn. But, once in a while you fuck up so bad, that you’ll never recover from it. Or more specifically, you’ll never be the same. You’ll go on living, you’ll just be a little colder, a little more heartless. Then one day you look back on the things you’ve done and feel nothing but shame.

A while ago I hurt someone very important to me, and felt confident that I did the right thing. Three weeks ago, I wasn’t so sure. Now, while I realize that my actions were the result of the events playing themselves out, and that I had very little choice, I reacted by acting as if I should have tossed them aside. I did. And, I was wrong.

I apologized.

I don’t expect to hear from them. Nor should I, honestly and I can’t say that I blame them. All I can say is that I remember them fondly and will always cherish the time we spent together when I was myself.

When I wrote the article “Breaking Up With The Band” for the Good Men Project, a friend of mine said I was brave for writing that. Respectfully, I disagree. Most people think I’m an asshole anyway, so only one of two results were really possible. Either a) they think better of me for being introspective (a trend among my writing as late) or b) still think I’m an asshole, possibly more. In either case, I don’t really stand to lose anything. There is no bravery in playing a game where you can’t really lose, though I appreciated (and still do) that comment.

The flip side of that argument is that all that really should matter to someone is their opinion of themselves. What someone else thinks of me is frankly none of my business. If you have the idea that I’m some kind of hero, well okay. I don’t mind telling you this is misguided and silly. If you have the idea that I’m the villain, you may be closer to the mark. Reality, I’m sure, is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, as always.

Being sorry for something only works when it’s real. Period.

The interesting thing is that I pride myself on my fuck-ups more than my successes. Probably because you can’t really learn much from succeeding at things. Failure is a bitch of a teacher, but a thorough one. When I do fuck up, I don’t mind working hard to expose my own errors.

A while ago, I wrote about my family and their position in my life, and I did not feel too much remorse over this. Probably because in my position, I had remained silent for far too long about far too much. Therein lies the problem, self-reflection is a demanding master. But, one that you must listen to if you’re to have any kind of peace from anything. In this case it demanded that if not cutting ties entirely, that I at least needed a break. (Since I’m still getting emails about this article… There, a little more information.)

I’m not saying that we should all hug and sing “Kum-Bye-Ah” or some shit like that. What I’m suggesting is, when you have someone in your life, don’t let them go without a fight. When you think about doing something stupid, think again. Consider the consequences of what you’re about to do.

If, in the final analysis, there was no way around it for one reason or another, apologize. If only to forgive yourself.

I don’t believe in God. I DO believe in cause and effect. I believe that a hand raised in anger will lead to another. I believe that a hand offered in love will only lead to more of the same. Even if that hand is never taken, you acted in love and only love will come to you as a result of that action. Even if both of those things are wrong, your conscience is clear.

Act through love. Hold hugs longer than you should. Smile more. The rest of the universe will take care of itself. After all, all we have in this world is each other. Right?

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