Here's the thing: I like to justify. I like to justify my work, so that it's neat and rounded off and I like to justify myself for the same reasons. The problem is that justifying myself usually makes the whole situation a lot messier. I hate mess, I hate conflict, but above all, I hate not being taken at my word. There have been a few incidences this year, which have frustrated me, not  because I thought the people involved were doing something wrong, nor because I was unable to influence the situation. I was frustrated  because I had been misinterpreted and misunderstood. I realised that I was the cause of this: I had changed and they hadn't acknowledged it.

No one tells you that when you move away from home, that those you left behind will retain an impression of you and that this impression of you will start to seal shut the longer you stay away. They will remember all the things you wish they'd forget: the podgy tween navigating adolescence, the foolish way you pursued relationships, that nasty thing you said in a moment of weakness, the messy bedroom, the disorganised, last-minute plans, your tardiness, your lack of wisdom, your lack of control in your extroverted self, the opinions you no longer hold, the list goes on. Sure, they'll acknowledge the physical changes, because they can see those. It's the character alterations that are hard to notice and accept.

The question I've been asking myself lately is: does it really matter? Does it really matter if someone doesn't acknowledge the change? Why should you care if they continue to see you and treat you as you were not as you are? I think the answer is: sometimes. Sometimes it's ok to let go of people's reactions to you. You can't force them to see the difference; only I can truly know the extent of my alteration because I live with myself everyday. Those who know me well and invest in me on almost a daily basis, recognise and accept the differences too. I can't expect people who haven't seen in six months to treat me differently. However, sometimes a justification is necessary. Not a full blown self-defensive rant, but a calm and collected reason for your words and your actions. These justifications belong to those closest to you, to the people who really care about your welfare. I've realised justifying myself to people who don't value who I am as a person, is often a fruitless task and I refuse to do it any longer.

1 comment :

  1. Here's 677 words of Rilke's Malte Laurids Brigge. It's ostensibly about the Prodigal Son, but it's really about Kierkegaard and I've cut much of it that isn't relevant out i.e. you don't spurn love. Still, I wonder if this will resonate with you at all... especially the third paragraph

    "When he was a child everyone in the house loved him. He grew up knowing nothing different and, being a child, he grew accustomed to their tenderness of heart. But once he became a youth he wanted to cast all that aside. He wouldn't have been able to say it, but even when he spent the whole day wandering around outdoors he didn't want the dogs with him ever again because they loved him as well; because looking in their eyes he could read watchfulness, sympathy, expectation, and concern; because when they were with him there was nothing he could do that didn't either delight them or hurt their feelings. But what he was aiming for at the time was that indifference of heart which early in the morning out in the fields sometimes seized him inwardly and with such purity that he would start to run in order to leave himself no time or breath to be more than a weightless moment in the morning's returning consciousness.

    The mystery of his yet-to-be life spread itself out before him. For no reason he would quit the footpath and go on through the fields, his arms outstretched as if he were able to cope with several directions at once. And then he would fling himself down somewhere out of sight and no one would care a jot about him. (…) Eventually afternoon came and with it the chance to let his fancy roam (…) And, however much rein one allowed one's imagination, there were always intervals when one could simply be a bird, without specifying which kind. Then it was time to go home.

    (...) The dogs in whom expectation had been growing all day, tore through the shrubs and hustled one back into the figure they kept in their heads. And the house did the rest. One needed only to step into the fullness of its aroma for most things to be as they should be. Trivial matters could still change; but in all, here one was the person one was always taken to be; the one for whom they had long since structured a life out of one's small past and their own desires; the being they all shared and who day and night was subordinate to the influence of their love, between their hope and their doubt, their censure and their applause.

    (…) No, he'll go away. It could be while they're busy with his birthday table, setting out those ill-chosen items that are meant once again to put everything to rights. He'll go away for good. (…)

    There were nights when he had a mind to hurl himself into space towards God; hours full of discovery when he felt strong enough to dive back to the Earth and pull it up on the storm-tide of his heart. He was like someone who hears a wonderful language and feverishly resolves to write poetry in it. Still ahead of him lies the dismay he will experience at how difficult the language is; he was unwilling at first to believe that you could spend your whole life shaping your fist trial sentence only to find they didn't make sense.

    (…) He thought mostly of his childhood, and the more calmly he tried to picture it the more incomplete it seemed to have been. All his memories of it had about them the vagueness of premonitions and the fact that they were taken as past virtually put them in the future. To really involve himself in all this once more was the reason why this erstwhile stranger returned home.

    (…) The dogs are grown old but they're still living. Reportedly one of them howled. Everyone leaves what they're doing. Faces appear at the windows, old faces and grown up faces, all of them showing a touching likeness to faces remembered. And in one very old face recognition bursts forth.

    (…)What did they know about who he was? He was now so terribly difficult to love, and he felt there was only the One who was capable of it."