One of the great things about reaching midlife is the perspective and the clarity we get as time begins to feel more precious and important. I remember reaching a point in my life where I no longer had the energy or the desire to chase after anything anymore. Not only that but it seemed like the strategies I used for most of my adult life – setting goals, creating detailed action plans and working my butt off to make success happen all stopped working.
This entry is taken from one of the most beautiful film scenes I’ve ever seen. It is between a father and a son. I wonder what the world would be like if there were more experiences like this in the world between parents and children.
It is a conversation between the son and his father after a young man staying with the family over the summer–and with whom the son has been having what he believed to be a clandestine relationship–returns to his home. The son after riding with him to the town with the airport comes back quiet but obviously impacted.
Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.
– Natalie Goldberg
It is as though we are only vaguely aware of the whole discourse of gender that swirls around us as children, but that catalyzes with puberty. With my period, I was called on to negotiate that identity. By gaining weight I was having none of it.
I don’t feel resentment toward the Dude because I didn’t do a damned thing I didn’t want to do. I didn’t lose or leave myself. Everything was fully and freely given on my end. I feel pure of heart. I have no regrets.
In my pain and powerlessness, my disappointment and self-doubt, I realized that among the myriad of emotions I was experiencing, I did not feel resentment. And yet, I knew that had I slept with the Dude and had he pulled away in the same way he did, I most certainly would have felt resentment. That got me thinking about the nature of resentment.
I decided that there is a way in which resentment is what you feel when you give up a part of yourself to another (typically unsaid by you, unagreed by the other) that you really don’t want to give up. But you do so in a bid to get the other person to do something you want them to do (and you’re not sure they will). Then, if that person doesn’t do what you wanted them to do, your reaction to their not doing so is resentment. Resentment arises as the result of a one-sided, tacit, failed tactic.
I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like that I wasn’t ready. I wished I were ready. I hated myself for not being ready. But I knew I wasn’t ready. If I had had sex with him, I would have felt resentment.
I asked of this man that we do something other than eat on our date. That was hard, excruciating even, for me to do. It was not only making a desire of mine known, it was also admitting weakness and, in doing so, allowing myself to be deeply, dangerously seen.