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Musings After Wine: Stains and Honesty

I am sitting here having a little conversation with myself in my head. You know, one of those where you bolster your own sense of self worth by justifying how you are right and good and definitely on the right track? Don’t think you have these conversations? Of course you do.

I am thinking about the time I tried to start up a discussion about the unconscious/unspoken games people play with one another, only for the (friend of a friend) person I was talking to to flat out deny he had any knowledge of such games existing. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and turned his back to talk to someone else. At the time I felt terrible. As though trying to even discuss such a thing made me a proven mental manipulatress. I felt that the man’s rejection of the conversation was a humiliatingly personal slight against me, and for a while it really affected the way I spoke to people. Three years later, or so, I look back on my encounter with that man with a wry smile. What nerve in him must I have touched for him to shut me down so rudely? We were both right, just acting within our own emotional remit. Nonetheless, my self-bolstering voice allows me the luxury to look upon the man as a fool, for, from my perspective, an honest conversation is always better than a bland one. No matter how much we try to resist the call of the negative, gloss over and paint ourselves good and proper, the negative is persistent. You cannot escape it. It can no more be repressed than sunshine. It’s the darkness around the object that emphasises its luminosity.

The positive and the negative are, of course, merely labels we attribute to ephemeral things to gauge their effect on us. They do not possess the features of positive or negative outside the confines of human definition. We have the power to push some things back and draw others forward, and through language, we have the power to switch attribution of positive or negative on anything we choose, in order to experience it in a way that suits our needs. Whether that remains practical or not is another matter.

We have the power to draw attention to some things over others. What we do not have is the power to eradicate them entirely. If all human work is the attempt to clean a stain (think about it), and the stain persists regardless, perhaps our energy would be better spent embracing the stain as part of the pattern, rather than persisting with fruitless attempts to blot it out. This is a long way around just saying that we should just be honest, whether it is what others want to hear or not. Whilst mind games, for example, are not pleasant when used against you, they do still exist. Whilst you may disagree with lying and strive to be truthful, you still lie whether anyone else knows it or not. You just justify those lies to yourself to blot the stain. Blot the stain all you like, but it will not go.

Wear it out. Wear the stain, and show you’re not scared to do so. Fear of the stain darkens it. Yoda will tell you what fear leads to.