I don’t want to be bitter.
I’ve known people, I think we all have, who are consumed by an acidic bitterness at life that has become so ingrained in them they can’t shake it. They can’t see past it, or through it. That sense of unfairness, of invalidated entitlement- it casts a shadow through everything they do, as if it’s grown over their vision like a toxic moss.
The last few weeks– roughly since being thrown back into the shifting suds of PTSD at 3am one morning– that bitter, desiccated person has been me.
“I find it hard to keep reading about you…I feel like a passive observer watching a car slowly crash”. Reading that comment, left for me last week, all I could think was… “I know. I feel that way too.”
And fuck it, I’m the one who’s driving.
I can feel it. It’s been in everything the last few weeks. It’s been here, on my blog. It’s been in the traces of friendship that remain in my life. It’s been my own self pity, my own screaming pain, the way I’ve been emotionally manipulative and weak.
I’ve become resentful, of everything. My children. Every person in my life who won’t help me when I need them. Resentful every time I see two people together, happy, enjoying themselves. Spitting with ugly jealously at anyone in love.
I willingly bat away the well-meant philosophy of others. People attempt to balm my pain with complicit cliches and truths told to us as teenagers with the purpose of ballooning fragile self esteem– love yourself and others will love you. It will happen when you stop looking for it. You have to be happy with yourself.
Bullshit, I spit at them, lies. I already did all of that. I already did the hard stuff but I’ve lost my trophy and I’d like a consolation prize now, please. I don’t really think I deserve another trophy and besides, I’m tired– I don’t want to do all that again.
“It must be difficult”, comments my shrink. “Not to get bitter. Not to be bitter. I have clients who have dealt with less than you and they are bitter, they can’t help it.”
And it is. It’s easier to just go with the drumbeat that has percolated my thoughts of late– this is unfair, I don’t deserve this, no one loves me and life is hard, I didn’t sign up for this and everyone is so lucky and they don’t even realize it and I hate all of you.
That’s easy. Buts it nasty and black and makes any kind of happiness difficult to find, and even harder to hold on to.
The flip side is… choosing to be happy. Looking at what I’ve it, not what I haven’t got. Keeping hope and optimism and that soulful, earthy piece of me that gets satisfaction from making and healing and growing and being productive. Being fucking terrified of the rest of my life… but having the quiet confidence that, having done what I’ve done, there will be very few things in my future that will be that heartbreaking ever again. (Bullshit, says that bitterness. Some people just have hard lives and you might go through a million more heartaches before its over with no pleasure in between, cause that’s just life for some people and there’s nothing you can do about it. Life’s a bitch and being a good person makes no difference. And I take a deep breath and tell it to fuck off.)
Letting that bitterness win, it does no good to anyone. It’s no revenge, no spite, no payback, because the people who can’t care now, won’t care then. The only people it will effect is me and my kids. I don’t want to be the mother I see reflected in their eyes of late. That’s not me.
That bitterness, that’s not me either, and I can’t let it win. It’s a matter of replacing that dark, sniping bitch in my mind with something that speaks of hope and dignity and happiness. And making that happy voice louder than the one that’s pulling me down.
It’s easy to be bitter. But fuck that. No one is going to save me, except me. It’s time to start being a bit nicer to myself, to change the internal dialogue. Ive been waiting for someone to come along and tell me what I’m waiting to hear… that I’m beautiful, perfect, worth something, worth more than what I’ve been through lately.
I think the person I need to hear it from is me.