My sister Joyce once explained that it takes X repetitions of any lesson for a human being to learn, where X consists of some formula relating to age and other factors. For me, the number looks more like (X to the nth power) / (y to the nth power) x (z to the nth power) + (a times b), where the unknowns consist of a brutal combination of stubbornness, pig-headedness, obstinance, and blindsightedness.
I re-learned my don’t-eat-white-sugar lesson yesterday, partaking of a luscious brownie at Crow’s Coffee (new wonderful Red Bridge location) along with house-made chai and soy milk. As a consequence, my jagged nerves danced all night, angry and petulant because of my choice.
This prompted me to contemplate the amusing fact that My Year Without Complaining has entered its fifty-second month finding me still grousing, still whining, still muttering under my breath. As April rushes to its midway point and May looms, I confront my humanity as I’ve never before understood it. No, Puma, I’m not accepting your premise that complaint should be pursued for whatever reason you once argued. And no, my dear Patricia, I don’t espouse your inflated opinion of my virtues though I thank you for the validation.
Rather, as I sit in Brenda’s dining room with my wild frizzy hair which in an hour will submit to Kelley Blond’s deft hands, I allow myself the imperfection of those needed repetitions.
Someone recently argued in favor of suicide by stating that she felt entitled to decide how much pain she was able to bear before quitting altogether. I conceded her point but added that I thought the equation should include consideration of how much suffering her death would cause others, particularly the unique anguish of survivors of suicide. I think she understood. We must make allowance for the humanity of others. Our duty rises from the connections we share with them.
In the same way, then, I must make allowance for my own humanity. Perhaps my conviction to truly refrain from eating white sugar required one hundred repetitions of its nasty impact after I reached an intellectual understanding of its inflammatory properties. Similarly, this journey has taken longer than the original allotment of twelve months. I began on 01 January 2014, resolved to travel through 365 days without uttering a word of complaint. An unfaithful lover, I did not keep my vow. But the path has provided many lessons; and as I promised my mother and my Nana that I would do, I keep walking, every day of my life — always putting my best foot forward.
It’s the twelfth day of the fifty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.