Fifty Shades of Truth

Incessant writing provides a chronicle on which I can place reasonable reliance.  Thus my life has an unwitting portrayal of all that happened.  When someone tells me that events did not transpire as I recount them, I scroll through my nine years of blogging, my fifteen years of e-mailing, and my lifetime of scribbling.  I don’t need to play back the journal to the ones who deny what I recall.  It is enough to check my memory against my contemporaneous writing or theirs, and sit back, calm and quiet, amid my fifty shades of truth.

But “being right” has little intrinsic value for me.  I don’t review the paragraphs in order to prove my case.  Rather, I yearn to understand dynamics lest I relapse, or return to clumsy dealings.  I test my memory only to keep my progress pure.  When someone says that what I remember didn’t happen, are they mistaken or am I?  Is the discrepancy between our recollection simply a function of age or perspective?  Was I paying so little attention that I got it drastically wrong? Or do I recall it well, and can now proceed on lessons learned?

Back in my drinking days, I ruefully exclaimed that unfortunately, I never blacked out.  I made choices in my younger years that I would just as soon forget.  I can describe each shabby second.  The one-night-stands, the car accidents, the insistent signal to the reluctant bartender for yet another round.  That period occupies a grim corner of my mind but not a poorly-lit one.  I remember it all, to my deep regret and even shame.

Just so for that space near the end of my dependence on prescription drugs.  I missed some obvious signs in my discordant relationships. I misinterpreted events.  But I vividly recall the details of those events, even though I could not hear the silent lament of those who now look on that period of my life with bitter resentment rather than forgiveness.

The piles of paper on which I penned so many words drift around me.  I lift a sheet and glance at the faded ink.  Could I have loved more, and more kindly?  Of course.  Did I ignore collateral damage when the dominoes fell?  Certainly.  But the steps which I took were as I remember them, even though I sometimes wore blinders that obscured the faces of others as I stumbled by.

The past has taught me well.  The ransom it demanded has been paid.  I do not need to set any record more straight than the one on my healing heart.  To any who wish to rage at me, I extend my open hands but decline to place my head upon the block.

It’s the fourteenth day of the forty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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