Everything Changes

Bertolt Brecht: Alles Wandelt Sich/ Everything Changes

Everything changes. You can make a new start
With your last breath.
But what has happened, has happened. And the water
You have poured into the wine, you can
Not pour back out.

What has happened, has happened. The water
You have poured into the wine, you can
Not pour back out, but
Everything changes. You can make a new start
With your last breath.

Yes, what is done cannot be undone. Yesterday, I experienced pain on the kind I level I didn’t think it was possible to feel anymore. The last 12-18 months have been pretty nightmarish in many ways, and I have been suppressing much of what I’ve been feeling in order to be able to function normally. But that hasn’t even been going too well if I’m honest. So when I discovered that I had been let down in the most horrible way by someone very close to me, the seal blew on the entire reservoir of toxicity I’d been keeping a tight lid on and it felt like drinking acid; like I was burning from the inside out.

The question is: is there an antidote? The water you have poured into the wine cannot be poured back out. The things I had faith in and believed in, I can no longer believe. That has changed in a fundamental way. How can anything ever be the same again? How do we forgive, recover and move on? Is it even possible?

I have never really had to answer these questions before. Or when I have, it has been a simple answer – no. My answer was always no. I have almost lost count of the people I have cut out of my life, for ‘unforgivable’ behaviour, most of which pales by comparison to that which I am facing now. I remember having a very good, very close friend, which whom I spent a great deal of time and shared everything, good times and bad. There were difficulties and tensions as there are in every relationship, but still we were close and we cared for each other a great deal. Over time, we found ourselves in relationships and it naturally meant that we weren’t so close anymore. Undoubtedly we each felt threatened by the others’ partner, which is not a healthy situation to be in.

However, rather than acknowledging and trying to work with the issue, it exploded one day into an argument, resulting in my friend walking out of Starbucks and refusing to speak to me. Simply because this is a type of behaviour I find unacceptable, because it is such a huge rejection and so hurtful, I cut her out of my life. Just like that. I could have let her cool off, let the dust settle, gone back a few days later and tried to work things out, but I didn’t. I never forgave her for walking off like that. I deemed it ‘unforgivable’ and wrote the whole thing off. Cold, eh?

Had I taken some time to reflect, I would have realised that she wasn’t really trying to hurt me; that I was pushing her too far, I had made a very judgemental comment about her partner, which wasn’t at all helpful to her at the time, she as already upset about something he’d done. There was actually little else she could have done in the situation, no answer she could have given, walking off was probably the only option at that point. Still, I couldn’t or didn’t want to forgive her and I simply cut her out.

I did the same thing to another quite close friend. In fact it was an entire family I was friends with, who had invited me into their lives and with whom I had shared some of the best times I’ve ever had. I very much enjoyed being a part of all of their lives, the children as well, as a surrogate older sister or unofficial aunt. Although I had a lot in common with these friends, we didn’t entirely share the same values, and this became apparent one day, when my friend began to argue with me on Facebook. It was ridiculous, petty, absurd, I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. But again, I found it unacceptable, ‘unforgivable’, and decided to write off all four of them, sacrifice that part of my life, because I felt disrespected.

Both of those situations could have been so easily remedied and yet I wasn’t even willing to try. These are not exactly rare occurrences either, just perhaps the most illustrative. I once came perilously close to doing the same thing to one of my very best friends, over a petty falling out about not seeing each other as often as I would have liked to. What does that say about me? My pride was so hurt that even though my basic problem was that I felt I didn’t see her enough, I was willing to never see her again? As what, punishment to her? You screwed up, you let me down so now you should suffer, never mind the fact that I will suffer too because I won’t see you anymore.

I never thought of myself as a masochist, but in doing these things I have hurt myself as much as anyone else. I just chose not to acknowledge it. The thing about forgiveness is that it’s not really for the person who hurt you, it’s for yourself. To let go of things rather than carrying these bad feelings in your soul for the rest of your life.

And anyway, It’s hardly as though I have never ever made a mistake or screwed anything up in my life or behaved in an ‘unforgivable’ way. I have done horrible things, not on purpose, but horrible nonetheless. Of course, I haven’t really forgiven myself for those and I know that there are people in the world who will never forgive me as long as they live. I don’t blame them.

So where does all this leave me? I would like to agree, that you can make a new start with your last breath. The water you have poured into the wine, you can not pour back out, that is true. Whether you can hope it isn’t so diluted that it bears no resemblance to what it once was, well the only way to find out I guess is to drink it.


About Joanne Fry

LocalGov manager, aspiring writer, Politics and Public Policy bore, Feminist, ballroom dancer, dog lover. All views my own.
This entry was posted in Coaching, Issues, Relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Everything Changes

  1. annanimm says:

    This resonated with me, as I’ve also often done things unconsciously, on autopilot, and then realized in what ways they were hurting me. I think the first step to a new start is recognizing a pattern that is unsatisfying in your life, and digging deeper to find out where it comes from, why you needed it at a certain point in your life, and why you are ready to move on.

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