The Paragraph I Promised
Being a coward and calling it kindness.
Excerpt from Passing Through Season 4, Episode 3:
I nearly choked on the three strings of pulp floating around my champagne glass.
I couldn’t understand whether her rationale was merely a level of empathy and compassion I didn’t possess, or if it was some form of cowardice.
Had I not made certain difficult decisions just to placate people, to avoid confrontation and difficult conversations? Was I mistaking silence for peace? I asked myself these questions knowing nothing is singular. And whatever happens to oneself happens to another. My own American wedding was six months away and her lack of definitive response i.e. “I don’t want this person who doesn’t care about my wellbeing standing next to me on the day where family and friends will gather to witness our union” held a mirror to my own consciousness, void of smoke or smudge.
It was a direct reflection of my own shortsightedness.
And the image was clear, appearing as a shadowlike desire to dub myself a saint for sludging through shit that so-called friends and family lay before my feet during the year I needed them the most.
Where, in my own life, was I being a coward and calling it kindness?
This series is about getting more comfortable with the never-ending, magically forgiving process of revision. In the words of Annie Dillard:
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better.
These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.