She has been working up to this all afternoon. Says now, casually, “Is your default setting happy or unhappy?”
“Happy,” I say.
“Why do you think you chose to pursue relationships with unhappy people?” Her head is turned. Her neck a hypnotic line.
Did I? I wonder. But she is right, of course.
“Unhappy people can’t have successful relationships,” she says. This is what she does. Counseling. And you see why her clients love her. How she inspires self revelation. “And if you choose unhappy people, people who can’t have healthy relationships, people who don’t know how, then you already know the end. You already know that it will fail. You already know they’ll betray you. You don’t trust them from the beginning, because you already know.”
They have told you this. All of them. Told you that you wrote the ending.
“What’s your default setting?” I ask her.
“Happy,” she says, and laughs. “Contented.”
I think of my son. Of the way he rested his head on her as we watched a movie. The way he and I — both of us from our first interactions — feel safe with this woman. We feel safe with this woman.
“It’s more dangerous,” she says, and props herself up on one elbow, “to trust someone, and never see it coming. To trust, and love, and then be betrayed.”
I chose someone happy. I chose her. I am pierced with it. On a Sunday afternoon. I am pierced with this new story. One where I am a character. Filled with wonderment.
10 thoughts on “Reset”
This does add an interesting twist to the discussion of power.
It’s curious of you to say that, Shelly, because that’s exactly where this conversation led me. To power. To the fact that I gave mine away at the start, each time. And that my relationships ended, always, when I resolved to take my power back. When I decided to give sufficient weight to my own interests and desires. When I unhobbled.
Yes, there’s that. I was also thinking of how choosing “hobbled” relationships gives you power in, as you say, knowing how the story ends. (The point she is making, really.) Are you sure there isn’t some element, conscious or otherwise, of the bottom running the fuck there?
But, then, control of that nature is maybe not necessarily power. Which, I suppose, is part of the point you’re making.
To me, it creates an interesting question: Is choice always power?
What about people who are neither happy nor unhappy? They just are.
Is choice always power? That is an epic question, isn’t it? I’ll have to think about it. My first impulse is to say yes. Yes, absolutely. But I’m suspicious of my conviction.
What do you think, is choice always power?
Nikki, I think her point is that choosing unhappy people is self sabotage. And she wanted me to see that I’d made a different choice. At last.
As to the bottom running the fuck, I have an argument forming in my head about that. Convergence in all directions.
(By the way, Shelly, I read the post about the cross and your brother. It hurt me. It was so beautiful.)
interesting conversation… I’ve always thought of endings to relationships when considering to begin them. I think choice is a doorway to power. Having a choice is empowering, but at the same time, one can choose whether to exert power or not. Is that power in itself? Sounds like it could turn into a chicken and the egg argument. Power can be exerted passively or agressively – so, maybe it is a mindset whether one has power or not…
Yes, I was thinking how all of these things are related. Of course. Also, it’s difficult to think about a scenario where choice isn’t, at the least, some small power.
(And, thank you. I’ve been having a hard time with coherent posts, lately. I thought that post was really a mess, but apparently in the few hours it was up people read it anyway. I’ll put it back.)
I agree that choice is power. Even two poor choices. Or not choosing. Or dropping your hands mid-fight.
You are not wholly screwed until you have no options.
Yes. Or not choosing. Especially.