Monday, March 12, 2012

A Thank-You Note to My Adversaries

"That was fun. Most people vomit the first time." - Albus Dumbledore (HP6 movie)

"There never was a good war or a bad piece." - Benjamin Franklin

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval." - George Santayana


Without adversity, where would we be? In a way, life is like fiction in the sense that those who hinder us, help us, and occasionally the converse. Even if they hinder us in one way, they also give us experience in dealing with their kind. I live without regret, for it doesn't change the past, and my actions and those of others have shaped me into who I am now. I daresay I am not perfect - far from it! Nobody is, really; by definition, perfection cannot be achieved - but I am mostly satisfied with who I have become and who I am still becoming. I am a bit of a perfectionist and overly cautious, but I could be much worse, believe me! But even though I have largely had to raise myself despite the presence of parents, my aggressors give me the inner strength to improve. I find that a comparison to many medical vaccines is relevant here; through the syringe or what-have-you, a practitioner gives a tiny dosage of the sickness itself - the one that will hopefully be prevented. Our minds need to have immune systems akin to the literal sort.

And that is what I have: a mental/emotional immune system, and a strong one at that; I feel no hate and only become angry when it's something worth anger, such as homophobia, animal cruelty, racism, sexism, and so forth. But if someone attempts to insult me, I generally brush it aside as trivial. (If someone thinks I need to be captured or killed, then I'll start caring what others think. Otherwise I can judge myself.) In the short story "N-Words" by Ted Kosmatka, which I read in Year's Best SF 14, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, the narrator (an expecting mother) says something I felt was a jackpot of truth:

"And is that what you'd wish for him, to have an easy life?"
"Isn't that what every parent wishes for?"
"No," I said. I touched my own stomach. I put my small hand over his large one. "I hope our son grows to be a good man."

That pretty much hit the nail on the head for me. Not only is an easy life a spoiled one, but said spoiling leaves one ill-prepared for the real world. It's a tough game, life is, and only the toughest (or luckiest) can succeed.

Chew on that.

--- Lewis Mason Winter

No comments:

Post a Comment