Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A pantry full of hate

This is a picture of clutter, in case you don't know what clutter looks like.

The kitchen in my apartment has a pantry, but I don't cook so I use it as a storage closet instead. Being the lazy, indolent sumbitch that I am, I have allowed this pantry to become laughably, even shamefully cluttered. Recently, I was trying to fill out my 1040 EZ for the benefit of good old Uncle Sam and thus went rummaging through the aforementioned closet in search of a large manila envelope upon which the fateful words "TAX SHIT" are scrawled in Sharpie. It took me a while to find, and so I resolved to finally sort through all the useless stuff in there and throw out or recycle anything I didn't actually use or want anymore. Last weekend, I actually went through with this plan, and it felt kind of good for a while. The pantry is still pretty much a mess, but now at least it's a somewhat more manageable mess.

The reason I bring all this up is that my mind is a lot like that pantry. It's cluttered up with a lot of useless junk. You know what takes up an inordinate amount of room? Grudges. Man, I am the king of grudges. I have grudges going back decades. I'm still mad over shit that happened before I was even in kindergarten. There are slights and injustices I can still remember from every phase of my life, and with only a little effort, I can still dredge up the hurt they caused me at the time and make those incidents seem freshly painful again, as if they just happened yesterday. I'm sure lots of good things have happened to me over the years, but my memories of the bad things are so much more vivid in my mind. Four long decades of birthdays and Christmases blend together into one big, blurry blob of indistinct experience. But if you teased me at recess even once in the third grade, you can bet I still hold onto that memory with a vice-like grip.

If you're one of the very few people reading this, it's likely that you're someone I have known for years. And if you're someone I've known for years, it's almost certain that you have caused me some real (or imagined) grief and that I'm still angry about it. I don't like that about myself. I never meant to become so bitter. It just sort of happened, failure by failure, disappointment by disappointment. I don't know what to do with all this bitterness. It's never done me a bit of good, and yet I can't bear to get rid of it.

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