Friday, December 3, 2010

Full of the Right Ideas

"You can have a head full of the right ideas, but if you can't make the right moves in the world, they're worthless."

That line comes from The Education of Charlie Banks. This post isn't about it, but it's a great film. You should go watch it. I just thought: that's a really good mantra to live your life by. I know it certainly applies to a lot of the crap I managed to cause throughout my life. It's like, you think you know what's best, you think you have it all figured out, but really, really, when it comes down to acting on it you can't. You make the wrong decisions with all the right ideas.

It's too easy to ruin everything. It's far too easy to take your own life and the lives of others and set them alight like you're just living in some fictional world, like everything's a computer game, like the consequences don't matter and you don't have to believe what's happening, or you don't have to save so nothing you did matters. All the mistakes you make, you think you know what you're doing. I mean, most people my age have some experience with computer games, with getting something wrong in them and having the character die, but then coming back and thinking they know how to beat the Big Bad, only to die again. And in the games you can just retry it again and again and it doesn't matter. If you're like me, you figure out how to beat the Big Bad, but you don't know how you can do it. I was always better at telling That Guy I Am how to do it than do it myself.

So it's like the line - having the right ideas but not making the right moves. Except life isn't a game. We live in this messed up world where we can send a text or an email and a second later the person can have received it and then you deal with the consequences. You can bitch and you can moan and you can hit send and then it's too late, then you can't take it back. And I mean, it's easy to do something positive with texts and emails, but it's the wrong moves that come back and bite us in the ass.

I've made those mistakes too many times thinking I knew what was best. I made those mistakes because I didn't want to talk to somebody, I wanted to talk at somebody. You know those sort of relationships where one person does all the talking and it seems fine, except when the other person has something to say they can't because they don't know how that sort of thing works in the relationship? Like, you can't say something because it's not your job to say something when you're actually talking, and you can never find the right time to do it? And when you do say something, it's in an email or a text that's too long and convoluted to get the message across or it's too emotionally charged to make any constructive sense, and all it does is irritate?

Then the shorter messages come along and they can have the biggest impact because you didn't say something. You know you wanted to say something but you don't know how, so the person finally seeing those words instead of hearing them, instead of seeing you, gets the wrong impression.

And you say sorry, and it doesn't mean anything really, even if you mean it, because to the other person it's just one more apology and one more message - heard or seen - among the crap you created before. And there's this impression of you made - unforgivable, it seems - and no matter what you do you don't know how to fix it, because all your right ideas only led you to the point where your actions ruined everything until there are no more right ideas left, only the wrong ones, and you can't act anymore.

Relationships are very, very complicated and fragile things, sometimes. I want to convey that message in a way that will reach everyone, but I don't know how to do it except like this. I mean this in the most sincere way I can manage - don't mess up the relationships closest to you because you'll only hate yourself for it.

But - and I really have to say this - just because you think you've ruined something, don't assume it can't be put back together. You just have to find all the tie all the loose strings together again until you've got something that you looks remarkably similar to what you had before, even if you've had to replace some of the stuff you lost.

Best wishes,

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