Monday, April 23, 2007

Being my own honesty

A conversation between a blind old man who is full of light and stories and a young girl who is a story in progress:

You must never doubt the one you love.
But they might not be telling you the truth.
Never mind that. You tell them the truth.
What do you mean?
You can't be another person's honesty, child, but you can be your own.
So what should I say?
When?
When I love someone?
You should say it.


The above is from Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping, one of the most eloquent books to cross my reading path this year. This has led me to think that perhaps I have not been my own honesty. I suffer from what I call the “Hamlet syndrome”: thinking too much, and acting too little. This stagnation is akin to self-betrayal when we do not do everything in our power to achieve what we desire most. My most fatal character flaw is doubt. My self-doubt has led me to doubt others' love and sincerity. I'm always more than a bit surprised when any compliment comes my way. The next time, instead of responding with my usual “You're too kind,” I'll simply say, “Thank you.” What right have I to doubt my abilities when others see them too? What right have I to doubt others' sincerity when they have the courage to transform thought into voice? Now, I need to take that same leap and tell those I love just how much they mean to me. I think they know who they are already, but, I need to tell them, for my sake.

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