March 29th, 2008

corset & bougainvillea


This Saturday night, I find myself wondering about integrity and whether it (or its absence) is genetic.

I spend a great deal of time worrying about decisions I've made. Sometimes it's just little things--purchases I've made, apartments I've rented. Mostly, though, I question jobs I've taken or quit, relationships I've ended. Regret greets me in the morning and tucks me into bed at night.

It is true that the majority of my second-guessing has been about relationships, both platonic and romantic. I somehow endured the immense heartache after my second serious relationship in part because I believed I deserved it for leaving my first. Even when friends don't know it, I think hard about how I treat them and have made myself sick trying to empathize with them even when they've turned on me, let me down, crossed me out of their lives. It may in fact be a big flaw that I spend as much time and energy as I do fretting about other people--but I believe that our relationships are to a great extent a reflection of ourselves and that what we put into them we get back.

So what to think, then, of family members who are selfish and deceitful? Who show no empathy, who openly lie, and even when confronted, do not apologize? What about those who deal with the natural consequence of their shameful behavior--guilt--by being even more cruel?

You can pray all you want to whatever spirits suit you--Jesus Christ, the orisha, the ancestors--but it's a simple fact of physics that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

While I can't say that I've ever really believed in Jesus Christ, I do believe in his golden rule, which is really just to say that I believe in karma.