For the first 35 of my 47 years, I thought I had everything figured out, and why not? Things were either right or wrong…anybody could see that! But it took an especially dysfunctional relationship to show me that I was gravely mistaken; instead of the the yes-or-no, right-or-wrong, black-or-white clarity that I thought applied to all people and situations, I learned that more often than not in life, the most recurring color is gray.
“Evan”, as I’ll call him, was a bright, handsome, talented aspiring writer when I met him 12 years ago. We struck up a friendship through conversations at a local coffee shop we both frequented and eventually became lovers. I was a hopeless romantic…I still am, though now, thankfully, it is within the scope of a healthy relationship. Therefore, I was drawn to Evan’s determination to make it on his own it as a writer, though he was estranged from his wealthy family. They didn’t understand him, and though they were moneyed, they were culturally depraved, morally bankrupt, and probably ate babies. You get the picture. Seeing as there was the world’s greatest actress trapped in my customer service worker’s body, I was, of course, empathetic and smitten. So much so, that it took repeated episodes of Evan’s drunken, verbally abusive tirades and litanies on how everyone else was wrong before the bloom began fading from my misunderstood artistic rose. However, at the end of our months-long relationship, I experienced something else for the first time: instead of simply dismissing Evan as only an alcoholic loser, as I would have done previous to knowing him, I saw that he was possessed of just as many good qualities as bad, living side-by-side in him like wary next door neighbors. Once I recognized that Evan was more than a two dimensional being, it was like I was seeing the world and the people in it for the first time…myself included. It was liberating and mind-stretching to realize that life does not have to be lived in such absolute terms. How great it felt to no longer embrace and apply such stifling judgements to others, and especially, to myself. Hell, these days, I’m practically looking at life through a prism! But I didn’t get here overnight, so I would encourage anyone who views the world in stark black and white, as I once did, to take a new look at gray. Think of it like testing the water with your big toe. Once I embraced the shade of a dark winter’s day, it opened me up to live my life in full, vivid color.
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