September Surrender: Day Ten
What I’m Letting Go
Remember the “Talkboy?” It was a toy that coincided with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It was the hottest Christmas gift in 1992, and I wanted it. Everyone did. But I got it first, and later the Talkgirl, which was pink, and of course only for girls. But that’s besides the point.
I was so excited Christmas Day to play with my new toy. I had seen what kind of shenanigans Kevin McCallister got into and I wanted to take part in my own. My mom helped me get started, putting the batteries in and figuring out the instructions. When we finally got it working, we decided to try out the slow-down mode. “Okay Gina, tell me something I may not know!” my mom said into the recorder.
“Okay!” my seven-year-old self began, “I hate, I hate school!”
My mom stopped the recorder and asked me straight-faced, “You do? You hate school?” I thought I was in trouble, so I walked it back. I felt like I had upset my mom, a former schoolteacher, so I told her I didn’t really hate it, I just didn’t like it that much. But the truth was I did hate school. The learning part of it, anyway. I liked the social aspect of it and dug all the people in my class. But testing and learning about things that carried no interest to me was something I carried all the way through college.
Is it ‘wrong’ to hate something? I keep thinking that it is. Still, I can’t ignore the growing hatred I have of those apparently elected to lead Americans in their respective states or cities. It feels like nearly every decision out there is the wrong one. NYC tap water is good to drink and vaccine mandates are still necessary. Oregon schoolchildren don’t need to show proficiency in math or writing in order to graduate. Get your booster that we only tested on eight mice. Ukraine certainly needs billions more of our tax dollars while American cities don’t have running tap water.
This may be a leap from my seven-year-old self reporting that she hates things, but somewhere down the line I thought it wasn’t okay to “hate” per se. Like I was betraying positivity if I said I hated someone. I think I need to let go of this feeling. Because while I still will never wish bad things happen to someone, I don’t think ‘hating’ what they do should be avoided. It’s a human emotion. There can be no love without hate. And frankly, there’s a lot going on that deserves enough scorn so that they may never happen ever again.
What I’ve Discovered
“I could never hate you. I just hate the things you do to me.”
I said that to someone once when they were worried I hated them. I still don’t hate them, even if they never want anything to do with me ever again. I used to get down on myself thinking about how that whole relationship really began. We bonded over mutual people in our circle that we hated. It was like recreation to just talk about what dumbasses everyone was around us. I used to dislike that it started on such a negative note, but it is true people form strong bonds when the find a mutual disapproval of something. I didn’t go looking for that, it just happened. And it occurred to me that people actually do go looking for that dislike of everything, and possibly ‘worse,’ they learn to capitalize off it.
I try not to hate the player, just the game, but I don’t understand why anyone would want their entire shtick to be looking for problems in literally everything that occurs in the world. And I’m not speaking about critics. I’m talking about the problem seekers, those who wouldn’t have an audience if it weren’t for making videos or writing articles about things they absolutely hate. It’s one thing if you’re actively trying to make things better. It’s another to think everyone else needs to change in order for you to find some solace. I could never be this person. I wish the people who are find something that makes them happy. Why show such an ugly side to the world?
What I Hope to Find
Anger still remains, oh yes. But sometimes I wonder just how much anger is intertwined with hate. Are they mutually exclusive? Can you hate something and not be angry at it? I’m not sure anymore. I’m noticing more grey hairs popping up throughout my hair. I hate it, but I’m not angry about it. Because what good would that do? What’s the point? Is it all just wasted energy in the end?
I’m not sure categorizing every single emotion in my mind is a healthy thing to do either. I know I overthink and overanalyze, but it can help if I’m crafting characters that will one day be in a book. I wrote a little bit of it today. Even if it sucks, I can’t hate that I did that. And so I hope that one day, I’ll be able to properly channel all that goes on in my mind, getting it out on the page so that one day when I tug at the final string, it all stays steadfast and in place.
It’s coming. I can hate the process of it all, but at least it will get done.