I had a long chat with my friend, Boo, last night. It had been a while since we talked like this. Working together may mean you see each other more frequently -- but that does not necessarily mean you get more chance to talk. Tonight was one of those rare moments of heart-to-heart talks. It was nice.
Boo knew Aquarius -- my ex. She was around when things soured between Aquarius and myself, and a lot of mistakes were made -- most of it on my part. I found out later that Aquarius had shown my letters of apologies and phone messages to our mutual friends, mocking and humiliating me in the process. It was painful to learn that someone you love would betray you like this -- that love turned rancid was so cruel.
Part of the bitterness of it all was that I knew enough sordid details about Aquarius to retaliate -- but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. Knowing you could only resign yourself to being humilitated because you do not have the steel to ruin the other person as well.
Boo told me that it was what made me a good person: Because I really believe that just because we have the power to hurt someone, does not give us a right to do so.
I met Aquarius through a mutual friend, Han. When Aquarius and I first started dating, I asked Han how she felt about me dating her friend; she seemed cool about it. In fact, she told me, of all the people Aquarius has ever dated, I am the first decent one. "Decent" was how Han described me.
I know something about myself, and that is my innate decency. No matter how badly I behaved, how stressful the situation, I had never been intentionally cruel. So often, in the heat of an argument I had the perfect knife-in-the-heart rebuttal -- and I left it unspoken because it felt -- cruel.
I think I learned this little emotional restraint -- this compassion -- from my mother. When I was younger I used to resent myself for this emotional handicap. I resented my mother too, for her inability to avenge herself. I did not want to be bullied like my mother. I wanted to be someone who stands up for herself.
I am older now, and I have come to appreciate my mother's virtues more. Maybe fighting back and winning is not always the most important thing in the world. Compassion and forgiveness -- even just simple decency -- they are the quiet kind of strengths.
But as I told Boo last night: we claim to appreciate decency, but we don't date decent. Our hearts yearn for the bad boys and the bad girls who are exciting, flamboyant and complicated -- the ones that will eventually trample all over our hearts with steel-toed shoes. Decent is boring.
But I have had enough mindfucks and excitement for this lifetime. I want boring. I want decent.