I haven't written for quite a while about Nasty Bitch (NB). When last I blogged about her, she was still up to her old antics of being just plain mean to my wife. She was also dealing with some serious mental illness issues, which she was ignoring/denying. It was not a good situation.
Well, don't think that NB's prolonged absence from this blog indicates any shift in her mental health or general disposition. She is still pretty miserable and goes out of her way to make other people miserable. NB still treats my wife like she's a combination of Lizzie Borden and Eva Braun, and, as far as I can tell, has still not received the treatment she needs to make her situation any better. In short, nothing's changed.
In her, anyway.
I add that qualification to my previous statement because, obviously, something has shifted. NB is still behaving the same way, but I am not consumed by her petty comments, ignorant cruelty, and old-fashioned bitchiness. She has not changed one iota since I began praying for her at the start of Lent this past year.
So, eliminating NB from the list of possible suspects for causing the change in my relationship with her, that leaves only one possible conclusion: me, in the kitchen, with the lead pipe.
Yes, I am the person who has changed in some way. That's quite the statement, considering I like change about as much as I like eating blood sausage. In short, not very much. Picture Gordon Ramsay from Hell's Kitchen screaming, "It tastes like dogshit!" That's pretty much the way I feel about change.
Yet, here I stand naked before you in cyberspace (there's an image for you), a changed person. It obviously wasn't a sudden shift, or I would have bridled against it almost immediately. One of the best ways to insure that I don't do something is to tell me that I have to do it. Think of how many times your mother or father or grandparent or teacher sat you down and told you to finish your peas or apologize to your sibling or read chapter 11 in Introduction to Modern Philosophy and Political Theory. Even if you want to do it--were, in fact, planning to do it--there's the stubborn five-year-old in you that clamps your lips shut, crosses your arms across your chest, and refuses to do anything at all.
However, I have to admit: I'm a changed person. NB does the same things to piss me off; I just don't get pissed off any more, for the most part. This may seem like a small victory in the grand scheme of the universe, but, for me, it's akin to Barack Obama being elected president of the United States. It's huge. I don't know how it happened, when it happened, or why it happened. But it happened.
I now think of how sad and miserable NB is all the time. She could be better. She has the power to choose to be better. She chooses sickness. That's the crappiest thing about mental illness. The person who can help the most is the person who's sick.
I feel angry and sad and frightened sometimes, but I'm able to move beyond these emotions. I can enjoy my son's happy screams. I can get excited when my daughter goes for a run with me. I can say a prayer for some happiness and feel like somebody up above is listening. It's called hope.
NB is like a scratched LP. The needle just sits in the groove, playing the same two musical notes over and over. I don't think NB ever experiences hope in any form, and if I were in that situation, I'd be a pretty miserable person to be around, too.
Vincentia Gerosa knew about hope. Her whole life, in fact, was an exercise in hope. As a girl, she was orphaned, but she spent her youth and adulthood caring for the poor in her native Lovere, Italy. Hope. With Bartholmea Capitanio, she established the Sisters of Charity of Lovere. This religious order cared for the destitute, ill, and young. Hope. Vincentia Gerosa tried to shine light in darkness, instill hope in hopelessness.
I'm not saying I'll never get angry with NB again. I will. I know it. I'm human, and because I'm human, I'm broken. But, unlike NB, I choose to hope.
Do me a favor tonight. Say a prayer for NB. For anyone with mental illness. A prayer for change. For light. For happiness.
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