Turning from the obsessions that lead one astray, tempted by the dark nature within us all, desires that have the power, sometimes, to even stain our heart, our spirit, our soul.
Can we become selfless? Buddhism would say so, but the path in our modern hi-strung world is a difficult one.
Now, binging on a series called Once Upon A Time, these fabled heroes of childhood fighting the villains of faerytales.
Themes of redemption, mercy, challenging many assumptions we may have as the extreme nature of good versus evil, the viewer is challenged to forgive.
Besides being a wonderful series, it also really hit bang on some hard truths in my own life.
“We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.”J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Can we believe again? Can we have faith, still hope for better, have the strength to accept the mistakes we’ve made, the bad choices, forgive ourselves, forgive others? Another chance?
In these divisive times it seemed a useful philosophical journey to take, through faerytales and their morality, the lessons we may acquire.
That the act of forgiveness, of compassion, of understanding, that all of us do have that capacity, all deserve a chance at redemption, the real path towards our happiness.
Succumbing to our most base instincts, our most selfish acts, in the quest for our ‘happy ending’ we think we deserve.
And so the series asks… can we heal these stains, can we redeem ourselves?
Which brings me to what has haunted me, the resemblance of the dark one, the character Rumpelstiltskin, and how he so so very much reminded me of Tim.
“No man can walk so long in the Shadow that he cannot come again to the Light.”Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt
After a while, after everything hit the fan of truth that September of 2010 when I left him, and returned some months later, angry as everyone was at me, it just was something I had to do.
Not that he had changed so much, as that I had changed.
By the time I returned to that Lake of his, I knew the truths, brutal truths, and all the things he took. I also knew somewhere inside that our story was just not done, and boy oh boy was I right.
Now I see it differently, but it was not so easy back then. I was not who I am today.
Even though it took almost 10 months, something kept me by him, and for a long time I couldn’t figure out why.
Oh, I always saw the good in him, saw his kind nature, as surely as I saw his greed and his obsessions. I too, as Belle, who loved the beast, the monster, the dark one, saw what he had inside.
I, too, had no illusions of his darker nature, of his potential, his past.
I, as her, believed he could change, until the cancer came, and all the things he’d done turned on him, guaranteeing his demise.
When he called that day in July 2012 to tell me he was dying, after I hung up, I sobbed, fell to my knees in heartbreak at this cruel fate.
It was not forgiveness, it was mercy. No one deserves to die alone, unless that is their wish – and most definitely being alone was Tim’s greatest fear.
Even after what he’d done, what he’d taken, stolen, lied about, and all of it, all the things, even so, I stood by right till the end.
I stood by even though I knew I did not have to, knew no one would question me if I left.
Even so, I couldn’t.
After September 2011 when we found out about the cancer, I never once even thought about leaving him to deal with this all alone.
I thought about all the things he’d done to me, done to others, and all the tiny pricks of truth that I had ignored, but I was ignorant no longer of the truth.
Tim was a coke dealing selfish narcissistic twat at times. At times, he was a controlling gaslighting know-it-all lying piece of shite.
But not always, and he did end up winning over the hearts of many, if for nothing less I suppose that he had this joie de vivre that was far more addictive than the cocaine he always had at hand.
“You do not beg the sun for mercy.― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah
I suppose that for some mercy is a weakness, and sadly some who believe this seems to believe themselves to be TRUE believers. This god of theirs punishing the non-believers in heinous ways, this cruel vengeful god is not mine.
For, what of mercy? Redemption? What sort of vicious person would so deal out their will in such monstrous ways? It is truly awful, and there are a lot of folks out there in their sick and twisted minds believe in this vengeful god. Worship this cruel god.
Personally, I think their hate filled belief system tells me more about them than it does this invisible man they worship.
And yet, the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Fear twists you and turns your mind in to this scorched earth devoid of hope that robs you of any joy today. It takes away choices, steals your humanity, your hope, and often takes away your mercy.
More and more, day after day, it becomes all you have, and all you can see, and you are its servant.
Much as Tim, Rumpelstiltskin feared what lay ahead if he relied only on himself, he was a coward, this inflated fear he had of himself overcame him, alienated him, he hated himself. He was a lost boy.
But, he was a hard nut to crack, he’d not let you in too far. If you got in too far you may see all the tangled lies he’d wrapped himself in, to cover-up all the damage he had done, the people he had betrayed, disappointed, like his family.
I mean, for the person I knew, I can’t in good conscious call Tim a thief, as I never saw him ‘steal’ anything.
However, I wouldn’t just leave money lying around where he could get a hold of it. He never actually ever admitted to cleaning out my bank account, I never did get any proof… yet… there was no one else who COULD have. I mean, we lived out in the middle of nowhere, and he had easy access to my bank card and knew my pin #.
Lies upon lies tangled up in other lies, had been his modus operandi for so long that I don’t know if he knew anymore how to tell the truth.
I suppose I figured once I had nothing more he could steal, he was harmless, and he had no power over me once I had learned, well, more of the truth.
He had lines he wouldn’t cross, things he wouldn’t do, the glamour of being on the inside wore thin, and once we were away from the chaotic back door guy to the band, and we retreated back to the Lake, things began to change.
I don’t know if it was mercy, and I didn’t feel weak, but I wouldn’t say I felt strong. I didn’t forgive him, but I did begin to understand him, I saw that scared boy, and I suppose too at the time I had nowhere else to be.
And, sure, I loved where I was, and I felt like I was getting through to him, as slowly he began to change.
There are things at the time that happened I am not so proud of, but in the end I can only say really that it was the best of times, and the worst of times.
“I deserted the world and sought solitude because I became tired of rendering courtesy to those multitudes who believe that humility is a sort of weakness, and mercy a kind of cowardice, and snobbery a form of strength.”Kahlil Gibran, A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran
Right now as I’m kinda on a time out from everything, being unemployed, in the midst of a pandemic, with so many plans I’d had gone with the wind, I find I have sort of tucked myself away from it all. Regrouped.
Don’t let the past influence what the future can become.
You know if I’m honest, I don’t look back at the time with Tim with either sadness, nor anger, or regrets, cause at the time I was as lost as he was. His fast-paced party mode lifestyle appealed to my desire for escape, for mercy I suppose of my own. I had been sad for so long that I just wanted to feel some sort of happiness, some challenge, some joy, some spontaneity, and Tim offered all that in spades.
So that whole journey thru the looking-glass, binging Once Upon A Time, it really gave me a lot to think about.
“All magic comes with a price, dearie”Rumplestiltskin
And, I guess at the price of my teeth, by stepping out of time, out of my sad reality, Tim and I enjoyed some magic that Lake of his offered, and it changed me.
So, here we are. Was it worth it?
Yes, yes in fact it was… it helped me to heal… even though there was a steep price for that magic.