23:25 Tue 05 Dec 2006

What is it and how do I get some? I don’t know the answers to these questions, except that my problems with closure are intimately bound up with my attitudes to death, letting go, hindsight, tragedy, and change.

I could do worse than go through that list, I suspect.

Death: Don’t like it. Not comfortable with the concept one little bit. I’m with Woody Allen (“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying”) and Dylan Thomas (“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”). I know this is deeply problematic, and have tried to work on it, but it appears to be an extremely ingrained attitude.

Letting go: I seem to just be bad at it. Regret plays far too big a part in my consciousness. Since closure and letting go are more or less entirely intertwined, this doesn’t help me to achieve closure one little bit. I tend to want to change things that I cannot change. I tend to feel deeply frustrated by my inability to change these things. I tend to hold out hope for change in these things despite mountains of rational/empirical evidence. Perhaps that’s the key: letting go means giving up hope (for that particular thing, at least—I’m trying not to stray into Steven R. Donaldson territory here). But somehow I’m afraid that life will be unbearable without that hope, and so I refuse to let it go (which, naturally enough, leads to significant chunks of not-very-bearable existence).

Hindsight: I have far more of this than I need. I’d get rich quick if I could sell it off as raw material. Ridiculous amounts of it. It’s not all bad: hindsight is necessary to understand yourself better, and to learn from past mistakes. It’s helped me do both of those things. But it’s also like some addiction, where I end up feeding on this twisted idea that I could have done better than I did. Teaching me how I can do better next time is the beneficial part; alternately teasing me with the world (it’s just over there!) where I did act optimally and tormenting me with the foolishness of my decisions is the unpleasant underside. I think those are bound together with an illusion that since I can identify what I did wrong, I have some degree of (temporally impossible) control over the situation and/or myself.

Tragedy: I see it in too much, I think. The end of a life, the end of a relationship, the (unsuccessful) end of an endeavor: I easily see the tragedy in these things, because I see the potentialities that have been cut off. I see the possibilities, perhaps ones that were very close to being realized, that would have existed had the end not come, and their loss strikes me as tragic.

Change: Well, if I fear death, can’t let go, have constant and oppressive hindsight, and see tragedy in the ends of things, what’s my attitude to change likely to be? Optimistic, hopeful, engaged, open, active? Sadly, no. Sometimes I can rise above it, and embrace change—otherwise, I would have gotten stuck somewhere (and someone) else long ago. Nevertheless, it’s something deeply problematic for me, and the reasons are sketched out above.

So. Closure. Not easy for me to get, for those reasons and more. And those are only the abstract and personal reasons, not dealing in any of the actual events. Still, understanding them a little better should help, not hinder, me.

It’s not all bad. For whatever reason, as well as what I’ve written above, this evening I feel a lot of passion and commitment. Yes, too much of that is still flowing towards a dead relationship, but a lot of it is just there, part of who I am, and those are parts I’m glad of. If the price I have to pay for being passionate and committed is a lot of trouble with closure and letting go, then I’ll pay that price. I’ll absolutely keep trying to get better at letting go, but passion and loyalty are aspects of me that I will not diminish or discard.

And I think that, right there, is in itself a little piece of closure.

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2 Responses to “Closure”

  1. Helen Says:

    awww, love, I found this very moving. thank you. xxx

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Thanks for the support, Helen—I really appreciate it.

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