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Playing the role of villain

It's been a Bear Goes Over the Mountain kind of week, where I see one obstacle, scale it, only to find another right after. I must be honest, though - the smaller obstacles were made worse by a dramatically bad start to the week where misinterpretation brought everything crashing down.

Somehow I knew it must be me, as it has been so many times before. I must be the one who started that giant boulder rolling down the hill because I could still feel the impression of it on my hand

I have taken the blame. Consciously or unconsciously, I decided that if I had been a better, cleverer, straightforward, open, closed, tactful, altogether more sensible person, then my week might have been smooth and quiet, like the late Spring stream.

I have felt, day after day, as if I struggled to do even the smallest things. My mind was distracted and full of the possibilities of this other week, the one where it didn't all go wrong, leaving me adrift in the centre of what felt like my own debris field.

Readers, it took days and lots of conversations with friends to come to the realisation that I might not be to blame. And then a few more days to work out they might be telling the truth.

Fault, guilt, blame, sorrow, grief: how often do these feelings chase us when we are in the middle of the latest crisis? Why does it take so long and such a lot of well-meaning words for us to even consider we might be blameless? When and where did we come to the decision that we were wrong?

I beg forgiveness of myself. I am a real person who gets things wrong (a lot) but I wish I could convince myself not to rush into the role of villain so easily and with so little resistance.

I often tell myself to back off, look again, try to see the other person's point of view and work out where things went wrong. It very rarely occurs to me to presume myself innocent before doing all of this.

From now on I am hoping to undo some of the damage. If I am wrong, let me see that I am, but if I am not to blame, please let me see that too.

Sometimes it is too easy to take the role we are used to playing, without ever seeing there are whole wardrobes full of costumes unworn and wrinkled from keeping which we have yet to try.

Today, readers, I was brave enough to open the door to a room I always assumed belonged to someone else. At the moment I only peek, with one foot over the threshold. One step at a time and then I'll be sliding my hands over the racks, choosing a new costume, marveling that there were so many different roles to play.

This is what it is to be a full person. None of us are wholly villainous or good; we just have to remind ourselves of that at times.


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