In the video that 3 made before his suicide, he talked about how he was tired of fucking up, tired of making the same mistakes over and over again. The bulk of my initial reaction to that statement was something like “Well, just don’t fuck up so much!” Not that I don’t make more than my fair share of life errors, but I thought that 3’s particular brand of fuck-ups were exceedingly obvious and tiresomely repetitive. Dude, you know better.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, when I, yet again, pissed off my sister S by (somewhat inadvertently, though no less at-fault) sharing my honest and highly uncomplimentary opinions with her. Talk about knowing better! I’ve been saying stupid shit to S my entire life. She and I are polar opposites – Myers-Briggs even told us so! – and she prefers a communication style vastly different than the one I enjoy using. While I am tactlessly honest and enduringly cynical, S inherited Mom’s boundless optimism, truly believing that everyone will share her exact opinion on everything from wedding invitations to Disney restaurant options to her husband.
Point being, I know all this. I know that I can’t be honest all the time with S. I know that I have to use my words carefully, always choosing unfettered support over honest disagreement. I know that she gets really upset when she finds out I don’t share her opinion on something she cares about, complaining about either my choice of words in expressing my dissent, my dissent itself, or both. When she asked for my opinion on her wedding invitations, I, in the course of the conversation, referred to them as “folksy,” which set off an indignant rant, much to RJ’s delight. (I stand by that assessment – the invitations had a gingham pattern!) I know all this, and yet I still keep sharing my opinion with S, and she keeps getting mad about it.
I had a lovely conversation about this topic last night with my senior year roommate from college. SYR is a magnificent woman, fiercely devoted to making herself a better person. Over the course of living together and remaining friends for the past 9+ years, she and I have seen some pretty unpleasant sides of each other. What I love about SYR is that she accepts not only my flaws, but her own as well, seeing them as obstacles that can definitely be surmounted. Together, we try to hold each other accountable, and every time I talk to her, SYR makes me believe that I still have a chance to stop making these mistakes, to improve my extensive list of abrasive personality traits.
So, I get it, at least a little bit. I see what it feels like to do the same stupid thing AGAIN. After mentally apologizing to 3 for not acknowledging just how damn hard it is to stop making the same mistakes over and over again, I retroactively amended my reaction to his video. Yes, it sucks finding yourself in the same shitty situation for what feels like the thousandth time, be it facing down an irate sister or holding yet another traffic citation. It still doesn’t warrant suicide. Obviously, I don’t have a solution for such consistent mistakes, but my current coping mechanism is to laugh, roll my eyes, talk to a friend who believes in me, and try to do better next time.