Sunday, 30 September 2018

Lessons to learn and lessons to let go...

It’s funny how it’s not the lessons that they are paid to teach you that teachers often succeed in teaching you in the end. I have been struggling with one such lesson all my life and I believe it’s time I let it go. Just the other day I caught myself thinking about it again – as I always do – in mid-laugh or when I’m at my happiest. I was feeling particularly good about my life and the world around me, filled to the brim with something like laughing gas and a sense of mischief. I was, as the saying goes, walking on air – light and happy and free – on that sunny and warm autumn day. And then it happened. I had a sudden, visceral need to check myself, to sober up, to remind myself that laughter and happiness have a terrible price to pay; the words that had been hammered weekly into my head so many years before were once again reverberating in my ears, berating me, warning me – rain always comes after the sun, rain always comes after the sun, rain always comes after the sun... And isn’t that the truth? We always paid for our laughter during recess with tears at the lesson after being subjected to a forty-minute terror at the hands of the scariest teacher in the world. And that feeling – that knowledge that ultimate happiness in particular – must be avoided at all costs, because it always ends in one way – badly – had been further reinforced in my mind (the mind of a very impressionable and precautious child) by the book that we read at our English lessons, by a soap opera that everyone in our country watched at one point and, finally, most profoundly of all, by a terrible episode from my childhood when I came home, happy and carefree, having laughed a great deal, only to learn that my grandfather had died. It’s a knee-jerk reaction by now and it seems there’s very little I can do about it other than put a lid on my elation and moderate my laughter. It’s as though I suddenly have a fishbone stuck in my throat. It’s as though that balloon of happiness suddenly gets a puncture. It’s as though by laughing without moderation I might accidentally trigger something bad and bring it down upon my family and myself, and that’s when the guilt kicks in. However, I’m going to try to change that. I’ve decided to deal with it in the only way I’m good at when it comes to dealing with my feelings and emotions – by writing it down. It occurred to me afterwards – it’s funny how thirty-five seems to be like such an enlightening age – that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself and your life. There’s nothing wrong with feeling happy and smiling and laughing and taking happy photos in the sun and sharing them online without the fear of punishment or retribution to follow. What is it that they say: there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, right? Well, I’ve never been the bravest of people, but I think it’s time to face this particular fear and to tell it to go to hell. I want to be happy and I don’t want to look behind my back each time I feel like laughing and lifting my feet off the ground, because I’m filled with elation, with sensation of opportunity and possibility. I want that poisonous dart out of my system once and for all. I want this page to absorb its negative power, that has been plaguing me all these years, and grind it into dust. I want to see that dust blown about until it vanishes in the wind, every last mote… I think that there are lessons to learn and lessons to let go and this one I am finally letting go.

P.S. A month later (almost to the day I wrote this post) my dog died...


  1. Farida, if this helps any, I've always heard the expression "the sun always follows the rain." I think you've made a good decision. Cheers!

  2. Thank you very much! I wish we'd been taught this one instead - but, alas, we had a cruel sadist for a teacher. You know, not unlike Snape in some ways)