Have you ever had that one thing you just can’t get right? Do you even know what I’m talking about? I don’t mean that test you failed and wished you could redo, I mean that thing that you always fail at but you keep trying to fix or get right anyway. That thing that every time you think on it you get this bubble of dread and disappointment in the pit of your stomach, and you know you’re going to get up and try again because you hope beyond hope you get it right this time but the little voice in the back of your head tells you what you already know, you won’t. hen you get in the mindset of trying again that voice gives you this slight pang of self-loathing because it knows, and somewhere you know, you will fail again. That kind of can’t get it right is what I’m talking about, a real and ever-disappointing failure. I’m beginning to understand that I may be in the middle of this can’t get it right. I’m beginning to wonder if all my relationships, beyond friendships, are this kind of can’t get it right.
This bubble of dread is the same bubble I get whenever I find my mother with a drink or breath that stinks of alcohol again. Her stomach is smaller than a golf ball and yet she still finds room for a good drink. It’s the same pang of self-loathing I get every time Thing 1 calls me crying because there’s an ambulance at our house and I wasn’t the one to call it. This I am used to though. This relationship I will never perfect, I will just endure until it is over and I am fine, honestly fine with that. In my conscious mind there is a logical voice which tells me you can’t fix someone who thinks they aren’t broke. My conscious mind accepts this and we move on, but my unconscious mind hate this idea and instills the dread and self-loathing I feel and I know in the back of my mind I have failed to fix her or us even though it is clear she doesn’t want to be fixed.
And as I said all this I can and have lived with. But this feeling of dread has begun to creep upon me every time I start talking to my sweet eagle scout and find I have said something to upset him unconsciously. His smile changes and I find the bubble begins to form and I know I’m about to find out I have failed to get it right again. When he confirms my mistake I feel the self-loathing. There is more hope here than with my mom because I know he will stay and forgive but the fear…the uncontrollable fear that I will never get this right either has begun to settle firmly in my stomach and clinch my chest and my need to try fills me with more passion than it ever did with my mother. But how long should one try before you finally resign yourself to the idea that you will always fail at this one thing? How long will the hope survive before you run out? …I have found it never does. I have lied and told my older sister that I have run out of hope for my mother but it’s not true. I have realized it never will be.
We are human and it is hope that keeps us moving. Without hope we would never try, and definitely never try again. Everything we do starts with a hope. A hope to not get caught, a hope to succeed, a hope for love, a hope to survive, a hope to prove someone else wrong, but always a hope. It’s that hope that forces us to retry that thing we will never get right, and a hope that keeps us fighting after the war is already lost. And maybe sometimes we wish we really could just lose hope and let it end, but even that thought is a hope. We can never really stop hoping because to hope is to be human, and to be human is to be imperfect and still hope we can achieve perfection. So, maybe I won’t stop hoping for her to be fixed and hoping that I can stop saying the wrong things. And maybe I won’t ever stop and she won’t ever be fixed but I’ll keep trying every time and hoping this time I get it right.