Seven months ago I faced my biggest challenge here in Tiny Mountain Town, one unlike any I’d ever come across before. I had the crap kicked out of me in the local pub for no apparent reason (I suspect village-idiot xenophobia), and despite pre-existing misgivings I had about myself, I had to drag myself from the brink back into a position of being OK with my own being. Sure, I was struggling before; years of hurt, bad relationship endings and blah blah blah, but this was a new monster. Before, I told myself I was a hermit, a social outcast, but that was really of my own machinations. It wasn’t real, but this was real; I became an actual hermit, living in my tiny room, refusing to come out for social engagements and therefore cutting myself off from the one thing I craved more than anything – interaction.
The one thing that did come out of it though, was the strengthening of a principle. The one telling me that under no circumstances would I ever put myself in that situation again, that I would never spend another penny or second in that establishment again. After all, their security stood by, along with several other patrons, and watched that one guy kick the life out of me, literally. The principle whose seed started sprouting the moment I collapsed outside my home, a hundred metres from the place, giving up on all of it. Wishing that the darkness would take me. Not caring.
But here I am, still standing. I guess that was meant to be. It’s been an interesting journey, this last seven months, not to mention difficult. I’m still not there, nor will I be for a while yet, but I am progressing and that’s a comfort to me. I see tangible results. Despite the odd blip, I rarely drink now. I know my limits, and can exercise control unlike previously. I no longer have extended bouts of the loneliness-based depression that have plagued me my whole life, instead just suffering fleeting moments. Moments that pass quite like the storm clouds which pass over this very town. Progress.
That’s not to say I haven’t been tempted to return to that establishment these last seven months. Of course I have – after all, interaction is still something I’d like more of in my life. Despite my new-found love of sitting home, listening to the rain on the tin roof and killing virtual dragons, I’m still an inherently social person who thrives on such interaction. I still crave an active social life; having actual friends to call on for an evening of tea and conversation where I feel wanted by someone.
Tonight was the first time the temptation almost got the better of me. It felt right, and as a special someone told me, to move on we have to face our fears. Which got me thinking – is it the place I fear? The possibility of running into that guy once more? The condescending looks from people? Or perhaps myself? No – I realised I don’t actually fear anything. I worried, but was never genuinely fearful. I was just too weak to stick to principles that I believed made me a better person.
But not tonight. I could have gone in, it would have been so easy to do so. Go in, sit with a good friend, chew the fat, have a beer. I resisted. I finally realised that principles should always, always win out over desire. I saw my friend off, came home and felt happy. Lighter. Confident that I could overcome all these issues in my head. Optimistic for the future, finally.
Tonight was a victory for principle over desire. For without principles, who are we really?