I've always had this odd, inexplicable compulsion to prove to myself that I'm a good person. I don't know where it came from, but if I fail to act nicely, fairly, honestly, (ever) I disappoint myself.
I haven't always lived up to such virtues, of course. I've done and said some not-so-nice things. Especially in my younger days. I've criticized and stolen and jilted and snubbed. And often, the small meannesses come back to me and make me cringe. At times, in the past, have almost suffocated me.
My manuscript, the one I keep yammering on about, was originally titled The Goodness of Meredith Beam. It's premise? One woman who strives for goodness, but who is completely botching the endeavor by falling into an unscrupulous situation.
I've been working on this thing since I was 31. I am now 41. And I've lived and learned and realized a lot in the last 10 years. Namely, no one is fully good or fully bad. We all, every single one of us, is teeming with lightness and brightness and kindness and trust. But also,we are graphite smudges and black shadows of cruelness and selfishness. Often the two dance together and around each other, like sunlight filtering through leafy trees.
Bear with me on these flowery analogies. Sorry.
A lot of what I've realized has come from having kids. I see every angle of these two little beings. Their sweetness and ridiculous greed. I see that both behaviors are innate. Which helps me better accept the darkness in myself. And in others.
Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge that there is no perfection. No flawless, bleached white souls in the world. But it's true. And we're all better, and far more interesting, for our foibles. Without them, after all, there'd be no fiction. No movies. No absurdly angsty blogs like this one.