I wanted to write more about the Philippines today. But I found that I couldn’t. I got an email notification to renew the hosting of a friend’s website, which I had gifted last year. I clicked on the link for renewal even though I had absolutely no wish to renew the hosting, as the friend does not exist in my life. But I had to check because the domain for Lifewordsmith, my content writing service, was going to expire as well. I stared at the screen for a moment once I logged in.
There was Lifewordsmith’s hosting and domain. And there was the other hosting and domain. I went to the Control Panel that allows control over all the domains and hosted sites. If I had hatred and if I was malicious, it would have taken me a minute to delete the friend’s website from the Control Panel. I could have messed up the site. I could have changed the site’s access to WordPress. I could have done anything if I had hated strong enough. Deep enough. The trouble with me is that I don’t. I try convincing myself that I can. But over the years, I have found that once the anger fades away, all that is left is not even bitterness, but nothingness.
Wikipedia defines hatred as a “deep and emotional dislike. It can be directed against individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviors, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust and a disposition towards hostility.”
Do I have a deep and emotional dislike? I thought about all the people in my life. And I realized, no. I don’t. Deep and emotional hurt? Yes. We all do, don’t we? But hatred? I think not.
Back to my Control Panel. I renew Lifewordsmith’s domain. Credit card details. OTP. Payment done. I stare at the Control Panel a while longer. It’s funny this is called the Control Panel, I think. Just how much of control have I lost over my life? And then, I do something I hadn’t in many months. I click on the friend’s website. I see my own picture as the header. My face isn’t seen. But I know precisely when it was taken. The walk back down after climbing Mt. Emei Shan in China nearly five years ago. I glance through the posts. I read the About page. I read this, and I close the website. “My header image contains the picture of my friend who inspired me, pushed me to explore and break my self-created boundaries, and go that extra mile in everything I do. My friend, you are and will always be that voice in my head.”
I log out of the hosting provider’s Control Panel. I don’t want to read anymore. And I recognize this strange buzz in my head. It’s my own Control Panel in my head that is frantically buzzing now. I look for this internal switch in my mind. It’s a dark shiny button. Black with a red flickering light. I have used this switch in the past. It’s the only switch I use often. When used correctly, it works wonderfully well. You see, it’s a switch that shuts down all feelings related to that relationship circuit. I use it to obliterate memories. I use it to distill the memories into faint echoes of the past. Random screens you might glimpse through on your way to your future, but nothing more. The switch shuts down all access to that stored vault. Once in that stored vault, safe and with no easy access to it, I can go ahead and live. That’s what I do. When I do, even the simplest things become a painless blur. I can no longer remember the person’s face clearly. I no longer remember conversations. I am able to lock away years because the key to opening that vault is just a moment. Insulated, that safety vault makes me numb. And I have grown to be comfortable with numbness. Because the alternative can’t be contemplated.
To all the mysterious readers of this blog, this quote, more than my ramblings, conveys the roots of deadness.
“Friendship plants itself as a small unobtrusive seed; over time, it grows thick roots that wrap around your heart. When a love affair ends, the tree is torn out quickly, the operation painful but clean. Friendship withers quietly, there is always hope of revival. Only after time has passed do you recognise that it is dead, and you are left, for years afterwards, pulling dry brown fibres from your chest.”
― Anna Lyndsey, Girl in the Dark