Despite a historic lack of experience or proficiency on the matter, I recently discovered a hitherto hidden talent in myself – the aptitude of abhorrence.
And, while I have used the word ‘hate’ in varying degrees of articulated emotions, I was likely wasting it on matters that now seem clearly trivial.
“Hate is a strong word,” my mother would comment after I expressed my feelings as a child about the slimy, gelatinous slices of ooze on my plate that she assured me were zucchini.
“You should never say hate,” I remember my grandmother instructing, although her passionate religious convictions probably precluded her from participating in the colorful discussion I hoped to have about the girl in my third grade class who stole my idea about what to play at recess.
In the universal sense, I hate ignorance and mass genocide and people who don’t clean up their pee after using public toilets. But, personally, apart from my proclivity for the dramatic and need to embellish narratives about my daily life in order to provide more entertaining accounts to friends and family, I don’t think I have ever put in the effort it takes to truly hate anything or anyone.
It didn’t happen all at once. It grew like a pervasive, resistant virus, attaching its thorns into my heart and taking root in my brain. Some days I would fight it, using logic and common sense to dampen the heat that seemed to be constantly building within me. Other days I would embrace it, relishing the validated rage I felt by poring over injustices that had been committed against me.
Hate is tiring. It requires a dedication of time and energy. It involves hours of obsessive thoughts and dark fantasies. The kind that pull you away from your regular responsibilities and demand your full attention. It steals your sleep and eats away at your joy.
Hate takes a toll on your body. It quickens your heartbeat and gives you a sweat. It blurs your vision and fills your ears with a cloud of noise. It hardens your expression and puckers your lips.
Hate makes you a bore. It constricts your conversations into repetitive rants and alienates your friends and family. It opens a faucet of negativity that flows from your mouth, spills out all over the floor and must be stepped over cautiously by relatives unlucky enough to be listening.
Hate is irrational, illogical and uncontrollable. It is intolerant, angry and vicious. It is fearful, gathering in the shadowy recesses of your soul feeding off distant memories of anguish or struggle. It’s fueled by anxieties of the indefinite; to hate is to throw a lasso around the unknown and brand it for yourself.
Hate is pointless. It sickens without a cure, weakens without an ending and deteriorates without closure.
There is no resolution. But, eventually there may be diminishing, given the right evolution of circumstances. A softening, like a lens that readjusts as a point of reference recedes in the background.
As dark and vibrant as my hate feels today, I am clinging to the hope that it will soon fade.