Some years ago now, I had a really bad relationship experience. Someone who I really trusted, cared for and loved destroyed my trust completely. For a time there, he destroyed me. The entire fiasco went down in what was truly almost reality TV worthy style, and I’ve never really forgotten it. And while I’ve had loves and boyfriends and all kinds of things since, and have learned to be optimistic again, it has always stuck out as an ink blot on the pages of my romantic history. There will always be what came before him, and what came after him.
Amanda Palmer, musician, author and awesome lady, wrote a book called The Art of Asking back in 2014. Having been a fan of hers since middle school and her Dresden Dolls days, I immediately pre-ordered a copy and eagerly awaited its arrival. I got about 20 pages in before I got distracted, and didn’t pick it up for 2 years, until just last week. I saw it and thought hey I should actually read that. And thank god I did.
I have always been an avid reader. But usually I read through something, and then pass it along. I don’t have a particular attachment to most of my books, physically-speaking. However, this. This book. This book will be with me always.
Amanda discusses various trials and tribulations in her life throughout the book, as a musician, as an artist, as a person. It never ceases to be intriguing, but the core of the book is about trust. Amanda takes the time to build meaningful connections with her fans, the people around her, and her community. She refers to all of these connections coming together to function as a “net” of sorts. It expands to add more connections, and tightens when you need support. The difference between asking and begging is that there is an exchange with the ask. You accept that you may hear a no. This cycle of giving and receiving is never-ending, and sometimes you will receive and sometimes you will give. You have to trust in others, and let them trust in you.
Trust. While I took away so many great points from this book that I really needed to hear at this juncture in my life (most particularly about following your own particular path, even if others don’t understand it), the discussion about trust seemed strangely relevant all of a sudden.
Recently, said old flame popped into my life again out of the blue. When I say, “into my life,” I mean that they just appeared. Not in some romantic plea, not in some dramatic apologetic way. They just said hi. While enough time has passed that I no longer feel anger towards them, I still stood by my stance of wanting to never have anything to do with them ever again.
I changed my mind after reading the book. I thought to myself long and hard on the idea of trust. I’ve been told before that I trust too easily. But so what? Most people are good people. I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I try trusting this person again, who, for all I know could still be the same idiot he was years ago, I could be surprised. Or not. But I had to put Amanda Palmer’s theory to the test. She never spoke specifically about trusting someone who has screwed you over in the past, but this was my interpretation. I imagined that if it could be possible that someone who I have outright blacklisted from my life, could have become a decent person, a trustworthy person, after all this time, and god forbid, my friend one day perhaps, then maybe the world is truly a good place at the end of it all. Maybe this will be a step in the right direction for humanity.
If he can be someone I can trust, then even my greatest enemy could be.
And guess what?
We met up after 5 years of not seeing each other or speaking. I was honestly blown away by how sincere he was, and how willing I was to just let the past go. I felt vulnerable and open enough to just throw off the mantle of whatever lingering resentment and frustration I had about things. Nothing can ever change it. And I won’t ever forget about it. But I can let go of whatever baggage was left in my emotional carry-on. I can say with sincerity that there is no one in my life that I have any sort of resentment towards.