The Anatomy of a Curse

More than twenty years ago, there was a woman who would put me through a lot of torture, systematic and premeditated torture. It was physical and emotional abuse. When that era got over, my folks, especially my grandmother told me that the woman had taken everybody’s curse and would never live happily. Frankly, the whole idea seemed a little cuckoo to me. Therefore, I did not bear a grudge and moved on. Today the only reminder of that woman I have is a psychosomatic pain in my neck whenever any person in authority yells at me. (Long story – She had stepped on my neck once while beating me up.) 

Anyway I grew up with a couple of septuagenarians after that who rarely ever tried to guide my behavior. Thus, I developed a sense of right and wrong all by myself, and every now and then take liberties with the same. That means that I am not always a very good person. 

However, as I said, my idea of good and bad is uniquely my own and I do not always regret the things I do. I do things that “feel right”. Most of the time, the choice is very simple. I weigh my options and choose the path that benefits me and does not step on anyone’s toes and I’m usually golden. The problem arises when I am facing a choice of doing something I feel would be right for me but would probably end up hurting the other people involved. In such situations, I usually serve myself and decide to hurt the other person. As I said, I rarely hold any guilt in my heart. (There have been exceptions!)

I always believed that the idea of karma and people being punished for bad deeds was silly. I reckon that whatever we do just has consequences – tangible real world consequences and that is where that story ends. Did I tell you I am an atheist who just believes in the concept of cause and effect, stimulus and response? That is my belief system. I have never needed to believe in a God for things to make sense to me. 

A few months ago, someone important to me said she curses me. She said I would never be happy in my life. It amused me to hear that because the reality of the matter is that I have not been happy ever. My mind has never been at peace. Keeping that bit aside let me tell you what the curse bestowed upon me reminded me of. It reminded me of the curse my grandmother had mentioned for that woman. I wondered what happened to her. You see, once I started analysing curses, I had to set up a control. To me, my granny’s curse for that woman seemed like the best instance for the same. It came from a place of pure hatred for a person whose actions seemed to be intentionally evil – so if curses had to work, that would be it. Tried looking her up online but she must be over fifty years old now and I do not have anything but a name, and a very common one at that. Therefore, I had to let go.

Coming back to me, (as everything else does in these posts! Call me self-centred) I have now started wondering whether these curses have any base in reality. Maybe I am growing old and superstitious, questioning things I never questioned earlier. Alternatively, maybe I feel like there are enough curses for me out there for them to make any real effect to the bigger scheme of things. Anyway, when I am feeling bouts of self-pity, I like to say that I am cursed. However, I am not really talking about the curses of the people I have hurt. It is more metaphoric and feels existential. For as long as I can remember, I have felt this unrest in my core, topped with a deep seated unwavering sense of being unworthy for anything good that comes my way. I have fought this feeling all my life. I have won at times and have succumbed to it repeatedly, but it never goes away. 

Now, I need to tell you that for a long time, I felt like I was a sociopath, that I did not feel empathy or guilt. However, as I now know, that feeling was just a way to cope with the pain I regularly experienced; it was a way to feel stronger than I really was. I now harbour guilt for several things. It really does not mean that I would have acted differently than I did, had I known I would carry the guilt around. The guilt just exists. Moreover, because it is that way, I am in a way, guilty for myself rather than for what I did. In addition, that is an awkward situation. If a “curse” is a metaphor, then this state I am in is the real meaning of that metaphor. Guilt is how the curses work, I think. However, it also transcends the basic law of cause and effect. My guilt wasn’t caused by the curse. My actions caused my guilt. My actions also led to the curse, so I guess there is some cyclical connection between all of it. 

Now coming to the last part – a solution. Being a total guy about it, I feel an urge to find a solution to this. How do I get rid of the guilt? Is there any real redemption in saying sorry? Because I truly am sorry for everything bad, I have ever done. I do not say it enough because it does not change the fact of the matter, it does not change what happened, it does not change how they felt. I do wish them strength everyday though, strength to move beyond the hurt, strength to be indifferent to it, strength to grow into fuller happier people. That last part there is something I have never been able to do.

If you think that’s messed up, let me tell you what is crazier. Knowing what I know about the causality of the whole curse and guilt business, there is still no guarantee that I would not do something dastardly going ahead. I will have my reasons for it, especially where it feels like the lesser of two evils, but nonetheless I will end up harming someone. Harming someone enough to garner a curse. And the curse (which for me would be the guilt I carry) would stay with me for the rest of my days.


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