It isn’t the first time you get burned that hardens you, it is after the tenth or twentieth. I didn’t start out my life like this, but somewhere along the way I changed. Or shall I say people changed me. Doing the right thing, the kind thing, the just thing never gets rewarded. Sadly in this life it often gets you burned. I can’t count the number of times we had people’s backs when they needed us. Often dropping whatever it was we were doing. We put our lives on hold and did what needed doing. It felt like the right thing. We felt just in our decisions, but time and again people let us down. If it was a client, we never got paid. If it was a friend, the favor never got returned. If it was family, well, I don’t even have to answer that one. Life started bright and shining. Each request and new adventure to be had, and journey to take, and life to help. It is different now. I’ve grown cold and hard. Cynical and nasty. As I listened to myself this evening I thought, who is this person I’ve become? Rather than get hurt, I’d rather be indifferent, or distant. There is no point in connection, since it only gets you hurt, screwed, or both. I have become someone I dislike greatly. Yet, I feel no desire to change since I have walked a different path and it has gotten me nowhere. I don’t want to lay myself out there to be picked clean by the vultures. I’d rather sit back and say fuck em all. So very kind a perspective. I have dusted off the wonder, and seen beyond the mirage. This world is a terrible place. I pull farther back into my private gated world. With few if any friends, and little if any contact with the family. It is a tiny hateful place, but it is mine to own. What hurt is here is my own. If I do not extend myself there is little risk, and no getting burned. So I am here, unhappy and still, hardened and cold. I may well have once been a very good person, both kind and compassionate, though I don’t know where she got lost along the way. I’m not even sure if I miss her these days. I know I miss the life I had, back when I was too naive to know how awful life and people could be. That naiveté is gone now, and there is no bliss here. I would be better off with less anger and hate, though I don’t begin to know how to change. I could not even tell you what leaves me so angry and hateful. I cannot even begin to understand this complex shift. I do know my world grows smaller and smaller. and smaller still, till there is nothing to fulfill my need for connection and relationships. It becomes a world of one.