I pour the tea ...
long ago I learned
the fragrance of cured leaves
fills the hollow spaces of hurt
with more warmth than words can
Pots of tea-and-tears later, my good friend wipes her eyes, blows her nose, gives me a hug, shrugs and whispers – resignedly – “what can ya do” ... before we say our good-byes and she leaves. She is going through something, in her job, I have seen so many times, that I have given it a name: ''The Second Narrative'.
Nothing in all my years of reading and education and spiritual exploration and relationships, has prepared me for 'The Second Narrative'. I was not provided with guidelines on how to fight it, nor steps on how to cope with the anguish that accompanies it. And yet, it has darkened many of the days of my life, and the lives of those I care about. Like the annual flu bug, it can be almost impossible to completely avoid ... and, lately, there seems to be a particularly virulent strain going around.
In all facets of living, there is, of course: that which is real. Things unfold and proceed in a manner that most reasonable, stable people – without a personal agenda – would agree on. I call this 'The Narrative' of the story. Sadly, all too often, one of the characters in the story is not pleased with the narrative. They want a legend – and they want to be the star of the legend. Unfortunately, in order for that to happen, the plot has got to change. There's got to be a 'Second Narrative'.
In my experience, whenever, there is someone who sets their sites on something that they can't get at – fairly – there is always a 'Second Narrative'. It is created by individuals who have aspects to their psyche that equip them, splendidly, for the task. Though often superficially charming, these are very egocentric people. It's all about them ... always. They are greedy. They are conniving. They have an exalted sense of entitlement. And they have little-or-no sensitivity to the feelings of others. Hence, the 'The Second Narrative' generally entails casting doubt on the legitimacy of anyone who is in the way of what the manipulator wants. This typically involves an arsenal of behind-the-back eye rolls and sighs and head shakes – as well as a myriad of highly interpretive, fuzzy equivocations, such as 'rigid' or 'out-of-step'.
Manipulators, I have found, are linguistic savants. They are masters of nuance. They can turn a pro into a con, faster than they can dot their 'i'. Wherever you find them, they are there to promote themselves. It is all they have ever done and they are very good at it. In work places ... in families ... in politics ... they know who can give them what it is that they want, and apply themselves ... shamelessly, if need be ... to the task of winning them over.
Alas, the 'Second Narrative' works. It works really well. Unlike the 'First Narrative', 'The Second Narrative' runs on the fuel of grandiosity. Hence, it gets a lot more 'air-time' than the 'First Narrative' ... The Real Story. A skilfully rendered 'Second Narrative' will contain, little beads of truth, conferring upon it a speckled splash of veracity, so that, by the time, a minor player in the 'First Narrative' smells a rat, it is usually far too late, to undo the damage ... 'The Second Narrative' is fixed and loosely adorned with carefully selected fact-ish tidbits. At that point, any defence a minor player attempts to mount, is interpreted as divisive and ... well ... defensive.
It is late in the day. Soon the sun will begin to set. I turn on some light dinner music ...
glancing from my window
up into the still blue sky
... why-oh-why-oh-why-oh-why ...
do we make each other
photo: I pour the tea - W. Bourke
© 2019 Wendy Bourke
© 2019 Wendy Bourke