I should be writing my NaNo right now, but I need to explore this first. Maybe it’ll be of some literary interest.

A friend’s situation has me thinking about bitterness. Everyone gets bitter about some situation at some point in their lives. Not everyone overcomes it.

Hannah in the first book of my Freedom series illustrates that (and in some ways this friend’s life parallels hers, although it’s not about him by any means; I had already written it when I met him)

What came to me this morning: bitterness is always justifiable. Unless you’re just paranoid, someone did hurt you, and you can’t do anything about it (otherwise you’d be angry instead, and take action). So the knee-jerk reaction someone always gives when they’re called on their bitterness is, “well, look what they did!”, with the implication that you’re either unfeeling or judgmental or both.

Yes, that’s it, isn’t it. The focus is on what they did, and while certainly you can be bitter about it (since you can’t change things), the real question (to paraphrase Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park) is not whether you can, but whether you should.

But we all know this, which causes the angry rebuttals when we’re called on it. Lord knows I’ve verbally backhanded enough well-meaning ex-friends to recognize that, and thank God I’ve managed to let go of a lot of it, through various means.

You have to Let. It. Go. Because the other thing about bitterness is that it seeps into other areas of your life, poisoning things that should make you happy, altering your view of people, leaving you cynical, aging you, ruining your physical and mental health.

This doesn’t apply to my friend as yet, but imagine a fictional character who continues along this road. There’s certainly potential for a story here, and gives me some insights into Hannah. They say when the time is right the teacher appears.