I recently started re-reading Herman Hesse’s Demian, a book I read a few years ago and really enjoyed. Much like my experience in reading Hesse’s Siddhartha, the book made me really examine myself, my inner workings, and I felt that I came out with a better understanding of myself and my place in the world when I was finished. It’s not that it changed me, but it changed my perceptions and interpretations of myself. Besides Hesse, the only other author who affects me on this level is Haruki Murukami (in general, and Wind-up Bird Chronicle in particular). But I digress.
Upon re-reading, I felt the same sense of happiness and understanding that I had derived from the book the first time, and found a passage that really helped me to bluntly address some of the stuff I’ve been going through over the past two years:
But where we have given of our love and respect not from habit but of our own free will, where we have been disciples and friends of our innermost hearts, it is a bitter and horrible moment when we suddenly recognize that the current within us wants to pull us away from what is dearest to us. Then every thought that rejects the friend and mentor turns in our hearts like a poisoned barb, then each blow struck in defense flies back into one’s own face, the words ‘disloyalty’ and ‘ingratitude’ strike the person who feels he was morally sound like catcalls and stigma, and the frightened heart flees timidly back to the charmed valleys of childhood virtues, unable to believe that this break, too, must be made, this bond also broken.
Everyone goes through the experience of drifting away from those you considered closest, and I ‘ve known and acknowledged how unhappy these events made me. But sometimes, having someone else articulate exactly what you know to be true can be a big step in not just acknowledging it, but moving past it as well.