To Be or Not To Be

I’ve been preoccupied by thoughts about Hamlet lately. The Shakespeare play. That’s why I was trawling around the internet the other night, when I found that prime bit of Shakespeare porn. (Is there anyone more attractive than Peter O’Toole in his prime, discussing something he was obviously passionate about and an expert in? Just gorgeous. Well, maybe Kenneth Branagh doing same.)images-6

I know this preoccupation with Hamlet is nerdy, and possibly downright strange, but there has to be a reason why my subconscious keeps throwing Hamlet into the mix. I even dreamt about the ghost scene last night. (And Facebook.) Bizarre, no?

I’m a believer that when we are dwelling on something in this way, we should probably listen to what our subconscious is telling us. Hamlet’s fatal flaw is his indecision, his inability to act. He keeps expecting ‘the right thing’ to happen, like karma, except that just isn’t realistic in this instance.

Having grown up in an alcoholic home, I hate rocking the boat or upsetting people. We’re taught that it leads to a drinking binge or a slap or a punishment. Thus, it becomes easier to swallow your voice and just tiptoe to your room. But I have learnt over and over again that in the real world of adult life, avoiding conflict often makes the situation much, much worse, just like it does for Prince Hamlet. People don’t know where they stand, resentments build, and unspoken aggression simmers; it’s completely unhealthy, and the source of madness.

What I’m hearing from this play, and what seems to be dogging me, is that I have to stop this sick behaviour myself. I have to start standing my ground, and if it upsets the apple cart, then I’ll just have to pick up some apples afterwards, or learn to step over them.Unknown-5

There are a couple of situations in my current world where I need to ‘take arms’ against the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’, but so far I just haven’t had the balls to do it. Well, it’s about time I grew a set. I mean, does it really matter if I have an argument? Does it really matter if that person or this person doesn’t like me after I tell them how I feel or how their behaviour is effecting me? Not at all – it won’t change a damn thing, except I’ll have been true to myself. Experience tells me that I’ll lose that person in the end anyway. Or maybe doing it differently will have a different outcome?

Thinking about it, isn’t that something Polonius says to his son Laertes in the same play? ‘To thine own self be true.’

I think I’m being told the same. It’s time I opened my mouth more – took a few more chances. That’s part of being authentic, isn’t it? Part of being an honest person is saying ‘this is who I am’, instead of asking ‘who do you want me to be?’ The latter just isn’t sustainable, mainly because it isn’t founded on ‘truth’. I know that’s the case; I’m an expert in that. Unknown-6

Over the next twenty-four hours, I have to take arms in a situation that has been affecting my mental health for many years. It’s either going to be end of something toxic or the beginning of something even worse – a real battle. I don’t know which way it’s going to go, and it makes me feel sick to stand up against it. (Ah! – ‘to be or not to be’ … little words with so many meanings.) I’m fearful and anxious and I haven’t slept properly for days, but it’s got to be done. That’s it and that’s all; it’s just got to be done because it is the right thing to do. That futile period of hoping it will all just go away is over. All I can do is be true to my own needs, speak my truth, draw my sword, and then let God/the universe/fate handle the rest.

Michael Sheen is brilliant. He expresses all of Hamlet's anguish in one look.

Michael Sheen is brilliant. He expresses all of Hamlet’s anguish in one look.

One thought on “To Be or Not To Be

  1. Congratulations on your decision to draw your sword and say what is true to you! Real strength will come, proportionate to your vulnerability, and the feeling of liberation from doing the thing will overcome your most fearful imaginings. Good luck Becca Joyce. Powerful blog!

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