SMITH: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
DALE: Don’t do that.
Smith & Dale, “Dr. Kronkheit and His Only Living Patient”
Recently a friend asked me to provide a point of view on consensual non-consent relationships with Deity, in response to a question about giving up the relationship and the difficulties that come with it. My response there was only a paragraph, but it made me think: If the going got too tough, could I give this up?
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t consider it an option (even after Monday’s tantrum), and that’s still true. But the question was posed to someone whose path involves a severe, still-undiagnosed illness and was, in essence, an assumption that if this person simply walked away, their life could go back to how it was and they would be well.
We’ve all heard the joke above; if what you’re doing hurts, stop doing it. So if the path is what’s causing the sickness, why not step away from the path? If it’s causing you hardship – be it physical, emotional, financial, or otherwise – why not give it up, go back to life as it was, and let the hardships fade away?
There’s another quote we use a lot, however, taken from Thomas Wolfe’s novel You Can’t Go Home Again. Once you’ve grown up, left the nest, lived a little while in the world… home is never quite the same. Most people can’t go back to the town or house they used to live in. Perspectives change; thoughts and habits and beliefs change as time passes, and there is no rewind button on life. The same can be said of the paths my friend and I are on (which are only a little similar).
Sure, we could walk away. I could go back to playing video games; I could stop making my collar, abandon all my Work, and spend my time and money on the stuff I used to. But I wouldn’t be the same person I was. There would be a vacuum, more in myself than anywhere else. My Lover would be gone; the Others would leave in time, leaving me half-deaf and empty. I have been changed, and even if I walked away, I can never go back to who I used to be. It’s like being Rose Tyler or Sarah Jane Smith; you can’t travel with the Doctor and go back to eating chips.
While I won’t say this is true of everyone, it is definitely true of many, including my friend. Walking away might make their illness go away, but it very well might not. Sometimes hardship is caused by the path, and sometimes it just coincides with it. There’s really no way to tell. Considering the possibilities waiting for those who walk away, staying on their path can be the more desirable choice.
You can’t go home again. There is no rewind button on life. We choose to walk this path for many individual reasons, but also because the alternative, for many of us, is worse than any hardship our paths may offer.