Vengeance is a double-edged sword which leaves the target skewered and its rider tainted forever.- The Book of Tortured Souls, Nomar Knight
Is it possible to get payback without dirtying your soul? When I’m upset about something I look for activities that would help me release the inner turmoil before it festers into something uncontrollable, something monstrous, something illegal. For instance, let’s say someone does something to get under my skin; my favorite outlet is to visit the gym. Work out harder, longer, and with more intensity. Another favorite outlet of mine is to go jogging. I guess we can assume I have mellowed in my years.
When I was a preteen, I had little command of words, whether written or vocal, but my fists, my feet and certain pieces of furniture were instruments I used to communicate. Perhaps this technique did not win me many friends, but at least the other children feared me, and making others scared had intrigued me. Over the years I transitioned to making others scared of possible situations and not frightened of me, per se. What brought about this amazing metamorphosis? My seventh grade teacher, Sister Brigitte, by demonstrating saintly patience (the list of victims— kids with bloody noses, bruises, and cries of pain grew steadily in my preteen years) and incredible strength (she caught a flying desk with one hand, propelled by my anger). Her superhuman display caught my attention. Instead of sending me to the principal’s office, she’d send me to the librarian where I began an affair with books.
So I guess my dearest Sister Brigitte set the foundation for me to be a lover of literature, a communicator with words. My weapon of choice is the pen which has changed to a computer with a word processor. Now, I’m more violent, in fact; lethal. I exact my vengeance through humiliating my foes in my stories. I don’t actually use their personalities, not always, but I do plenty of transference. Why this past Friday, I or more accurately, one of my characters got even against two types of personalities I and perhaps many in society dislike. Two more characters are dead and I’m left free to enjoy the spoils that otherwise would not exist.
What happens when you act out your aggression in real life? This brings me to the existence of real horror. Vengeance blinds one to the point disillusionment sets in. The scorned want to maim or humiliate the cause of their woes so they in turn lower themselves to a level so tasteless, so vile they become much like their target. Regardless of the level of execution whether payback is in the form of a practical joke, or a humiliating public ad, or bloodshed; the result is always the same, the angry victim becomes the unfortunate tyrant, therefore tainting their reputation, and quite possibly giving up their freedom for one brief moment of madness.
So the next time you find yourself screaming you want vengeance, make the right choice. Exact your revenge through fiction, and watch how your thirst for blood will be quenched. Not only will you benefit by getting even, but every time you read your tale you’ll be able to relive it as if it were the first time. You can’t do that if you act out your aggression in the real world. Plus, you can share your story with the rest of the world and maybe help someone else avoid falling in the trap skewering any chance they had at true happiness.