Monday, October 29, 2012

Distracting Fate

by Kathleen Bradean

I have almost zero ability to believe in anything. The Christmas just before my fourth birthday, I announced to my parents, "Let's get this right. There is no Santa." They begged me not to tell my older sisters because it would ruin their holiday.  I don't believe in fate or luck or karma or any of those other things that make you think that eventually life might be fair, bad people will suffer and good gets-- I don't know, glittery orgasms on demand or something. And yet, I can't bring myself to talk about anything good because I know the moment I even breath a word of it, it's doomed.

Chalk that up to a Baptist upbringing. I had (have) dour down to an art. Fun was (is) something to approach cautiously, as if it might suddenly lunge with sharp, snapping teeth. (Ask anyone who has seen me deliberately try to have fun. Awkward and painful are the two words that immediately come to mind.) Somewhere, there's a picture of my sisters and me on Easter Sunday. I must have been four or five. My sisters are smiling, happy, caught giggling as if they'd been tickled. I'm staring into the camera, my frown a long bow, perfectly arced with tension and ready to let fly. I'd probably just made the connection between death and candy. Or worse, having to go to church before I could have my basket. Everything good always came with a heavy price. That's the main lesson I took away from my childhood.

For that incredibly fucked up reason, I don't often share good news. I wouldn't want to tempt Fate. I horde my joy, bury under the floorboards like the narrator in Poe's Tell-Tale Heart. What's that beating sound, Fate? Not a pending contract for two books in a series. Not two short stories placed in an anthology. Not even a different publisher asking me what I'm working on and wanting to see that novel as soon as I've finished it. Nope. That's not what you hear at all. And I'm not sitting here thinking this might be *whisper*success. So move along, Fate, and feast on another person's tentative happiness. I got this covered. 


  1. Hi Kathleen!

    The way you describe your relationship with luck sounds a lot like the way i feel about my relationship with God these days.

    I'm also like that, easily ready to hoard the happy but expecting the worst. I don;t know why. It's not like I have a hard life or anything - yet. Maybe its the way we get old.

    Its the funny frustration you feel when you hold a mega-million ticket in your hand and think - if i just got seven numbers right on this piece of paper everything would be different.


  2. Garce - But I've always been this way. I've always marveled at people who can be happy without questioning it. And it's not that I'm not generally a happy person. I just don't trust it.

  3. Hi, Kathleen,

    I'm not sure how you've managed to chalk up so much success without believing it's possible. I blogged about success on Monday. My view is that the first step is having faith that you CAN succeed.

    I supposed that you might believe it and not be willing to talk about it, out of superstition. But I don't know - you've upset my ideas about how the universe works!

  4. Lisabet - Never fear! The universe is intact. Trust me, I have strong faith in myself. I just don't feel as if I can talk about it when things go right, and I don't dare enjoy it. Also, my idea of success seems to be off-kilter from other people's definition.

  5. At the risk of damaging your luck, Kathleen, congratulations! I hope it wouldn't make you too nervous to announce some of your publications when they are released for sale. :)


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