For my weekly challenge ‘don’t be such a hater’ I’ve been grappling with my darker emotions. I realise this is a very intimate challenge, and not on the face of it for public consumption, but as part of my journey towards self improvement, it is a necessary step. I have found that, like so many of my possessions since packing my life into a backpack, I no longer had space for such a useless and harmful emotion as hate.

I’ll cut to the chase and then give you some background.

The chief result of the week is a recommendation: if you feel controlled by your own dissatisfactions and you think it is within your power to quell them, take a personal audit of ailments and problems. The chances are, it isn’t that bad, and you have more reasons to be thankful than displeased.

And so I commenced the week by trying to think of all the things towards which I felt hate. Once contained within an ugly list, I felt sure it would be easier to repair my feelings towards these odious things and people. A rainy ferry journey between Vancouver Island and mainland USA offered the perfect space and time to compose my hate agenda. As we sailed out of Victoria harbour, I opened my lists app on my phone, Things, and began to ponder. From the shallowest and most indefensible to the deepest and darkest, I would list them all and then attempt to purge my hates before the week was out.

We arrived into Port Angeles in Washington State a couple of hours later, and as the ferry nudged the jetty, I glowered down at my list. It was blank. The only thing I hated right then was my own stupid empty list! But in truth, I didn’t even hate that. It was a passing irritation. Hate, I had realised, wasn’t something I really felt towards anything or anyone. In truth, I couldn’t even remember the last time I *had* felt the emotion. The more I thought about this, I began to wonder if it wasn’t just a personal void but one to do with age or social standing?

On class, I pondered briefly. Was my lack of deep negativity just a first world, middle class malaise: if you are comfortable and healthy, born into a life of good fortune and health, what need have you for hate? You have not been wronged, neither your family nor race is faced with imminent persecution, you read about and discuss wars rather than fight in them, and religion, at it’s zealous piqué, is anathema to you. This solution made sense to me – my lack of hate was not abnormal, it was merely a product of societal ennui. But this class theory, in the most general sense, is flawed by both history and the current reality. The middle classes – whether it be bible belt America or Daily Mail Britain – embrace hatred with an appetite that surpasses other social groups, and historically most revolutions, though ignited by the poor and disenfranchised, have been driven home by the seething hatred and restless jealousy of the bourgeoisie. No, it wasn’t class, and pinning my lack of hatred on age or life stage also came up short for similar reasons.

I alighted the ferry and commenced a 3 hour bus journey from Port Angeles to Seattle with a new list in mind – it wasn’t hate but it was the best I could do, and it was even quite funny – a list of irritations, irrational dislikes and pet peeves, for if Hate Week had taught me anything, it was that I was empty of that darkest, damaging, intoxicating emotion. And what did I have in its place? A long, silly list of problems I really needed to let go of. You might call it cynicism, you might call it taste, but it isn’t hate. Smiley face.