Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Oh the humanity! Suffering Images and Projections...

I've been busy lately. Hurt people's feelings, offended others. All in a day's work, I guess. Not that I do it on purpose, but I can be blunt. I am direct, perhaps not very well attuned to the correct social protocols needed in a constant war against truth and what people want to hear. I sometimes lose respect for those who cannot cope with disagreement. I don't attack personally, I may refute statements and provide examples, flaws in their reasoning. It isn't my fault if they cannot defend their position: why say provocative things if it is just agreement you seek? Perhaps tell us in the beginning, so we know in advance. Especially if you are going to spout hate and make groups of people think they are not equal; be able to give reasons for it rather than playing a victim card when someone else finds faults in your logic. If you are being hateful about people you don't know, or about stuff you need not concern yourself because it is none of your business - you can hardly play victim now. I wasn't judging you before, but I certainly am now. Ignorance is one thing, something that can accept new viewpoints even while steadfast in ones own. Willing to understand, perhaps be convinced, or differing viewpoints. Soundbites to think about. But spreading hate for hates sake, well, you deserve my contempt for wasting my time. 

I am feeling mean, because I am losing my faith in humanity. I stopped trying to mind read what someone else thinks and relying on what they say to shape my thoughts. I certainly tried to stop putting my own judgements about myself into other people's heads without permission (seems kind of rude to be where I don't belong) and started respecting myself and demanding it from others. I respected others, but it wasn't absolute, just as they too could change their minds about me - I stopped trying to please people, impress people. You cannot please everyone, you don't especially want to please everyone anyway. We don't have to agree, or even like one another, but buck up - neither of us are going anywhere! The world is full of arseholes. I try not to be one, but I'm fallible like anyone else. I could say it was because I'm in pain, but it would be using pain as an excuse for bad behaviour. I am unintentionally mean sometimes because hard truths often are. I apologise for not realising that it wasn't sought after. Perhaps my patience has just been completely worn out of me. 

I'm learning a lot about people's incapacity for truths, more content for half-truths and self-delusion. It makes me incredibly sad, to be honest. Because i have always wanted to be convinced to change my beliefs, my unworking situations. I wanted to find the new way that would revolutionise how I could improve, where the holes were in my side, in my methods, in my beliefs. I always see things as a work in progress, not a finished piece. I want to learn, and learning means I will be often be wrong. The good side is that it usually is easier to correct my error for next time. I don't seek to change another person's viewpoint necessarily, but put it up to test. I want to test my own hypotheses too. The other person doesn't need to change, but they need to be respectful. I try my best, but sometimes it might be blunt. Nobody ever tiptoed around my feelings in the past, but I learned to adapt for others. I cannot prevent people who are actively looking to be offended when they are incorrect. If you still feel you are correct, tell me why you are. Maybe you have access to the divine treasury of knowledge I don't have, maybe I don't know it. I am genuinely willing to learn that which I do not know. I respect the truth-tellers, and the direct speakers. I don't pick up subtlety or hints. I cannot read intent if words are not clear. I am no mindreader; otherwise all I will read will be through the lens of my own harsh judgements of myself. I feel it somewhat unfair to be putting my shit in your head! It's a bit too intrusive.

I think I have gotten a bit meaner over the past week, in relation to all this hate I'm reading. I had enough, I'm not the only one, but tempers are fraying. Distraction has helped, but I feel generally crabby, which makes my responses sharper than I intend. Lack of sleep sure helped that (4h over 4 days is a little extreme even for a chronic insomniac like me). Pain is as crabby as my mood, which is a direct result of the very strong emotional states which make it even worse. My dystonia is more pronounced (I am definitely partly to blame for that, I have been painting a lot!) I'm not quite in obnoxious mode, more like cutting-bitchy mode. 

It gets my fight face on, because fighting is all I know. I didn't have time to sit back and let life circumstances overwhelm me - I was in too much pain to waste energy on pointless self-pity that got me nowhere. I was only interested in what I needed to do to not lie down and let them take me. To solve today's problem. To remain figuratively standing on my own 2 feet. I bowed down so often it nearly destroyed me. Never again, I don't give a shit who you think you are. I fought against the best back during my workers comp days. I was taught how to fight in the ring (legally) and on the streets (medically, socially, societally). I fought against extreme pain without feeling the need to constantly dwell on it. I reframed my world into: 

a) the shit I had influence over 
  • my views, beliefs, my skillset, my pacing, my treatment, my interaction with others whom respect my contribution without belittling me; and
b) the shit I had zero control over 
  • my pain, my condition, disability, life cycles, other people's thoughts about me.

Even the stuff I believe I have control over, are also pretty illusionary. But it is one of the more helpful delusion to have. 

I perhaps hold my expectations for others too high, as my own standards for myself are even higher. My brother once told me how hard it was to like me sometimes, because no one can ever live up to my perfectionist standards, nor did they want to, or would choose to live that way. A difficult to hear truth that I so needed to hear, an alternative viewpoint to one I previously held as true: finding out my standards are not universally held by others. He is a wise man, my quiet brother! Where did these perfectionistic tendencies come from? Was it serving a purpose or function? Was it helping me improve, or was it just setting me up to fail (our self-fulfilling-self-flagellation for not meeting an impossible standard.) This was really interesting questions to ponder, coming from hearing something I could have taken offense by, been hurt by for no other reason but it disagreeing with what I believed. My family don't believe in babying, or tiptoeing around people. We are quite used to hardships, so are more resilient in general. I never would have travelled again had I not already proven my own abilities in other ways. Confidence I never would have attained while people felt sorry for me, pitied me, or helped me in the misguided belief that they would be removing my suffering - they made it much worse in fact. 

Pity harmed me, as did sympathy, empathy or any of those meaningless emotions. You can have sympathy for someone else's loss, but you really are saying is you are sympathetic (standing with their pain) while also glad it's not you going through it. Empathising with my pain means you think you can judge my experience through your own tinted lenses of your own experience. It also doesn't help me, because it makes the experience that I am living with my pain, into a reality crafted entirely by your standards and experience of pain. It is not my own, just as your experience can never be fully appreciated by me. I end up feeling incredibly guilty for causing you pain from your own empathy. I don't want nor need either of them, and I certainly do not wish to cause you pain on my behalf! I'm not seeking it, I don't need to be responsible for your pain over my life, while I am so consumed with my own battles. I've been fighting every single day non stop for nearly 2 decades. I cannot see any other way to be, no one gets anywhere while making excuses. Sympathy and empathy belittle me, they are making me an object of pity in their own image. Disrespected me without meaning to, without understanding that was going on makes it no less offensive. 

I will not be belittled ever again, I refuse to give that power away so easily ever again. I do my best in every given moment but I am free to make mistakes. Just like anyone really. I can be an arsehole when others are arseholes because most bullies can dish it but not take it when one fights back. I try to be as polite as possible but if they are spouting hate with fallacies, it can be hard to keep my disgust from slipping through. I try to be understanding of other people's pain, but I also know I am unlikely to help them through pity or self-validating empathy. I'll listen for sure; suggest stuff, ways to reframe, aspects they could change, or seek. But they are free to do as they please. I cannot do it for them, as I would take away their chance to figure it out themselves. Sometimes it takes only a small suggestion which changes everything! 

I am never going to tell someone they don't suffer. I don't know what constitutes suffering in others, only myself. But that the concept of suffering is relative, and largely is a choice. To endure, even to find something incredibly difficult, painfully so. But it isn't the same as suffering. What is suffering? It is meaningless without context. But who was under the impression that life was not a suffering (full of difficulties) process to begin with, is somewhat deluded. People used to suffer worse than we do today with modern medicine and lower infant mortality, dying in their 30s and 40s of preventable illnesses. People committed unspeakable cruelty upon one another. People can still suffer today from the evils of the world, but shit happens everywhere. 

Pain is pain, there is no competition of suffering, no objective scale that rank misery. I never expected my life to be easy, because well... it never has been before. It's not like my illusion of a perfect world was shattered, because I never had one. I was loved to be sure; had much more than many, but my first and biggest lessons in life and death came before I even started school. I knew how fragile life was, how it could change at any moment. I understood that lesson in mortality before I even knew the word. I was damaged, which made it easier for others to manipulate. I tried to be perfect and it was never good enough. There were only very small windows of time (months or maybe a year) where things weren't a struggle growing up. The rest of the time... it kinda sucked. But so what? It wasn't all bad, there were good things in there. Laughter, lighthearted fun and pleasure. I try not to hold so fast to all the bad stuff, because it takes up too much real estate in my brain that is better served replaying those moments of joy, the serendipitous slices of the sublime that are as fragile as life itself. 

I saw this so powerfully as I was seeking out memories of loved ones who were long gone. I couldn't recall anything more than the pain I felt losing them. The funny, joyous and lighthearted tangibility of good times overshadowed so much in my grief. My profound pain was all I could recall, not who they were and what they gave me by being in my life. What honour was I giving them, but being in pain for the memory of their name? They would never want to hurt me, so why was I punishing myself it in their name? Seems rude, really. 

I honestly don't mean to cause anyone pain, hurt or offend, anyone at all. But I also cannot stand by while others are doing that very thing themselves. Why should anyone be allowed to do that unchecked? They cannot hurt me, much crueler and smarter people have tried their best - almost succeeded too. Ultimately, I realised that their success in harming me relied upon my permission for them to do so. It was a choice not to suffer from the harm that was inflicted upon me, just as it is my choice not to suffer from Pain. I made this choice because it was unbearable for me not to; I made this choice because it was the only way I could be who I wanted to be. I do not suffer, I refuse to suffer, and I refuse to let anyone else cause another's suffering either. And anyone who sees someone suffering when they see me, they are merely projecting their own image on my experience, while discounting and dismissing who I am. 

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