Emotional boundaries are a labor of love

It is not endearing to violate others’ boundaries. Yet somehow, American culture has come to a place where violating other people’s boundaries is commonplace, accepted and even encouraged. It’s treated as normal and condoned in public settings as well as in private. It is disguised as exercising free will, instead of the bullying it really is. And as with other bullying the victim is blamed for being hurt, they are ridiculed and demeaned in order to make it clear to all parties that supposedly the perpetrator is only joking. It’s almost always couched in joking terms, as if someone who were actually joking but ended up hurting someone would ever behave that way. Which, they do, but basically just as an extension of this behavior pattern – which is to say they were never joking and only using that as a tool to manipulate the person they just victimized.

Part of violating other people’s boundaries has to do with bullying culture, but part of it also has to do with family dynamics. Plenty of world cultures have very close families that care deeply for each other, be they siblings and immediate family or larger extended families. Plenty of humans feel this closeness and choose to build that closeness through caring for and supporting one another. When reared together the average healthy human feels loyalty to those people closest to them, which entails a desire to protect those people and the relationship with them.

Unfortunately, Americans largely aren’t building healthy relationships with appropriate boundaries, and instead have been emotionally isolated and personally devalued, destroying most American’s ability to build any functional relationships. Most importantly, the family group has been made out in cultural context to be restrictive, prohibitive etc. and as such is avoided. That’s wrapped up in the focus on individualism that divides a person from the group, and that gap is reinforced through lack of trust. This comes from cultural pressure to be independent despite the very real need for social support to function as a healthy human. That dichotomy is emotionally damaging to the individual, and sows the seeds of instability in the community.

Americans have been taught a narrative of competition so complete that it is applied to their own family members as well as the rest of the world. However, American culture demeans work and sacrifice – despite the dogma that’s touted. Americans may proclaim that hard work is the road to success, but they hate having to accomplish anything personally. Americans would much rather force someone or something else to accommodate them so that they may achieve success without extending personal effort. Because, above the satisfaction of accomplishment, achievement is seen as an end to be gotten through any means, and manipulative means are seen as intelligent competitive strategy.

Seeing hard work as a burden they would rather avoid, Americans use tactics to basically force others into emotional commitment in friendships and dating. They use tools to make the person feel vulnerable and inadequate, but then reinforce that this is part of their culture of intimacy. Partly because they all feel insecure and inadequate themselves, they ensure others feel the same way as some sort of bonding or shared experience. But it’s also a handy way to manipulate the person into feeling desperate enough to seek support and/or compromise their own values to be included in the group, or more accurately, to avoid exclusion. When people feel inferior, they try to impress others or otherwise gain their approval, especially when faced with the fear of rejection.

The hard work I’ve been alluding to is emotional work. It is work to come to others and build intimacy, which is inherently from a place of vulnerability. Americans are terrified of that, both because it’s associated with weakness, which is demeaned in the culture, but also because it strikes at their fears of survival, since they’re isolated and can’t seek support when they need it. This all results in a lot of relationships built on social currencies like obligation and status, that are injected with pressure and explode in messy, emotional outbursts as people are only willing to admit their own emotional needs or boundaries when they’ve been pushed well beyond their limits, or when they’ve engaged in self destructive behavior enough to bring themselves to a place of being able to allow closeness at all (e.g. drinking too much alcohol, engaging in sexual or intimate behaviors, etc.).

It’s scary to try to trust someone or let them get close to us (which gives them a level of power over us). When we feel secure in a broad social network, an individual relationship does not garner nearly the same power that it does when we essentially have no network to fall back on (except more people we don’t fully trust or feel accepted by). As much as it is scary to open up to others, it’s scary to stand our ground with them as well. Despite our fears, we can’t have the healthy relationships we all desperately need without risking being hurt by them too much. That’s why it’s so critical that we know how to create and maintain appropriate emotional boundaries with others – to be able to let them in our hearts without letting them destroying us.

Building healthy, functional relationships takes a lifetime of compromise, sacrifice, effort, goodwill, forgiveness, flexibility, vulnerability, trust, respect, responsibility, focus, acceptance, support, encouragement, communication, adjustment, accommodation, collaboration, ingenuity and, hopefully love.

 

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Talk about missing the point

In this age of finally being able to gain a small foothold against the tyranny that blames victims for assault, abuse, sexism, hate crime, and more, there has been a disconnect that formed and grew, and is now becoming a fresh problem in American society. Although there are no absolutes, broadly put, the left wing has come to blame some of the victims of the right wing’s efforts as culprits instead of seeing them as they victims they are. If we look at statistics and know that predominantly right wing communities count significantly lower levels of education and resources than the upper classes, and we know that right wing culture discourages using social support while needing it more, and we know that the right wing disempowers wide swaths of the populace through convincing them to infight as well as vote and spend against their own best interests (let alone through discrimination against minorities), and we know that the right wing ethos is that people are only poor if they are dumb or lazy, or somehow exceptionally removed from the data set, and if we know that the right wing insists that hard work is enough to succeed and prosper unconditionally, if we know that they do glorify classism while blaming the victims of the upper classes’ abuse, then we on the left are blaming the victims of the right who have been duped and destroyed by their own “leadership” while being convinced they need to blame other victims in the very same position.

Every time we antagonize and bully these people on the right we are blaming the victims of a very small group of perpetrators. Governmental, community and commercial leadership is not such a large pool, and they are using every method they can to draw attention elsewhere so they can run out in the middle of the night with spoils from both sides of the war they started. The culture war is deep and intense and motivated by the most serious of our concerns as humans: survival. When the upper classes alighted on the ability to drive action through manipulating the lower classes into feeling constant threat to their survival and/or wellbeing, the result has been generations of dysfunction and self sabotage as the victims struggle with their own inability to do what they know to be true, which is cast off the small group of leeches that are sucking us dry. The average American citizen of right wing persuasion as well those one the left know that  banking and loan policies are predatory, as is marketing of all stripes, and that little to no financial education is provided to new consumers before entering the workplace or the marketplace, yet people on both sides choose to participate in processes they don’t understand, including contractually binding themselves to agreements they can’t uphold because they are victims of fraud, misrepresentation, manipulation, coercion or intimidation.

If we know that the right oppresses women, ethnic minorities, those outside of the right’s identity standards, the disabled, the elderly, children, the abused, the poor and the wretched, then why do we blame those poor victims for eating from the only open hand in sight? How can they abandon the limited knowledge they have without even realistically knowing the alternative because they’ve been kept from the truth and we know it? If we know these people aren’t capable of making decisions based on critical thought until they get more education and support, then how can we blame them for that? They didn’t keep themselves from it with intent, they’ve been deprived of resources that are fundamentally necessary to being able to escape their role as victims of manipulation and control. Clinging to the only defense mechanisms they’ve been afforded shouldn’t be punished as a self aware decision when it’s really just uneducated self preservation.

In short: if we don’t blame the average citizens of Germany for what Hitler and the SS did, and we don’t blame shrouded women in the middle east for what Gaddafi or Bin Laden did,  and we can make that distinction in so many other cases, then we need to make that distinction here and stop demanding that victims save themselves or take responsibility for their victimization. They need our help, our support, and access to tools and resources to be able to begin empowerment and self sufficiency.

Because either we’re trying to help those who are suffering or we’re just kicking them while they’re down.

Choose Life

I wanted to get rid of the badness. Eradicate it. I wanted to wipe the earth clean of all traces of cruelty and hatred. I still do, a little bit, to be honest, don’t most of us? It’s not that I don’t want to do that now, but it’s that there’s more to it than that. As I see this life flash before my eyes, the time goes by and I see the task I had set before me was as wide and deep as the sky itself. I discovered I was tilting at windmills sometimes, and others stoking fires I was trying to put out. I realized I was chasing my tail, or shadows, or wild geese, or mirages. I began to see – not that there’s too much bad, but that there’s not enough good, not enough by far.

I had never bought into the idea before, because it felt so defeating to give up on fighting evil. Until I stopped and examined that mindset, and how nonsensical it was to fight for love at all. There’s already enough fight in this world, and there’s no such thing as a “good fight” to be fighting. There’s a slew of people that can’t stop fighting because they can’t or they won’t or they don’t know how. They fight for the right reasons or the wrong, but at the end of the day they’ve been fighting, so long. The goodness isn’t a given, it’s in need of makers.

I wanted to think that if we got rid of the bad, that there would be nothing left but good in the world. It doesn’t follow suit though, that logic I’d built. Because the truth is there’s plenty of middle ground in this territory. It would really be more of a barren wasteland if we got rid of the bad at this point, I fear. Because there’s precious little deeply good, truly great… the stuff we’re really looking for.

And that’s the heart of the matter, we want the sweet goodness that we feel badness covers up. We want that elation and satisfaction that comes from the best things. Removing hindrances is a great step to paving the way for goodness to come through. But we’ve got to do our part to bring the goodness itself in from the cold. We’ve got to be the catalyst or impetus or driving force. We’ve got to bring the goodness to light and bathe it in glory. It’s up to us to build it, maintain it and share it. It’s our place and no one else’s to make the good we want so badly.

I had done quite a lot of good things in my life, but they were largely situational. They were responses to circumstances or local changes made in the moment, or just being “not bad” in general. It had never occurred to me how badly it was needed for every minute, every hour, every day of my life to be striving for this. I couldn’t see before how badly people needed that little bit of goodness kindled and fanned into flames before they could join in. Once it gets going the reaction continues long after we’re gone. It’s like chemistry or physics, it naturally progresses. We don’t need to see it through to the end if we’ve got to move on, it’s ok because it’s got its own life by then.

I had wanted to be a warrior on behalf of goodness and I didn’t realize the only way to do that is to care for that goodness so it may bear fruit for us all.

We want and need goodness to strive for and enjoy, we have got to have something to live for, not just to die for.

Tired

We’re all so tired. So so tired. We’re so tired we wake up tired. We sleep until we’re tired again. And then, we’re tired all day long. We’re tired on Monday, we’re tireder by Friday. On the weekend we’re exhausted and then we talk about how we got no rest then either. We come back and say “I need a vacation from my vacation.” In seriousness.

We get tired seeing each other, we consider it draining. We’re tired of work when we sit in meetings or type endlessly. We are tired year after year after year after year. We’re completely depleted with nothing to spare, forever on our last gasp of polluted air. We can’t seem to catch up on quiet time or rest, we’re forever pushed on to the next task.

My tiredness was relentless and I couldn’t seem to shake it for so long I thought I’d always be tired. Somehow on this journey where the road is the goal, not the end or transition to other worlds, I got so tired as I trudged along I forgot the most important song. Freedom is for all and I don’t have to run. I don’t have to walk, I don’t need to follow a straight line. I can step off the path and relax anytime, but somehow I was waiting for the moment to arrive. A good time in the neverending cycle to break out and sit down and check out for awhile.

It’s silly to think we could be all things, or be part of it all. But even when we try we just wear ourselves thin, wishing we’d saved ourselves something for the end. The road travels on whether we’re there or not, but it will be there when we’re ready to come back. There’s always a chance to get what we want, but it’s better to notice our own human condition. Without water or food we die quickly. Without rest it takes longer, but it’s no less vital.

Truth is, we think it’s work or other people that tire us out. Truth is we’re wrong about that, for the most part. We may be tired from doing, but we’re made for that so it’s more complicated. Truth be told we’re overstimulated and overexcited constantly. We feel obligated to be happy and respond to everything that comes along. We’ve been socialized to answer every look, word, and implication. We are asked to interpret and react correctly to assorted infinitely variable scenarios.

As much as we want to entertain every thought, feeling, or ethical conundrum, we can keep in mind we are each but one person. There is only so much anyone can handle, even on our best day. When we’re tired and frustrated we can’t see the light of day. We don’t have to wear ourselves paper thin. We don’t just don’t have to, we honestly shouldn’t. We’re not getting more done, we’re just spreading around our limited resources in new and different patterns.

It’s easy to lose sight of details, or the big picture, when our spyglass is dirty and needs to be cleaned. If our eyes are bleary from sleep deprivation we can’t really look through the peephole expecting much clarity. It doesn’t make sense and all swirls around because we need to sit down and stop taking it all in. We don’t need to be mindful of everything around us, we need to be mindful of the silence inside us.

 

What do lynchings and internet warfare have in common?

If I had much of a reputation or public image to maintain you’d be rarin’ to tear it down and make me start over again. You want to lynch this post before it’s even begun: because it uses the word lynch, and it says there’s bad people in all corners. Does that make me that other person out there who equates mowing down humans in a car with standing peacefully on a streetcorner? Until I assert anything, I haven’t done so yet – “lynch” me for what I really have said (not just what it seems like, and as an aside who the fuck could actually make that comparison at all?).

The court of public opinion is lynching every relationship and reputation indiscriminately. The new judges, juries, and executioners got no regard for evidence or due process. But now they enjoy a wider audience, and they come from all sides. The new pitchforks are words stabbing livelihoods and relations. The new torches are media purveyors shedding light on microcosms, throwing the rest of truth into further darkness. The new posse riding at night setting churches on fire is urged on by propaganda that’s electronic, not verbal.

There’s no testimony we can give, no answers we can have that are good enough to defend our honor in this court anymore. The dissected remains of twisted information run the trial, and the jury gets half that, if anything – sometimes even less… but justice is blind and deaf anyway. Condemning others in society’s eye has lasting consequences, albeit different than physically harming them – yet people seem more than willing to throw each other under the bus.

The slightest transgressions no longer draw a little heat, they’re engulfed in flames and fried to hard crunchy nuggets. Mitigating circumstances or any context is disregarded, let alone our history or best intentions involved. For some reason we no longer get the benefit of the doubt, we don’t get any leeway or time to sort it out. They want to call out the police for the same shit the public does online; ruin lives without due process or respect for any parties involved. It’s funny how quickly hypocrites turn tail and run, but not before the damage is done.

We could all say “but that’s only them over there”, yet the truth is plain out here – we’re the same as them when we call it like that. The deeper realities may not seem to apply to us, but we’ve all gotten this way more recently, in general. There is a difference in the goodness being put forth by people – not to belittle it, but to be honest, it now has a different flavor.

We’re seeing more action to build an image to be displayed. We’re dealing with more posturing than honest to goodness altruism. And it’s fine to do good from whatever angle, yet it can and often does feed into judgment and further separation. When we talk about how others’ efforts aren’t good enough or not the right kind, what we’re really doing is judging them, and comparing to ourselves at the same time.

We can say we believe that we’re right and they’re wrong, and say it for any number of reasons. But thinking less of others for not agreeing with us is thinking we’re better than they are, plain and simple. When we believe they’re wrong because they differ from us, and we’ve determined that we’re right and cannot be wrong, it’s not just disregarding their ability to come to conclusions independently, but refusing to acknowledge our own ability to learn so we can grow and work out differences with others.

No one really says “I’m better than others” so plainly, but it is obvious from certain behaviors when one of us sees ourself as somehow better – whether they consider it “earned” or “inherent”. Putting ourselves in a position of feeling superior, looking down on others as inferior, is all divisive and hurtful in the end. It’s not like it’s encouraging people to cooperate and work together to build a functional future for the greater good.

And the answer to the not-so rhetorical question in the title is: mob mentality.

Think for yourself, and build goodness if you want it in this world.

Tools of Oppression – Part 2 of All These Ism’s – Classism

The toolkit of oppression contains assorted emotionally manipulative techniques, chiefly those associated with traits we cannot hide or change. Because we cannot change our appearance or our gender with complete control, the result is that how we are treated is still affected by those around us, and that aspect of being human strikes at the heart of many of our insecurities.

Oppressors are master manipulators that take advantage of insecurities just as they play on fears and lack of knowledge. They insinuate, indicate, imply and other words that may or may not start with I, but all these subtle cues are as powerful (if not more) than outright inflammatory tactics. But they’re not above being incendiary, since that works on people too.

People with power and resources understand some underlying social concepts, like rarity drives demand which drives production and, by extension, value in the marketplace. Or they know that vulnerable and hurt people buy more to protect themselves. They know that when people are too tired or overstimulated or distracted they can’t make coherent decisions. They know that controlling your feelings leads to easier control over your decisions.

We know the truth that some people of all colors, genders, attractiveness and background have managed to become wealthy, powerful or influential. These people have risen to enjoy places of privilege be it through their own efforts or others, be they talented or charismatic. Despite, or possibly because of setbacks, those people prevailed and gained what is considered “success”. That’s not to say that these tools of oppression are not used to keep down wide swaths of population, because they are used exactly in that way – and that’s the point of this piece. Basically, the upper classes would use racism against their own if they could, but when they can’t they just use some other tactics to the same end.

Racism, sexism, ableism, and assorted other isms are tools of oppression. These tools are used to affect changes in people that result in emotionally driven decision making that is against our own interests at best. These are highly charged mechanisms that draw attention away from the actual culprit, and lay the blame at the feet of societies that have been deceived into judging each other intensively according to perceived affiliations or shared traits. The upper classes are not part of or representative of society at large. However, it is easy for them to employ tools against societies when the general populace sees the upper classes as part of broader society, allowing them to manipulate the masses relatively unfettered.

These tools of oppression are very real and very powerful and very common. What people are failing to adequately understand is that while the majority of people are fighting each other about the finer points of definitions of types and styles and levels of isms, there is a population who isn’t playing along – because they’re too busy. This population is driven by a different purpose, and that purpose is to get ahead of the rest. While the masses squabble about differences that certainly are differences, those differences don’t affect the totality of our existence or development. The smoldering hatred and discontent that harden the lower classes was not just sparked by, but fed tinder and tended by the upper classes for generations. They fan the flames of their little campfire to draw attention away from the forest fires behind all of us.

The stark reality is that they will let anyone into the upper classes, if they are valuable or ruthless enough to earn a space in what is treated as a limited pool of valuable influence and resources. But the members of upper classes won’t move over to make space, they crowd together like water molecules only parting for something they cannot dissolve and assimilate. Once a part of the upper classes in manner or substance, the member is included only so far as they can command influence or control outcomes. There are no warm welcome hugs into upper echelons, no one is included, they are all begrudgingly accepted at best.

What the lower classes seem to miss is that the upper classes are no less ruthless or cunning with each other than they are with outsiders. Their cultivated demeanor is but a façade that is used as one more layer of interwoven deception induced by self preservation that overrides ethics and respect. The upper classes are willing to do what it takes to secure resources, regardless of costs. Those resources, material and social, are the basis for the power they wield. They only share resources with those more powerful or those emotionally closest to themselves, regardless of genetic ties or any other recognizable traits.

The upper classes don’t actually care about what you look like, where you come from, or where you want to go – unless you’ve got a hand in their pie or a dog in their race. They respect power only because it carries inherent value, and they aim to get as much of it as they can for themselves. Rulers of commercialism, government, mafia, cartels, religions, organizations, and other power groups – the upper classes maintain their status through manipulating power dynamics. In every group of humans there are those on top, working tirelessly to get more from others and the universe.

When we fall prey to parlor tricks and cheap illusions we devalue and disempower ourselves. If they can please you or lull you into submission, all the easier. If they can deceive you or distract you they will. If that doesn’t work they resort to pulling your heartstrings. If that doesn’t work they put you down or destabilize you. If you still stay strong they use systemic methods to keep you busy defending yourself, shadow boxing. If you survive and thrive, they will work to discredit you and bring you back down. They’ll make sure you feel excluded and left out. They are the kids on the playground who make all the rules of all the games, then change them all over again to manufacture desired outcomes.

Be mad that they use your race or gender against you, but recognize that it isn’t genuinely about those specifics – it’s just a handy way to get you down quickly and keep you from standing back up again. They’d as easily needle you about your weight or guilty pleasures as they would about your sex life, or the color of your feathers.

Funniest part is it comes from the fact that they’re terrified of living like the rest of us do all the time. So we’ve got every advantage if we can see it that way. They are the fleas struggling to hold on to the shaking dog. They may suck our blood, but that will never put us down. It’s actually sad that they’re so scared of everything else that they’re on the defense and they can’t trust anyone at all. We don’t have to help them or feel bad for their case, but we can realize how hard they’re trying to keep us down, and why. It’s because we’re actually so powerful; it’s true. The only thing keeping us down is they’ve convinced us that we’re weak and shut out on principle. When we believe constructs that are illusions we’re the fools, thinking there are roadblocks when they’re nothing but hurdles.

Witness to Bear

I’ve heard tell some folks’ worst nightmares, and darkest secrets of their lives. I’ve been let in on the most hurtful of other people’s memories and experiences. There are things I wish I had never heard that haunt me still. Unprompted and uninvited I’ve heard almost all the horrid stories of human interaction possible, from a firsthand survivor point of view. Abuses sexual, physical and mental don’t begin to describe them. I hesitate to share them despite this being the nature of the post and the medium at large. Let’s say I’ll share one of (if not THE) most painful: a father bringing his son to his knee in order to shoot a kitten in the head, ostensibly to teach something, although no method can be cast over the shadow of this madness.

I have watched a couple break up, their 10 year marriage melting before my eyes – two close friends I cared for deeply had gotten to the point of public humiliation and physical suffering over their tortured relationship’s tattered remains.

I have patted backs and held hands, sitting quietly as they bear their hearts and souls to the light of day for the first time. They’ve told me secrets whispered quietly in the early dawn, feeling like it’s still late at night… a 15 yr old girl says in the almost-darkness “I’m pregnant, but please don’t tell anyone”.

They have told me their secret fantasies that they don’t tell their partners. They tell me their sexual adventures and exploits galore, unasked. People have come out to me as not-heterosexual when they were terrified to tell anyone else.

I have watched others have sex and do drugs and strip nude to skinny dip in the moonlight drunk.

I have been trusted and let it on countless dirty tales, sworn to secrecy, told in deep confidence of my discretion, just as I’ve been let into pools of shame big enough to drown in.

Strangers have stopped me on the bus or street corner to tell me about their lives when I’m just on my way home, delving into excruciating detail for strangers in the night. They talk about crazy happenings and all the things they’ve witnessed in their time – catching me up on any happenings I missed in my limited capacity as just one human.

I’ve watched a crack-head excitedly show her friends a fat $20 rock she had got, just to fumble and drop it so all 3 are on hands and knees sorting through trash in the alley hoping to find it.

Snapped a picture once of a homeless man with half a large pizza all to himself.

I’ve watched seizures, freak outs, and tantrums enough to write about for pages.

I’ve watched my family’s every moment as they keep looking back to make sure I’m watching.

I’ve watched people hurt themselves only feeling safe with me by their side, even if that safety isn’t enough to keep them from it.

I watched a man beat a woman in the front of their car, with us just staring on from the sidewalk, unable to respond to her honking the horn until they drove away together.

I’ve seen pure ecstasy take over and rapturous wonder flood faces high on life, praying or dancing or ranting or singing or just living another day in the sun.

I’ve seen more than one person confide in me that they handle their business – and that business turns out to be self defense.

Blood on knives never lies.

Many a praise has been said of my understanding, when really they’re exhorting my skills at accepting what has come to me in this life, understood or otherwise.

 

I have watched lives and times go by, and long believed I was put on this earth to bear witness to it all.

It’s almost as if I have no purpose of my own, save but to witness and accept that which came before me in this universe, without my input or participation in any way.

 

 

 

I never would have said it

It’s genuinely not that bad, and it’s better than a lot of history…

 

from higher consumer protections than ever before,

to children no longer being physically punished in school or sent to factories to work,

from wives no longer needing their husband’s permission and presence to make a purchase beyond groceries,

to the first black president in the US,

from gay marriage,

to the minimum wage,

from national parks being created,

to ceasing hand-feeding the animals there,

from stopping dumping in the great Salt Lake,

to recycling programs around the world,

from small, isolated social programs blossoming into thousands strong in a growing international community,

to the freedom for performers to show us art from their hearts instead of that coerced or controlled by management,

from more freedom of personal speech,

to independent journalism,

from disability accommodation,

to entertaining the concept that gender can be outside of a binary construction,

from enforcing regulation,

to Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

from leaving whale oil as a fuel source,

to scalable, sustainable energy sourcing,

from the labor movement,

to food handling procedures,

from airbags,

to seatbelt laws,

from mental health gaining respect,

to medical professionals taking people seriously when they feel pain,

from better access to education, and better education at that,

to art programs actually backed with enough funding,

from the rise of the nerd,

to sports staying alive in the age of media,

from changing minds,

to changing hearts…

there’s no need to spend precious time picking everything apart saying it’s not good enough. once upon a time this was all just someone’s dream. how dare we spit on that by denigrating it as insufficient, instead of holding it up high for praise as the real progress and change it represents? no one said we had reached the end, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what we have in the moment. let us show gratitude for the fortitude of those before us, and strive to do as well by the future as the past has done by us – and learn from those parts we need to take lessons from.

 

it’s not perfect. but it’s not worse, and it’s getting better all the time – let’s celebrate what we can while we keep going toward where we want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe he had it goin’

Deserve is a word i used to use, but has since largely left my vocabulary. it’s not just that this word leaves a bad taste in my mouth, or makes my lips do ugly things when i say it. that stuff happens because i have come to despise it altogether.

once but a tool in an arsenal of language, it now represents a sentiment i simply cannot abide. it comes from a place in which the person saying it is, or seems, very secure in what they are saying and their reasoning behind it. it has extended to coming from a place of superiority, of some special power to reframe our thoughts to minimize the situation, the specifics, or the outcome.  it is used to mask or hide justification. a word that now, to me, says more of the speaker than the subject. the same can be said for pathetic, although there are less complexities with that word in my experience. it was always  a pretty condescending term to use.

this is not to say that people cannot describe things as they choose, but sometimes word choice highlights underlying sentiments or foundations that show us true colors behind statements – they are often judgments with this word. they are interpretations worded in a way to avoid rebuke, by design. people passing judgment dont want to be refuted, they look to build an impermeable argument.

using deserve is a powerful word designed to appeal to shared values – the core of our identity lies in what we believe to be important, as well what we see as right and wrong. a word like deserve judges the would-be recipient of a given result, with prejudice.

if cliches, religion, or popular culture are to be believed, we are not each other’s judges and have no place doing that to our peers. and morally, i have to agree. it is entriely preumptuous and not even possible anyway – we cannot know someone’s true motives, or the totality of their experience. as such, we cannot judge them to be worthy, which is what deserving is all about.

We are variables

we all have inherent value

a person’s identity is not solely their
values,
feelings,
heritage, or
actions

our true self is a dynamic, complicated, layered creation not just of our own design, but grown in response to environment and stimuli that continues to change throughout our development

identity is as timeless as it is infinitely varied moments in time, it is not fleeting chances or knowing glances but throughout and between each happening

self awareness is myopic at best, our perceptions are cloudy and colored with memories

each of us chooses and redefines parts of ourself each day in so many ways

when we are confronted with a change that necessitates adaptation, we realize we do have a self outside of our preferences and predilections

we are not what we do, think, or feel, we are not our past, our present or future

we are variables