Eccentric Flower:201109/Convergent Streams
From Eccentric Flower
I wasn't planning on posting again so soon, but it seems to be a fragile week. I'm not going to apologize.
1. This post of Ursula's and my reply:
2. I had a miserable headcold this past weekend. It's been going around. Nothing new. The problem is that recovery has been unusually difficult. I've had minor balance issues, fatigue, that has persisted for several days after the immediate cold symptoms subsided. If I take NyQuil at night I sleep but feel groggy the next day, that sort of disconnect that comes from having had no dream-sleep. On the other hand, last night I didn't take any and I slept in fits and starts and today I'm not disconnected, but I'm exhausted. It's so difficult to make a rational assessment of your mental condition and your position on the grand scale when you can't even get the basics of the body baseline solid. It feels like such a stupid thing, such a waste of time that could be spent getting to more important things. "I shouldn't HAVE to be worrying about finding energy to do even trivial tasks! I shouldn't HAVE to be worrying about finding 'upright' consistently!"
3. This thread. It's a brilliantly helpful thing to read, and yet it stabs me in the gut every time I read it. Both. At the same time.
(Don't bother looking for serious confessions from me in there. I'm not comfortable enough with that lot yet to open any doors there. My sole post is at #3 and not really germane, although it was interesting to see later how many people agreed with me so thoroughly about Umbridge.)
There's a line somewhere in there that made me nearly give up on the day today and go home and not come out. Strangely, the line was intended, I think, to have the opposite effect:
I guess "If I didn't kill my own dreams, who else would have the kindness to?" is probably not the right answer, eh?
4. The other day I learned a major fact of importance about a friend of mine which knocked me for a complete loop. It wasn't a bad revelation, you understand. It was a good and encouraging one, but it was such a surprise. It was a reveal of an inner person that I had never even come close to suspecting was in there. That, combined with a remark about a much lesser but similar situation with a friend in an unrelated conversation later in the day, led to my writing this:
I find that I'm reluctant to post anything else on top of that right now; I don't want to cover it. I want it to be passed around, as if by passing it around we could somehow achieve some sort of magical critical mass and make it actually come true. I'd like us all to have the ability to be what we actually would like to be; is that too much to ask? Apparently it is.
5. I wanted to write an essay the other day. The problem is that it was political, and as I have remarked before, I've deliberately allowed myself no place to be political. (Tumblr is deliberately too shallow; Twitter is deliberately too short; and I'm trying to slowly ban rants of that sort from this space.) I've decided that being political is not just dangerous, it's unwanted. That is, no one else wants it. We've already passed the point where one's political opinion is incapable of swaying anyone else's - our dialogue has become too polarized. So if I write about how stupid I think Obama's position on a Palestinian state is, people will either totally agree with me or totally disagree with me, and mere agreement contributes nothing useful in that particular situation, and I don't have the energy to deal with the disagreers. So.
That wasn't actually what the essay was going to be about, by the by. Nor was it going to be about this, although I do endorse the opinion expressed there, nastiness and all. But it does get close to the matter, in a sideways way.
What I have come to believe is that we are not bad people for lack of compassion in situations we have no direct experience of. That's not the damning indictment.
We're quick enough to change tunes when it becomes personal. We stop being anti-gay when the nice gay couple moves in down the street and we see that they don't eat babies for breakfast. Our policies on abortion are affected greatly by whether our own daughter had an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy that could have ruined her life. Our feelings about the poor are in direct proportion to the number of actual poor people we know; our feelings about immigrants are in proportion to the number of immigrants we know; our feelings about the transgendered are in proportion to the number of transgendered we know - and so forth. We are not, at base, uncompassionate people.
And we are not initially to blame for isolation. It's not our fault if we grew up in a gated closeted white suburb of the upper middle class normals and therefore have no idea what actual black people or Mexican people or gay people are like. The problem comes when we deliberately refuse to broaden our horizons, when we deliberately avoid contact with things outside our personal zone of "normal" because, if we did encounter counterexamples to our normal, we might unexpectedly be forced to become compassionate toward those things, and we can't be having that.
That's what's going to destroy us. Ultimately, of all the many many things, that's gonna be the one that does us in. It has already begun. And the intolerance and willful ignorance is not limited to the people on the Other Side, so don't kid yourselves.
That's the essay I didn't write, in condensed form.
6. More than ever I consider whether certain things which have never looked like they were worth the overhead (time, cost, emotional pain) actually are. I won't bother enumerating them, but you can assume most of them come back to some form of psychotherapy in some way. Most of this reassessment is simply a matter of my running out of patience and life - I can see fifty from here, I don't expect to live past seventy, and I become less and less sure what the point of Trying To Cope With Everything On My Own Terms is. I grow increasingly frustrated with this world and increasingly frustrated with myself.
However, the same forces also make me increasingly reluctant to try to consider any psychological help, because the same forces also make that help look more and more like denial. Oh, sure, make a happier reality for yourself, my brain says, but you'll always know it's a fake, because you know how horrible the real world is and you'll always be reminded, every second, that you chose to abandon the truth for a fantasy just for your personal happiness.
Then again, my personal happiness is very nearly the only person's happiness I am ultimately responsible for. (I am willing to bear some responsibility for my wife's happiness as well, or that statement would have been absolute.) If the world is beyond hope anyway, what are the penalties for spending my final twenty years in it with fewer self-induced pains from stress, disappointment, and heartbreak than I have now?
I think it's coming soon. I just have to get to the point where I no longer give a damn whether I'm trying for escapism. Some days, lately, I get very close, close enough to see the edge from where I am. Waiting for me.