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Monday, August 3, 2015

Who Gets to Say?

At some point several years ago I noticed something: the only people I saw speaking against abortion were men. I thought it rather interesting, as the one most affected by the pregnancy concern is most likely the woman, for what I would think were obvious reasons. I suppose there may be those who would disagree with me, but it is how I saw it.

I share this now because I got to thinking about the "Entitlement Issues." I have never seen someone who would be eligible for an Entitlement speak against it. Instead, those who do speak against it are often those who are so far away from ever having that need.

It got me thinking about who is "entitled" to speak out against or for an issue. Those it doesn't affect personally may most likely be on one side with those it does affect, on the other. One might suggest that the unaffected are also likely to be less biased, but I think it is more that their bias "just" runs in a different direction, as there are beliefs held about the people on the other side of the issue that in some way can have an influence what they think of the issue.

One of the most sadly humorous things I have heard people say about entitlements is that people will just kick back, given everything is paid. They, apparently, are not motivated to do anything. The fact is, I am fairly sure that most who live off of entitlements are barely living, at all. 

I suspect it is rare that someone gets enough to truly live on. There are going to be cases of fraud and misuse of the system, but that is only a part of the story. If people have issues with that, then there should be a better system to prevent things like that from happening, rather than trying to minimalize getting help to those who truly need it.

I am a bit hesitant to raise these topics, as it is all too easy to get off track. I raise them as examples of a bigger picture and issue. We have a really hard time when it comes to these things because we are unable, and often unwilling, to admit where we truly don't know what we think we do. We often think ourselves qualified to make decisions for those whose situations we know very little, or nothing, about. 

We make these decisions, and we call it all kinds of positive things, while demeaning the other side of the issue, as well as those who are on it. And those people are the very ones who likely need the understanding and compassion their side of the issue speaks to. If they didn't need it, I am fairly sure you wouldn't even hear about it. 

Many people are uncomfortable asking for help. Many people don't like others knowing they are having issues. Many people will further hurt themselves out of pride before ever seeking someone beyond themselves. To say that people are different than that I think is all too easy of an argument to fall back on. 

We try to control people through our judgments. Just judge something, or someone, as bad, as you can affect them and their life. You can also affect how others perceive, and interact, with them.

It works all too well - as long as you are "fortunate" enough to all on the "right" side of the issue.

It is one of the tougher issues we face as human beings. How do we live together with such disparate experiences that can give us very different frameworks to work from? Some may not even care to know the "other side," especially if they are not affected by it. But then, if they are affected by it - especially if it is adverse to them somehow - the human inclination is likely to preserve status quo, rather than try to understand what the other person is dealing with.

Things like this happen all of the time, and even in ways that aren't as politically hot, or anywhere near as public. We do it in terms of our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors. Any time we judge someone we are likely on a different side of the issue. 

I tend to think that if we do not know where exactly the person stands, or why s/he stands there, we really probably should say very little, if anything at all - especially if what we'd say would be at odds with the other person. Perhaps you'll argue it's for the person's "own good." Well. You can believe that, and justify what you think you should do by that argument, but if someone else did that to you, you might feel otherwise.

If you really want to help another, you could try to understand their perspective, their side, their experience, instead of trying to control, modify, or change it. If you did that, you might be able to be the ally they need instead of the potentially annoying gnat in their ear, or hurdle they need to overcome along with everything else they need to deal with.

More times than not I have been on the "wrong" side of things - according to others. I guess you could say that makes me quite biased in terms of this conversation. But, the interesting thing is, if I hadn't been, we might not be having this "conversation" at all, as I might not even think there was an issue, or if I did, I might be trying very hard to stomp it out, instead of trying to open the door of compassion and understanding. 

The sad thing is I almost think compassion and understanding are things that many people are more likely to talk about in theory, than actually act upon. And, even worse, they mistake their words for some sort of action.

You aren't caring about someone when you have to have things your way. You aren't caring about someone you manipulate, or try to control. To care about someone, what you want may be compromised in the process. Caring about someone may mean being willing to support something that is more supportive of another than it is of yourself.

It may mean a lot of things..many of which seem all too sparse these days. I wonder if we had more of it, if we'd have less of a need for actual money. I realize it might be quite a stretch to think that, but imagine the kind of world that could make that possible. It'd be pretty incredible.

More Contemplation: On Mattering


As I was  painting this, thoughts of all kinds were going through my mind. I realized something I never thought of before: I want to know I matter.

That isn't exactly new by itself. What is new is what came along with it this time. I realized on some level a part of me is desperate to matter now because if I don't matter now the odds of me mattering at any time - even after I am dead - are likely minimal.

Taking it further, the fact that I often feel invisible translates on some level to "not mattering." After all, how can you matter if no one interacts with you, or seems to appreciate your existence?

I further realized - with much sadness - that you can't MAKE anyone love or care about you or remember you. Just like there is no magic formula to get into a relationship with someone, there is no magic formula to determine worth, or ability of others to remember you, or care about what you cared about enough to remember you.

I suspect when most humans get in touch with their mortality in any sort of "realistic" way things like this show up. I suspect we all want to know at the end of the day that we mattered. 

For those who have really close friends, or good relationships with their family, or who have children, or have a significant other, there is likely to be more "mattering" feedback than for someone who has none of that.

Of course, it isn't "perfect," as all too often we can suck at telling those who matter to us that they do, but the chances of appreciation are certainly greater.

I see people around me moving on with their life, and I am sitting here, not a part of it, and am relegated to watching. There have been times in my life this has already happened; but it is different now.

It is different for the fact that I am not able to do the same, and maybe never will be able to. It feels a lot different, and is hard to explain - especially to those who think I can choose my life, just as they can.

Um. No.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bullying

When I was younger, I was bullied. Back then, though, I do not think it was a "known" thing the way it is now. The first instance of bullying that I remember was in 4th or 5th grade. I even remember the girl's  name. It was Christine. I remember her last name, too, but am choosing to leave it out. But the fact that I remember should tell you how significant she was.

I was also picked on on the bus in 7th grade. It made me not want to go to school. When I went away to school, I was picked on there, too - at least for a bit. 

In college, there was bullying, but it was more indirect than the other times. It was focused on a number of people, including me.

I was almost always the misfit, the outsider. As I look back, I just never fit in. Nothing about me ever did. Not my temperament, my demeanor, what I did/didn't do, how I looked. At some point in high school I seemed to be liked - but always at a distance.

I am grateful I did not have to deal with the cell phone/youtube/video/shaming world we seem to live in today. I am not sure I could have handled it. As it was, I barely managed most times with how things were.

Even as an adult, I have often felt like the self-conscious outsider. Ironically, I often felt when younger that guys weren't interested in me because they did not think me attractive. As an adult, I was told I was attractive, but I still found my self alone. Someone once told me it is the Beautiful Woman Syndrome - that guys were intimidated by beautiful women. If it is anything like that...definite irony. And, either way, I still often very much was alone.

I used to be in it's a "not fair" place. I think I have transitioned from there to a place of being resigned. I had been in that place several years ago, only to have a few guys show up - only to disappear on me. Each one more significant, intense - and ultimately heartbreaking.

I really do not know what I think, believe, or want any more. A part of me is beyond tired and disappointed. It is exhausting never fitting in. And right now in my life instead of being bullied (although there are times that still does happen) I find myself feeling invisible. It is a very different thing than being bullied. At least people are paying attention to you. Sadly, though, it is for all the "wrong" and abusive reasons.

Not sure why all these thoughts are crossing my mind...but maybe I am trying to sort through "stuff." A part of me thinks I am giving ammo to those who will sit back and judge me or my life or what is going on with me. "Oh, that's why..."

Another part of me just sighs, and goes "oh well."

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I Wish

The other day I called someone. I needed to talk, and I was crying. We spoke for a while, and when we spoke afterward, I was told that a person who had been nearby asked if I was crying. They got into a conversation part of which was WHY would I be crying?

The person I spoke with countered with, why wouldn't I be crying - given how everything looks in my life. I really appreciate not only this person, but the fact that they get just how impossible my situation is. I wish more people could "get it."

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Digging

My life has been a mess from Day 1. Things have never been easy, and have often been quite difficult. Those who have heard my stories have often been amazed that I have managed what I have.

I share this because I am acutely aware of the fact that I am sharing the darkest parts of me - especially lately. I have seen something to the effect that a person doesn't cry because she is weak; she cries because she has been strong too long.

I don't know if I'd say I've been strong, but I have definitely had to deal with a lot, on my own, for a very long time, and most of my life. In some ways, I am just not sure how much more I can do, how much more I can take. And it is one thing to do it as a "healthy" person, it is altogether different when I am not sure I can take care of myself. It is getting more difficult.

I also think about the "whole" life thing because of the fact I am making "being alone" equate to "not being wanted." I realize it is not quite the same thing, but it is an equation I am currently aware of. And when I think of "not being wanted," it goes back to the beginning.

A young, unwed mother. A older father, married to another woman. A time that things like that were hardly the "norm," and likely quite scandalous. I did not even know who my father was until I was about 13. Half of my identity was kept from me as a secret. 

My mother tells me she was told I would be better off with my grandparents, so she listened. For reasons I don't want to share at the moment, I am not sure she even wanted me, any way. And if the baby in the womb "knows" things, I suspect that could be at least in part why I have spent my life trying to be quiet, not controversial, and trying to hide. If I wasn't welcome, why would I feel like I should be here, and have a presence?

Putting any "woo-woo" stuff aside, not growing up with one's parents would be enough, I think, not to feel wanted. Why wasn't I with my PARENTS? I am not sure if I ever wondered, "What's wrong with me? Why don't they want me?" However, the thought of those words/questions right now have me crying. So, asked, or unasked, I would suspect it is a part of the framework that has become who I am.

Did I not deserve to be loved and supported?

So much of this hurts many times over, as these are the same types of questions I have had consciously/unconsciously about relationships/lack of relationships over the years. 

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Past Vulnerable

I am feeling so much pain, and I do not mean physically. I often have told people what we often experience has nothing to do with the current moment, or current people. 

For a while now, being alone has been triggering me in a huge way. It has been taking me all over my personal life map.  It has had me sad, in tears, and feeling devastated.

It has felt like more than meets the eye, but I have been too immediately focused to really look at anything else...to consciously consider the torrent under the surface. They are things I have faced before, but it is more intense now, more dark, more depressing because of now having to deal with the role cancer plays in the mix.

And while I can logically state all of this, I have no clue what to do with it or about it. If only logic was enough to handle things. We act as though it is/should be. But, if anything, it often is only a band-aid on a gaping wound.

I suspect the fact that I can't just seem to  "shake" how I feel means there is something lurking. The depth of the emotion, and the nature of it, has me think it is something devastatingly huge. 

It also doesn't help that I feel like it takes me down to a place past vulnerable, and has me feel helpless. It has me feel like there is no point, no reason to care, nor bother. It is destructive, and feels like it  could all too easily destroy me.




Sometimes...

I really, truly wonder if it really matters that I am here, alive. I truly wonder if I matter. 

There is something - a big something - to be said for a parent or partner's love. And when neither is present, there is a gaping hole made all that much darker and bigger when facing catastrophe alone.

Yes. Very bad, very sucky night.