Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Being True

I just noticed my nails seem to be growing. It may seem to be an odd observation, but given my nails have been breaking/splitting since getting chemo, I haven't had much in the way of nails for quite some time. It isn't much now, but certainly more than it has been.

I was thinking yesterday that I haven't been able to see a future that is positive, and cancer free. It sorta feels like a dark tunnel with no light at the end of it. The built-in optimism of planning a future - or even "just" a future event hasn't been present. It has been very difficult, as I am only existing in the present.

I wind up thinking about the "whole" attitude conversation, and the idea that I can "choose" how I feel. Part of that might be self-deception to some degree, but perhaps much needed, and therefore, "ok." 

But what about denial? I have learned a lot about allowing myself my emotions these last few years. I have benefitted greatly by being willing to immerse myself in them. At which point is immersion no longer helpful? Is there such a point - especially if one is going to be authentic about what they are experiencing?

If we feel something, how "real" is it? Many times it likely feels all too real, whether it "is," or not. And if it feels real, does it matter how real it really is? And if it is real, is that a call for it to be addressed in some way? And in what way? Could denial be a useful tool? Or does it only divert from stuff that is seeking to be addressed by gaining attention through the emotions?

I can't also help but think that there are people who think they know THE answers to all of these questions, and all that are asked. If they truly DID know the answers, I can't help but think the world could be a different place. Some might say that the reason an answer doesn't seem like an answer is because a person is somehow doing things wrong. If only they were doing it "right," the outcome would be different. If they were doing it "right," it would prove their answer "right." The only reason it seems wrong, or doesn't work, is because the person just isn't properly doing some aspect of it.

I find myself getting annoyed when I see people who say they have the answers to things. It doesn't matter what the thing is. The idea that someone thinks they know THE thing that everyone should know and embrace as truth bothers me greatly. 

I ask myself why I react this way. I am not really sure. But I think there is a part of me that thinks it might be at least a bit deceptive. And I have a really hard time with deception. Someone once asked me if I could be any superhero, who would it be, and why?  My answer? Wonder Woman. I loved the idea of her golden lasso, and how others had to tell the truth.

Truth telling seems to be really important to me. But not truth telling, as a universal truth, but as in a personal one. I can respect another's truth, even if I do not understand it or agree with it. I can respect that they see things differently. Do I like it? At times, absolutely not. Would I wish things to be different? At times, absolutely. 

I just looked up "respect," and one of the first definitions was to "think highly of." I imagine that definition creates quite a paradox at times. If we see respect that way only, we won't be inclined to respect any person who has beliefs we do not think highly of. The opposite of "respect" is "contempt." And when we feel contempt for someone or something, we are hardly likely to be kind in any regard. 

I think if we respect someone, we are more likely to be kind to them, even if we disagree, than if we feel contempt. And kindness I would see as a pathway to being able to communicate, and get along. Contempt, it seems, closes, or at least narrows, the possibilities.

If we are kind, we are more likely to show compassion. It is a bit ironic, though. There was someone who told me how they felt, and instead of arguing, or fighting, or resisting as I normally would, I just acknowledged what they said. They got even more upset with me. I suspect it may have come off sounding callous, or like I was indifferent/didn't care. In actuality, it was quite the opposite. 

I truly got that that is the way they felt, period. I wasn't going to say more, because there was nothing to dispute. How could I dispute how that person felt? I wasn't them. I didn't have their experience. I wasn't in their head. I could think differently if I wanted to, but it wasn't going to change a thing about them, and what they believed. In that moment, I was so clear and so calm, and it only seemed to piss the other person off more.

There are times I struggle with this - especially when what another believes affects me or how I am treated or perceived. It is one thing to have it have nothing to do with me directly, but it is all together different when what is over there with them crosses into my world. I have a harder time dealing with it, if there is some reason I need to continue to deal with that person.

As a result, my world has greatly constricted. The way I deal with some things these days is by not dealing. I have been taught that "not dealing" is "unhealthy." The fact is that I have come to believe that "not dealing" is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves in some circumstances.

I can't help but wonder how much of what we are taught is taught out of some sort of convenience for another, but is to our own personal detriment, or cost. But we are taught that we shouldn't be selfish or self-centered, and that we should think of others. As a result, if we consider that cost at all, we diminish its importance because we are told it's the "right" thing to do. And we may want to be liked, and not thought selfish, so we just let it go. And the times we don't, there may certainly be hell to pay, which might have us hesitant to go against what others think "should" be again.

Donald Trump is making huge waves these days. There are people who think he is making things worse for himself, but he seems to keep getting bumped up in the polls. I am sure many are bewildered. He has not only seemingly contradicted himself on issues, but has said some really inflammatory things. 

When that happens, there are mechanisms that are supposed to kick in that silence the person, or minimize them - not elevate them. I suspect that part of the reason he is doing as well as he is because there are those who appreciate that Trump speaks his mind, unapologetically. 

We as individuals have created dynamics to shut ourselves up - and down. If we are like this on a personal level, it is no surprise it extends to the societal one. But it isn't working. It is oppressive and uncomfortable, and the pressure is showing. Despite what "being Trump" actually means, I suspect people admire the fact that Trump is being Trump.

Personally, there have been people who have told me how much they appreciate my candor. They say how uncomfortable it is, but they still appreciate it, and some wish they could speak up and out as I do on the things that matter to them.

We have been trained to be a certain way, but our soul wants something different. We need to be able to be who we are. We need to be able to speak our truth. Even if Donald Trump doesn't become our nation's leader, maybe he will still lead in the sense that those who view him may feel more free to be themselves by watching him. How he is may even in some way give them permission to speak up.

Everything we believe may or may not be true. It may not be the best, or even correct, but we need to have the ability and freedom to believe what we do for as long as we do. We learn, grow, and transform by the experiences we have in life. Wouldn't it be something if we did that in a way that helped us to be more open and tolerant rather than closed and intolerant and manipulative?

So many times we manipulate others to be a certain way, and it is not because we necessarily agree. All too many times incongruency is found. We make it about the one person, though, instead of seeing it as a part of a bigger whole. Granted, it is "safer" that way, and certainly less confronting, but it isn't doing us any favors having to be one way publicly and another behind closed doors. 

The more we push something down, the more it will likely come out, and more times than not, it will not come out in a controlled, or comfortable, way. As a matter of fact, it will probably come out in the most uncomfortable and inconvenient and potentially embarrassing way possible.

What if we have done so much pushing down in this country that all that we have pushed down is coming out through Trump in that most uncomfortable and inconvenient and potentially embarrassing way possible?

This is not to say that I believe that statement is true. I try very hard to stay away from political conversations. But there are those who believe that Trump is uncomfortable and inconvenient and embarrassing. Is it possible that he could be leading us to speak more openly and honestly and to be more true to ourselves? If so, there will be those who will be desperate to fight it, especially if the prevailing ways of putting out the fire are not working. 

Going against what you've been taught is never easy. Going against it in a public way often could not be more difficult.

The fact is, though, I think speaking up and out saves our lives. It may feel life threatening to take a stand, and sometimes it might be, but it has also been shown to make a big difference, too. I personally think the reason I am still here is because I haven't held back.

It has been hard as hell. It has been terrifying. But it has been incredibly freeing to be able to just be me. In some odd way, I have to thank the many who never did anything to help me, regardless of how I handled things. I have never felt that I needed to be a certain way to get help as a result. 

"Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose." The less help I received, the more free I became with what I felt. People ignoring/avoiding me gave me a gift. I learned I did not have to care what you thought of me. You weren't going to help me any way. I could just be myself.

Is that self perfect? Hardly. But no one's self is perfect in another person's eyes. I am doing the best I can, just like anyone else does. And the fact is, it is all I got. And another fact is that because it is all I got, it is good enough - despite what anyone else thinks.

Yes. I feel alone and isolated as a result. But I am also more at peace with myself than I ever have been.

If you read all of this, bonus points for you :p I am sure many will see the ocean of words and be on to other things quite quickly...thanks for your time...I hope you found what I wrote helpful in some way. Lots of love to you...

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