Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fraud on a Quest

I just saw a film that reminded me of the real reason I’m uncomfortable with people who are endlessly positive. I make light of it often, particularly with those same people, people I do care about even though they sometimes inadvertently make me squirm. I’m sure it’s hypocritical of me, to not explain it each time it comes up rather than dance around it, making fun of myself in order to pass over the subject without dragging the party down as “they” say.

Some people just can’t be positive right now, can’t see the silver linings, can’t find beauty in all things ugly, can’t not worry so as to be happy. Some can’t do it ever due to some sort of biological “twist”, but many can’t because of some tragic situation that perhaps only they know, some recurring nightmare that only they live through night after night. Perhaps they will be able to down the road a bit; maybe it’s not permanent, just a bump in the road.

I knew someone online once who could not seem to write even one paragraph without adding something about her self hatred. I thought I had an idea as to what she was doing, the old “reaching out for help” thing, the “please tell me again and again how wrong I am” routine. In my amateurish psych 101 way I tried to make contact, tried to turn the key or at least jimmy her door, but all I did was invite a burning pile of manure to land upon my head and shoulders. She didn’t want out at that moment; she was comfortable in her quicksand and had no desire to see life from a different point of view. To guess, she was perfectly satisfied with assuming that every day would stink, that every one would turn on her eventually and that it was all because she had completely and totally fucked up her life. As miserable as that would be, it was at least consistent. One can’t be disappointed if life is one big disappointment. one can only be satisfied that all things remain the same; no surprises.

I hung out as long as I could, listening, backing off the advice and only adding commiseration on the rare occasion she’d write about an event or experience I’d also had and could speak to. Yet in short enough order I had to walk away, but only because I couldn’t take the beating, because I’d made it personal, as I have all too often in my life. I didn’t just blow it off, I cared, I felt her pain, and soon enough it reminded me of my own.

It seems to me most people are adverse to confrontation. Let’s face it, wouldn’t life be grand if all day every day nothing but the best came our way. Some people have even created a system to making that so, even when it isn’t; the old lemon/lemonade paradigm. (I prefer chicken shit to chicken salad, but that would only figure considering the topic) So in my experience what most often happens when someone publicly states an unhappiness, or even when one dances away from a friend’s happiness bandwagon, the “offending” party is notified that there will be none of that please. Sometimes it’s in a kindly way, hell sometimes it’s even in a silent way, a simple turning of the head, whether physically or metaphorically. Sometimes it’s a little more straightforward; “get a life”, “grow up”, “it was a long time ago, get over it”.

Now I’m not blaming those folks for reacting that way. That’s why I dropped in that anecdote; even those of us with the best of intentions and highest pain thresholds can be driven from the temple. But what it tends to do is reinforce the sufferer’s suffering. If you can just “get over it”, that means you got under it in the first place, that “it” is your fault, and were you only strong enough or smart enough or at least less inferior to the person pointing out your shortcomings, you would be happy and we could all stop having to admonish or avoid you.

I’ve been reminded all my life to not be publicly unhappy, mostly by people turning their backs on me when I make the mistake of stepping over that line. Well that’s not the issue really, I’ve long ago come to the point where I’ll speak my truth whether others like it or don’t and if the consequences are steep so be it. The issue is, I see it happen to others, way too often, and I know how alone that can feel. It doesn’t have to be craziness or obsession. It could just be a parent dying or the anniversary of a great loss. It could be a financial woe that just won’t go away, and for some reason smiling at people threatening to take you to court just doesn’t make everything ok.

Who knows when they see someone angry or sad what the person’s story is unless they’ve listened for it. (Yea, I know, not my problem, but there ya go) Yes, I do believe happiness is of your own making, that one is happy when one decides to be happy blah blah blah. But some days wisdom is just more dog droppings on your shoe, it’s just something other people can do so why can’t I. Granted, most don’t have time to deal with all this, life is very busy indeed and emotional shit just gets in the way, especially someone else’s. But some of us have nothing better to do than to try and carry a few pounds of baggage for someone else, for just a few minutes if that’s all we can take. Some of us don’t want to make ugly invisible, make cries silent, make self loathing something that stranger does and God hope he never gets within 20 feet of me or I’ll have to simply remind him to not do that anymore and go my merry way.

I do understand that to some negative verbiage is so uncomfortable that they’d just rather not hear it at all. And I get the idea that some don’t see negative thought as realism by any other name. I also understand how incredibly paralyzing it is to feel badly, to grieve deeply, to second guess one’s life and how alone that can make you, at least until you’ve worked your way out of it on your own and people that like you smiling are willing to share your space once again.

So when I write, I write all of it, good, bad, indifferent. I want to know I’m not alone in all that I feel, I want to believe that when I see raindrops on a sunny day people won’t all scatter. Actually, I don’t figure any of this would happen because of my writing, but I know it happens because of others’ writing; and if I’m not willing to share my experience, why would I expect others to put themselves in that position.

To some, this entire post would be claptrap. But then, I’m not writing it for them. I’m writing it for me, as I do with everything I write. Perhaps I’m easily amused.

Fraud on a Quest

In my zeal to encourage I never lose sight
that my words may be heard as dishonest or trite
Of course, that's not my problem and I shouldn't care
but I do, and I hate this straightjacket I wear

I've a lifetime of dodging and looking away
I've a history filled with "can't come out to play"
I'm a bobber and weaver, one never quite clear
and it's not any easier speaking in here

So seldom I'm blessed with that powerful gift
Feeling grounded, with purpose; not blind and adrift
when I say what so moves me with nary a thought
that I'm really a fraud on a quest to be caught

I swear every word I commend to applause
makes me wince as I write it, and sweat without cause
my critiques seem cartoonish, minutia, unstrung
like an ant singing praise to an anteater's tongue

Lord what nonsense I live with, I can't even clap
without then second guessing our transference gap
so if I say "I liked it", and you thought "so what"
know it took me an hour to conquer that nut

Is that somehow important, should you be impressed?
No, it's just how I write, flaying open my chest
It's admission I feel quite undressed on my throne;
it's a note to those nodding; No, you're not alone.

Addendum: I have to admit, it is questionable whether I should be speaking like this in public at all. Perhaps I'm being a complete idiot. No matter how many words I use I can't possibly make myself appear as a whole being in my work, and what I "seem" could be an issue to an employer or loan officer or any other bloodsucker looking to use my public persona as they have interpreted it as a weapon or some other device. Perhaps I could be persuaded to stop exposing myself to all that portends. Jump right in if you feel the urge and tell me TMI is simply TMI.

1 comment:

  1. I understand that. Some people just need a punch in the face.