I sense she regularly judges me, as too stupid (it’s relative), blinkered or ill-read to understand her explanation, or be worth engaging with to educate or persuade. Of course she judges me. We meet, and we react to each other out of our knowledge of each other, which must involve judgment. It remains worthwhile for both of us. Why would you fear judgment? Relationship is impossible without it. It is nuanced, almost never merely that someone is “bad”.
How could I know others? Well they are human, therefore like me- to an extent. Possibly my judgment of others is unusually forebearing, making allowances, gentle, but not off the scale. And as Samuel Johnson said, If any man would consider how little he dwells upon the condition of others, he would learn how little the attention of others is attracted by himself. Certainly the virulent, emphatic, black and white condemnatory judgment I have for myself is shared by few or none. I am not a murderer.
I started my counselling session pleased by my weekend away and social encounters, yet dissatisfied. There must be more to life than this. I work hard, on getting those photos, that one in particular, right, and especially on my writing. And thinking- when I am not writing, I am thinking things through. Ideas percolate within me.
I am hard on myself. Making this statement- I worked hard on that– I don’t know if I am learning to be less hard on myself generally, or in specific instances. Possibly both. “There must be more to life than this!” Well, I don’t see what, and don’t know if that is because my blind spots obscure it, or there is nothing there.
-Is there anything you would like to do again, or have a go at? she asks.
-No. Should there be?
-Why are you bored?
-From lack of stimulus, and loneliness.
-Where might you find it?
-in Love. But I fear the outside world, everything outside my living room.
-Because of experience.
-Any particular experiences?
-All of it, from childhood and adulthood.
This great amorphous mass of greyness frightens me in itself. Everything? Are there any shards of light in the gloom? As she points out, sometimes I overcome my fear because I want to do something. I engage with the outside world, and sometimes the experience is positive for me. It might be worth analysing and categorising my experience a little more.
-Have you seen the Jungle book vultures?
I have just been to look. Oops.
-Would you join a club?
I thought of joining a writers’ group. There is one in Swanston, and I have the email address of the man who runs it, but have not done anything about that.
-Of course not, because a writing group would open you to rejection and criticism. Reciting your poetry was a lesser risk. Do you critique others?
Yes, but in a spirit of offering possibilities, rather than dogmatism. I am gentle. My experience of the judgment of others does not fit my fear of it- I fear the Granite Statues, unbending, remorseless, utterly condemning. Others are not like that in my experience yet I still fear it.
She tells me that those who are afraid of the World are usually afraid of themselves. Once you accept yourself you can engage better. But, what are other people actually like? How could I ever know?