Know yourself

Would you ever hit someone?

No, you say, with complete certainty of your rectitude. Never. Or, at least not unless hitting someone was the only thing to do, the righteous, even heroic- defence of another when no other defence was possible. It does not matter that you don’t really know yourself, and you have no basis for the statement other than it is how people in a civilised country ought to be. You believe in yourself. You have faith, and your faith is reckoned to you as righteousness.

I don’t. Did I lock the door behind me? Of course I did, it is the thing I always do, but I have no specific conscious memory of it so I have to go back to check. What if I forgot? It does not help that I left my electric blanket on while in Portugal. I thought I had, and wondered if the flat would be burned out when I got back. It was not. I have self-doubt. I do not claim any good qualities. I only know I would not hit someone because I have been in these situations and not hit someone, not out of strength or self-restraint but out of confusion: the rules aren’t working, and I don’t know what to do. Or so I would tell you. I have no trust in myself, or of others’ good will towards me.

So I feel threatened and paralysed.

I want time to create self-respect and understanding. “I would not hit someone,” I say, with sufficient certainty of not committing a criminal act, because I have worked it out.

I have stubbornness and stickability. I got that doctor sacked. But this is a finite resource, perhaps- I tried with the other one, then gave up.

Could I really just go out and trust? I am a good person. Right now I want my quiet life because I cannot imagine a better, and I have a great deal of understanding and creativity.

As I have exercised that understanding and creativity, imagining a better involves stepping outside of me.

Twenty years ago I had a client who could not spell “bags”. He wrote “bages”. With a soft g, I think of him as the bages man. He could not do something so would not try, and I despised him. He frustrated me. And now I think,

It will not work⇒I will not try.

Or, things are percolating inside me, and great things will come. Or, my stubbornness motivation and drive are draining away. How could I know, without evidence from what I actually do?

If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to fear.

I would like to be admired.

“Where is the failure?” she asks. That flummoxes me. It throws me back to the centre of the problem, the equation with two many variables. There is none. Or, it is mine, from birth, society’s, from the creation of the World.

If the failure is mine, I do not know it.
I do my best…

14 thoughts on “Know yourself

  1. Bages?,,,, We don’t need no bages! I don’t have to show you any stinking bages!

    Actually, “The Treasure of the Seirra Madre” is a pretty good character study for what you’re talking about. Of course, much of the behavior* of the characters is driven by greed, but there is a lot of fear and paranoia that comes out of it.

    *I can’t help but to spell it this way. 🙂

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      • Rest assured that American English is slowly being Anglicized (the “z” may be one of the last, but certainly before we’d call it “zed”. I find that there are so many, though, who would spell “bags” (as in more than one bag) with an apostrophe – “bag’s”…….Ahrrrrrrrrrg!

        Maybe I should have said “re-Anglicized?”

        A breaking down of trust, or even the lack of it, makes it difficult for one to know herself -or others – fully. I know people who exhibit behaviors that I may find to be irritating, or even objectionable. I’m sure that I’m seen by some others to exhibit behaviors that have the same effect on them. Because we are all being true to ourselves, though, we can trust each other. When I finally came to accept my gender identity for what it is, I found myself unable to continue living a half-lie. Being true to myself led to trusting myself and knowing myself for who I am. I’m not nearly as confused, anyway.

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        • Canadians call it “zed”. Neil Peart is apparently extremely irritated when people call that instrumental “YYZee”.

          I tend to feel English with so many sources is extremely rich, with many synonyms with slightly different connotations. I hope US English can cross-pollinate the root stock as well as Jamaican English and Indian English, to make it richer and more expressive; and that we can share the best words from all kinds.

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        • ize/ise: I understood originally -ise came from French, -ize from Greek roots, so use depends on the particular word. -ize grew in popularity in the Napoleonic wars. AmE is often a simplifying and codifying of the rules of English. It makes sense just to use one, so that people are not incorrect all the time. It reduces the number of subtle indications of education and class.

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          • Much of the difference can be blamed, uh, contributed to Noah Webster. Prior to Gutenberg’s press, there were many variations of spellings, and, as you say, it depended on the root language (or the preference of the writer). Most people didn’t read or write back then, anyway. The fact that most people do now does not mean their knowledge of grammar and spelling is much better, however.

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            • Actually, some make sense. Double l for example. In BrE, a double letter at the end of an accented syllable stops an e after the syllable lengthening the vowel- as in draped and dropped. With l, in BrE it works the other way round (I can’t immediately think of examples). I feel the consistency of AmE here is a good thing. Odd, though, that each of us is defending the other’s spelling system.

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            • I’m not defending “our way” at all. I find it interesting, and I like to tease a little. 😉 Google recently revealed that the word most often looked up for spelling was Wisconsin – but only in the state of Wisconsin! The word for my state, Washington, was pneumonia (probably because it’s so wet here, and we all have cold viruses – HaHa).

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  2. I have never struck anyone but I can’t promise I never would. Those who might attack me or my loved ones might be attacked by me. Now, as I’m no fighter, that would likely be the end of me but at least I would have shown my rage.

    You, Clare, are admired, by me and many others who read and consider your writing. You’ve done nothing wrong and everything right, and that takes coursge. Good on you.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I do that too, at times: second guess compliments and praise. Like people saying I’m so courageous, as if I’m diving into a foxhole in a war. I don’t feel courageous, just a bit fearful at times but pushing on.

        You’re correct, I’m sure, that in your life you’ve made mistakes, done some wrong things. We all have, my friend, and we will continue to. It’s part of life. So I guess I overstated. I can tell, though, that you’re a lovely person, just making her way through the world as best she can. I want to reinforce my view that you are admired, appreciated, and beautiful, just the way you are. I’m confident of that.

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