Narratives

Truth [is] what we cannot change; metaphorically, it is the ground on which we stand and the sky that stretches above us.

And yet, the totality of facts and events is unascertainable. Who says what is always tells a story, and in this story the particular facts lose their contingency and acquire some humanly comprehensible meaningSorrow, joy and bliss become bearable and meaningful for men only when they can talk about them and tell them as a story.

I tell stories about my life. So do you. Possibly, with Krishnamurti I should just forget them. Why am I happy now? Because of X. Ah. That gives me an understanding, I can file it away. I know what is going on. I can remember that happiness later: it was caused by X. And if X also caused that misery, possibly the learning was worthwhile, possibly it is time to cease pursuing X.

Decisions are emotional not rational. It is like jars filling up with cumulative water droplets, and eventually one overflows and I must do X. Then I can tell a story about it. X was obviously the only thing I could ever have done, for these reasons. The story helps me accept what I have chosen, pacifies and calms my remaining resistance.

It is an end to thinking of the matter. I have thought enough. Or it is an attempt to end thinking; unconsciously, my resentment grows.

What we cannot change- so, what ought to be is meaningless and impossible and worthless. Ought is a damaging fantasy, because though you cannot make is from ought, it can make you disbelieve or resent what is. But what is includes what might be, what is possible, all the changes I can make.

I have read Truth and Politics by Hannah Arendt, and consider her thought that feelings become bearable when part of a narrative relates only to the conscious mind, thinking in language. The feeling of terror feels overwhelming until I accept and welcome it. What is overwhelming is its demand to be recognised, not the feeling itself. It fits Now. And then, it does not fit Now, so it goes away, unless I cling on to it, perhaps by questioning it or saying I ought not to have been terrified. Or I tell stories about it.

I can gain an understanding of feelings, at the price of them always being with me. Telling stories about my past might pacify my feelings- it’s alright, my honey, love, it’s alright, my poppet- but distances me from them; and they lurk, underneath, always liable to burst out, which is the constant failure. No game is enough to control my feelings.

Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it.

And- X may happen again! I will be terrified, again!

Words are so useful. Speech impels us… to urge the mind to aftersight and foresight. I think of what might be though probably won’t, because it will never be that bad again. I imagine the fear I would feel. Then I am afraid of fear, afraid of feeling fear and being powerless.

Yet normally I am not powerless; and powerlessness has to be bearable.

olga-boznanska-self-portrait

Getting by

Drink is a great anodyne- I had forgotten how boring people are. I’d forgotten how afraid people are. I’d forgotten how boring I am. Richard Burton shows how great self-hatred can be, when we temporarily let go of our safety-valves, or our escapes. Only drink is capable of killing the pain.

On facebook, I asked, Am I too nice? Rather than the journalist’s question “Why is this [person] lying to me?” I meet someone and think, “Seems like a reasonable sort”. And of course a friend came up with the answer: I think you are very nice. I also think it is possible to trust too much. Trust has to be built. Having to rely on untrustworthy primary carers tends to shut down the discernment in this area.

Not too nice, then. I am glad, I am pleased with being nice, and kind, even generous, and would not like to have to be less nice. Too trusting, though. It makes sense, actually. The helpless baby and the unmotivated mother, finding duty and convention not enough to drag her through all the effort, though practicality bridged a lot of the gap. My mother was in no way chaotic.

“Ask Machiavelli” said another. Possibly one can be too suspicious. If others connive as Niccolo advised, perhaps I am not suspicious enough. How could I know?

It seemed to me that I cried when I attempted to suppress awareness of my sadness, and another part of me needed to make my consciousness aware of it. If you break your leg the pain stops you trying to walk, and crying makes you deal with the matter now, or at least aware of it. That baby, not feeling my needs satisfied, tried not to be aware of need, and now sometimes I seem to be a monster of need and desperation.

I need human contact. I need sympathetic conversation, sharing feeling, and touch. I want hugged. Being kissed would be good too. And I have not been out three days of the last four, and on the one when I went out my encounter was only food shopping. It is a human need I bang on here about a great deal, and I get by with minimal contact, as the baby might, never satisfied but bearing the burden of her need, unable to do anything else, lying in the cot or pram.

So my need sits, under the level of consciousness, and I am more or less alright typing here or watching TV. Now, stressed by that ongoing confrontation, I am not doing the washing that I should do, but usually I do enough. Then my need erupts in a giddy feeling of groundlessness- I must talk through that with her, just to speak about it. I want to be told, there, there, it will be alright. I am all at sea, and my feeling of need overwhelms me, and then an hour later it is past. She cannot answer that question for me. Possibly, it will not be alright. The worst I might anticipate is X, the best hope for is Y, something not anticipated might happen. I would like the contact, and do without it. I can’t imagine explaining to anyone why I wanted it. I would sound too silly, too demanding, too much of a bother. I know this as the baby knew it. Yet I want time when my pain is not killed, time when I am conscious of it and not using the anodyne.

giulio-aristide-sartorio-la-gorgone-e-gli-eroi

I had always thought of the gorgon as hideous, and the winged sandals as Perseus’. These heroes do not appear turned to statuary.

What to feel?

Not knowing what to feel or if I understand

The young man imagines the death of the Lady- well, she said she was one about to reach her journey’s end- and wonders should I have the right to smile?

What to feel. There is a right feeling, which the decent person should feel. Grief, obviously, at a death, perhaps love or admiration, perhaps gratitude for friendship and appreciation of a human being. Or perhaps revulsion- I shall sit here, serving tea to friends- at a life wasted in odds and ends. And pleasure at a lucky escape.

I have just heard Portrait of a Lady, read by Jeremy Irons– recording available till the end of the month- and it moved me, when it had passed me by in my teens when I found Eliot. I don’t know- it was cruel and pointless in its portrait of her, I did not know what to make of that narrator, I tussled with four quartets and found the thought of being consumed by either fire or fire exciting rather than terrifying or despondency-inducing. “Only Live”- what a calling! The calling was not yet impossible.

Where was I? Oh yes, “What to feel”. I may come back to Meaning of Life stuff- would I write sensible, continuous prose, or odds and ends?- but first I wanted to say

feel what you feel. It is the Only Way.

Feeling denied or suppressed sets up intolerable unmanageable revolt within you. It will not be denied, but erupts, in violence against others or self, smashing things or tearing at your hair.

Ha. Only the slightest pause before I typed “intolerable”- the inner voice still says, you could have managed if you had minimal abilities and I give it the slightest credence, then reject it.

The sadness is not that intolerable shirt of flame, even if it feels like it when it is there. Am I bargaining again? I feel the pain of sadness with the purpose of not showing it, not needing to express it. I want not to express it, and having failed to suppress it, perhaps feeling it authentically deeply, draining the cup to the dregs will be a useful technique not to express it.

Should you seek sympathy, anyway? It is all so much work. I meet a friend and all our time is spent expressing feeling and sympathising, unless it is sadness where one should pull onesself together. I don’t know, by the way. I start typing a sentence and its meaning forces me into considering its opposite. Perhaps Chopin’s soul, resurrected among friends would mean we would not have to speak, only understand together.

Bring all the feeling to consciousness!

Aha! I have an answer, a guiding light, a solution, a rule, which may be more valuable in contemplating than in practising it.

I could feel all my feelings then move on, my actions rationally chosen and effectual, responding not reacting, doing the right thing. One more way to avoid mistakes.

Avoid mistakes! I can learn, I get better at this stuff was the phrase which entered my mind, by which I mean living but not as good as I desperately want to be.

The young man at the Lady’s death might not feel what he ought to feel, but a cacophony of conflicting feelings, many of them mean and unpleasing to him. He really is that mean person. I am my shadow. I am a human being. I am beautiful! was an answer to this- I must admire and delight in the shadow-parts, the bits I do not like, because they are real- yet should I also bear the roiling change of it, confusing me, always behind it? If I only had a chance to contemplate, accept, move on, but I never have time-

Is he really better than she is?

That’s all, that’s all, that’s all. that’s all,
Birth, and copulation, and death.

Good night sweet ladies
Shantih

breslau-friends

Nervousness

The worst thing to say to a chronic worrier is “Stop worrying”. It only makes me worry more quietly. I must permit myself to be nervous. In social situations, I withdraw and protect.

Round and round the circle. “I must be authentic,” I wrote yesterday. Well, much of what prevents authenticity is nervousness. I noted this in 2012: The image of life as an apple tree came to me. I have been so afraid, of the other people around the tree, and of the tree itself, that I have rushed at it, collided with it and bruised myself on it, snatched at it so that I carry away nothing, or a dry twig, or some dead leaves. Whereas I may walk to it…and find the apple which feels to me most beautiful… if I touch it in the right way it will come off in my hand. That only says, it is good not to be nervous, and often there is no reason to be nervous. It is no more than the inner critic would say-

“There’s nothing to worry about. You’re useless, worrying.” So worry and nervousness become another indicator of my uselessness, and I suppress them out of consciousness. I probably am more nervous than I need be, but fearing and denying nervousness makes things worse.

My self-image is more important to me than events in the real world.

Oh wow! I suppose I knew that, but I have not put it into words before. Putting it into words makes me see it more clearly. That is why sitting wrapped up and still pretty cold, not going out or seeing anyone most days, is life just about as good as I could wish for. My self-image is a lie- clearly I am afraid, angry or nervous however much I deny it, probably I suppress other things as well. These feelings continue affecting me and my behaviour, more so because I must deny them. OK, I am nervous. If I am among other people I will get nervous, and if I beat myself up for being inauthentic when nervous, it will only get worse.

So: permit, acknowledge and welcome the nervousness. It is uncomfortable, but better than suppression. Suppression only works for a limited time, like holding your breath: you need to hold your breath under water, but after two minutes you become unconscious.

If I hear the nervousness, and recognise it, I might behave authentically.

That evening, I managed to make myself the focus of the group, and they were all irritated with me. They expressed that, and I answered without attacking but holding my ground. And after, chatting in a friendly manner with one of them,

It felt as if I was the REAL ME!

It felt completely wonderful. It has been one of my myths. I identified that real me as female, and hated the poem I wrote about it because I had to deny that. What if, it was just that at that moment I was no longer nervous and self-suppressing, because the confrontation had happened and I had come through unscathed? It might have made me seek out confrontation, for that feeling, but I am glad it did not.

I do not know much about CBT, but all the techniques I know are for thinking about present and future. And I spend a great deal of time analysing the past. Mmm. There was a better response which would have achieved more in that moment.  I am useless! I am not going to stop this, but might ameliorate it by appreciating all the good in my responses, and forgiving anything I might regret.

And finally, Donald Trump. He tweeted, Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love! And news organisations, and clickbait sites, round the world, breathlessly reported it. It is unpresidential- well, of course, we knew that. It pleases his supporters, and enrages his opponents. The answer is, not to be enraged, it’s only Donald being his ghastly self, but note it down: the evidence against him mounts.

illusion

If you have to be someone else, you imagine that you are.

Oh, I struggle to overcome! And tomorrow I will try again, in the Quaker meeting, sometimes in reality, feeling what I really feel, and sometimes in a stifling myth- this is weekly worship which we ought to do, because it is the right thing to do, and because it is right we all enjoy and value it. Sometimes saying to another what I mean, and believe, and want to communicate, and sometimes saying what I ought to say, the small talk which is reassuring because predictable- acting as if what I need to be true really is.

The real is terrifying, like being naked, and the false is stultifying, like being strangled, or swaddled so only the wool is there, not the breeze on my skin, or wearing gloves so I can’t actually touch anything.

At any moment there is what I ought to feel, which is different from what I do feel, like CS Lewis’ houses in Hell which can be huge and grand but do not keep out the rain, like a world without people, only actors, as if I am not there but watching a screen showing something completely different, but somehow below consciousness I know I wear the Emperor’s clothes. Like being at a concert, but wearing headphones which play different music.

There is what I ought to feel, and because I have to I imagined, believed, that I do. And others saw the anger I could not admit to myself. How can you see what is in your blind spot? By realising what frightens you.

It is possible to suppress feeling in order to bear a situation, but it gets more difficult.

I knew that I feared my fear and anger, that feeling fear and anger was Death, the monster would get me and I would die. And I learn that feeling the fear and anger is bearable. Even the sadness. I feared it would make me do something embarrassing and everyone would be angry, as in an HM Bateman cartoon.

hm-bateman-the-croupiers-who-showed-signs-of-emotion

But it didn’t. Feeling the sadness, allowing myself to be conscious of its full strength, I did not show a sign of it. And if I had, there would have been some sympathy.

But- there is what I ought to feel, and that mask comes off slowly. Sometimes I realise I am being that conventional me, saying things which are my own idea of conventional, holding myself stiffly, small talk, and cannot stop, for the real feeling is too frightening and I don’t know what it is. I know this is a screen and headphones not real life, I know I am an actor not a human being, I know I am inauthentic and I don’t know what authentic would look like. More often, I recognise it after.

How unsparing of myself I am! Of course I am a human being, even when reacting this way, it is a human reaction which I do not like because I feel that responding with real feelings rather than this falsehood would get me what I want.

Excuse me a moment, I have got my mask on again. May I try to find what my face might look like, without it? This is not what one does during small talk- stay still, close eyes, look within, try to connect-

I can’t just see what I do wrong, and stop, or see what I would like to do, and do it. Changing habits, even noticing habits, is difficult. Being naked and authentic is risky. What I have absorbed to imagine Conventional, and do when not being authentic, is dust and ashes to me- I know I am doing it yet can’t be otherwise, can’t find the real feeling. Meditation sometimes lets me find it, but I find that frightening.

New year’s irresolution

I have my life just about perfect, just about how I would want it. How can I make it better in 2017?

Ways which I have imagined would improve it may not. An example: yesterday I went to Mind, the mental health charity. There we were doing a positive psychology craft task, with little difficulty and maximum gentle affirmation, and one of we service users said how sad she was at the change in meaning of the word “gay”. It used to mean joyous or colourful. It has been twisted.

I am quite clear that such a remark should be challenged. It is homophobic. An exact analogy is a racist remark, like, “I hate to walk down that street. It’s as if I am in a foreign country, I’m the only white person there and they’re all speaking foreign.” I understand the distress; yet that is saying to people- you should not be here. To the gay person- You should pretend to be straight. You should act normal. You should not be you.

I deflected. “Yes,” I said. “‘Gay’ now means mediocre or third rate, which is a horrible meaning.” I am pretty sure she meant she disliked ‘gay’ meaning ‘homosexual’. And- they did not challenge her, even though I was there, obviously queer, and the manager is gay, and he was there. The third sector should promote diversity and challenge homophobia, because I should not have to pretend to be someone else so that other people can be comfortable.

Perhaps they did not want to drive away a service user. Stats means Funding, which really matters. So, either she is more important to them than I am, or they think I can cope with homophobia better than she can cope with challenge. The manager was sitting beside me and his underlings fawned on him a bit and none of them said anything. He’s Gay! What were they thinking?

What bothers me in this incident is not that the woman’s homophobia frightens or hurts me, but that

That’s not supposed to happen!

I know the rules! I know how these mental health workers are supposed to respond in these situations, and they just didn’t! Everything’s going along just fine, and then out of the blue- something unexpected happens. And therefore unwelcome.

I might say, how can I improve my life? A little more variety, more human contact, is what I am supposed to want. So says the culture; most people would agree; it makes sense to me; yet when I go somewhere which should be supportive and non-threatening, where I know what to expect, something I did not expect happens!

 ♥♥♥

My life is just as I want it. I have control. A little more money would be nice. I would have the heating on more. But I am not cold, I wrap up in a sleeping bag. Pride, shame and amour propre might have a role here. I am a pig satisfied, and the alternative is not Socrates dissatisfied, but someone houseproud and concerned with appearances dissatisfied. I want to understand, and I continue using my analytical mind to consider whether homophobia should be challenged or what makes my life good.

I am houseproud only vestigially. Sometimes I act, because it seems possible I could make things better. I take pleasure, yesterday, in having bought a sink plunger and unblocked my bathroom basin, clogged with soap and used toothpaste, with it. The basin now drains quickly. It might stay clean longer after I clean it, so I may muster the motivation to clean it. I have been thinking about this for ages, resenting how it was blocked, and messing about with boiling water. Will a plunger not just shift a blockage further down the pipes, causing worse problems later?

I like analysis. I have spent a happy hour pacing the floor, agonising over all this, before starting to write. I am happy now, writing. I knew sink plungers unblock sinks, yet analysed and cogitated for weeks.

So I might say,

Taking action is the solution!

But what if something went wrong, or what I expected did not happen?

Or,

Letting go of control is the solution!

But why, if that can make me so unhappy?

 ♥♥♥

I have seen worse, in home visits, or in student flats- one had half full coffee cups, which after a week developed a mouldy scum- but those are the kind of home visits we use for stories. There were fish and chip wrappers left on the floor!

Ew!

My house is not that bad, but-

I have control! I feel some boredom and frustration, but little anger or fear. I have limited human contact, little motivation. If I tidy my house it will only get untidy again.

I am dissatisfied because I am thinking about it, and in that sense I am closer to Socrates than the pig- and Socrates had Diotima and slaves to do the housework.

Never mind how or why that homophobic incident upsets me, it does. It is an example of so much human interaction, from the rare to the quotidian, from my oral hearing before the Social Security Commissioner to those who-shall-give-way dances as we walk along the street. So- retreat! Avoid those interactions, and you avoid distress!

I will not go out because the culture tells me, or I imagine, that I ought to want to. You see! I did what I was supposed to want to do, and it was Awful! I met a homophobe! And yet, I am frustrated and bored. Something better may be possible.

Two more thoughts on pleasure and desire. I ate a plum just now. I gave it my attention, and it was beautiful; yet I do not want to be eating all the time. And, I had a vaginoplasty because it was what I wanted, more than anything else in the world. Now I regret it, thinking a penis might have its uses. Desire is not a reliable guide to satisfaction.

My life is as I have made it, and it is good, right now. It pleases me. And my mind is at work: could it please me better?

breslau-la-toilette

Welcoming

The small child desperately wants to cry, but does not, because she knows that one peep out of her will make everything ten times worse. The young woman has had a terrible disappointment, and could cry, but will not give her enemies the satisfaction. Not crying is a good lesson to learn, but there are two ways to learn it.

One is, to see the impulse to cry as a problem to be controlled, even an enemy to be resisted. But the enemy I punish is myself. Suppressing feeling is a valuable skill, but only in grave necessity, when the feeling cannot be indulged at all, and not for a moment longer than necessary- as if you have to hold your breath, but then can sigh with relief, and breathe again. I came to loathe and fear my feelings.

Then I must use so much energy to suppress the feeling. It is like a toddler, who will not be denied. You ignore it, it thinks you can’t hear, it shouts louder. I spent my time battling myself. And it is there, anyway, affecting my behaviour- I manage to block it from my own consciousness, but possibly not from anyone else’s.

It seemed to me that when I cry I was communicating with myself. I read somewhere consciousness was like a mahout on a large elephant which was the unconscious processes beneath. The elephant needs to let the mahout know, and it can. That overwhelming pressure to cry- it is Sadness. I take a moment to feel it. A sharp exhalation, it is painful.

It is there. It is me.

Welcome.

It is my feeling, my reaction to my circumstances. It fits; it is that reaction which fits me, my desires, my character, my ability. It is good, right, beautiful. It is not my enemy to be crushed, but my wise counsellor to move me. I accept it, and do not need to cry. It is an advantage not to, sometimes, even though crying can be a sweet release, a movement from despair to acceptance, feeling the feeling intensely then washing it away.

Christy Wampole’s two articles about irony- both worth reading- show irony as self-defence against feeling.

Observe a 4-year-old child going through her daily life. You will not find the slightest bit of irony in her behavior… She likes what she likes and declares it without dissimulation. She is not particularly conscious of the scrutiny of others. She does not hide behind indirect language. The most pure nonironic models in life, however, are to be found in nature: animals and plants are exempt from irony, which exists only where the human dwells.

I am self-conscious, a consummate hypocrite. I grow out of it. Now, I am very sad. It is time to meditate. I am wary of it, being alone with myself, without barriers to protect my idea of myself from my real self. To prepare, I intone

I accept- All of me. All of me.

I kneel, and find- frustration. Ah. Feelings are not predictable, they can have more surprising combinations than that, they just are.

ambrogio-lorenzetti-allegory-of-good-government

Contempt

I thought “I am this person whom I hold in contempt”, and it felt like such a relief. It gave me delight. I am- this person. There is self-acceptance, being with who I am. The contempt lessens.

Then this morning it flipped. “I am the one I hold in contempt” I thought and it made me desperate and miserable. All that denial and self-loathing and lying to myself and not realising who I am, so my actions and motivations were opaque to me, so I had no idea what I wanted, so I wanted Appearance more than Reality, so my life has been this bad- and what can I do about it?

Yesterday I went into Swanston to meet R, first time cycling there after a two week viral infection, and when I got there realised I had left my wig at home. I sat in the cafe in a shapeless nylon jacket looking androgynous, conscious of my mary-janes and feeling embarrassed. I had to go round the supermarket anyway, feeling humiliated. I felt in a brain fog, after not sleeping well. Caring about your appearance matters, particularly with people you know who might not be friends. This would reduce my status. It is less bad if everyone I know who sees me is my friend.

“I am the one I hold in contempt.” It felt like an earthquake, an opening on desperate misery, finding my pain. That is an awful situation to be in, though not necessarily an unusual one, there is the Shadow, do any of us measure up to our own expectations? I phoned the Samaritans hoping to gain some understanding, but (in trying to explain) told the woman stories of my past and escaped the desperation into exhaustion. No greater understanding.

I anticipated aftershocks, but have not felt them. I feel OK- it seems I am solider, more self-accepting. I am the person whom I held in contempt. I like myself now, even if I find myself infuriating sometimes. I am- this person. This is as it is. It is actually bearable. It is even pleasant.

ambrogio-lorenzetti-allegory-of-good-government-2

I deserve better

I fear emotion so suppress it. I fear others, and hide away. Anger and fear overwhelm me: I cannot show them. Then they become like the toddler, who will not be ignored, who shouts louder and louder until I acknowledge them. I am paralysed: the fear shouts, the suppression gets more panicked, I fight myself, like an isometric exercise working without movement.

I know this. I have worked it out. All that intellectual analysis brings this into consciousness; and still I fear my feelings and suppress them. Sometimes suppression is appropriate, keep going, ignore the fear that would make you run away, the anger that would make you attack, act as you see you must. But, only in emergencies, not all the time, not so feelings are never conscious.

I had not known this. You create stories to explain the world: my stories were different, a self-concept divorced from the organismic self; yet this was I, underneath.

A commenter froze in anxiety on entering a church, being with people she did not know- though people in church tend to be welcoming. That is old anxiety, a response to old situations, not the current situation. If I am conscious of anxiety like that, I can pacify myself like a frightened animal- see, it is alright, I will be alright, there is no threat here, that was there, then, this is different. If I suppress it, I cannot deal with it.

I will- be seen. I will make a fool of myself. I will stand out, and be mocked, derided, humiliated. It is worse than death!

That anxiety. This is not that situation. That situation was long ago. I hide in response to something which is no longer.

That pain, lying curled in a foetal position, weeping, “I am not a man. I am not a man.” These demands, to be other than I am. I am not that ideal man, so I am less, so I hide away. It has prevented me from valuing who I am: I see my responses as wrong and inadequate.

And-

this-
this animal
this creature-

This creature is beautiful.

The pain, anxiety, fear, anger, are not proof of my uselessness and meretriciousness, but a reasonable response to the world as I see it. And, rather than suppressing, I can continue the work of reassurance- see, it is not as bad as it was then, I am adult now. These are my gifts. I am held in respect even as that surprises me.

Going over in my mind old distress- she did not trust me!- Unable to assuage my distress, I thought-

I deserve better.

I am not this useless fool, who only deserves a kick, who sometimes can be valued for what I achieve, who if treated well it is kindness rather than appropriate response.

I love your way of being, always, always, seeing what is possible. Seeing what is. So much better than cowering, anticipating a kick, trying not to stand out (so always desperate to stand out).

A route to freedom- I deserve better. “You create your own reality” say the law of attraction bods, and there may be a kernel of truth amid misinterpretation. It can be a way of victim blaming, or claiming responsibility for ones own success- No, it was not luck, it was ME! Yet, if I act as if I deserve better, I do not anticipate a kick, I know there will be possibilities, and I know what must be done to achieve my desire- not looking out and fearing impossible things which might go wrong-

I might-

get what I need

I keep saying this. It makes sense to me. Practise, practise, forgive, forgive, forgive-

I read that alpha male primates, displaced by a younger rival, become depressed, and in hypothesis this is adaptive- you decide you are better not fighting back, actually, you will not win, so the anger turns inwards to depression.

A woman was insulted in a restaurant, and responded weakly. After, she was shocked that she could be treated so badly, and upset by the experience. And- most people do not behave in such a way. If you are in confrontation mode, always alive to the possibility of slight, so that you can respond cuttingly and repel the aggression, you will not see the openings that co-operation can bring. If you expect well of others, you may respond weakly in such a confrontation, because it surprises you- yet that way of being is still better.

I deserve better.
Everything’s going to be alright

antonello-da-messina-st-peter-enthroned

Calm and in control

I hold myself in contempt because I let myself down. I did not keep myself safe. Though that was not my job, in the cradle. “I am the one whom I hold in contempt”- this is reassuring because I am conscious of being that person, and not ashamed of it, so no longer in denial.

This does not make everything easy, but it is moving forward.

I had the feeling of being sad, and later of being content, and these feelings did not seem bad, terrifying or desirable- they just were. They seemed to fit. Then I read this, in André’s book: We put our head down and keep going, one step at a time. We can act and go forward even when we can’t be sure there is any point. Even when nothing is certain, we can still disobey the orders to be powerless that come at us in waves. We can feel those old reflexes rising up from the past and trying to control us. And still we keep going.

His picture is Christina’s World:

andrew-wyeth-christinas-world

Reading that out to Tina I feel such guilt. I do: I make myself powerless, I retreat, I stop moving. I am stuck. I hated it, when I read it last night.

Am I merely shut away, not moving? I could rationalise a case either way- yet the Prosecution and Defence would be missing the point. I felt intense pain reading that. I acknowledged and did not suppress it. Whether I am guilty or not does not matter, does not affect where I am or my circumstances, changes nothing.

Do you want to change? Am I “shut away”?

I am in that moment aware and accepting of my Being. What do I want to do next? I want to go where I have feared to go, into my feelings desires and judgments, bringing them to consciousness. I want further to integrate myself.

The tears communicate to me how strong my feelings are.

Do you see these as equivalent:

Calm = in control
Emotional = impulsive

Mmm. Not sure. What do I fear? Sabotaging myself. Being impulsive, I will foul things up.

-A risk?
-No, a certainty.

When the lid’s off, I will be hurt. Yet now what hurts me are my own internal controls. “I would like to appear calm, my feelings not apparent,” I say, and instantly see it is not true: I can see that both calm and impulsive can have advantages in particular situations (intellectually, rationalising now) and that holding my feelings down for a semblance of calm- or restraint, which is powerless if arising from fear- is self harming. Sometimes calm, sometimes expressiveness, is appropriate, and people get it wrong all the time- it does not matter as much as I fear it does. It feels like a matter of life and death.

Christina really would have been better using crutches, or a wheelchair, or even a trolley like Porgy.

I am pulling myself forward. I strive to live authentically. Unlike hers, my legs may get stronger.

A man wants to make yet another short film about Quakers, and I fancy taking part. What is my work? Excavating, empowering, expressing this authentic feeling. I strive to live authentically.

What could I say on film to show my work has value?
-By valuing it yourself.

I do not submit to his judgment of me, but I would like to be part of this.