Not worthless

Night. Hours pass. Awake, and awake, and awake.

The strangest thing in my psyche, which I thought was insane, which I tried to correct, which still affected me, is how I see myself- at once, the centre of the universe and completely worthless. Of utmost importance and none. So I thought, I am a human being- fearfully and wonderfully made, yet one in seven billion- which is the rational position between these extremes, but the extremes still affect me. And I feel that being Worthless, and patiently learning to value myself, is the way to escape the extremes, as being the centre of the universe is merely a panicky, angry reaction to the feelings of worthlessness, which gets me nowhere.

I have a right to exist. I go back to imagining early childhood, not feeling welcomed or accepted. Imagining that I did not feel welcomed, whatever, how could I know, inner critic says I could not know, I assert it anyway. I learn that I have no right to exist except for what I can achieve, and feel resentment and anger. I revolt against that, to

I am the centre of the Universe

Yet from the very beginning that did not work. It is a defensive arrogance which I saw through, which had no effect on others. My minimum assertion is,

I have a right to exist

and that becomes important for me, for my survival, for my self-acceptance, for being worthless is intolerable for me. But I have to prove it- I have a right for what I can achieve. How could I demonstrate that I have a right to exist?

I am a good person

A good person has a right to exist. The problem then is that I have to define what a good person is, and prove that I am one. I continually fail- I thought, I lie to myself because I want to see myself as a good person. Proving my goodness to my own satisfaction becomes more important to me than any external goal.

I want reassurance. It will be alright, won’t it? I want that from another. My fear became unbearable, so I suppressed it, and now I work to calm my own fear.

No justification for myself is necessary, and none is possible. I am a human being. This kind of reassurance is not possible. “It will be alright” means only “I care about you and I want you reassured in this moment”- I don’t know, you don’t know it will be alright. In fact it won’t. I will die. I may age into infirmity and confusion. Seeking the justification- I have a right to exist, I am a good person- gets in my way, prevents me from achieving what I might want to achieve, diverts my energies.

Anyway, after boredly playing all sorts of programmes on the BBC Iplayer, I noted down this, which is half way between poem and hurried note, which I want to preserve:

I have a right to exist-
battered down, not accepted.
I have no right to exist, only for what I can do, be achieve
Resentment, anger, revolt
I am the centre of the universe
and nothing, and misery
and seeing this is not true, does not work,
I am not that. Yet
I have a right to exist!
A slight reassurance, a questioning- it will be alright, won’t it? I might
go out into the world. Then
I have no right to exist,
and yet, I do

Shedding the justifications
They justify, reassure, give me knowledge that I have a right to exist
I am a good person
and then I become dependent on them
Continually needing to prove them true
they become masters not servants
and I am terrified they are not true
No justification is necessary.
I will not survive
I will stop existing when I stop,
and till then exist.

I may dance, and refrain from dancing

girl-on-the-beach-pierre-puvis-de-chavannes

I am this person

It is not that I like being humiliated,
but that what I like humiliates me.

I am this person.
I am this person.
I have done what I have done.
I have believed what I believed
and do not now believe.
I believe what I believe.
I do what I do.
I am this person.
I want what I want.
I am who I am.

Humiliation and shame and denial and judgment
Such judgment! Cruel, harsh, unsparing judgment
which judges me for being unable to bear it.

I have done the best I can,
which I resent, which horrifies me
because it seems so little.
It is as it is.

I like myself.
I am kind, soft, gentle, peaceful
and that pleases me.
I have done all I can,
understood as best I could
admitted and accepted as much as I could,
protected myself as well as I could.

I am where I am, and wish I was not.
I am this person,
where this person is,
having everything this person has.

This is a direct answer to TS Eliot, East Coker III:

To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

“The darkness shall be the light and the stillness the dancing” has deeply moved me.

And this “Keep Britain in the European Union” meme:

blame-a-foreigner

I commented, I have indeed totally failed at life. Some people say it is not entirely my fault. However, I voted remain, and am fairly liberal in my ideas about refugees and immigration. It is a gross generalisation to think of Leave voters as non-metropolitan losers- some of us voted remain. Because I have totally failed at life, I really dislike this meme, and possibly it is not the best way to win over Leave voters either.

Someone replied, I did chuckle at the meme but take your point, made with such humility, in the same spirit[…] someone who can take responsibility for her own life’s path is in some sense more successful than most. If anything, I fear that you may be taking the self-blame too far, and hope that you do so in part for rhetorical purposes…

Perhaps I have achieved what I most wanted to achieve.

Annunciations

Mary was a woman
born on this Earth
conceived by human beings
and Assumptioned by herself
When fornicators, outcast, died
the fornicating child
ceases to deny the signs
admits the truth and cries,

All generations will call me blessed

There is an angel
there is an angel
there is an angel
the angel is you

So when you’re sick and tired of defending your heart
when your wretched life seems cursed from the start
the night is too bright yet you’re scared of the dark
the next step’s too far you feel fucked, irked and narked cry

All generations will call me Blessed

There is an angel
There is an angel
There is an angel
the angel is
you

It’s a song. I did the tune, but someone else did the chords and I don’t know one, in particular, which he picked which was better than the one I could find.

It is a pain to write a poem and find someone painted it five hundred years earlier.

antonello-da-messina-annunciata

Annunciations usually have Gabriel decending in power and glory, but here we only see Mary. Suddenly, she gets it.

 

The Christian Legal Centre

Attempting to gain publicity, the Christian Legal Centre have rushed out a press release just after the story of J broke. After a boy was forced to live as a girl until rescued by the legal system, they are supporting parents to force a boy to live as a girl. Christian family fear gender-confused daughter will be taken away unless they bow to social workers’ name change demands they trumpet.

Powys county council puts this in non-legal language: professionals are very worried that your child is not being looked after properly and he/she is at risk. There has to be “significant harm” from the parents’ lack of care. This is not some trendy social worker enforcing gender orthodoxy against Christian common sense, as CLC would have you believe.

Even the CLC press release indicates that harm. Until he was 13, the child “Gary” was home-schooled with his siblings. He started to self-harm. He ran away. Child mental health services told the parents that unless they allowed his name change, their [son] would be at risk of suicide. That’s a quote from the press release. CLC’s blind self-righteousness damns themselves.

The family now face a meeting with social workers in November, in which it is indicated and believed that the social worker will be pushing for Bethany to be allowed to use the name Gary in school and the family will be pressured into allowing her to receive ‘therapy’ from the Tavistock Institute in Leeds for its ‘Gender Identity Development Service’. Aged 14, Gary is too late for puberty blockers, and too young for T injections. Therapy will be talking therapy. There will be diagnosis. Is the child trans? He might start to wear a binder.

Forcing an agenda

That’s their heading. They really don’t see. They want the parents to be able to control a teenager. The child will only be this intransigent when denied age-appropriate levels of self-determination. Until we leave our parents, we negotiate ways of living together. Only where a child is far too controlled in every aspect of life would she insist on self-determination in this way, against her own gender identity.

The thing which makes me pause is that Gary is in a relationship with a girl. His “Christian” parents would oppose the child being lesbian as much as being trans. It is just possible that the child thinks

Girl with girl relationships are not OK
therefore I am a boy.

Or, that given that the parents hate lesbians, s/he insists s/he is a boy as an act of pure rebellion. Any LGBT child will be confused, disorientated and damaged by such a “Christian” upbringing. May God show the parents, and CLC, the error of their ways! However, the Tavistock centre are the professional experts able to discern this. Children like Bethany need psychiatric help, shrieked Andrea Williams, CLC chief executive, yet she opposes the CAMHS advice and referral to Tavistock.

It is very unfortunate that the social worker appears to have jumped to the conclusion that Bethany is transgender without even waiting for a formal diagnosis from the psychiatrist, Williams continued. Well, all that the child can achieve now is a completely harmless name change. If they is not trans, presenting as male will be uncomfortable. The self-harm and running away indicates “significant harm” to the child, which arises from the parents’ dogmatism.

The Daily Mail has quoted extensively from the press release, without criticism. Here’s the press release.

Oh, enough of this! Inspired by this New Yorker article informing me that people say “No, totally” to mean “yes”, I have been writing doggerel again.

So let us praise, with verve and vim
this holophrastic contranym
Though no means yes, we’re not confused
No, totally, we’re disabused
Can yes mean no? Of course it can!
to sarcastic contrarian.

Here’s my Donald Trump verse- note the internal rhymes!!- to a Chuck Berry tune:

Mr Pence and Mr Trump
get ye hence. I’ve got the hump
Mr Trump and Mr Pence
I’d like to thump you, you’re so dense.

Michael P and Donald T
After that come “S” then “D”.
Governor and bankrupt man
They don’t really have a plan.

Donald has some business tips
Grab their pussy, kiss their lips
Speaker Ryan’s naught to say
wishes Trump would go away.

Donny’s polls are down the hole
so he claims the elections’ stole
Now he tweets a dismal wail:
“Hillary should be in jail”.

Debating Donny’s on the prowl
Lip is wrinkled, mood is foul
As she speaks, behind he looms
His campaign he totally dooms………

Advances

He came in from the rain. He stood before me, and his hand appeared a few inches from my face. “Kiss the rain,” he said. I stared at the hand until it disappeared.

This seems like a feminine way of dealing with it. I do not make a fuss, but I do not respond, and the man gives up. And-

I have been completely ashamed of myself. I sent a text, making an unwanted advance. I have also cursed my own judgment- for it seemed like a good idea at the time, and yet in hindsight I see that I should have known her better, that it took no account of her feelings or her likely response. I thought not being drunk was a sufficient defence against idiocy:

Most people get drunk
before texting like this- but
I wanted to word it well

Not being drunk
did not stop it being ill-advised.
I saw that, after

I do not know what I expected.
I hardly know what I wanted.
We do these things

In flailing desperation.
You would not even let me down gently.

Indeed she would not. Letting me down gently, not making a fuss, is the feminine response, but she has had her consciousness raised. All I considered was my own desires.

She warned me. I texted again; but then thought, Can I get anything out of this? I might have gone on if I thought she would be “feminine” and let me down gently. No chance of that so I backed off. And, after, I have been kicking myself. Why the fk did I do that? I cannot trust my judgment or my responses. I have been completely miserable with it.

And I feel completely alone and unloveable. I see no possible improvement in my situation. I have to deal with that feeling myself. After backing off, I have gone back to thinking obsessively of her, and have to deal with that too- it will go away in time.

A woman posted on fb about being followed home by a younger man. She crossed the road to check she was not imagining it, and he crossed following her. When he caught her up she screamed until he went away. My action was different in degree and not in kind. Do you harass women? Perhaps you do not realise it? I love about this sketch that, though he does silly things and is covered in sick, the man sees himself as reasonable:

Transferable skills

Of course I could be an engineer.
I write poetry!
It involves putting things together, with precise rules,
to create something beautiful.

Of course I could be a lawyer.
I write poetry!
It involves the use of words to convey precise meaning
or sometimes, obscure it.

Of course I could be a teacher.
I write poetry!
My control is perfect
and appears effortless.

Of course I could be a doctor.
I write poetry!
I know everything
and provide comfort.

Of course I could be God.
I write poetry!
Here is the peace that passeth all understanding.
Here, ye may find rest for your souls.

reality

I am being broken open
and it feels like being smashed
I am facing reality
and it feels like something that could eat me
this is why I have run away
this is why I have run away
and I must turn

we must love, or die

I have said, recently, I am a man
I am a man with a settled conviction, that I want to use a feminine name, wear feminine clothes, present female, express myself female
the only thing that makes me female is my bare assertion of it
and the fact that the British state says, “Oh, OK then”

it is gender identity

it is reality
it is reality in my own head
the heart has reasons which reason does not know
I am real
respect reality

Half-hearted affirmations

I am Abigail, which isn’t a bad thing-
I am Abigail, and that is sort-of all right.
I am Abigail, which is better than the alternative
I am Abigail, and just sometimes I do something worthwhile-
not a big thing, and only just worthwhile, but still.
I am Abigail. Sometimes, I have decorative value

I am Abigail. I am not getting up, but I am still twitching.
I am Abigail. Not everyone despises me.
I am Abigail. I didn’t kill myself.
I am Abigail. I am OK, for the moment-

I am Abigail. I met someone’s eyes, yesterday.
I am Abigail. I made her laugh.
I am Abigail. We understood something together.
I am Abigail. She said something affirming of me,
and I might just be able to hear it-

It is raining, but I am dry.
It is cold, but I have a blanket.
It is confusing, but there may be peace in me
if only I could accept the confusion-

The darkness is not yet the light.
The stillness is not yet the dancing.
But I am not denying reality quite as much as I used to,
on the whole, some of the time,
and though I cling to it very hard
God, circumstances and wise friends
might yet prise my burden from me

John Lavery, the Green Sofa, detail, featured

A “Bad act”?

Human beings escape reality with drugs, alcohol, gambling. The addiction becomes compulsive, and those ten years clean might call themselves “recovering alcoholics”, knowing that the craving will never leave them. My glue-sniffing client managed to give up- but then his grandmother died, and in the stress he sought relief the only way he knew, and was caught again. A young alcoholic I knew found himself unable to keep anything down, even water. So he would stop drinking for a day, and as soon as he could swallow properly he would start drinking again. Even random instances of unconsciousness, not related to particularly high intoxication but to brain damage, did not deter him from the drink.

These cases are horrible, an awful warning. God help us.

God wants to help us, actually. I remember a verse because it was sung in a chorus:

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ
For the spirit of life in Christ has set us free
||: Oh, he’s alive, he’s alive, he’s ALI-I-IVE :||
Praise the Lord!

We need to escape reality for a bit. All of us. Hugs are good for this, cuddles even better. Love builds us up and strengthens us so we need not escape reality but are strengthened to face it better. And so we have a God of Infinite Love! Perfect love drives out all fear.

But human churches find that threatening, and want to restrict it. God loves you, they say, but you have to obey our rules. The post was inspired by this exchange on Violet’s blog. Francis has to condemn. “Wrong is still wrong,” he says, portentously. If we do not obey his rules, we are the bad people, the outsiders, and God’s love is for God’s church and not for us. But God’s love is for everyone. Some Catholics see that: the monk at Turvey Abbey was lovely. Carl Rogers saw it, using Love- “Unconditional positive regard” sounds more scientific, but only just- as a therapeutic tool.

George Fox saw it: I saw, also, that there was an ocean of darkness and death; but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. In that also I saw the infinite love of God, and I had great openings. “Openings” here means new understandings, opened to him by the Spirit.

We should not be parsimonious guardians of God, doling out short measure of Love to those who measure up. Starving, then, they turn to escapes from reality. God’s love is for everyone! Aged 21 I wrote this verse.

Her husband, drunk, has cut his thumb, and covered the room in blood.
She sits with her head in her hand and greets, the poor bag’s given in.
Who can blame her for craving the warmth and peace of the local loony-bin?
But we have to stand on our own two feet, or stew in our own crud.
In the senile ward they make her bed
The dying amid the unquiet dead.

The kids have been pissing him off all day, he can’t take it any more.
That pool attendant laughs at him as the kids just mess about
So he burns his throat with The Famous Grouse and it blows his brains right out
“Din wanno be a nurse” he moans, as he staggers through the door
The four-year-old stands o’er the prostrate fool
and the pool attendant thinks, “Uncool”.

I cared, but did not know what to do. That stops some people caring.

Rublev Saviour

Sonnet: to a friend contemplating suicide

 If you should think of dying, think of me.
There'd be some corner in another mind
That was forever sadness. There would be
A rich potential lost. In you I find
The laughter learnt of friends, and gentleness
and think, your heart, all goodness shed away
without which England always will be less
its love, its brilliance, choosing Night o'er day.
I know your hurt, the inescapable part
of that fey softness where your beauty lies,
The vulnerable you is my sunshine.
If you despise the grandeur of your heart
so what was made God's image cruelly dies
'twould shadow all your sweetness with your crime.

It has a clear debt to Rupert Brooke.