Monday, March 21, 2016

The Bad Guy

In my late post, I got carried away focusing on people who blame others for every issue they have, but it was cathartic for me to put it out there. In general, I don't believe most people or even many people do this. It's more that the ones who do often make a big stink about it, making it hard to ignore.

If I had a superpower, other than an abnormally keen sense of smell, which sometimes mikes life challenging, I'd make a good superhero. I like justice in the world. It drives me into a tizzy when I see people lie, stir up shit, steal or intentionally hurt others. When anything like that goes down, I want the perpetrator to be exposed to the world. I want everyone to know the truth, period, but sometimes you have to let things go and trust that the truth will eventually surface. I keep hoping a little poetic justice will find its way into various situations, and chances are it will. It's better to have hope than to go through life thinking people who behave badly will prevail.

Slight left turn...

In an online eating disorder forum in which I am a mentor, one of the members posted something about how people will always hurt you, disappoint you and put you down. Because people will never have your best interest in mind, you should turn to God. Naturally, this made me cringe, even though I'm sure there will be times when people won't be perfect.

First, I don't believe that the majority of people can't be trusted. Yes, some people are terrible and hateful or will disappoint you. It's important to find select individuals you know you CAN count on, though, even if it means seeking out a therapist or support groups. Self reliance is probably better than turning to anyone or anything, not because people are inherently shitty but because there are times when others might not be available when you need or in the way you want. This doesn't mean you have to blame anyone. It can often be a matter of a person not knowing how to be there for you, or you not being able to ask for what you need.

Second, I still can't figure out why turning to God is the answer if you have a problem. There are hundreds of solutions to various problems, and wishing a deity would relieve your woes might not actually solve things, whereas taking action might. I hate getting into religion and don't want to pass judgment on anyone  --you're free to believe what you like -- I just wish that people wouldn't over simplify an issue by tossing out statements about turning to God. The implication is that if you are good enough and believe hard enough, you won't suffer, which isn't always the case.

I don't think it's necessary to look at the world as a perpetually hostile place. It's likely you will encounter some nastiness in life, but it doesn't mean everyone is out to get you. Many people will be on your side. Sometimes perfect strangers can end up being your best allies.

On a side note, I forgot to mention a cool website that provides stories, inspiration and articles relating to mental illness, disability and disease. One of my letters was published here: The Mighty

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Give Me Love Over That, Whatever It Is

I see I have let my blogging slide again. I feel bad about neglecting this blog, but I also miss writing in my Say Cheese! blog. The Gouda cheese with truffles sits without mention, even though it's my new addiction. Actually, it doesn't sit long. I buy more with every intention of carefully analyzing it and letting everyone know about the wonderful subtle and less subtle flavors, but I end up gobbling it down, an excuse to continually buy and eat more. Truthfully and unrelated to cheese, I'm in a bit of a funk. It's that time of year, I guess, but there's more going on than just a seasonal shift. There's a lot on my plate, not literally, even though I just made reference to eating a lot of dairy.

I haven't written much here lately, because I'm dealing with a lot. Sadly, there are also people I know who are going through some intense experiences. Still, when it's your itch, however that saying goes, you can't help but notice it, and I'm all itchy, so to speak. Maybe ache would be a better word there, not itch.

Here's the short list:

1. My mom has cancer and is going through radiation on her nose. She is an amazing woman and tough like you can't even imagine. I love her so much. We are all trying to remain optimistic, and she seems to be handling everything well.
2. My cat and best little buddy is in kidney failure and recently had a seizure. He is doing OK, all things considered, but I'm worried to death about him. He is such a sweet guy, smart, curious, talkative in his own language and all kinds of adorable.
3. I recently had double foot surgery. It has been incredibly painful and flat out hard. There's no way to make something like this fun. Yesterday, I wore real shoes for the first time in forever, but I had to switch back to comfortable footwear as soon as I could. Ouch.
4. Someone I don't know decided to post my private address on a public blog, so I have had to find and hire a lawyer, which is a complete drag.

I look at that list and think it's a lot, but then I'm reminded of those I mentioned, some who are very close to me, who are going through a lot worse. There's a lot of heavy shit going on right now.

Right in the middle of dealing with everything, I ended up having to endure a long and very weird day. I won't go into detail, and I want to put that whole mess behind me for good. Please let it be the end, I say to the gods I don't believe in. This and seeing so many other displays of confusing and slightly disturbing behavior made me wish I had more compassion right now, but it's not easy to feel a whole lot for people who intentionally create conflict and then play the victim. Plus, my tolerance for intentional bullshit has always been low. This kind of situation seems to be going on everywhere, from the violence at the Trump rallies to kids on the playground to reality TV to people in the neighborhood. I believe you see messed up behavior more so lately than in the past, but I could be wrong. Either way, what's going on in the world, whether it's a continuation of the past or something new, is terribly upsetting.

I keep thinking about a story that featured a little boy who ran around on the playground throwing rocks at the other kids. He would sneak up on them, toss a small pebble or rock and run away as fast as he could, giggling to himself, thinking about how sly he was. One day, he got caught, and another kid yelled at him. As he was running away, he tripped and scraped his knee badly. He wailed and screamed until a teacher came running. "What happened?" she asked. "He pushed me!" the kid cried, pointing to the kid he had just targeted earlier. Even though the kid who had been hit by rocks time and time again denied touching anyone, the teacher immediately sent him to the principal's office and took the wounded kid to see the school nurse. 

As the nurse applied a Band-Aid, the sneaky kid told her stories that he created in his conniving little head. He claimed the other kids were always picking on him and the one he said pushed him was a big bully. None of it was true, but he ran with his story. Knowing most of the other kids involved, the nurse had her suspicions, but she didn't feel it wasn't her place to assume this kid was lying. Of course, the other kid had his version of things, and the principal was getting an earful while the nurse listened to a wild story grow. 

In the end, nobody won. It was a "he said he said" situation, but all the other kids knew what was going on. The nurse and the principal assumed what was real, so neither kid was really punished or rewarded. Unless caught in the act, not much can be done. It's not a very good ending. You would hope that the kid throwing rocks would learn some kind of lesson, but that's not the way things went down. Chances are, the kid continued to throw rocks and then blame others when anything bad happened to him. 

In these kinds of situations, it's hard to feel compassion for the bratty kid who threw rocks, even though the assumption is that there must be something very wrong for someone to behave that way. Generally kids who lie and act out are dealing with a lot of emotional unrest, their own inner demons or some kind of physical or emotional abuse from someone close to them, past or present. The big problem is that their bad behavior affects others, and if it goes unchecked, the behavior worsens and spirals into more and more incidents. I keep trying to understand why older people end up being this way, but I think a lot of it has to do with being unable to accept responsibility and never getting to the root of their issues.

Taking responsibility for your life and your actions must be addressed in recovery. It can be a very difficult step to own up to any pain you have caused others and recognize the opportunities you may have lost for yourself due to addiction or an eating disorder. It's something I have faced. Putting the blame elsewhere can be so much easier. All too often people blame parents, friends, family members, teachers or mentors for their own issues. That doesn't help you grow. Taking responsibility allows you to move on and head in new directions. Blaming others keeps you stuck and resentful. Decisions you make have consequences. It's important to avoid denying this, especially as an adult.

Obviously, there are some cases in which the victim truly is or was at the mercy of someone else. A friend of mine was almost killed by her ex, yet I see her dealing with any related issues in an incredibly mature way. Yes, her ex deserves the blame, all of it. I'm definitely not addressing those kinds of situations here, nor am I suggesting that children have the skills to address acceptance and take responsibility without some guidance. I'm basically talking about people who poke the bees and are then horrified when the buzzing insects get angry.

Right now my thoughts are with people, friends and family, who are dealing with some very serious issues: death, threat of death, illness, injury and more. That's where my focus needs to stay. A big thank you to people who have reached out to me while I'm going through all that I am. Your kind words and thoughtful comments on social media and in person are truly appreciated. I'm very lucky to have such nice people in my life.

Despite going from feeling numb to feeling upset and back to feeling numb lately, I have some hope. Things will change, hopefully for the better and hopefully soon.

"Motherfucker, I'll be back from the dead soon."  -- AWOLNATION