How can I explain my feelings when I don’t understand them myself. They don’t make sense. I don’t make sense. Why do I feel and think differently to others. I am not implying that I am special in some way. I am not, but I watch others: how they act; what they say; what they believe; and how they react to situations. I am overall a good person. Sometimes I make poor decision that betray that belief, but generally I am. To give concrete exapmles… Two days ago I hesitant a hesitant blind lady to cross the street while other looked on. Yesterday a man got on the train with a walker. The train was packed but I’m sure some people saw him. No one moved. I was standing near the doors. I leaned into the carriage and said relatively loudly “Can someone give this man a seat?” Still no one moved. I then shouted “This man needs a seat please.” I was so loud everyone looked at me. I stared back at the people in the nearest seat. I guilted one of them into giving up their seat. I didn’t do this for any reward, and idea of people thinking I’m an amazing person. No one I knew was in the carriage. The man needed a seat. It was the right thing to do. Later yesterday I was in the hospital. A man in a wheelchair was parked beside my seat. He was called for his appointment and I offered to wheel him and he refused. He wasn’t rude, just independent. I witnessed a few instances of him refusing help. When he came back out he was beside me again. He dropped one of his crutches. I was unsure what to do. I knew he likely wouldn’t want help, but I also saw that it was unlikely that he would be able to pick it up. I picked it up and he was thankful. Once again no one was going to give me credit, it was the right thing to do. My point is that I think of others. Constantly. I gfet so upset when people are treated like crap, ignored, belittled for no reason, or even worse for their race, religion, country of origin, sexuality, or gender identity. I’m sure there are many other reasons mean and/or ignorant people hurt others. President Fuhrer certianly hasn’t helped. I digress.
So why is it that I am good in many ways, but see morality in a gapingly different way? I have little problem with becoming extremely personal. If I believe I have done nothing wrong I am likely to discuss matters openly. I don’t force that on people, but I will share. Sometimes people ask us questions followed by “if it’s okay to ask” or similar. For me its almost okay to ask, and for me to answer. Often they will repeat it with each question that they ask, and I remind them that they can ask anything but that I may not answer. If they become too personal or forward I will state my feelings, but my version of personal and forward are much more open than others’. Others seem to view that as a fault, rather than something that is on a continuum. That I didn’t exactly choose to act in this way, but that I made that way. I am a loud-mouth, unsophisticated person. Now it would be easy for me to say or think that I have no control over the matter, which I know is not true. It is something I would have to constantly day by day push against. Forever. We are all built a certain way. Think of any identical twins you know, or fraternal ones, or simply simply siblings. One might be shy, one outgoing. Another might be good at debating, one unable to make a point. It implies that at least some of our personalities and thought patterns are inbuilt. I have no idea how much is nature and how much nurture. Maybe it is different for each person. That doesn’t matter. My point is that at some level I was programmed to be loud, outgoing, an over-sharer (in others’ opinions). Does it matter if I share my life story to a stranger? As long as I don’t betray someone else’s sense of privacy. Does it matter to you? If so, why?
I am very open with my children. Some people might think I am too open. My kids are 12 (girl), 10 (boy), and 6 (girl). They all know what a period is, how it works and its role in reproduction. They know that mommy sometimes cries near the start. They know mommy is sometimes in a lot of pain and may just lie on the couch and get them to grab a sandwich instead of me cooking. Is that wrong? Am I damaging them? No. They are very mature about it – all three. At the start of my last period I was curled up on the couch in significant pain. The only over the counter pain medication I can take is Tylenol which we all know does nothing. I asked my son to grab me a bottle of water. He handed it to me he said “Mom. Even if you didn’t have your period I’d get you water.” Does that sound like a warped child, or a mature compassionate one? When it comes to sex itself, the three also know how it works, that adults mostly enjoy it, how it can result in pregnancy, and that pregnancy can be avoided if a couple do not want to have a child. I did not say they fuck the shit out of each other, that they get orgasms and that’s amazing, how condoms work etc. I explained as much possible within what they would understand and be comfortable with emotional. They often come back to me later and ask me questions they formulated after such discussions. They never are giggling like its a ‘silly’ conversation. They have sensible interesting follow up questions. Sometimes they’ll throw me a curveball about something I am uncomfortable answering, in which case I will tell them I feel they are too young to know about that yet. They accept it without hesitation because they know I always do my best to explain things to them. Other times they will ask a question that I feel warrants an answer, is too important and sensitive not to answer, but I am unsure how to answer. I will often tell them mommy needs sometime to think about how to answer that and we’ll talk later. I always follow up. A couple of months ago my son asked me what rape was. I’m sure he heard it on the playground. Obviously that is an extremely sensitive topic. It was one of the topics I wasn’t sure about how to answer. Too important not to answer, too upsetting to blurt out an answer without thinking. When we did come back to it I simply said it was when one person made another person have sex. That it was one of the worst things one person could do to another. That the victim would find it extremely difficult for a long time emotionally. I hope I am sowing the seeds for a responsible, compassionate caring man. So far he’s proving to be such an emotionally intelligent kid.
So that was somewhat of a detour. My point in the paragraph above is that I am very thoughtful about what I share my kids. I am well aware I am on the extreme in terms of openness. Most people likely think I am way too open. I know I am only giving them information they can process at their after. I would not have told my six year old what rape was. She is way too young. I think I would have said something about it being a very bad thing someone did to another and that we would talk about it more when she’s a little older. I try to give kids at least a partial answer that is not a lie. I want them to value truth and honesty. Just in case I’m giving the impression I’m an amazing person, I don’t feel I am, but I did think I’m killing it in this area, even though others might not.
Those of you who follow my blog know I am extremely open about my mental illnesses and my alcoholism, which according to DSM-V (google that) is in fact a mental illness itself. My struggle against drinking, O/D-ing, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm is very personal, but it is also something I need to process in my writing. And once on ‘paper’, then needs to be shared. I can help others understand mental illness. I can help fellow sufferers know they are not alone, and I can show people that I am not ashamed of my illnesses. I am not ashamed of my heart disease, why should I be ashamed of depression and borderline personality disorder. Did I ask for those conditions? Medical professionals know people can’t think themselves out of depression, or ‘pull themselves together’, so why is it people in society that think they are qualified to state other wise. Am I going to go to Mary on the street and ask her how I should treat my heart disease. Should I wish my heart disease away. Shit. That’s awesome. I wish I’d thought of that. I could have avoided two agonizing surgeries, one with a chance of death at 10%. Silly me. All those appointments – what a waste of time. Digression, digression, digression. Seems to be a theme today. Going back to me sharing my mental health struggles… I have had friends express doubt at my sharing, and some tell me outright that I was not being fair to my children. I have not shared anything sensitive about them. Of course it would be inappropriate from them to have access to my posts. They will when they are older, and I do understand anything on the internet is there for the taking. In their teens they will have to know about my alcoholism and depression. Both have a genetic component. They are more likely to suffer from either or both than the general population. We all know kids drink in their teens. Not all, but many. I need my children to understand that they are taking a huge risk by drinking. I understand it is highly unlikely they will never drink, but it may push it to later, or help them confide in me or their father if somethings is troubling them about drinking. I believe I am laying a foundation to ensure they know they have that option. I am not so naive to expect this all to work, but it increases the odds somewhat of a better outcome. Similarly if they have signs of depression, that have gone unnoticed by me and their father, I want them to reach out. Being private and secretive could be fatal for my kids. I am not going to do anything, or neglect doing something to make that less likely.
I’ve only given a few examples. I feel there’s so much more to say. Not exactly specific examples necessarily, but that I have not done this topic justice. I have not proved what I wanted to. Defended myself, even though I don’t need to be. Maybe persuade that my me is not a facade, an obnoxious choice, a decision to be seen as bold or stupid. That this is natural for me. Similar to my post on Manspreading, it’s just part of who I am. And my lack of femininity. I don’t know if I wish I were different or not. I truly don’t. I know it causes me to both attract and repel people. For right or wrong there are certain aspects of me that I would like to change – like manspreading. It is more important however for me to learn to accept who I am – a complex person (like everyone) with various traits by choice and by genetics and others a mix of both. I am working with a therapist about various things and recently we worked on me accepting my bowed leg. I sometimes don’t care. I’m forty and I had it since I started to walk at 22 months. I walked so late because of my condition. I sometimes forget I have it, but often it hurts when a walk a lot. The worst reminder of it is when I am walking towards a glass door. I see myself walk. It makes me recoil every time. It disgusts me. I disgust me. I hate the way it makes me look. My therapist and I did some good work on it last week. I bawled a lot of the time however. The following day in a group run by him we did a walking mindfulness exercise. It was unrelated to the work with me. My eyes welled up and I told him I didn’t think I could do it. I was so paranoid about what the person behind me would think when the saw me walk. Every time I climb a steps I become several anxious with the thought of the same thing. In the group class, my therapist reminded me that it was a good opportunity to practice accepting it. I affirmed out loud “I have a bowed leg,” and tried not to add emotion to it. He’s having me work on stating facts about my feelings, instead of wallowing in them and making them bigger and stronger than me. It worked. Not perfectly, but enough for me to do the exercise. It is merely one of the many, many issues I need to accept. There are so many that some will never be dealt with themselves, but by dealing with others might be made easier for me to deal with. And then there the privacy and openness issue. I do not feel I am doing anything wrong. Do I want to try to change who I am because of societal pressure? Absolutely not. Sometimes the thing we are is so offensive to society that it means we are shunned. At a certain point maybe, just maybe it is time to change. In that route lies misery. Going against yourself is generally not sustainable. Staying true to yourself may lead to ostracization. There is no easy answer. No one-size fits all. Each person has to make there decision, and make decision on multiple issues. In the meantime – go fuck yourself!