I’ve made peace with the war

You know, sometimes I be hesitating about speaking about the truth that I see because people are so used to attacks and being denigrated that any uncomfortable truth can seem and feel unsafe. And I’ve never been one to put what I see is right above people feeling right. I don’t even think I function according to what I feel is right. I always approach things with an empty vessel and a curiosity to be filled with the truth. And it’s difficult when so much information isn’t true information, isn’t information gained through an empty vessel but information that’s been diluted with whatever is full of that individual vessel. And instead of communicating the understanding of the thing, people end up signalling what flavour of the thing they have. They conflate their interpretation of the appearance and surface of something as being the intuitive essence of that thing. They conflate their interpretation with the meaning behind what they are seeing.

And so, having been caught up in that tumult and trying not to make things worse, I ended up becoming invisible and keeping things to myself. I ended up internalizing people’s reactions and letting people’s perception define my intention. Alright, alright, I don’t wanna fight.

But I’ve come to know that people just lash out without really trying to understand your unique pov. So I had to start to trust myself and my integrity to know that I’m not a monster or a bully. I’m not trying to sell my ideas. And most importantly, my vantage point is empathy. Even when I’m pointing seemingly scathing things out it’s always with the holistic essence in mind. As in, I start by assuming that the person or situation started out wholesome and that in essence it’s wholesome but the actions are egregious. So my approach is always two-fold : to understand and connect with the non-verbal feeling that underpins the motivation for the bad deed, and to show why the roots of the deed is egregious. This, by not centering my own feelings or how it affects me personally, but how breaking away from the whole will never produce the intended results.

In other words, I attempt to show people the naked truth and how it’s really not good so that they can know that there’s a better reality that’s easier to access and comes with less struggle. I attempt to show that the pain and fear that makes people want to fight the world can be healed, for good. That it’s possible to not always live from the angle of that pain or fear.

I want the truth to be liberating for people, not damning.

Feels and needles

A strange discovery : when I feel anxious it’s not the feeling that’s the anxiety, it’s just an impression of the anxiety in my mind. To put it another way, feeling the pain of being pricked with a needle doesn’t mean actual needles penetrate the skin, flows through the blood and into the brain.

It’s such an odd discovery and it’s taking me longer than usual to make the differentiation because for all my life I was under the impression that my feelings were the needles. To think that my feelings are neutral and that it’s possible to detach from focusing on the pain is like I’m being told the sky is red and not blue.

You see, I’ve created an entire life around the belief that my sensitivity is why I seem to suffer more than those who aren’t as sensitive. Naturally, I thought if I could be impervious to my feelings and dissociate from them then the pain would stop yes? Through sour experiences I learnt that the pain was signaling to me that I’m not in the right place or space and turning that warning signal off made me vulnerable and susceptible to manipulation and injury by those lacking empathy and conscience. It put me at the mercy of those with no mercy.

I didn’t create reality

It’s not my task to make people feel comfortable with the truth I perceive, nor is it my task to change what I perceive into something more appeasing for others. It’s such a relief to write this out because disappointment has been the bane of my existence and I’ve taken it upon myself to shield people from the uncomfortable truth because that’s what they were demanding I do. And that set me back so much and kept me stuck because my forte is to see, not change the look of reality to make things more comfortable.

▶ Play it back

If someone projects on me instead of connecting to me when in doubt or when I seem ambivalent, then I’m no longer going to take on that guilt and absolve the person for their transgressing judgment that they then affect me with, either verbally or emotionally.

I used to think that empathizing with me in my silence would be a tall order, and so I internalized and normalized the projections and adapted to them. I would fear leaving an ambivalent gap without putting the person at ease. This, at the expense of the person inquiring into my withdrawal- or not.

I’m no longer responding to shame or acting on guilt. Someone conflating their feelings with my actions is a lazy, egotistical, insecure person and I don’t have room to do homeworks for others. I got my own.

Sign the dotted line

I can accommodate for you but I can’t make my mental health adapt to your convenience. If a last-minute cancelation annoys you more than you’re concerned for the anxiety attack that made me do it, then I’m sorry to tell you that there will probably be many such inconveniences in the future ; changing my mind, wanting to be alone, not being able to finish an assignment, backing out of a project, ending a trip early. I’ve tried to discipline my mental disorders and regulate the attacks so that I can work around having to clash with commitments and expectations. It was not only impossible but it was deeply unfair to myself and traumatized me further and deeper. I was effectively telling myself that I didn’t matter and that it’s normal and ok for others to not be understanding and empathetic. I shouldered the guilt on top of everything else.

So now, this is where I stand : my mental health issues are just a symptom of adapting to a toxic system. The more that I can care and hold space for my sensitivities and vulnerabilities, the more efficient and proactive I can be. When the weakest link in me is protected, all of me is protected and anyone who finds that ridiculous is someone I don’t want to mingle with. Period. It’s bigger than just me. It’s about being a considerate human being who can make space for other than one’s ego. Someone who’s unable to transcend their base desires and neurotic habits of controlling others and the weather is someone I’m fundamentally incompatible with.

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