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.
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.
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.
Feelings give me context. Don’t tell me what happened, tell me how it made you feel so that I can see holistically through the VR that is empathy.
I didn’t realize how deep my self-hate ran. I’ve been actively resisting and fighting myself all my life. The onset of the mental disorders actually saved me, in retrospect. My self-destructive capacities were severely restricted and my life effectively became an existential escape room where I had to put all of me into figuring out life and solve divine tests. To survive I had to face everything in me that made me want to annihilate myself, and actually hold space for it instead… Learning to love the suffering in me, learning to differentiate what’s my feelings and what I’ve absorbed and internalized from the world was a mammoth task.
Love is so difficult because it involves enduring the discomfort and pain that needs to be understood and healed. It’s tempting to want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. In fact being held back by having to save the baby can make one resent the baby. It can make you doubt that any of your efforts and patience would culminate in anything constructive or meaningful. It can feel like it’s futile and there’s nothing to be gained by an unnecessary exposure to agony. Hope can seem like a scam, especially when you discover how much of the pain and wounds were incurred unjustly by selfish people and a toxic world. It’s like… on top of everything, I have to be the one suffering through undoing this??? Why don’t they suffer? What’s wrong with me that I’m affected like this? Anger and resentment can seem more empowering than feeling like a victim. But that always comes at the cost of pathologizing your feelings and your sensitivity and your life force. In fact, not feeling any type of guilt for inflicting hurt on others and not having capacity for empathy is truly abnormal and pathological. It’s definitely not an advantage and it comes at the cost of one’s humanity. But again, those are deeper and more subtle truths that aren’t as obvious as the widespread dysfunction and corruption in society. So instead of basing one’s morality on internal guidance, it can be tempting to use moral relativity and use those around you as a context for your actions. But bypassing and shortcuts never lead to the truth and progress.
Anyway, I can appreciate how complex and nuanced my journey has been and why it had to take the time it did. I wasn’t restricted or limited to time and space. It took what it needed to take. I did my very best, gave my very all, and left no stone unturned and no feeling unfelt.
Sometimes God needs to push you overboard and make you sink into the belly of a whale to create a new path back to the surface for the countless shackled by fear of the depths. Sometimes He sends you into the darkness because He created a special light in you that comes alive in the dark. Sometimes you’re the answer to a prayer of a broken-hearted one.
I ask that these questions lead somewhere, that these efforts build something, that my sacrifices mean something, that my love affects someone. Was my presence true? Was it cathartic? Was it freeing? I imagine the angels of death will ask me those questions about my stay on earth. Did I care enough about others?