Thursday, November 28, 2013

Well, darn it all to heck

As you probably know, I'm not particularly fond of sentimentality of any sort. That is, until something really strikes me. Being away from family this holiday season has struck me.... So, here we go. Yes, folks, I am going to do a list of things I am thankful for... well, sort of. I will try to make it as genuine as possible.

Strike that. I can't do a list of things I am thankful for. I will just rant on about things I miss and appreciate and all that jazz. Enjoy!

Let's see. I guess the first thing I should mention is that I am glad my family is who it is. Well, kind of. I mean, I am lucky that none of them (successfully) murdered me as a child and hid the remains. I am lucky they didn't sell my organs on the black market (though, my grandmother always told me she was going to sell me to the gypsies), I am glad they aren't alcoholics, drug addicts, and prostitutes... as far as I know. Overall, they're not too bad. For that, I am happy. Heck, imagine I was born to a redneck family in Alabama? IMAGINE!?! Seriously, though, my parents and grandmother put up with a lot of stress from me, so good on them for not telling me plastic bags made pretty necklaces when I was baby! Or when I was a teen... or at any point this week...

I am also fortunate in the health portion of life. I have my random bodily outbursts of death: kidney stones, floaters, strep throat, random puking fits, sprained hip... you know, the hellish misery that lasts a few weeks. However, I've never had  malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, missing limbs... and no signs of schizophrenia yet! I would say that's pretty awesome. Plus, no one in my family has had cancer, so I am looking pretty good on the front. Ding +1!

Friends are a tricky topic for me. I never know who(m?) to consider a friend... there are at least 3 people I can certainly confirm are real, true friends. Those people I miss like the dickens, let me tell you! It's the rest of the heathens I'm uncertain of. Hey, 3 friends is a big deal for me, so I ain't complaining. As of late, I've tried hard to show "I care", but as you can see from the fact that I put quotes on "I care", it's really baby steps. Itsy, bitsy, tiny baby steps. I hope they know they're important to me. Two of them I can only hang out with a few times a year, so it's particularly rough on our relationship. Nonetheless, our love is relentless, which is just lovely. Anyone who can put up with this hot mess deserves a shout out. woot....woot...

I guess I should be grateful for my ability to travel and be educated and live in one of the most developed countries in the world. Well, the last one isn't an ability, it's just kind of how life played out. I am glad it did, though. As much as I desperately want to visit India, I think I would drown myself in curry if I had to live there. Sorry, Indians, but you can't disagree. Not to mention, I was even so fortunate as to be born in New York City. Mind you, it was Staten Island, but that's a whole lot better than Poland.

I guess as a whole I am glad about some random people I've met throughout my life. They'll never know or care that I gave them a shout out on here, but I thought I should mention it. Some strangers are super groovy. Many are creepy and dirty and deserve to live in a horror movie, but for the bundle who do and mean well, good on you. You're a super duper individual. Keep up the good work!

Finally, I give a big kudos to my doggy boggy woggy, Lolita. Although I feel like I have been traveling the world most of the time I have had her in my life, she has been an amazing pup. She puts up with the stupid outfits, the hours of wandering, being forced to hide in a bag on the bus, and random foster animals that try to eat her. I realize she has no option to leave and she may very well hate me, but I am going to go on the assumption for now that she absolutely adores me despite all I put her through.

Is that it? Am I done now? Eh, I think I can step away from this fairly satisfied. Herpy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Don't Call me Beautiful

This face complete with sparkling eyes and porcelain skin, these were not always mine. They were, they just weren't always so organized and put together. There was a time when this skin was completely freckled with acne and a slight unibrow. When my body fat distribution was off balance and my words were limited to, "Hi." and "Bye." At this point in my life, I was pretty miserable. For a slew of reasons, but how my peers and teachers treated me was not any help.
In college, this slowly changed. The acne mostly cleared (darn you, breakouts!), I regularly went to the gym (darn you, peanut butter!), and I learned how to look my best with the minimal amount of effort (darn you, eyebrows!) At this time, I noticed something changing. Outside of myself. It was in everyone else. I found men talking to me for absolutely no reason and asking for my number. I found women hating me and their husbands/boyfriends telling me it was jealousy. I could no longer hang out with my old buddies, they didn't trust themselves to behave around me. I was now the man-stealer, the housewrecker, the young blonde...
I hadn't changed, though. I still felt utter terror when talking to strangers and I felt ugly wearing short skirts or tight tops or bikinis. I had a few more tattoos and piercings, which made me come off as confident. I learned how to pull along a conversation without blushing or sweating too profusely. However, I was still the hippie weirdo with social anxiety and an unhealthy obsession with all things fluffy, feathered, and scaled.
I never adjusted to being treated better. After all, I didn't feel better about anything. I didn't want anyone to envy me, I didn't want to feel like I was becoming "one of THOSE people", either. I wasn't making more friends or feeling accepted, that's for sure. Now the guys got to admire me, the women got to gossip about me, and what did I get from the deal? I got harassed a lot. I got treated like a Barbie doll. It was assumed I was weak and stupid.
Only recently have I realized what I gained from this. I stopped putting all my focus on being one of those brats and I started lifting weights and I attended my college classes, putting my passion for psychology and music to use. I stood up for causes and sometimes people listened. People felt safe coming to me for help.
Should I be treated differently because my physical appearance has changed? No. Will I forever experience the world from a different perspective than those who never outgrew their rough patch in life? I hope not. I plan to always hold onto the worst pains of my past and what I felt and saw and experienced and never watch anyone else go through the same thing helplessly. I still have to fight to maintain my confidence and strength, and through that power, I will help others. Not to mention, others will continue to help me. I am still a lost fish trying to balance this new me and the me who couldn't be forgotten.
I just hate that the person I was before was the one who was bullied and teased and forgotten, while the new me sits around and reaps the benefits of puberty. I won't allow myself to become the person I've seen many of my peers turn into because I would hate to be that person.

Most of all, I have learned to let me people care about me. Even... LOVE me. I still have to practice and remember I am worthy of it, but I have made such strides and I have to love myself for that. Once I do that, I can begin my journey to forgiveness and eventually, esteem.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Psychoanalysis for Dummies?

One of the theories in psychoanalysis that intrigue me  greatly is the one stating that we dislike traits in others that we fear in ourselves. Either this is because we lack that trait and in some way envy it, or we have that trait and "have been there" and are upset that we can't fix ourselves or the other.

Example 1: Jerboa is very introverted and HATES when Barfelina goes up to the teacher and requests the whole class get As. When Barfelina is successful, the class celebrates. Jerboa is happy about the A, but still mocks and feels resentment towards Barfelina for being a big mouth who always has to be the hero.

Why is Jerboa upset at Barfelina? According to this theory, unconsciously, Jerboa wishes she had the nerve to ask the teacher and wants to be the class hero. She is unaware of her envy and desire, but it comes off as hatred.

Example 2: Merggy watches as Limon gets picked on by some other kids. Merggy is sick of watching Limon take it and not say a word. Merggy thinks Limon is just a pushover and really needs to learn to defend himself. What Merggy forgets is that he too used to be picked on by the very same kids. He never said or did anything about it either.

So... why is Merggy so judgmental about Limon? The theory explains that Merggy is projecting his hurt and anger about himself; his own regrets. Upon seeing Limon do the same thing, he feels transference for these feelings and therefore, negativity towards Limon.

Of course, sometimes we just don't like people and things they do... but in any case, it's always wise to reevaluate where your anger or dislike comes from before accepting your opinion of others. Why is it that humans have such natural urges to remove our own self-judgment and call-outs by placing them on others? It certainly is more pleasant to dislike another rather than to start blaming yourself for your own actions, but how does this innate trait benefit us? It seems counterproductive as far as resolving issues.

I think it's certainly a defense mechanism, as well as an escape. Every person gets to point where you begin to think, "There is NO way I have this many problems...", in order to defend your honour and sanity, there needs to be some way of pawning off the poor traits. There is a desire to find another poor victim and place some of your own vices on them. Which is good for perspective and for working out issues from a distance, but if one never comes to realize they are your own, then they remain an issue and people like Barfelina and Merggy are bound to be your sworn enemy for life.

This topic reminds me of a friend I used to have. He would tell me that it was stupid that I tried to fix things in the world. He never tried to and believed that I thought I was better than him for this. Despite me only mentioning my interest in activism once, he said I would brag about it and act like I was a saint. First of all, I think I have the right here to say that I am no saint. As a matter of fact, I know there's a super cozy spot down under waiting for me (and I don't mean Australia- although, I hope they have a spot for me too!) I am a human being who sees it as my right and my expectation of myself to do what I can to improve the world's situation... along with a billion other people.

Anywho, it finally occurred to me that this young gent was upset at himself for being too lazy (his words) to contribute to any causes. I realized this once he told me his fear was the inability to help someone. This confused me, being that it sounded as if he had no interest in helping anyone. Which was his right and I held no judgment for his actions or lack thereof. It just seemed to be a bit of a contradiction that he mocked me for helping people, and yet, was afraid of not helping people. Was his inaction due to his fear of not doing enough? Not doing everything? Being in a position where things were too severe for him to help? I understood this and I wish I could have shown him that he can do so much, but his denial was so great that I don't believe I could have convinced him to get involved no matter how I tried.

This is precisely a reminder of why we must be aware of ourselves and our psychology and why we do the things we do. Not just because we're nosey and want to feel like we "get" people, but because in order to better ourselves, which I personally believe is an important goal, we have to know ourselves. The question is, how can I beat these obstacles of the mind and allow myself to be the person I want to be and do the things I need to do?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Look me in the eye,

Look me in the eye and tell me we aren't the same. That we aren't all the same. Your eyes are brown or hazel or grey or turn colours in the Fall or on cloudy days. Your eyelashes are darker or your skin is lighter. You're blind and colour blind and cross-eyed and near-sighted. But aren't we the same? We hear barking and think, "Dog!", and hate waking up on Monday morning, and think the smell of fresh baked cookies is Heavenly, and get songs stuck in our heads.

I've never walked in your shoes or been to your family dinner, but I know how hard it is some days. How difficult happiness is. How wonderful and extraordinary it can be. I know what hurts, and what pleases, and how hot sand can be. Can you look at me or any other individual and not feel connected to them? Not feel a natural bond and need to protect them and feel compassion? Empathy. Sympathy. Guilt. Responsibility. The bubble I thrive inside, my personal thoughts and experiences, they're not so different from yours. I too felt pressure. I know how scary it is to exist on your own. Once your protective figures throw you into the world and expect independence... as well as obedience. How hard you clung to your idols and role models and that individual who made you feel safe from the world. How it felt when that person abandoned you. Rejected you. Betrayed you. Never really cared.

That day it all came true, it could have been me. When he or she proposed and you felt as if your lungs would never recover, you lost all breath. I knew that ecstasy. I felt it when I heard the news. Or was it in the obituaries? Perhaps murder. Even suicide. I drew that last breath alongside you and my throat bled as we screamed. Just as the first breath of Earth's air in a newborn and how you looked into this alien's eyes. My heart sunk and reawakened each uncertain moment. That hand that held yours as you endured your trials. You swore and your god was there. I was overhead watching you embrace your translucent hallucination of hope. That night I dreamed a wish for you, something that will remain forever mine.

Those days we shared without ever knowing. When we blushed in horror at the bra shop, popped our first zit that left a scar next to the one you got from scratching your chicken pox, peeling your tattoo, having a breast removed, reduced, added, sized. The C-section you swore you'd never do over until 18 months later when you created life and watched a life fade in the same room.

Here is the lesson, here is the moral. Here we stop the judgments we have been fed and trained and forced. It's the restart, rebirth and if no one else, I will be the one to give it to you. Look Us in the eye and see yourself. Whatever you want to be.