Do you want the long version or the short version?
For those of you who have read my posts, you’re probably wondering if I even know what a short version is.
Yes, I do…
(I was tempted to end this post here, and do a runner)
it’s just not something I do on my blog.
(for those of you who think I’d be an interesting person to know in person – oh the amazing conversations we’d have! – I’m really rather laconic offline)
(this is the sort of conversation we’d have in person, either that or you’d be doing most of the talking with me interjecting ‘hmmm’s’ to let you know that I’m listening – although blogging has encouraged me to be a bit more chatty in RL which sometimes results in someone doing a runner)
It would probably be better for blogging
(according to all those ‘How to make your blog the best one ever’ advice posts or those ‘Ten things which bloggers do wrong and annoy the hell out of everyone (other bloggers)’ that are shame-inducing butter for your blogging soul’s bread)
if I did short posts, but…
I don’t enjoy writing short posts. This is the one place where I am free to let loose all of the crazy which goes on inside of me without worrying about all the things I usually worry about when interacting with people – them running away from me is one worry, editing the crazy is another of those worries. It’s hard work editing that kind of stuff… it’s easier to deal with people running away from it.
Since I blog for personal reasons here rather than for profit, popularity or professional ones, I do what I want not what others tell me that they want from me (which would probably end up still being not what they wanted even if I did it).
This post is inspired by someone asking me about the method behind my madness, how I put my posts together and such… so, I am interested in what you want.
There are diverse kinds of wants…
sigh, don’t we all know that!
(not sure if this formula works with everything we want)
For me a personal blog is personal,
it’s about being yourself, sharing who you are (including those things which are annoying to others about you, and the things which you find irritating about yourself – which may be the same what-a-shame-you-do-this things that others don’t like, and all the other flaws, faults, quirks, inner jerks, and things which make you or others want to run away from you, etc).
(open up a cyber page and liquefy yourself, your cyber ink is your DNA… it can get messy so expect people to protect themselves from spillage or blame you if they get stained)
My posts are basically a conversation which I’m having with myself, which encompass arguments, debates, puzzle-solving, seeking, questioning (and trying to answer that kind of pop quiz), self-reflection, self-frustration, cathartic rants, stupidity, silliness, all the things which clutter my mind – images, the quotes of others, music videos – and brooding… often over the hall of fame walk of shames I’ve done in my life…
Long before I entered the arena of social media,
I was a lurker
(some people don’t like the term ‘lurker’… I like it as it describes exactly what I did).
I was comfortable being a lurker, silently perusing the internet creations, musings, conversations, and other forms of sharing of others.
This is how I was in offline social situations, I would sit quietly listening to and observing others, lurking invisibly in the background (or so I thought).
Sometimes I wanted to join in because it seemed fun, but…
(no wonder people don’t want it, to feel it or understand it, you’re stabbing them with it as you stab yourself – that’s what I thought when I came across this quote, and it made me realise something about those times when I’ve felt that way)
for most of my life the act of participating socially has been painful in so many varied ways that I gave up on it,
the kind of giving up which happens in stages,
slow motion running where you see every movement until it no longer looks like running,
which goes through different phases,
and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere,
never really gives up,
it nags at you and makes you feel bad about yourself for not trying and then makes you feel even worse when you do try.
There’s this one memory which sums it up for me –
Of being at school,
(ah, school… that melting pot of chaotic social interactions, a place where many of us still relive our social faux pas over and over again even though we’re no longer there, we ran away but it ran with us)
there was some event going on which seemed to involve everyone dressing up in costumes, wearing masks, a friend from a class higher up than mine invited me to visit his classroom and see the costumes which they were wearing.
I didn’t want to go and said so. I felt safe where I was, and it had taken me ages to feel that way, to feel at home with my own classmates. But my friend insisted and did what a lot of people do when you tell them that you’re shy (and hope they’ll understand what that means)…
(if only it was this easy to cure ourselves of not doing the things that we do, of not being the way that we are… but then again that kind of cure would probably wipe us all out like an eraser on a pencil drawing. Don’t be you… poof, there is no you anymore!)
To be fair to my friend he didn’t see me as being shy as I wasn’t that way with him because he was the kind of person who welcomed everyone and made them feel at ease. He was lovely and I didn’t want to ruin his fun, kill his joy, with my attitude so…
instead of running away I ran with him
I accepted his invitation (and his assurance that I’d be welcomed in his classroom – which I was certain that I wouldn’t because they were older and in school that kind of hierarchy is often an issue that people enjoy to shove in your face as it gives them a power rush – kids get to do to other kids what adults do to them, flexing those growing pains).
The next part of the memory is a bit of a blur (the kind which happens when you run away),
I remember crossing the threshold from the hallway into the classroom,
then there’s a gap in my mind’s recall (as it seeks to run from what disturbs it),
and the next thing I know some boy is grabbing me by the shoulder and forcefully pushing me out of the classroom while telling me angrily that I should not be there because I was not a member of his class.
I tried to explain that I’d been invited, but my friend had disappeared and couldn’t confirm it…
had he run away
or maybe he was there, I have a vague impression of someone objecting to how I was being treated,
that impression of someone is a girl instead of a guy, someone else not my friend, but…
but this other boy was the boss of the class, his voice was the loudest drowning everyone else out, and his opinion was law.
He made others run… and hide within themselves.
He was a bully and he’d found a victim for his bullying needs, no one really wanted to interfere because they’d make themselves a target too, so I ended up having to deal with him on my own. Which I did, by leaving.
I ran… (not literally because I was a stubborn kid especially when bullied, but I might as well have).
As I left I was overcome by an intense sense of shame – which is why that memory burned itself into my mind and has chased me ever since.
(there are at least two ways of reading this –
1/ shame is a soul-eating emotion
2/ shame is a soul, eating emotion)
If I think about it, the shame actually hit me the moment that boy’s hand touched my shoulder. I wonder how much of it was mine and how much of it was his transferred to me through physical contact.
I once participated in a New Age workshop where we had to hold hands with our eyes closed with a stranger (you were not allowed to hold hands with someone you knew). The point was to get to know the other person through touching them rather than talking with them. I recall suddenly feeling incredibly tired (which I knew wasn’t me as I was actually rather energised that day). After a few minutes of this we were asked to share our impressions of the other person with them. When I mentioned feeling tired, the stranger smiled and said he’d just come from doing an intensive workout at the gym. Running like crazy on the treadmill. He got so caught up in telling me about his day, why he was so tired and how amazing it was that I’d picked up on that… we never got around to what he picked up from me (but judging by how energised he was talking to me about himself…)
If I look a little bit closer at that school memory, at the part which is blurred, I can just about catch a glimpse of seeing that boy as I entered the classroom, he was at the centre of a group and seemed to be upset about something, his manner was tense. Perhaps I acted as a knife slicing into a bubble which was ready to burst and the juices which spilled out flowed along the blade, then along the handle and onto the hand holding it, down the arm, seeping into exposed skin…
My soul ate his emotion, and it became shame because the mind got involved in the process.
(this happens as much within as it does outside of ourselves… we start a rumor about ourselves, we hate ourselves for it, we spread it foolishly all over ourselves, then accept it – this process can work with positive rumors too, which are loved, spread wisely, and understood…)
For me shame isn’t a feeling which comes from emotion, it isn’t an emotion in and of itself, it’s a feeling which is of the mind, a mental feeling, as it tries to deal with something it doesn’t understand and so it misunderstands it… and experiences something which translates as shame.
We have a hard enough time trying to mentally comprehend our own emotions, so if we’re suddenly taking on the water which someone else is leaking, their emotions rush into us, get mixed up with our own, and the resulting confusion may cause us to feel shame because we can’t think about it and understand it…
And when we feel shame, whether it is ours or someone else’s, we tend to feel ashamed of ourselves.
We run away and hide.
Or we go the other way and reject it, making the other person feel what we don’t want to feel (because maybe it isn’t ours to feel in the first place).
We make others run and hide.
Poking around in that memory a little more… I think that boy was wearing a dress and make-up in the way that in those days was something to be ashamed about.
We’re still arguing about this nowadays, still using shame as part of the argument, but luckily there’s a huge support group on the side of championing diversity.
We’re all different, isn’t it time we stopped running away and hiding from it… and instead enjoyed the richness it shares with all of us.
He felt safe sharing himself with his classmates, but not with a stranger… which I was to him as he was to me (his fear was mine too).
He was afraid of me and so he made me afraid of… me too.
He was afraid of being himself, and so was I… afraid of being myself.
For so long I ran…