The wasp, the guy who said stay away from me because everyone says I’m bad, halfies…
The previous short paragraph are notes to myself which I jotted down when I created this post on Monday afternoon when I copy-pasted the questions Melanie included in her latest Share Your World:
Melanie of Sparks From A Combustible Mind’s Share Your World 5-13-19
I think it was Monday, but it could have been Tuesday… wasn’t that yesterday…?
A quick look at the date on my computer can resolve that matter, at least superficially, but on a deeper level I will always have a vague sense of time – a tendency which brings me to the first question:
What social stigma does society need to get over already?
Have you ever told anyone or been told by anyone to “Get over it” – what happened?
Did that person or you get over it?
Or did they or you grab on tighter to the issue, remember exactly why it’s an issue, and perhaps launch into a diatribe about just how difficult it is to get over it even if and when you really would like to do so… and people who tell you to get over it are part of the problem why it is so hard to get over it?
I just started watching a TV series – Stitchers – wherein the main character has no sense of time. They used a word for it along the lines of dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysthimia, but I’ve forgotten what it was because I wasn’t really paying attention to what they were saying.
The main character is a bit of a freak, a loner, has no friends, alienates anyone who tries to connect with her due to being intimidatingly honest and blunt about it, logical to an AI degree (her IQ is very high – of course). She can’t feel emotions, isn’t particularly empathic (although she could do cognitive empathy if she wanted to as it doesn’t need feeling or emotions, just basic logic, common sense, human math) due to an accident which rewired her brain and also wiped out all her memories of her childhood before the age of 8.
But it’s okay because she’s very special in a good way.
All of the things about her which make her different from others, which could and does cause others to stigmatise her, reject her, consider her a misfit, outsider, are positive stigmas.
Yes, there are such things as positive stigmas. Don’t trust my word on it, go over to the Wikipedia page on – Social stigma – and read what I read (or just read the excerpt from it below):
The stigmatized are ostracized, devalued , scorned, shunned and ignored. They experience discrimination in the realms of employment and housing. Perceived prejudice and discrimination is also associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes. Young people who experience stigma associated with mental health difficulties may face negative reactions from their peer group. Those who perceive themselves to be members of a stigmatized group, whether it is obvious to those around them or not, often experience psychological distress and many view themselves contemptuously.
Although the experience of being stigmatized may take a toll on self-esteem, academic achievement, and other outcomes, many people with stigmatized attributes have high self-esteem, perform at high levels, are happy and appear to be quite resilient to their negative experiences.
There are also “positive stigma”: it is possible to be too rich, or too smart. This is noted by Goffman in his discussion of leaders, who are subsequently given license to deviate from some behavioral norms because they have contributed far above the expectations of the group. This can result in social stigma.– excerpt from Wikipedia’s Social stigma entry
Of course this is a TV show, a silly one filled with plenty of those annoyingly ridiculous tropes viewers love to hate but miss when they’re not there to cling onto as something familiar – such as all geniuses (baddie or goodie) play chess, love conquers all, good always prevails over evil, evil is (always played by the same actors) really easy to distinguish from good, all heroes who save the world are freaks…
When I was younger I used to love shows and films with the trope of the freak who becomes a hero due to their freak because I’m a freak… or so I’ve been told by a variety of people in a variety of ways with the variety of stigmas they applied to me ever since I was a child.
A large portion of my anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sense of worthlessness, uselessness, suicidal thoughts, C-PTSD, shame, suspicions that I was perhaps not from this planet (alienation can make you feel like you’re an alien who doesn’t belong on Earth), and so on, were due to feeling stigmatised by others, by society.
Basically others are telling you to get off their planet, you’re ruining it for them… and you end up with that as your life narrative (thus stigmatising yourself even when others aren’t doing it to you) – the world would be a better place if you didn’t exist.
I’m not as bothered by all of that now as I used to be, mostly because I’ve lived with it for so long and belonging doesn’t seem as important as it once did – in fact, not belonging feels like it’s actually more useful these days.
Although I do get mildly irked when other people with depression, anxiety, and such decide that I have never suffered from those conditions based on their perception of how I appear to them, my behaviour and demeanour doesn’t fit into their concept of how I should appear, and thus I don’t know shit…
But I’m used to people finding a reason to reject, ignore, dismiss, dehumanise me… if you haven’t yet, wait for it, you will. Am I kidding?
I’m comfortable with my outsideness:
“For a long while I have believed – this is perhaps my version of Sir Darius Xerxes Cama’s belief in a fourth function of outsideness – that in every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity.
And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainly, change, have erected a powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval.
But the truth leaks out in our dreams; alone in our beds (because we are all alone at night, even if we do not sleep by ourselves), we soar, we fly, we flee. And in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the non-belongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks.
What we forbid ourselves we pay good money to watch, in a playhouse or a movie theater, or to read about between the secret covers of a book. Our libraries, our palaces of entertainment tell the truth. The tramp, the assassin, the rebel, the thief, the mutant, the outcast, the delinquent, the devil, the sinner, the traveler, the gangster, the runner, the mask: if we did not recognize in them our least-fulfilled needs, we would not invent them over and over again, in every place, in every language, in every time.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
In TV shows like Stitchers we get to live out the fantasy that those things about us which have been labeled as odd, freakish, wrong, bad, a threat to the norm, possibly dangerous, will one day become the very thing needed to save the world – our particular stigma will become just what was needed by society and we’ll go from outcast to hero… and finally we’ll be loved and accepted for who we are the way we are.
Going from hero to outcast can also happen… and when our heroes fall, the ripple effect can tumble an entire structure of reality from which it takes time to recover. There have been plenty of examples of that in recent years.
It’s great when society gets over an old social stigma – it suddenly feels as though we’ve made progress at last and can finally come together, join forces to tackle other stigmas and get over those too.
Each stigma has to be dealt with many small steps, at first perhaps taken by one person, who invites others to walk with them.
I read about The Halfie Project by Becky White the night before I saw Melanie’s question.
It’s a project I can relate to, even though I most likely wouldn’t be considered a halfie by those who consider themselves to be halfies – I never friggin’ belong, it’s uncanny how adept I am at not belonging even when I feel like I do.
I think the project is awesome… step by step alone and together we gradually and painstakingly work our way towards a form of getting over it and getting on with each other.
What was the last photo you took?
It’s the sequel to the one in this post – Cementing Thoughts
When was the last time you snooped and found something or found out something you wish you hadn’t?
I tend to get a feeling similar to this every time I look behind or underneath the facades (plasterboard walls and flooring) which the previous owner used to cover the actual walls and floors of my house.
While there may be short term discomfort and other unpleasant experiential sensations, it’s better to find those things out, expose them and expose myself to them, than live in the bliss of deliberate ignoring it ignorance… as then I can sort out whatever needs sorting out and not live with a tell-tale heart of sorts.
I’d rather find out and know what’s what than not find out and not know even if it’s something I wish wasn’t true, especially if it came from me snooping because I have a feeling something is off about something or someone.
Astrologically I’m a Capricorn Sun with Mars in Scorpio = I’m a natural born snooper who prefers to know what someone or something is truly made of, the nitty-gritty, rather than accept a facade just because it’s nice, pleasing, pretty, what I wish was true but isn’t, etc.
When I was a teenager I once snooped on my father having a private phone conversation with his mistress and heard them discussing what they thought of me. They both agreed that I was a brat.
I knew she hated me, the feeling was mutual, but it cut to the core to hear my father speak about me like that. I’m glad I found that out about him, it rewired my approach to our relationship once I knew where I really stood with him.
Brat is a stigma I got given a lot as a child for various reasons by various people, often by those who didn’t know me at all, hadn’t met me, hadn’t interacted with me, it was just because I was an only child and society assumes only children must be spoiled brats.
Because I got given the stigma of brat from an early age, I adapted to it and it to me – I used to tell people that I was a spoiled brat when they asked me about myself. It got it out into the open and it was fun to watch adults caught in the webbing of their own spin.
People love to paint such a PC picture of themselves while they think un-PC thoughts which they keep hidden behind the PC facade… except when they don’t, which is more often than they realise, that stuff oozes and leaks like dribble when you’re asleep.
What’s the most comfortable bed or chair you’ve ever slept in?
I can sleep just about anywhere, on anything, in any position if I’m tired.
I once had a lovely, deep and restful sleep curled up in crouch position on a concrete floor under a table at a printing press which was in full working mode. I still remember it fondly.
There was also that time I slept at the end of a stone pier on a secluded-ish beach with a towel for a blanket and an open book over my face.
I quite like the bed I have now. It’s a memory foam mattress (the cheap version, so it’s basically a huge slab of ordinary foam with a couple of inches of memory foam on top) placed directly on the floor. With a duvet. That’s it, the rest is up to me…
Can being grateful change Your World?
Depends on what your definition of being grateful is.
It also depends on how you’re doing grateful and why you’re doing it. It can be one of those ideas that is a bit of a social must-do or else be stigmatised.
My mother was obsessed with other people being grateful to her. She dined on her whine about it… and so did I. That did change my world, that changed me – I couldn’t bend over backwards far enough or ever be grateful enough to please her constantly displeased self and satisfy her greedy hunger for gratitude.
My mother was a narcissist (a stigma I’ve applied to her to remind myself to avoid her for my own safety and sanity… or something like that). She was the type of narcissist who thinks they’re a saint and martyr, that everyone else is the problem, at fault, to blame and shame, and if only everyone else would fix themselves, be more grateful, empathic, caring, compassionate, kind, and stuff like that towards her according to how she needed those things to happen and be applied to change her world into one where she was a queen, goddess, worshiped, got what she deserved, and then she’d have her happily ever after.
“People don’t like being around despair. Our tolerance for the truly hopeless, for those who are irredeemably broken by life is strictly limited. The sob stories we like are the ones that end before we’re bored.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet
It also depends on your idea of what change is… and what you think your world is.
I prefer the concept of appreciation… appreciating the small things.
I was outside the other day working on a job in the garden which I’ve been meaning to do for a while but just couldn’t muster the energy or interest to do it… I was tired and cranky after a full day of moving earth, and that’s when I saw it – the wasp.
Not just any wasp but a queen who was scraping wood off of a garden chair (which I should have treated with anti-insect and everything else stuff but haven’t yet) to use as pulp for a nest. I cursed that wasp and really wanted to kill it. It’s a wasp, society won’t stigmatise me if I kill it… not yet anyway. Wasps haven’t been upgraded to a special don’t kill but support status like bees.
I paused in my waspicidal thoughts and asked myself a question – Who is more valuable to society (to the ecosystem of planet Earth) and who is the real pest, me or that queen wasp?