Saturday, February 19, 2011

I’m not like everybody else

Square peg2I’ve been thinking a lot about the shit going down right now, with a family member narcing on me to my Mom. I’ve been thinking about privacy, and family dynamics. I vacillate between feeling hurt and upset and feeling righteously pissed.

I’ve always been a very private person, and I’ve always felt I have the right to keep some things to myself. I doubt that many of us share all details of our lives with all friends and family. I wonder when it became a requirement that I be completely open about my beliefs concerning various subjects? Even more, I wonder when some decided that it was their place to not only judge me about something I’ve expressed here, but to go running to my Mom like a junior high school mean girl and tell her about it? Granted, this is a public blog, so anyone who wants to read it can do so (and yeah, I’ve still got my little family of stalkers...Bitter Bear, Hubby Bear, Sister Bear, and Mama Bear). But wouldn’t reason prevail in deciding what to share with certain people? Wouldn’t common sense tell you that telling my Mom about things you read here is going to hurt HER more than it would me? Are you so unthinking when it comes to the feelings of others that you can’t comprehend that?

I have struggled for many years with philosophical questions of all kinds, but especially religion. I’ve written some things about it here, but only a few people know the full details. Some things happened to me, things that I’ve realized recently that I blocked from my memory. No worries...I wasn’t sexually abused by any religious authority figures or anything like that. But I went through a period in my life that was so strange and so bizarre--like something from another universe--that my mind apparently decided to lock it away into a little hidey-hole, and it has only recently started to surface, some twenty years later.

So while I wasn’t physically abused, I most definitely was traumatized, and the root of it was religion. I spent a long time pondering this, trying to come to terms with what had happened to me, trying to figure out what I believed, what I felt. Trying to understand where it might fit into my life, what it all meant, where it might take me. I have spent much of my adult life truly thinking about these things; I have not taken it lightly, and I have approached it with gravitas and a true spirit of self-awareness. I really wanted to explore my feelings on the matter and come to the best conclusion I could.

As I wrote things about it here and on Facebook, I found a group of supportive friends who discussed things with me and helped me try to figure it out, at least as much as we can. Even those who don’t agree with me seem to either respect my right to come to my own conclusions, and to just agree to disagree; either that, or they decided to stop reading me. I respect both options, and I realize that I am not for everyone. I’m okay with that.

Square pegBut I found a voice here, on my own blog, and also among my Facebook friends. I realized that others have had similar struggles, and I felt stronger knowing that I wasn’t alone. There were even a couple of times when I think maybe I helped some people, the way that others had helped me. In short, I felt accepted for who I was and occasionally respected for my opinions, rather than judged and ostracized because of them.

And here we are. I’ve got someone taking the things I write here and running to my Mom with them. I am once again a “family discussion.” Apparently it’s easier for my online friends to accept me for who I am than it is for certain family members to accept it...they seem quite prepared to judge me. Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ve pretty much had my fill of that. When someone tells you that they think you’re possessed by a demon, you tend to get a little inured to such pronouncements, you know?

I don’t fit in easily. I didn’t in grade school, I didn’t in high school, there have been times when I didn’t in my workplace...I’m that square peg you hear about. It took me a while to get to the point where I not only was okay with that, I was actually kind of proud of it. I still am. I’m going to keep on doing what I do here, and I’m going to keep on writing what I write and thinking what I think. I’m going to keep advocating for equal rights for all and for my gay friends to be able to get married; I’m going to keep railing against the abuses and hypocrisy of the church; I’m going to keep writing about the disastrous policies the Repugnicans are trying to enact that will erase years of progress and return us to the time when dinosaurs rich white guys ruled the earth. Same thing, of course.

Bottom line: I don’t give a rat’s ass if you don’t like my opinions. It’s your prerogative to dislike them, and you know what? You can even dislike me. But it’s my prerogative to keep on voicing those opinions, and that is exactly what I’m going to do.

I’m not like everybody else. And I’m glad.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A word of warning

Take heedThose of you who are friends of mine on Facebook know that it’s been a bad week so far (and it’s only Wednesday...good times!), and some of you know details. I had a very upsetting conversation today with someone I’m very close to, and they hung up on me. I think it will blow over, but let me just say that I will not compromise my principles, and I refuse to be manipulated.

In a subsequent conversation with someone else, it was brought to my attention that a family member has been telling my Mom certain things that they read about me online. I don’t know if they’re reading Facebook updates (I have my privacy settings quite restricted, but just in case, they are now blocked) or reading what I write here. I can’t block them from here, but perhaps that means they’ll read this, and I would welcome that. In fact, here’s a little message.

I would ask what purpose they hope to serve in telling tales about me to my Mom, or telling her things that I’ve said on here. My Mom doesn’t have a computer, and the things that I write here aren’t meant to be shared with her. What do you hope to accomplish in telling her things that you know will upset her? Why the fuck would you think it is in any way acceptable to upset an elderly woman who is still emotionally raw over the loss of her husband of 60+ years? What kind of an idiotic asshole are you? Really. I’d like to know.

I don’t care if you disagree with my religious and political views. In fact, I’m glad that of that. It will be a cold day in hell that we agree on anything like that, and that’s cool with me. But be warned: you are hurting my Mom by telling her what you are telling her, and that is simply unacceptable to me. If you’ve got a problem with me, you talk to ME. Have the balls to look me in the eye and tell me what you think of me, and I will gladly reciprocate. Gladly. Believe me. But if you think it’s amusing to tell an emotionally fragile widow things that will upset her and potentially cause a rift between her and her youngest daughter, you are a real prick, and I want nothing to do with you.



IsolationNo, not the blood and body fluid kind you used to see in the hospital. [Sidebar: Back in “the day” at my first job, there were different types of isolation that we had to deal with when going up to the floors and doing phlebotomy. Heck if I can remember them all now. I recall a blood and body fluids precaution for when a patient had hepatitis or AIDS; there was a strict isolation for a patient with Creutzfeld-Jakob; I honestly can’t remember any of the others. That’s because a few years after I started working, we went to universal precautions, in which every patient and every specimen was treated as potentially infectious of any ol’ thing. So you had to wear gloves with everyone. When I started, you only had to wear gloves for phlebotomy if the patient was in isolation. I find that so hard to believe now. End sidebar.]

What was I saying? Oh yes. Isolation. When I find myself in times of trouble, isolation comes to me. I can function well on the surface, be around people, and do what needs to get done, but I get very withdrawn. I try not to be mean, but I can be at times, and I regret that. However, after 48 years, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’ve come to realize that it’s my coping mechanism. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, but if anyone were to tell me that I should open up more and be more vocal about my feelings, I’d probably tell them to mind their own damn business and get out of mine. I’ll deal with things in my own time and my own way; it’s different for everyone, as I wrote about recently. I really don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as it’s not permanent. My self-imposed isolation is never permanent.

I’m very much an introvert, and can live quite happily in my own head. I realized some time ago that it’s not entirely healthy to do that, and I’ve learned to adjust. But in times of duress, I tend to return to shut-down mode in order to get my brain around something and let myself heal. I’m very much the same way when I’m physically ill; I appreciate well-wishes and concern, but I just want to be left alone and not fussed over. If I have to barf, I’ll hold my own hair back, thank you very much.

I’m at a bit of a low ebb right now due to the illness of a family member. I think I’m kind of having flashbacks after visiting them in the hospital today (thinking about my Dad). I’ll rebound pretty quickly, because I know what is going on in my head and why. In the meantime, I’m just riding the storm out. My family is a pretty stoic bunch. We’re effusive when it comes to laughter, but when it comes to strong negative emotions, we tend to keep a lot of that in until we can deal with it on our own terms and in privacy. Is it the right thing to do? I don’t know. But like Tommy Roe says, I jam up and jelly tight, baby.