I’m No Good

I want to be good.  Domesticated.  Housebroken.

Young misfit, age 4

I turned fifty-something this week and a full personality makeover looks unlikely. There is nothing my weary psyche would welcome more than to embrace peace, love, understanding and its accompanying arrogance. I want to be detached. I want to meditate and travel and make enough money to afford hummus.  My journey has not been serene and never will be. If only I could have found some way in my life to cash in on my alienation, I’d feel successful and thus more comfortable with it.

Where I live, the expression about “having hatred in your soul,” is a popular put-down for anyone whose opinion is different from yours.  It’s an all-purpose cheap shot that covers just about any subject. I can’t seem to spit the words out even when I really want to insult someone, because it’s just too lame, and how do I know I wouldn’t respect that person? It’s a fine line.

I know people who have sold their soul to serenity by trading it for their personality (like what happens to some people in AA).  I would gladly give up the personality I came with, which is apparently defective, to be swathed in the protective cocoon of new-age coolness.  An acquaintance who teaches school recently said to me that kids who get bullied in school send out signals that make other kids bully them. If you’re like me and bullying enrages you…well who wouldn’t be envious of this self-protective viewpoint? Isn’t that what we all strive for? To dilute our anger? That’s pretty impressive to not even have hatred in your soul for bullies! But while you’re brandishing your superiority, I’m feeling intimidated and no longer know what to say. (I sure have a lot to say about it now though, after thinking about it.)

Yes, there are ideas, actions and people in this world I hate. But for a person with hatred in her soul, I get a lot done.  Good things, that help people and animals and my community and my little ragtag family of refugees.  Maybe my hatred of one thing evolves from a compassion for another. I don’t know but I’m facing life head-on every day and keeping it all afloat for those who depend upon me.

 

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14 responses to “I’m No Good

  1. Hello D. good to talk to you again.

    What a beautiful young lady in that photo. I have a granddaughter who just turned 3 and she has the same look in her eyes…she’s a handful and so lovely.

    I find peace just by being easy going and friendly and try to not get so upset about anything or anybody that I “hate” them. But of course there are things going on in this world that deserve “hate” against the perpetrators. I let mine out by writing and exposing whatever wrongdoing they are involved in and it really helps my blood pressure. 🙂

    50 something is a hard age, at least it was for me. At my 50th. birthday I almost lost it. Terrible depression for a few months. (light depression for a few years), A loving family is what pulled me out of it…thank goodness.
    So remember that it does get better. You are not defective in any way…you are human, and things are not always perfect and we have the ability to rise above bad times.

    I hope I’m not getting too personal here…but I get sad when people I know are sad. Not that I know you that much…anyway cheer up please. 🙂 I find that sometimes winter weather affects my mood in a bad way…you know, all overcast skies and dark clouds and such stuff.

    Anything you do to help out poor & damaged animals is an awesome trait for any human and you should be very proud of yourself. Keep it up.

    B.
    twom

    • Thanks for your kind words. Ya gotta be so tough to get by these days, donning your armor every time you read your email, or the news, or any involvement at all with anybody.

      Fifties are hard because you feel so old, but when my partner Jimmy called his grandmother the other day and told her that I just turned 50-something, she said “well she’s got her whole life ahead of her!” I thought that was sweet because it all depends on your perspective! Then she went into a tailspin about not wanting to get another dog because she won’t live long enough to see it through its life…oh god…I can still get a puppy, and another after that!

      But I digress. Thanks, really. Things are looking up.

  2. I know just where you’re coming from. Having grown up among evangelical Christians, I often longed for the “protective cocoon” of unwavering faith, but it was not to be. Several times I have tried to suppress my personality in order to fit into some system or community that would let me believe that the world made sense, and that I knew my place in it. No good; my real self kicked free sooner or later. I remember Christopher Hitchens’s statement in his recent memoir that it is impossible to be just a little bit heretical.

    On another note, I’m very, very glad not to have a child in that teacher’s class.

    • Fundamentalism provides an exceptional cocoon (maybe by keeping a part of the brain underdeveloped?). Religion is a form of self-preservation that not all of us are in on…I really, really don’t get it.

      Would we trade our brains in for the religious model with what we know now?

  3. Fundamentalists have to keep quite a bit of their brain underdeveloped or uninvolved in today’s world. They also have to have the ability to deny facts by dissociative behavior.

    I think in years past religion was a form of self-preservation. It wasn’t all that long ago when if you doubted whether God existed you were in big trouble with your peers or with an overwhelming church presence that actively searched for signs of hereticism and blasphemy and punished people for this.

    It’s only in the last 100 years or so that people who professed atheism and agnosticism could safely deny belief…sometimes. There is still some problems with fundagelicals in the Southern states and a few others. Not life threatening for the most part, thank goodness.

    I think given a chance that Christian religionists would put the United States under theocratic rule and abolish many of our most precious freedoms. I know there are many thousands of Christians of various denominations working for exactly that end. They were mostly written about in the 1990’s and they have achieved part of their goal in that the Republican Party is mostly controlled by fundagelicals and they put in a evangelical president in 2000.

    2012 will be an election year like no other. Most of the Republican candidates for President will be fundamentalist Christians, and they are out for blood.

    It will probably be a time to pull up the bridge over the moat and be silent. 🙂 Religion really does have an evil dark side and if we give too much power to some of them…we will be sorry.

  4. Yes, Debra, you are facing life head-on and have a sensibility beyond self to other people and animals. That you see injury and seek to help, that you care for animals until it hurts, that you stifle your anger sometimes and direct it laser-like in others, are aspects of your behavior that are not defective, but honorable. You say what you mean, deliver what you promise and fight for the right. That carries you to the highest circles of compassion and confrontation. I see the fighting compassion in your writing and the decisions you have made.

    In the Old West (is there any other? of course!) there was a phrase used, “You are someone to go to the well with.” That phrase stated that a person was brave and trustworthy enough to fetch water regardless of the danger and return to the compound. That person was a compadre that would not escape the band to save their own skin.

    Debra, you are someone I would go to the well with. I mean that figuratively and literally. Carry on, Debra, despite the savages and I’m not referring to the American Indian — ever.

  5. Thank you, I’m sending e-mail!

  6. I’d go to the well with you.

  7. When you feel that way, go bury your nose in the horse’s neck, and inhale, instant relief. That’s how I survived my teen hatred off my old lady, mother.

  8. My pic, when I was seven featured an expression identical to yours. I was a little shit! Are you?

  9. Your Passion for life is so honorable. I feel your anger too. Past wrongs can sometimes hold us from being able to live fully in the Now, which is all
    we really have. Acceptance of the shit we can’t change and courage to change the shit we can, allows us to be free in the Now and also live affectively, doing what we know is right, and hopefully making a better life for those we love. Please stay fearless, loving, and helpful to all that means anything to you. You have a great Heart.

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