Just thoughs on Humanity
Life is just so fragile isn’t it? I keep getting reminded of that these days and it scares me and humbles me both.
A friend of mine who lives and loves with horses had a tragedy occur last week. Her baby girl (year old filly) was trampled in a freak accident with two of her pasture mates….they’d lived together for more than a year but a storm frightened the two wilder horses and they plowed over the yearling, killing her nearly instantly. Nearly. Of course, she suffered for a short while until they were able to put her out of her misery. My friend wasn’t there and we all dreaded sharing the news. Luckily, I didn’t have to deliver it but was able to be there to catch her as she fell to the ground in shock and grief.
When I came into work today one of my colleagues…the kindest, most compassionate and loving woman I’ve known in a long, long time, is having a terrible scare in her family. Her baby grand daughter is in hospital for the second time in two weeks, first was a seizure, now the babe is inconsolably crying and her mother, my colleagues daughter, can’t settle her. I’m worried about them…it’s so unbelievably frightening when someone so small starts to suffer with an illness you can’t easily identify. It takes me back to Colt’s early days, screaming all the time, miserable and distinctly disengaged. He would shove me away with legs and arms while he screamed his misery…all he wanted was something I could not guess or deliver, no matter what I tried. I know this is different, my friend’s grand baby’s struggle, but the pit of the stomach fear is the same. I wish I could help them. I told her to just say the word and I’d be out there to cover her, even if she just wanted to run across town to the Children’s Hospital to check on them. She seemed genuinely thankful and I feel useless and afraid for her and her family.
I’m not sure if I’ve told you guys this, but I have a near-obsession with watching true crime shows and documentaries…have since I was old enough to source them out. Youtube is a wealth of free and interesting documentaries and I’ve been taking full advantage for the last few months. I find these stories spellbinding…how someone can make the psychological leap from “normal” (ish, in most cases) to “killer”. It’s in the coldness…the switch they seem able to throw that interests me. Of course, with the attachment disorder I can do something similar within myself, but my limitation are guided by strong morals and a great love for my fellow human beings….thankfully. I do wonder how I ended up with such a strong moral base, considering where I came from and how I experienced the world in my early years. I suppose you have to be a certain sort to go that route…. I mean, I was beat, raped, mentally and emotionally tortured and neglected… I lost everything, no matter how hard I fought to keep it and in the end, I still would never hurt a fly. In fact, I get kind of angry when anyone suggests otherwise. Here’s a story to illustrate my point.
When M and I were friends, he would get crazy ideas stuck in his head. He does suffer from schizophrenia, paranoid type, and a host of other issues that complicate his muddled mind, as brilliant as it is. It seems amazing, at times, that someone so smart could be so intuitively blind. Anyway…that’s just bitterness talking there. He would hear something, it could be a freaking bird chirping in the garden, and his brain would tell him I was doing something to hurt him. (Later, I discovered that it was mostly transference of guilt…he would be contemplating doing something cruel to me and would throw the guilt my way so he could be clear of it all). He would angle some accusation at me and no matter what it was, if it was beyond my scope of ability to do to him (I seriously cannot hurt people without drowning in guilt, even if it’s only me who perceives the wrong doing) I would get mad. Really angry.
“I am NOT that type of person!” I would argue, angrily. It would offend me that he even might consider me so, consider me capable of being so callous or cruel. I guess it’s my balance check. If I monitor myself and consistently refuse to be a bad person, I’ll be a good person by default. ?
What happened to those people though, that changed them? I watch/read their stories…abused as kids, raised by drug addicts who brought men home nightly to be sure of their next high; raped by fathers and brothers and their mother’s boyfriends and Johns; left to fend for themselves at tender young ages….yes, I get it. I hear it, I lived some of that, in fact. What I don’t understand is where that switch flipped. Where along the line did they suddenly decide to steal away a little girl from her school yard to torture, rape and murder? When did abducting an infant or luring a run-away teen start to sound like a good idea? There much be a gene they have that we don’t? Or, more likely, they simply decided to take a different route…the easy way out. It’s not difficult to be an asshole in this world but it is hard to maintain a decent, loving, compassionate, empathetic life, especially when everyone around you seems to be in this only for themselves.
Another quick story….I also watched a man construct a shell for himself that reasoned away all moral ties to reality. He went from idle fantasy and a very strange Oedipus complex to actually engaging in sexual relations with his biological mother right before my eyes. He bragged openly about this after spending a long time convincing himself it was okay to do, clearly unable to see the social stigma and general revulsion attached to bedding one’s own mother. She was very mentally ill and not able to make rational decisions herself, and rather than that being a deterrent to him, it served to push him forward, as if the knowledge that he’d never get caught or refused by her comforted him and gave him license to behave even worse. He wrote about their experiences in public forums, posted nude photos and videos…it was fascinating and revolting at once…can’t look away from the bloody car accident, kind of fascinating. Disturbing to the very core of my soul as well, but still, I watched from where I stood, unable to do anything to stop it from happening.
We are all human and very few of us, myself included on the side of ignorance, realize how powerful we really are. Our brains have the capacity to convince us to do things we know are very wrong…but as long as we can justify the action in our head, we tend to come up with work-arounds.
It seems impossible to me too.
How did my foster father look me in the eye and raise his fist to me, a tiny little girl, trembling with fear at his feet? How did they let the neighbour rape me without losing any sleep over it? How does someone think it’s okay to take advantage of another who is disabled, sick and so desperate for love she’d fuck her own son just to find it?
Less horrifying….how did my brain suddenly decide that the physical pain I suffer was more important than the mental and emotional issues I face? How did the physical pain get put on the back burner so I could address the most immediate concern of being laid off and having my job/security? How did I go from being nearly paralyzed with depression, anxiety and panic from the cptsd to emotionally capable so easily when the pain came crashing in on me?
If people can convince themselves to cross such lines as I’ve discussed here and if I have witnessed my own ability to shift perspective without much effort, why do we suffer like this? Why do we, allow such sadness and misery to enfold us and hold us for years and years?
I think, and I might be very wrong here, but I think it all comes down to where you focus your attention; where you burn your energy. If you stare at your pain day by day it becomes the only thing you see. Now, I’m not implying that depression or any mental illness can be ‘fixed’ by focusing on ‘happy things’….that’s not even close to reality, but, subtle shifts in perspective can clearly change the way you look at the world and your role within it.
Just rambles today….I must have been dreaming of sadness last night. Wishing you all a sunny day with at least one love-filled surprise that catches you totally off guard and makes you smile.
Take care. xx