My buddy said an interesting thing to me yesterday. We were talking about my obsession with being unique. He said, “There’s a big difference between acknowledging that something is true about yourself and using something as your identity.” He used examples from his life that I’m not going to repeat for privacy reasons.
I said, “Ah. But there are reasons I lead with my weirdness. It’s not random. When I try to lead with ‘Oh we all have lots in common, see we have so much in common’ I start talking to folks and then I get to little details about my life and folks often will literally physically put their hands in front of them to energetically shove me away and they’ll say something almost exactly like ‘No. I’m not like you. My experiences are NOT LIKE THAT.’ If I lead with ‘I’m completely weird’ then other people try hard to find connections and they don’t get mad at me when it turns out that… their experiences are not like mine. It’s a protective measure.”
My friend stopped and thought real hard about that.
I love when people actually stop and think during a conversation. That shit is hawt.
He kind of nodded and admitted that it makes a lot of sense that people react differently in those cases.
Then the topic shifted.
*I* think I have things in common with everyone on the planet. But I also think that if I try to get people to think they are like me they get upset. If I tell people that I’m really weird… they have more patience with me. They are more capable of looking at me as a weird alien culture who might have an inch of crossover with them and hunh isn’t that interesting.
When I was a kid I used to cry because I didn’t want to be weird. I hated that people constantly told me how weird I am.
Oh, here’s a thing my friend said: he said that often we self identify with a negative because we want to eliminate the sting when someone else uses the negative.
It is kind of like that only I don’t think that being weird is a negative anymore. I think it is a fact and people will acknowledge it whether I bring it up or not. If I bring it up then people can’t bludgeon me with it. So… exactly what he said only I don’t think it’s bad/negative and other people might.
It is interesting reading stuff about autism lately. One of the key phrases I see people use to describe themselves repeatedly “I feel like I come from another planet.”
I feel like I came from this planet and then I had a completely weird set of experiences that other people can’t understand.
So many opposite extremes in my life. Poverty and wealth. Health and dysfunction. Fitness and physical degradation. Violence and the conscious choice to be gentle.
I talk a lot about being a violent person. But I’m a violent person who doesn’t hit people. I’m a violent person who doesn’t use physical intimidation. I’m a violent person who doesn’t verbally threaten people.
Violence is such a complicated topic.
Being in Alaska frames some of the violence differently. Most people here hunt. You know what? I don’t think hunting is violent. It involves killing… for survival. Is that violence or is that life?
When people are fighting other people in a civil war… is that violence or life?
I watched a video in the museum yesterday. A woman was talking about her grandmother who taught her indigenous survival skills, “I quickly learned that my grandmother didn’t take no crap. She was a tough woman who was only going to allow people to treat her with respect.”
Can you be that and not be violent? I sure hope so. Because I’d love to have people think of me in a similar way.
You teach people how to treat you. And I am not interested in taking crap from anyone.
There’s this dude in my extended community. He dates several people I adore. I feel that he has really useful, awesome relationships with them. He does wonderful things for their lives and self esteem. I can’t fucking stand to be in a room with him. He does nothing but give me crap. Or ignore me. There isn’t an in between.
It’s ok that other people are motivated by teasing and taunting and I am not. It is ok that someone can be wonderful for many people and completely a problem for someone else. We don’t all have to need the same kinds of support or the same kinds of relationships.
That’s been a lovely thing to feel deep in my belly as I get older. He’s a fantastic influence in their lives. I would not say words or make gestures that might fuck up their relationships. It would be cruel and evil if I did. But that doesn’t mean I have to like him or be near him.
That’s such a wonderful, freeing thing to feel.
When I was younger I had trouble with the geek social fallacies. “The friends of my friends have to be my friends.”
Naw dude. Make your own damn friends.
A woman I love very much is having a hard time with someone she loves very much. The person she loves is struggling with big life problems. My friend wants me to get involved and be supportive of her friend. She keeps asking me to reach out and indicate love and support and offer myself as a sounding board because I give such good advice and I’m so good at helping people.
I love you. I’m sorry your friend is suffering. No. I am not in a profession where such a reaching out would be appropriate and it would be codependent as fuck for me to add more drama into my life right now. I can’t reach out to a person in crisis and invite them to lean on me right now. It would be wildly inappropriate given what I’m trying to do with my life in this moment. I’m trying to calm my body down. I’m trying to heal a lifetime of physical damage from my life experiences.
I can’t take on a project meth-head right now. That would be highly dysfunctional.
Even though your friend deserves all the support in the world… it can’t come from me.
Boundaries are complicated and hard and have to be looked after. It’s ok for people to ask for things I don’t want to give. But I need to be on my toes about saying “No”.
I think this is a positive step for me?
And that’s the end of my attention span.