the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

Compassion for the Sensitive

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This was the name of the title of a post on the forums of The Icarus Project.

(TRIGGER/SENSIBILITIES WARNING: If you’ve got a problem with salty, crass language, you might want to stop reading right here.  Several four-letter bombs are to follow, a few sections down.)

It’s difficult for me to sum up what it was about, although I can recall some details quite clearly.  The content was raw, and the statement wasn’t terribly lucid.  No surprise, really, given the purpose of the site is to look at mental illness in a radical way– to look at it as a gift to creativity, insight, and alternative perspectives.

What I can say is that it was clear to me that the author wanted respite.  She described a therapy/counseling session, in which she described her frustration with being sensitive, so easily upset by seemingly small things in the world, expressing sorrow for the tiniest expressions of suffering.  Although I found her story a bit rambling and incoherent, I found succinct, articulate eloquence in the title.

Are we compassionate to the sensitive souls in our life?

Navigating social media hasn’t been easy for me.  If you’ve followed my 10 Year Blogging Journey, dear readers, I hope that’s been clear.  I hope you’ll forgive me a moment to be selfish and speak sharply against those who have been so unkind.As I said, I started blogging to face the darkness of my childhood abuse.  I started when blogging was relatively new, and people still looked at it as presenting a diary to the world.  I was drawn into LiveJournal by a live-action roleplaying group– a toxic lot, I found.  When they weren’t pretending to be scheming, backstabbing, warring vampires, mages, werewolves, fairies and other fantastical supernatural creatures, they busied themselves with drama whoring, pettiness, gossip, and gutter sniping in real life.  Much of the rest of the community seemed to be that way, too.  What remains popular there now is the “Oh No, They Didn’t” subcommunity– which I would sum up as the TMZ of blogging.

“Damn it, Val, you really are a sick fuck!  … Good thing I like sick fucks.”

When I looked to the old VOX blogging platform as a possibly more mature alternative to LiveJournal, things didn’t get too much better.  Does the notion of controlled, private content bring out the worst in people?  (The site took the idea of controlling which readers could see which content, although a little less customizable.  Most blogging sites now hide posts individually by password, instead of filters.)

Jack Yan at Wellington's Software Freedom Day ...

Jack Yan at Wellington’s Software Freedom Day 2010 event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I met some folks I still have the pleasure of interacting with, such as Jack Yan.  A lot of the people I initially connected with are gone, however.

I still miss Valerie Rae (valerae) in particular.  The quote above in this section is easily how I’d sum up my impressions of her.  She was into shock humor and geek culture, and while her aggressive, mischevious style sometimes wore thin with me, I’d still have a smirk or a shit-eating grin on my face.  A certain core of the community, however, decided to ostracize her, as she decided to have an extramarital affair, and her would-be paramour decided to air all the dirty laundry about it.

I apologize if that offends some of my ex-Vox readers, but, seriously, now.  Did any of you catch wind of the whole #Gamergate debacle?  It’s okay if you didn’t; I think it relates, though.  I’ll sum it up like this: People that talk smack about folks in their personal lives should recognize it for the smelly, steaming shit that it is, and shut off the damned diarrhea from their mouth already.  Both “The Great Shunning of Val” and #Gamergate involved people spewing their personal shit for all the world to see (like someone they just fucked is now apparently a skanky slut), and it just resulted in more stinky shit.

I don’t pretend to give myself a free pass or an exception here.  I was really sad to see that continue on WordPress.  What was the scandal?  Rachel Mallino decided to call out Eric “Le Clown” Robillard on sexually predatory behavior.

The backlash against her, as a result, I think was very unjustly deserved.  Sure, I’m biased, I guess.  For the first time in my life, I met someone who understood and had lived– no, survived— maternal abuse, albeit with a complex case of PTSD (cPTSD).  I’d say the tales of her mother’s narcissistic abuse are much more horrifying than my own, even if my own mother is too quick to gossip about her co-worker’s vagina falling out.

Western society is not kind to those who wear their emotions on their sleeve.

It was a really awkward journey, getting to the point where I was ready to write The Analogy of the Splinter.  Metaphorically, I was bleeding, urinating, and defecating in pain across the blogging community I knew, spilling out ugly details of my pain and suffering.  To be fair, I guess that’s against the social mores and folkways of blogging: you’re supposed to air your stench on your own space, not in the comments section of someone else’s.  But instead of receiving some tender care and merciful attention, I got people recoiling in disgust and revulsion.

Hmmm.

It’s called “read between the lines”. Credit: save-send-delete.blogspot.com

Oh, wait.  Maybe I wasn’t clear.

When “hold your horses” just won’t do. As seen at danceswithfat.wordpress.com

I loved this Depeche Mode tune back in the day (actually, I still do), because it encapsulates my outlook on how I interact with the Internet and the world around me:

What you see, is what you get.

Hey, I’ve got no problems making fun of myself.  I mean, speaking of feces, grand kudos to those of you dear readers that got through The ER doc told me I was full of shit.  Especially those that commented to great comedic effect; clearly, you fine folks realize that shit happens. Or rather, that sometimes it doesn’t, and you’ve got to take some drastic steps to get it to happen (no, seriously, this is how it went down, folks):

Why yes, my bowels are cramped up and hating me all over again– thanks for asking! Image credit: memeshare.net

Coming back full circle to The Icarus Project, I remember crudely parodying Rienhold Niebuhr’s The Serenity Prayer on those forums:

God grant me the serenity to accept the shit that happens,
The courage to clean up the shit I did shit,
And the wisdom to know not to mess with someone else’s shit.

I don’t always practice well what I preach, but I do strive to be consistent.

There are some people in my life, mostly close friends and family, that would be shocked by my liberal use of profanity, such as “fuck this shit”It’s a bit hypocritical, because when I discussed such things with my daughter, I listed several of the common 4-letter bombs and admonished her not to use them in polite company, and to use them precisely for what they meant.  Generally speaking, I don’t believe in silly Old English-Latin dichotomies where saying “fornicate” or “feces” is acceptable, but “fuck” or “shit” isn’t.  But then I use those “vulgar” words broadly, as in, I’m not really going to stick my gentalia in a pile of manure, or literally penetrate something with my penis, and that stuff isn’t literally splattered with excrement.

For the record, she loves humor that is just littered with coarse words, but since her brother with autism is too prone to parroting a lot of things, well, there was this dialogue…

(audio from some random YouTube channel)

“Motherfucker…”

(me in the background)

“What?  The only person I want to hear saying ‘fuck’ around here is me, damn it!”

What’s all this?  This is the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, that’s what.

Oh yes, this raw, crass post has a purpose.  It’s in response to the massive event Yvonne Spence and Lizzi “the Considerer” Rogers put together.  Please see their posts 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and We ALL need The Village for context.  Or see this lovely video that the awesome Tamara Woods put together:

Again, apologies if my four-letter bombs were offensive, yet, I tell you, dear readers– that’s life.  Life is messy.  Life is ugly.  Life is raw, and brutal.  If you got past my salt and spew, I salute you.  I almost didn’t write anything for this, because I was still smoldering with rage, festering and boiling in pain.

Please, have some compassion for those who are suffering, even if they are thrashing about in an awkward, unseemly, even vile and disgusting way.  It’s more than worrying about someone in a land far away, or fretting over the depressing headlines the mass media uses to sell news.  Not that such isn’t important, or such empathy for those you don’t personally know is invalid.  I ask you, dear readers, to notice and care those that are right beside you, or those you might not consider as worthy of compassion.  Someone like me.

This quote has been kicking around Twitter lately, and I think it’s appropriate:

as seen at hannekeantonelli.com — Please visit wendymass.com for more info about the author quoted here

Dare I say it, dear readers, we’re all quite possibly clueless– completely clueless.

Click through for image source/credit. Seriously, I find some of the best images right from WordPress bloggers, and for that, know that I am forever grateful.

becuo.com – Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself Shirt Images & Pictures

To close, consider a more recent offering from Martin L. Gore and his Depeche Mode bandmates:

Author: jaklumen

Wherever you see "jaklumen", that's me. The username is still unique as of 2016, so it's just me, and only me. It's the real me, because I'm bad at faking otherwise.

14 thoughts on “Compassion for the Sensitive

  1. “things get broken,things get damaged, … words left unspoken left us so brittle… I wish I could take the pain from you” very fitting words from Depash mode for this post. Well written.

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    • Thank you! I’m a big fan of DM as Martin Gore has such a way with words. (I read in a recent article that his lyrics were found to have more academic depth than other musicians’– higher grade vocabulary and such.) Sometimes, art explains things so much more fully.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you on the subject of trolls, that they create a lot of problems for people trying to share their feelings to soften the burden for others. I think it is best to ignore them and not add fuel to the fire. Personally, I try to be the change I wish to see in the world and apply the rule of “Don’t put it out there if it does not make someone’s day a little brighter”. This is my way of “fighting” for a better world. 😉

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  3. Thanks, Jak, for writing. What a journey! Interesting rewriting of the Serenity Prayer.

    Taking your advice about showing compassion for those nearby by trying to show more compassion for my husband and my son, by giving them more of my attention. I find myself spending far too much time on social media. Oh, well. At least I am sitting beside my husband as I type and he reads on his iPhone. I just suggested he switch to the Nexus as the screen is larger and strains the eyes less.

    Back to your story: you do a great service sharing your story of maternal sexual abuse, for it is so taboo a subject. There is an extreme bias and denial that women could do such things, when women are human and can be just as sick and twisted (and here I use “sick” in a purposefully negative way). God bless you, a sensitive soul who has endured and survived horrific abuse and lives with PTSD.

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    • My reworking came partly from my experiences with 12 Step work, especially since I did it mostly through online meetings and long-distance sponsorship, rather than in-person chapter meetings. Part of it was in response to the toxic power struggles I found in the Icarus Project forums. I just felt like a sardonic, blue-collar interpretation was fitting.

      As for social media, well… the family room of our house is busy with the majority of family members have several computing devices going– I work on a desktop, Cimmorene often has her desktop AND her tablet going, and Princess got a leftover laptop of my mother’s last Christmas. We do pay attention to what each other is doing, however. We (the aforementioned) actually discuss a lot of what The #NoMoreShame Project/Trauma Recovery University presents in chats and video feeds, and often send media clips to each other. In short– we manage to involve each other in our gaming and media consumption. And of course, you noticed that we talk about ourselves to the Internet, what we’re all doing together. I’m not sure how that’d work for you, but that’s how we manage not to get too separated– just enage the Internet in a collaborative way.

      And I feel like I’ve got to share my story of maternal abuse because not too many others are talking about it. Rachel Mallino (Calamity Rae) set off that spark, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s been willing to talk so boldly about it as she did for a while. And it’s worse for men, you know? I meet guys in the chat, but they are so precious few, and if I add the qualifier of maternal abuse, the common denominator starts approaching zero. What brings me alternating sorrow and anger is I know at least one guy active on WordPress (he shared a fair bit about being a rare dude in attendance at the last BlogHer) who could contribute if he wanted to, but, he doesn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The shame must be undaunting for most men to overcome. I agree with the #NoMoreShame message. My husband and I often sit beside each other with our electronic devices, and when my son is not on the xbox, at times, he joins us. Usually, though, when my son is not talking to his cousins and friends through xbox, he is studying, watching TV, and/or talking with us. My son demands my attention and gets upset when I’m not listening to him attentively.

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  4. I’m really sorry that you had to go through a very traumatic time during your childhood. It’s not something that’s been widely talked about and hopefully awareness will increase on this issue.

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    • Thank you! I wanted to say that your outlook on Indian American life reminded me of a blogging friend– Neha/”purplesque”. She’s an Indian national working as a psychiatrist in the States. Between comparing notes on community mental health, she’d share traditional Indian recipes. I couldn’t find garam masala in my hometown (forgot to check the health food store) and so she sent me some.

      This issue is a tough one, yes– if you look back a few posts, you’ll see I’m still working on boundary issues with my mother.

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  5. I remember the le clown thing. I was pretty much shocked how all of it happened. I didn’t “take a side.” Rather I watched on, confused, as people rapidly attacked one another in a witch hunt of sorts. I wish people would just all be excellent to each other.

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    • It was ugly, wasn’t it? I’m sure glad I ditched Facebook a while back, because I read it got even uglier there.

      I was blessed to have met Rachel Mallino, though… I don’t think I would have gotten a full grip on my past if I hadn’t. A brave soul, she is.

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  6. I had no idea you’d been blogging so long and first, even though I know this is not the #1 point of your post, I have to say that I’m so sorry you dealt with the trolls. I got them recently in a huge bad way and was SHOCKED at how cruel people are hiding behind their little keyboards.
    Also yes we’re so clueless. And Depeche Mode? OMG Awesome. Saw them in concert back in the 80’s

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