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.)
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.
Oh, wait. Maybe I wasn’t clear.
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):
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)
(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:
Dare I say it, dear readers, we’re all quite possibly clueless– completely clueless.
To close, consider a more recent offering from Martin L. Gore and his Depeche Mode bandmates: