Saturday, July 17, 2010

Daily Reminder # 50

(Please scroll down for the Weekly Wordzzle Challenge.)

Well, I have to say that I never really expected to make it to 50 of these daily posts... and I'm sorry that #50 falls on a day when I am deeply tired and not feeling either well or inspired. The heat, which I'm managing pretty well in the daytime is kicking my ass (sorry if I'm not being polite) at night. Not sleeping well at all and waking up tired and sort of grouchy. So, #50 is going to just be a couple of old pictures. I'd have to totter out to the kitchen and get the camera to post anything new and that just seems like way too much effort at the moment, so...

But then again.... maybe not. Today's reminder:

Human beings and how they feel and express their emotions are profoundly complex.

I just finished watching a show I don't usually watch. 20/20 was about a woman who was accused and convicted of attempting to murder her husband. They were in the process of what was supposed to be a pretty amicable divorce, still living in the same house (which they had built together). She was a yoga teacher, apparently very much a pacifist, but she supposedly beat him bloody with a baseball bat and then shot herself in the hip and then called the cops. It just doesn't make sense to me that she did it. Even if she had wanted to kill him, beating him with a baseball bat and then shooting herself seems like such a peculiar way to do it. There's much more to the story, but part of the reason the jury convicted her was that they found her too emotionless. In so many of these big cases people are tried in the press and by the jury for not crying properly or for laughing when the world thinks they should cry. Drives me crazy.

Thank God, that when my sister was murdered the guy who did it was caught and confessed or who knows how my and my family's emotions would have been judged. I don't cry a lot. Before my sister was murdered, I was pre-therapy and so emotionally damaged that I was incapable of tears.... for anything or anyone. The friend I called after I heard about it liked to tell the story of how I actually listened to her complain about her life for about 40 minutes before I told her the reason for my call. I was that polite, that unable to express my emotions. At my sister's house a few days later, her children laughed at something their friends said. Does that mean they didn't love her? That they weren't coping with grief so profound that it annihilates you? I spent days/weeks feeling like I was walking under water, like nothing was real.

It drives me crazy how we are so prone to presume to understand the emotions of other human beings. It drives me crazy how little compassion there is for famous people whose lives are blown apart by terrible tragedy. They are supposed to perform theater for us and we (who are so apparently incapable of grief ourselves that we need theatrical demonstrations of how it's done) are audience and theater critic. If they do it "right," we applaud them. If their grief doesn't entertain us properly, they are villains. Screw the fact that we are villains intruding on their pain. Screw the fact that human emotions are profoundly complex and that some of us who have come out of abuse saved our Soul-lives with laughter. You would not believe the horrible childhood events I related to my therapist with giggles and jokes. Not feeling them was how I survived them. Mark Twain once wrote that "all humor is born of sorrow." I don't know if all of it is, but some certainly is made of pain.

I could go on and on about this topic. I have intense views on how people treated Ted Kennedy and the coverage of the OJ Simpson trial. In each of these cases I had intense reactions to the nature of the coverage based on the experience of my sister Carole's murder. I don't get the way the Collective We responds to other people's pain... how we feel fine giggling about Tiger Wood's infidelity as though his wife and children were non-sensate beings living in a void, as though Woods himself wasn't a flawed person behaving badly and suffering profound humiliation. At the hands of Republican thugs, we did a public humiliation of one of our president's for something that had nothing whatsoever to do with his service to the nation.... I could rant on and on and on... but I've already ranted too much for something that is supposed to aim at being uplifting.

I just wish we were kinder... at least that our Public Self were. But I think it reflects an unwillingness as a society - as a world, perhaps - to engage in empathy. If there were more empathy in this world, people would not fly into buildings, Iraelis and Palestinians would stop defending their indefensible behavior, look at the other guy's perspective, and find a way to make peace. If there were more compassion in this world, men would not feel comfortable stoning women for any reason or setting them on fire or... If there were more compassion in this world, bankers would not feel free to pay themselves millions while tanking the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. If there were more compassion in this world, nobody would consider withholding food stamps or unemployment or medical assistance from those who need it. If there were more compassion in this world, there would be a lot less blood and oil in the water and a lot more wind towers and solar panels.

I think we have it in us. I just wish we would put more effort into finding it.

My apologies for ranting. I won't say that I don't like ranting. I kind of love ranting. I don't know that it's a good thing, but once in a while I have to do it. I was too tired tonight to resist the temptation once I got started.

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • compassion
  • television
  • m&ms (well grateful and regretful)
  • forgiveness
  • love
  • my cane

Anyway, I was going to post nothing but gratitude tonight and instead I am having a rant about human nature. Sorry about that. Not going to re-read what I have written or I'll panic. Sorry about that too. Thanks for listening.

Kwan Yin - the goddess of Compassion
she watches over me while I sleep

May your life be rich in
compassion given and received.


Unknown said...

you are so true, if people were compassionate toward others, there would be no chaos. but then, people chose to succumbed to egoism...shall i say forgiveness is God's grace...
btw, i like the truthfulness in your stories.

The Bug said...

I love this! In fact I love it so much that I might do a blog post about your post (let me know if you'd rather I didn't). My husband is a famous ranter so I'm well used to that form of communication :)

quilly said...

Heat?! It is 65 degrees inside my home. We do not have any heating oil because it is SUMMER. I am bundled up and freezing!

Human emotion -- my sister recognizes none but her own. No one else matters. She threw a temper-tantrum and called me selfish because after standing up for 7 hours -- about half that time spent entertaining her grandkids while she sat and read -- I insisted on sitting down for 15 minutes before cooking dinner.

Too many people are ME focused and have no WE feelings.

Janie B said...

Ranting is sometimes good for the body and soul. I liked your rant. It rang true for me. Love the pictures, too. Your photography is getting better all the time.

Argent said...

A good rant is a useful safety-valve and at the very least you ranted about something worthwhile (you could have bemoaned the price of Pop-Tarts or something). We do need more compassion. I'm desparately trying to see things from others' point of view more in my life - it's sooo easy to assume the worst about them. Hope you do manage to get some sleep - I have trying to sleep when it's hot.