Loving is hard as fuck. Lately, this has been the lesson. No matter how open I think I have become, no matter how much I believe I have grown, there are still some people for whom I will not open my heart. I didn’t think this was true until I read an article the other day about progressives who are completely open-minded and loving and accepting of all sorts of people unless they happen to be conservatives, trump supporters, or any other type of right-wing individual or group; according to the article, progressives are quite intolerant of those people. As I read through the article, I had to admit, that writer described me almost perfectly.
Those people scare me. Even though I know that is how I have been trained to react to them, even though I know that this is how our system works. A people divided cannot ban together and overthrow the rulers that manipulate them, and I truly believe that this is what is going on in our country. We are being conditioned to mistrust, suspect, and hate each other. Over the course of the last few weeks alone, I have engaged in several arguments with different types of conservatives over trump, choice, and Muslims. I have become enraged at the short-sightedness and fear that they have expressed. I have become indignant at their ability to discount an entire group of people due to the actions of a few.
And I am no different. I have in the past marginalized conservatives, feared them, hated them. I have condemned them for not seeing the world the way I do, which keeps me from seeing them as human, and in the end is the very behavior I am condemning. This is the outer circle of my hatred. Like a tiny pebble of fear dropped in a pond, the ripple effect of hatred expands, and this is where my ripple expands to. This is the “other” I fear, the “other” I hate. The “other” I really don’t know. The next circle of hatred, inches closer, is for those who have condemned or marginalized me personally. Generally, these are women or men who for some reason are threatened by me in social or professional circles. It takes a lot for me to forgive people who ignore, undermine, or otherwise shit on me, or those I love. It has been a life-long struggle for me to get myself to a place where I do not in fact, hate them.
I have held so many jobs where one or two individuals have done things which have made my work life difficult, for no other reason than my lack of deference. This behavior of mine is not meant to be inhospitable, I simply don’t see people as above me, no matter who they are. Unfortunately, some people need that to feel secure, and when I don’t give it to them, it kinda fucks things up for them. When women are unkind, most often, it is because they see me as a threat to their relationship happiness. This occurs in social situations and usually has to do with a man they see as their property, which, even as I write that makes me want to copiously and prolifically projectile vomit all over my keyboard. A lack of funds to replace my computer is only one of the things keeping me from it. The other is that whenever I puke I feel like my entire stomach is going to follow the contents I have just expelled.
I experience this treatment when their boyfriends pay too much attention to me, or when my boyfriend is of particular interest to them. I too have behaved in this awful way when women I don’t know hit on my fella in front of me, or my boyfriend for some reason forgets who his gal is. In these moments, I am convinced that I have the power within me to crush sculls with my gaze. My stare conveys one of icy cold and violent energy, energy which could instantly incinerate a dump truck if unleashed. I am certainly not proud of this energy. In fact, I have very little control over it when it arises. I am hoping at some point that I can attain that control, and maybe even let it go. I think it might add years to my life if I am able to swing it.
The next circle gets real small, even claustrophobic. This is the hatred I have for myself. This is what comes out when I fool myself into believing that I am a victim. This is not self-pity. This is not attention-seeking. This is a dismissal of my value, of my power. This is an absolute disregard for the wonder that is me. This is the epicenter. This is where the pebble of hatred has been dropped. This is where my self-hatred begins, and if I want to change the way I see conservatives and people who have done me wrong, this is the circle I need to work on. This is the circle I must eliminate. In essence, I must keep the pebble of hatred from dropping at all.
Because I have just come to see this as the root of my hatred, I am nowhere near resolving it, but I know now that when I am shitty to anyone, it stems from my misunderstanding of who I am. It is my crooked perception that sees me as a victim, not a victor. When I see myself as a victim, I believe in that moment I am powerless, and that is when I lash out. That is when I become a desperate woman clawing at the cloak of reason.
If I saw myself as the powerful and lovely being I am, conservatives really wouldn’t bother me as much. They wouldn’t seem like such a threat because I would know that their value systems have nothing at all to do with me. Men at work (yes, I did that on purpose), would not bother me either. I would be able to let them have their allergic reaction to my lack of deference and go on my merry bad-ass way.
And this is where it gets good, real good. If I saw myself accurately, if I truly believed I was lovable, I most likely wouldn’t care much when women got angsty with me. I wouldn’t really give a shit if I perceived my boyfriend as paying too much attention to some random woman in my presence, because I would understand, on a deep level in my soul, that the actions of others have very little to do with my value. These experiences are in fact, nothing, if not a way to train myself to understand my own value.
This in itself is a victory; admitting that I see myself as less than. It is an embarrassing thing to admit, but one I must own if I am to conquer my hatred. And I must. We are at a point in our history, I think, where we can see where fear and hatred lead. I have decided that I don’t want any part of it, and because I cannot change the way politicians send my brothers and sisters to foreign lands to kill absolutely innocent strangers, and I can’t keep corporations from utilizing slave labor as a way to keep their costs down in order to make bigger and bigger profits, I have to do something about what I can control, and I will not add to that hatred. I will not be a part of the fear mongering, and I will work toward love in every way possible, until the day I die.
We have been taught to see violence as the answer. Taught to believe that war is hard, and if we are strong, that is what we do; we go to war and we win battles and we conquer our foes. But this is not the case, because in reality, this, this war, this violence, this is the easy way out. Pointing to people and forces outside ourselves is the source of our misery. Believing that if we only beat the “other”, kill the “other” will we be secure. But it is not the other that is the problem. And war and violence are not hard. On the contrary, they are much much too easy. Easy when too many people profit from it. Easy when we do not lose our loved ones in the making of it. Easy when it is justified by our uninformed and vague fears that we are at risk of losing.
We have also been taught to believe that love is flowery, that it is easy. That it is an idea which exists in the ether and descends upon the lucky and the young, but it is not. It is the hardest thing we can do as we face our fears about ourselves and the world around us. Love is hard when we have nothing to look at but ourselves. It is hard when we have to stand in our own shit and breathe in. It is hard when all roads of confusion, lack, and fear, point back to us. That is why it is so hard to do. That is why so many relationships end badly; why so many have lost loved ones to war. It is because loving is hard as fuck. It takes all your energy to choose it when you feel threatened or at risk, but we must choose it. It is the only way.
That is why I drew this picture today. I need a reminder. I need to remember that loving is hard is fuck. But I must do it anyway.
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