As a reformed shithead, I constantly feel pushed to try to awaken other shitheads to the reality that there’s a better way to be.
And as a reformed shithead, I have to constantly remind myself just how useless that was when my head was fully up my own ass. I couldn’t hear anyone while I was way up in there. Or, rather, I could hear them talking, but I never really listened. I was always waiting for my turn to respond and either wow or destroy them with just how smart and insightful and truly wise my way of thinking was.
It was never about the actual points we were arguing, either. It was entirely about making myself look, feel, and seem better in any, or if possible, every way. I read a TON, every single day, and my mental catalog of facts or references to draw from was prolific to say the least. I used this like a hammer to beat down anyone who would dare try to meet me on the conversational field of battle, thinking they had me outgunned. They absolutely didn’t. I could out-quote, out-cite, and out-argue literally anyone.
It was easy, because I never had to bother myself with understanding or relating to their side of the argument.
• • •
The hardest part of having empathy for others is that you also know how the bad people feel. You kind of have to, if you’re truly empathic. And that darkness they permeate, it’s almost always due to blindness — willful or not. So you want to help them see. But they don’t want to see, because suddenly seeing after years of darkness is painful. It burns, and it forces you to dispose of any imaginary view you held in exchange for how things really are.
There are a lot of people out there right now who just plain do not want to see the world in any other terms than the ones they decided are reality. And trying to reach them has proven fruitless. It’s almost impossible to convince someone to start loving other people. You’re going to war with their selfishness, and how are you supposed to win that battle?
I spent about two years writing a newsletter for folks who suffered massive loss. I believed that helped genuinely bring some folks who were suffering, a bit of peace. At the very least, they knew they weren’t alone. I also shifted my blog a few years ago to writing more introspective pieces questioning my worst assumptions and terrible behavior. I think that helped in some certain ways for people who, like me, just couldn’t figure out why people thought they were an asshole. After all, they were just telling the truth. So that may have done some good, as well.
I don’t know. I’m rambling. What I do know is that tomorrow is the midterm elections, where the country at large decides whether or not they approve of and appreciate how our President and Congress have been behaving. And the behavior, to me, is beyond just selfish. Its reprehensible and abhorrent. It’s a deliberate attack on how laws and democracy are built. It’s constant badgering and defamatory nonsense, DARING you to stop them, and if you do, you’re the one whose guilty. It’s awful on every front.
And instead of wage political war on Twitter and Facebook and the like, I keep choosing to write pieces — most more coherent than this, thankfully — that attempt to reach peoples’ hearts and minds with a simple message: you don’t have to play the role you’ve been convinced is “you” — you can change. You can open your heart and mind to any or every experience you want, and you will be better for it. You don’t have to be “right” — you can just be right, in your own existence, and try to do good for yourself and others. You are not your ego. You are not your personality. You can escape the trap of thinking any of what you perceive as “reality” is actually part of living.
It’s not super explosive. It’s not objectionable (except to a few REALLY upset right-wingers). It’s not controversial. It’s not anything that used to get me millions of reads a year, like how to win a fist fight or hot takes on comic book culture no one asked for, but everyone reacted to. And it’s far, far healthier, I believe, despite the fact that in 2018, I am an even smaller amount of noise in the signal-to-noise ratio of modern internet #content.
This leads me down roads where I ask myself what more I can do? How can I change bigger problems? How can I reach more people? I know that there’s pain in everyone right now, and my efforts just aren’t making a dent… How can I think and act in a larger capacity?
And this always ends up hurting, because I realize that to go any larger, I have to embrace tactics I now find reprehensible. And even if I do, who the hell is even listening? I’m not going to convert those who need converting. The only benefit I can find to keeping on is the hope that, when a shithead reforms, they find my blog and my books and read them and go “oh, man, okay, so it wasn’t just me…”
I don’t know. It’s a mess. I don’t have my hands around it yet, and I am still trying to figure it out. But I do know, I keep wanting to write, and I keep wanting to try. Even at my most discouraged and depressed, I know that the sadness is because what I truly want is to help, not hurt. And I just can’t seem to figure out how.
Until then, I will keep writing. Here, in fact. I think it’s time to get back to daily blogging again, even if it’s a ramble or goofy or meaningless from time to time. The habit is one I used to enjoy, and I’d like to enjoy it again. And through that, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two, or help shape what I already know, or otherwise find meaning in my own work again.
It worked last time… Not the way I planned, of course. But keeping a running log of what I was thinking when I was unmindful and a shithead certainly gave me contrast against the way I think in current times. Maybe this running log of figuring out just what the hell it is I’m doing here will help me know exactly where my destination is, by looking back on the path I took to get to it.
Or maybe, I’ll just be venting my colon via my fingers on my blog again. Who knows. What I do know is my brain won’t shut up, and keeping it all in is harming my mental wellbeing and distracting / derailing me from the job I have of writing the books I’ve promised to write. And maybe, just maybe… I could reach a shithead somewhere out there on the fence about whether or not they’re really a shithead, and tell them “You’re not alone.”
We will see.