Angry boundaries – A matter of respect

So I’m angry again. It happens sometimes, so don’t be surprised.

This time around, I am angry with my mother. Again, it happens sometimes, so don’t be surprised. Recently we had a gathering of family members to celebrate the combined birthdays of three of us. It’s something I find quite hard to get out of because my birthday get’s wrapped up in theirs. I generally don’t celebrate the year of my birth – it’s not that important and seems a bit self aggrandising. If I’m going to celebrate something, I would far rather celebrate something like when I met my fiancée. That is something worth celebrating. I realise that some people like to celebrate my birth, so I don’t begrudge that.

To avoid the hassles of my birthday, I generally obfuscate it. I pick a different date each year and pass that off as the threshold for when I get older. It’s generally in July, but also sometimes it is in June. This year is a June transition, mostly prompted by family members.

There are three things that I ask my mother not to do. They are all serious for me. One is to not use negative emotional manipulation to control me. I would far rather a positive interaction than one based in negative emotions. This is a real challenge for her and she has been doing this pretty well for a couple of years now. It took a bit to re-train her from her usual patterns, but I must say I’m pretty stoked with how well we have been interacting.

The other two are information based. Don’t reveal my birth name and don’t reveal the actual date of my birth. In 2000 I changed my name from what I was given close to birth to something that I chose. Partly I had never felt comfortable with my birth name, and partly I wanted to symbolise the transition from the horrible adult I had become to the adult I choose to be. As such, I would like people to know me for who I am now, not who I was. Giving them two sets of names just confuses people. Often people see me as the not-the-old-name, or they try to subtract what they see now from what was. I am not a difference, I am not a lesser entity. If anything, I am an improved model. See me for who I am and don’t get me confused.

My mother stated my birth name the other day. Seems like a trivial matter, I know. But I have worked hard to be the new me, not the old me. I don’t mind if the name gets mentioned in front of my fiancée or my child. They know all of my history. It’s our history. However my fiancée’s family don’t need to know, nor do my friends, work associates etc. My mother spilled the beans to my extended family. Again.

Last time she revealed my actual date of birth. I was pretty furious and went to great lengths to remind her, again, why I don’t like that, why it doesn’t respect my boundaries, and why it is very important to me. I ensured she knew the three things that I ask of her. This time around I’m not sure what to do. To give her some credit, she very quickly caught on to what she had done and apologised.

I understand her impulsiveness. We are pretty elite in our family. We like to prove our intelligence and our knowledge. So of course when the opportunity came to tell people something they didn’t know, she leapt on it before her brain could fire to say “no – not that”. The gods know I have screwed up a number of times in the past along similar lines.

That doesn’t stop my anger. My first impulse is to think up some way of hurting her the same way that she has hurt me. This is a very human reaction and I am observing it with interest. Your first reactions to non life threatening situations should always be observed, because they tell you a great deal about yourself. Once you have observed them, it is time to start thinking and choose an action. I am happy to report that my next reaction upon thinking of things that would equal or surpass the hurt was recognition that this was the wrong course of action to take and this was just a simple lashing out reaction. That also tells you a great deal about me.

I’m up to the thinking part now. Generally I don’t take this long to choose a course of action, but I’m pretty caught up emotionally with this, so I need to be very careful about the value system that I am using to make decisions. Emotions have two major effects on us, one is information and the other is a detraction from thinking clearly. In this case the information that I am learning from the anger is that my boundary has been crossed – my trust has been damaged, the cat is out of the bag. You can’t take back that knowledge from those who have heard it. My decisions are based on what I value and I am aware that my values are currently messed up due to my anger. If I can, I need to wait until my anger dies down and I return to a normal value system. I can then take the knowledge from the emotion that I have felt to inform my decisions. While I am still caught up in the emotion, my value system is out of balance and cannot be truly trusted.

One of my options is to do nothing. I could also talk to her all over again. I may choose not to include her in anything beyond central family functions – that is, beyond my fiancée and daughter. I could also just walk away and have nothing to do with her. These seem to be the spectrum of decisions that I can choose to act on.

Michael Abrash, a computer programmer from the old days, said that the best optimiser is in your head. First look at the problem and see if there are different ways of seeing the problem and thus applying a solution before you try to make the standard solutions faster. That sounds pretty esoteric, but consider this, the solution you may be trying to implement may be crap. If you perfect crap, you still have crap. Perhaps looking at the problem in a different light may give you a better solution, which you can then perfect.

Looking at this problem another way, I know that my boundary has been crossed. Do I deal with the one who crossed it, or should I also look at the boundary and consider whether this boundary is fair and reasonable? Let’s take another look at these three things I have asked of my mother.

1) Treat with me positively instead of using negative emotional manipulation. I really can’t see that this should change in any way. I believe the value of this is sound, fair and reasonable.

2) Don’t reveal my birth date. This is a personal thing that most don’t share. Is it any wonder that those who do know it find it hard not to mention it when the opportunity arises? Yet there are a few people who I know who know it and they don’t spill the beans. I think this says more about how much they value me as a person that they honour this odd request than it does about the request. I think this is the issue I have with my mother.

3) Don’t reveal my birth name. Most people who have changed their names or personalities would get this. We want to live in the present and the future, not be tied down by the past we have chosen to move past. Yet while my mother has changed last names a few times, these were for mostly commonly accepted social reasons. Marriage, re-marriage and convenience. There was no big symbolic change. For her, there is no issue with people know who she was, because to all intents and purposes she is the same person, just older, while I have changed radically and would rather people knew me now because I’m fairly confident they wouldn’t have liked me then. So again, this is not something she can really comprehend.

Additionally my current name is made up of [Name my father wanted me to have][Name my mother wanted me to have][Name comprised of the father I knew], she feels under represented and probably rejected. So there may be a level of anger towards my choice. Despite the number of times I have tried to explain to her the how and why of my choices, and how there is honour to both of my parents there, she really does not understand it. She just feels slighted.

So is my anger justified? I know my mother doesn’t understand me. I know she is hurt by my choices. I know these things aren’t important to her. She just blindly does as I ask without understanding, and sooner or later her elitist habit will prompt her to muck up.

So the boundary that is crossed is not to do with what I originally thought it was, it is actually a different boundary. Respect. I feel hurt because my mother doesn’t respect me, mainly because she doesn’t understand me. She actually reminds me of my grandmother in this. She also didn’t understand her daughter and just went along with my mothers wants, blindly hoping she got it right. I am hurt by the lack of understanding my mother has, and feel alone because she doesn’t get it .Doesn’t get me. And she never will.

So what will I do?

Nothing. The problem isn’t with her, any more than a rock has a problem being a rock. This is her nature, and it is mine. There is no solution. I will keep a bit of distance until my emotion settles down and then return to the status quo and hope that I can adjust my expectations down.

Sub-cultural Cruelty

Some of us are not mainstream. We have grown up in parallel with those who are mainstream, watching them and generally wondering why we aren’t part of their group. Eventually we decide that our differences are badges of honour. In a crowd of misfits, we often compete to see who has the biggest badge, which often turns to cruel competition. This is at odds with our striving to belong and I believe it is something we should strive to overcome.

 

History is full of people using symbols of stigma as badges of honour. A great example that springs to mind is the Society of Friends, who refused to go to war because it contravenes their principle of “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. This society were said to be cowards, quaking in their boots. They took on the name of “Quakers” in honour. Of course, the whole story is more complex than that, but the adoption of a difference as a badge of honour is still fairly accurate.

When we receive a stigma label like “mad”, “nerd”, “autistic”, “geek”, “homo”, “intelligent” and so on, we either crumble under the pressure, or we take it on as a symbol of our greatness in this specific area. Once we have redefined this stigma as good, we define the difference between us and the normal people as good. We then run into the common problem of accentuating the difference so that the difference appears greater, thus we are greater because of the perceived difference. While we are isolated, this is a good tactic to find some kind of worth. The more others reject us because we are different, the more we feel validated that we are different, and therefore better than normals.

Eventually we grow older and join larger and larger groups of people. From these larger groups of people, the ratio of our kind is often pretty much the same, or in some cases higher. In my primary school, there were about 80-200 children, and only a few of us, perhaps 10, were identified as nerds, fewer of us struggled with mental health, and so on. When I went to high school, the number of kids was increased to 1500, which elevated the number of nerds to 25. This is still pretty low. I had two different incompatible nerd circles that I bounced between of roughly 5 students in each, one group having multiple year groups. The rest of us rejected the rest and stayed isolated. I never did find anyone who was going through similar psychological and emotional issues as I was, but then again, you didn’t exactly advertise those kinds of differences, do you?

When I went to university, the ratio shifted a bit, as more and more nerds from many schools went on to higher education while many non-nerds didn’t. Still, the nerd clubs were fairly minimal in numbers. There were no mad clubs, there was a homo club and some other specialised groups. In effect, there was encouragement to participate in these groups to find like minded people.

Recall that part of the ego bolstering from our youth was to exaggerate the difference between ourselves and normals, that is, the bigger our difference, the more we are worthwhile in our niche? Consider what happens when all of these over inflated egos collide in a club. Someone has to be the biggest nerd, someone has to be the oddest one, someone has to be the gayest, someone has to … you get the point.

My introduction to such clubs was often an introduction to conflict. A competition to find out who is the “real X”, the “best X”, and who should just go away and stop pretending. Some of this conflict was from hazing, but mostly it was psychological bullying by individuals or groups of individuals as they tried to make you admit that you were worth nothing. Those who made it in, would then complete the cycle by ensuring that the next group of new entrants would have to battle the same to get accepted.

What strikes me as odd is that we go to the groups to find like minded individuals, to finally belong to something and instead we are often attacked and forced to prove that we do belong to that elitist group. Shouldn’t we embrace our lost brethren and sistren with open arms, welcoming them home and providing a place of safety? Clearly that wasn’t my experience of these groups.

When I found myself in a group the second time I went back to high school, I adjusted the group to accept anyone who wanted to be part of the group. Wanting to belong, to participate was enough evidence of like mindedness for us. It worked very well. So far as I can tell, no one was rejected by us, only by self exclusion. It certainly took me by surprise that this open policy is not what was being practised by the members of these clubs.

It isn’t just university clubs that tend to do this, and it certainly isn’t an artefact of club life. I hung around the alternately gendered club at my second university and found nothing but inclusiveness. I spent most of my lunchtimes there for the last few years of my university. It took some of my friends from there quite by surprise when I introduced my girlfriend when attending a party – they hadn’t realised that I was straight. Beyond a surprise though, there were no issues with my continuing to take part in their club.

Yet differently gendered people aren’t universally accepting either. I counselled some lads who had come out and started to hang around gay clubs. They found the scene very ferocious, ripping them to shreds and destroying their confidence and ego. I asked some of my gay friends about this and they admitted that this is common. When I asked why it was done, they justified it as “well darling, if you can survive us, you can survive hets”.

This reminded me of one of the justifications that my brother had for being mean to me. He felt that I was too soft and so needed to toughen up. If he was mean to me, and I learned how to survive him, then surely normal people couldn’t make a dent on me. It wasn’t him that made me strong though, it was me. I was the one who realised that other peoples opinion was only a point of data, and not what defines me. When I realised that I am the one who chooses to feel and act, then another’s issues are not what defines me. This is what made me strong, not the punishment and survival process.

When you run a group for people who are different, who are nerds, geeks, homos, lesos, intelligent, depressed, and so on, then consider how to make the group inclusive, welcoming and non-competitive for the “I am the most different” award. Consider how to coach new people into an environment where who they actually are is more important than the stigma they have taken on as a badge. Remember to make the group what you were seeking, not what you were running from.

Most importantly of all, remember to be yourself, not your difference from the normal.

Pride, arrogance and elitism

We had a client walk out on us yesterday. This happens every now and then, but this one caught my attention a little more than most.

I currently work in aged care, helping people to migrate from hospital to either home or aged care depending on their needs from a step down facility. Of course, that’s the technical name for it all. What I actually do is advocate for the clients best interests, which sometimes align with their wants, but often aligns with their needs.

Most clients work with us, to various extents, to have a mostly mutually agreeable outcome. This is somewhat where we were headed – this client wanted a few more weeks to build her confidence, strength and so on before going back home. It certainly made sense and the additional time was directed by her and conformed closely enough to our professional opinions. Thus an agreement was made.

Let met tell you a little about the client. She went to great lengths to tell us about how intelligent she and her family are, and how amazed people were with them. Yet when I look at their situation and their solutions, I was struggling to see intelligence or even wisdom. This particular client left due to a faulty assumption that they knew the system and become upset when the system did not conform to their whims. We attempted to inform her of how she could adjust her desired method to work within the system that our licensing allows. Unfortunately neither she nor her family were able to hear that.

I have met others of this kind. Generally their elitism belies their actual capabilities, certainly as demonstrated by their actual success and situation in life. This particular family, like many, seemed to have a black and white view of the world – us vs them, we are right thus no one else is, my family is infallible so the problem must be with you. Arrogance is a description that comes to mind when considering these folk. The unfortunate thing is, when it is demonstrated that they are wrong, often their pride blinds them to the evidence, leading them to escalate their response until either you back down, or they damage themselves to prove a false point. This was the case when they walked out. The client refused to admit that she didn’t know the system and made a foolish choice, refused to admit that she had ignored the advice of how to achieve the end she wanted within the system, and thus blamed the staff and system for not working the way she wanted. Her family certainly jumped on the band wagon of blame and also refused to listen to the simple solutions staff offered to achieve the ends they wanted within the system.

So she left.

It intrigues me that this family was in such a compromised lifestyle that they felt compelled to inform people about their greatness. While they might be able to learn certain things quickly, they certainly didn’t seem to reflect this in the choices they make or how they apply their knowledge, leaving me to question whether or not they have understood the data they have taken in.

I also found it intriguing that the family supported itself in their delusions about how the world works, mutually denying evidence if it contradicts their assumptions. This slows down their ability to adapt to circumstances and change. Accepting evidence is really important to adaptation.

Sometimes it is hard to know when evidence is true or false – it is easy for charlatans to proffer faulty evidence to further their goals. In this case, the evidence given had no profit advantage to the giver, nor lack of credentials for the evidence given by, for example, our physio therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, nurse or doctor. Each of us have qualifications and experiencing supporting the evidence that we provide, yet it was denied if it conflicted with the beliefs this family had or the assumptions they had.

I am not referring to religious belief here. I am referring to convenience belief. Once a conflict of belief became evident, the family would immediately act as if the conflict was malicious rather than just a fact. They personalised the conflict and escalated their response to overcome the perceived attack. Yet there was no attack, there was just us working towards a positive outcome.

So what can you do if you are one of these people?

First of all, realise the world is big and complicated. The odds are you aren’t important enough for most people to act against you because of who you are – thus if there is an appearance of people working against you, consider that this is probably a false perception. This isn’t personal, it is just a system that isn’t designed with you in mind. You can try to change the world, or you can find a way to work within the rule set handed to you. By all means, look for an alternate solution to what is offered to you, but don’t get upset if it either doesn’t work or people say “no”. If you aren’t important enough to personally attack, you also aren’t important enough to change a system for.

Next, if you have to tell people that you are intelligent, smart, or noble, then you aren’t. The real proof of these is in your actions and the consequences from this. Be intelligent, be smart, be noble. If you are, then it is obvious and you don’t have to inform the ignorant. If others don’t recognise these qualities in you, either they don’t matter, or you haven’t acted in such a way as to demonstrate it.

By the same token, your actions shouldn’t be geared to demonstrate to people qualities. Children say “Dad! Look at me!” because they want that public recognition. Adults shouldn’t be doing this. If you recognise that you are doing this, it suggests that your ego, that is your sense of self, is externalised rather than internalised. Put in other words, you rely on others telling you that you have worth because you don’t recognise it yourself, or you value their opinion more than you do your own.

Thirdly recognise that the world is not full of dichotomies. There is no us and them, right and wrong, good and evil. Instead the world if full of spectrum’s between us and them, right and wrong, good and evil. Even more, the spectrum isn’t just between two polar opposites, there are side options that can create a palette of options beyond black and white, or black grey and white. Just because the option you want isn’t available in the way you want it doesn’t mean the option isn’t available at all. It may just be that you need to adjust what you want to include some other options.

In short, don’t over extend your importants – it isn’t all about you; if you have to tell people you have certain qualities, then you don’t; and the world is more complex than simple yes and no – surely there is a solution if you are able to accept it.

Socialising

My life has been an act of evolution. As I grow, I learn new ways.

When I was but a young boy, I preferred, as many young ones do, to play on my own. I knew the rules, I knew the toys, my imagination was complete. A few times I tried to lead others through my vision, but with little success. As I grew, I found it hard to understand how all of the other kids seemed to know each others rules, but none seemed to know mine and I was quite frankly puzzled by theirs.

I aged and found that I could call a few friends. My best friend from pre-primary and early primary school was not actually a best friend. He wasn’t a friend at all. He was a guy who lived near me and just didn’t know how to push me away. I mistook this for friendship. Another acquaintance at the time saw me as a friend, while I wasn’t so sure about him. As time progressed, I grew closer to this chap, and he is the only friend I have that knows my roots. Through our ups and downs, he truly is the best friend I have ever had.

I changed primary schools and ended up in a new crowd. Again I had no idea what social rules were and found it hard to not be ostracised by the group. So hard, in fact, that I was just a single person amongst a crowd. I again latched onto a person whom I called friend, who was basically some poor sod who couldn’t figure out how to get rid of me. I again mistook kindness for friendship.

It was during these lonely years that my mother bumped into the parents of the lad I knew from my last school and organised a play date. We kept that going and become quite good friends, lasting into a reunification of schools when we went to the same high school. Our friendship this time lasted a few years. I coasted through school and he found it wasn’t a good environment for him. We travelled different paths but kept in touch.

At high school I struggled to overcome my previous isolation and try to figure out rules for being at school in social situations. They were quite clumsy. The more I tried to conform, the more I didn’t understand and the more I was rejected. Later I would realise that this has to do with the uncanny valley, which I have spoken about in the past. Quickly though, while I was noticeably different, I was just easy to label as weird. The closer I got to being like others, the more weird became eerie, so the more people pushed me away. Pain taught me to be different, to be proud of my difference rather than sorrow at my isolation.

My friend left part way through year 9. We hadn’t really interacted much in the last year, so it was not big sorrow for me. I tried joining chess clubs and reading clubs and other such, but really didn’t know how to commit or interact properly, so it was easier not to.

I started to hang around a group of other odd people. We weren’t the same odd, but that didn’t matter. We accepted each others oddities and laughed at the normals. I remember this time when a bully was trying to pick a fight with me and the rest of the group stood up and one of them said “you got a problem?” with a look on his face that clearly indicated the wrong answer was going to be messy. It was a good feeling to feel like they had my back and would fight for me.

One of my bigger objections to these people was their use of alcohol to relax, their views on women and some other class based issues, primarily because I was elitist. For them, there was nothing wrong, for me there was. As we all grew older, they moved more into alcoholism and I felt more isolated again.

I had met a girl – quite literally the girl next door – and after a few months of me trying to figure out what a relationship was, she let me go. She said at the time that I was just too nice and not what she was after. Another lass at school was concurrently trying to convince me that we could date, and I kept turning her down so as not to cheat on the girl next door.

I kept interacting with these friends even when I changed schools again, going to a different high school. This was a huge mistake. I changed schools because it was awkward to marry up the school units I wanted to do with what was available. All of the bullies from my last primary school went to this new school. It was a disaster. I made some new associates, but it was no where near as supportive as the last school. I tried hard, but I failed.

In failure, I left school and spend three quarters of a year in recovery. I avoided people, including my own family. I slept a lot, read a lot and didn’t take care of personal hygiene very well. I struggled to hold onto my sanity. I succeeded.

A few weeks before the end of the of the year I decided I wanted to go back to school because my brain started thinking and speculating again. Without the schooling, I couldn’t act on any of my speculations. To the first high school I returned.

This time we did it right. We spoke to the year coordinator, who was my form teacher from the first year of high school. She found a way for me to do the school units I wanted to do by allowing me to do one via correspondence. While my friends had gone, some of their younger siblings were present and they kind of knew me. I created a group of misfits whose primary tenet was to accept anyone who wanted to be part of the group and look out for each other.

One of our younger partial members ran into our group, closely followed by a bully in hot pursuit. With the lesson from a few years in mind, I stood up and shoved the bully, who went flying across several bags and crumpled into a heap against a wall. Dazedly he got up, trying to figure out what the heck had happened when a teacher came in to see what was going on. The rest of the bully’s cohort had arrived, looking for trouble, only to be faced by around 18 bodies ready to knock them down too. The teacher asked what was going on and I responded that the bully had clearly lost his footing racing over bags. The teacher looked at us, looked at the known trouble maker and told him to watch himself in the future. We never had bully problems again while I went to that school.

Several years later, I heard that the group still existed with the same policies. That was a warming feeling.

I migrated to university for the first time and failed dismally as my lack lustre coasting attitude discovered it wasn’t compatible with the university system of saying “here are your times and assignments – do them as you see fit” complete lack of supervising structure. On top of that, the lodging in had the land owner go through a mental break down. Her two kids needed care and I picked up that burden. By the time I called for help, I was failing too badly to bow out gracefully. I took a 6 month break from schooling and tried to coordinate my life a bit better before going back.

I went back to university and did some exploratory learning – now that I knew that pure science was all about learning what others thought before you could express your thoughts, I was far less interested in it. Many years later, I realise that it actually makes far more sense to get a fair grounding in the area you wish to express opinions about. It stops you from sounding like an idiot.

I moved on with schooling, still looking for those who were like me. I met a girl, fell in love and pissed a few people off. I left university disillusioned with the education method for the course and got my teeth into working. I ran my own business for a great number of years.

My father died. He was killed by a serial killer. The means of his death didn’t affect me. What affected me most was that when I went to meet those who knew him in his last years, they all thought I was just like him. Perhaps the one person in this world who could understand all of me was now dead, and I never got to meet him.

A year later my relationship fell apart. Partly because I still didn’t understand relationships, partly because I didn’t understand myself and mostly because I used emotional manipulation to control the relationship and she used it right back. I realised that I had become what, in childhood, I detested in others and what I had feared I would become. I left her, I left everyone.

My life came undone.

I spent months working out what was wrong with me. I got relationship counselling. My counsellor was pretty good. I got diagnosed and I rejected the cure. I found my own way forward through learning that I needed to balance my life. I need to balance the three aspects – biological, psychological and social. I added a fourth aspect, spiritual. I regulated my life until I had formed new habits.

I started by finding my old friend and going back to him. He was amazing.

He didn’t judge me. He didn’t tell me off. He just put a movie on and we watched it together. Afterward he invited me to join his role playing group – he was starting a new game. I came up with excuses for why I couldn’t.

A few days later he rang me and told me he had found a way to make it work so that none of my excuses were plausible. He had put himself and every other player out to make it work. He asked me to at least come and make a character and meet the others. I went, I kept going.

Still I was alone, but now I had a group. I was invited to a party one of them was hosting and from there I met more people and got invited to more parties. I hopped from group to group, looking, looking, looking. Still there was no one like me, but now I had found many people who had some reflections of me. I could distribute the weight of my friendship on many shoulders. None of them knew all of me, but they didn’t have to. I no longer feared burning my friends out.

I discovered that some of my friends were not friends. Some of them were very dangerous enemies. I met the person the closest to my arch nemesis that I will hopefully ever come. He was young, manipulative and trying to prove himself against me. I survived and distanced myself from him.

I met the future mother of my child. Through our relationship I grew distant again from people while I supported her. It ended when I recognised that my health was dropping lower than was safe to look after my child.

During these years I was back at university, trying to complete a new degree. I joined a social club of nerds – actually three social clubs who were closely tied together quite incestuously. What amazes me is that these nerds didn’t support each other, but were constantly competing and tearing each other down and apart. One day I will write about this (ironically, that is why I started writing this, but now I realise that is a side issue to writing my history).

My old friend had troubles accepting the changes I put in place to stop being the person I hated. I think from his perspective I was lessoning myself. To some extent that is true. I had to reverse to move forwards – backing away from a wall so you can steer in a new direction is more intelligent than driving faster towards that wall called doom. While he had troubles, he continued to be my friend and to accept who I was and who I wanted to become. He misses the old me. Hopefully the new me is a good enough substitute.

My child was four and I was single and needed a place to live. Initially I had to move back into my mothers house. Not too long afterwards I moved in with my old friend for just shy of a year. This helped both of us out, but it wasn’t perfect.

During this time, some faulty allegations prompted me to be more involved in a side line group that I was kind of involved with. The best way for these people to know the allegations were faulty was to get to know who I was, rather than base their opinions solely  on someone’s ranting. Ironically this got me closer than ever in my life to a group of people who I can call friends.

A little over a year after becoming single I began to date a new lass. Ironically she chased me and I completely failed to run away. We are still together a the time of this writing, 7 years later.

My child has grown and she is now 11. I see in her life strong reflections of my experiences. I hope that she has enough from me to guide her through her life and enough from her other family to make her similar to the norm.

While I have learned a great deal about socialising, I still am a stranger to the rules of how people relate. I have many people I now call friend. Some are closer, some are further. I also have many who I know will help and support me if I were to call for it. It is reassuring.

Still I know no one like me. Still I am alone in this world. There are a few that are kind of close, but mostly they are as distant from everyone else as they are from me. I bide my time.

Attachment and introspection

Well this seems very familiar. Reviewing my life and wondering what the point is, how much things actually matter and where am I going with this life, anyway?

While it is good to reflect, it is important to only invest the right amount of energy into it. Much like you shouldn’t go shopping when you are hungry or just ate, else you risk buying too much or too little, one should avoid introspection when your attachment to the world is too low or too high.

Our attachments connect us to meaning, to value and allow us to feel worth. If our attachments are low, like mine is at the moment, then things look bleak, hopeless and not worth doing. It is tempting to just pack it all in and do nothing. On the other hand, if our attachments are too high, everything is too important and you don’t want to miss anything, resulting in paralysis through to many options.

My best of course of action is to consider things now, but not decide until I can recognise that my level of attachment has reached safe parameters. Then I should review and make necessary changes. This moment now is to remind myself when I’m on the opposite swing that while things then will look super important, right now they don’t, and the true value of things is somewhere in between.