I went to see Far From the Madding Crowd last night, by myself, with a theater full of other people, and my, was it stressful. This is why I avoid dramas. But it was really good. As I said recently about The Way We Were, too, it (Madding) was kind of an ass-kicker.
Draaaaaaamas. I also avoid them because I don't particularly want to seek out connection over anything that might resemble stress, conflict, or drama in my present or past life. (Not that my present life is rife with drama, unless you count some classroom experiences, on occasion.) But I was thinking yesterday, realizing, really, that I need to look at some things in the face because I'm starting to think that certain emotions will not really change that much, or quickly, if I don't let them come to the surface and be real, right in front of me.
And I know my mind, which controls my body (of course), won't let me ignore things indefinitely. That, to me, is baggage. Living with emotional truth/experience, in its complex interweavings, perhaps dance, in my daily life. I was deeply and rather disturbingly reminded of this on my dog's birthday, which also happens to be my husband's birthday - I managed to oust remembering it (was in transit, was focused on husband's birthday and making sure it was pleasant) but more so than usual, I was getting hit with pockets of concentrated grief about my dog, up until I went to bed - and then I remembered. And then I lost my marbles (which was a good thing). You might think that's strange or lame, or I'm projecting. Trust me, I thought the same. But it was undeniable, that my emotional self, my subconscious, was not going to let a thing be, even when my cognizant self pushed forward.
A couple of months ago I was thinking about forgiveness. Which I don't think about that often. Mostly because it takes me back into the modes and realm of evangelical Christianity, which I think can be a very psychologically-unsafe branch off of some extremely vital teachings (though I'll say that after a very long and truly wretched journey I once again claim inclusive - yes, it's possible - Christianity as my religion). Forgiveness has struck me as a weird, compulsory, boundary-less thing; furthermore, I haven't thought that it mattered, anyway - my forgiving or not forgiving didn't seem to change anything about my daily life. Forgiveness has not been an entity.
But because I was thinking about it and because I've been steeped in canonical scripture, I decided to look up the Hebrew for forgiveness as I assumed it had multiple words - and yes, it does. I don't remember the third but the other two words, from my poor and limited recollection, mean to cover and to lift up. When I read this I was like, psh. No wonder I'm not pro-forgiveness. Because the thought of doing either, in relationship to baggage, or damage, sounded mighty boundary-encroaching. I mean, how are you supposed to lift someone up, or cover them, when you perhaps have decided you want nothing to do with them? And I have no problem with that - I don't believe in enforced, compulsory forgiveness. I don't think it automatically becomes bitterness. I just think it's fine to be protective, because sometimes a person has only themselves to look out for themselves, unfortunately - and in a messy, sometimes bullying world, why open up the soft, vulnerable center of selfhood by forgiving someone or someones when it's still psychologically dangerous?
If you think I'm taking this somewhere where I ask a question then answer it elliptically - I'm not. I believe in protecting the psyche, and while I'm by no means a mental expert, I do think that everyone just has to follow their own path in figuring out what that means.
But as for me, I was still chewing on forgiveness because something in a podcast my sister asked me to listen to brought it up again, and so I thought on it for awhile as I was driving the long drive to Omaha - I was thinking about how I could possibly spend them rest of my life with protective behaviors and strategies to help me deal with my own baggage (and let me note I use the word baggage respectfully, not negatively), but that perhaps it might be time to start airing out the vulnerability, slowly, and lifting up, and maybe even covering. I mean, the greatest hurt comes from the greatest care, right? I don't like to have to wall myself off. I am essentially a loyal person, for good or ill, and I don't align myself with people quickly or lightly. I don't imply, either, that because I have baggage that no one else does, or that I haven't done things to others that could cause or has caused baggage. I'm just talking about me. This isn't even theoretical. Because for all the good things that I have and are going on in my life, I do think that my lack of being able to look at stressful, painful things in the face, while necessary for a very long time, will ultimately kind of undo me. Because I live with that kind of undoing-in-process. My body/emotions do not like it. It leads me to places that I don't think will, for the long-term, be helpful.
And I just wanna be okay. Which is what I want for everyone. I guess I just didn't realize I couldn't perpetuate this state. It's an extremely vulnerable thing to say, but I feel broken most of the time, and not all there. I really would like to think, and hope, that I'm not ruined, nor that I've felt all the good things and now they're gone.
Damn movie. ;)
Well, the other thing to say about all of this is that I realize that in looking at hard things in a new way, and opening myself up, once again, to the joy and pain of the brokenness and causes (myself, others - I certainly have broken myself, yes), has made me realize that to do so will make me less clamor-y, less looking for quick fixes, less trying to find ways to blot out the painful that ultimately aren't tenable and therefore destructive - AND that I need to slow down, stop trying to get somewhere, and just dig into the things that I care about about being a human, in my writing (which, up until now, has largely been a lack-thereof kind of thing). I'm terrible at getting to deep emotion in my writing and as that's kind of the POINT, to CONNECT, it's kind of a PROBLEM. I mean, I can do funny, which is an emotion, but that's kind of it.
So anyways. Time for another cup of coffee.