We are not Cavemen anymore
5,000 years ago, people with a language started sharing information, and so recorded history began. Today instantaneous pan-global and inter-space communication takes place every day, it is common place. Is that not a benchmark? Should we not be shaking each other’s hands and laughing about how bright the future looks? Well as it turns out, no… We still need to conquer one more human need before we can move on to bigger things. We need to conquer our fear of the unknown, and one way to do that on a global scale is to take money from all military budgets and pump it all into education. Another way is that we could all teach one subject on the internet for free to anyone who asks. A third way could be everyone on the whole plant grow up and realize that all their wars and greed won’t count for shit if we keep killing each other and the planet. Grow Up! We aren’t Cave-people anymore!
I feel most alive when I make choices I can then act on, I feel most alive then when I’m living. The choices I make are unique to my experiences; they are a reflection of my observations, my perspectives. Being raised as a religious person, and being afraid for my safety most of my childhood I do have a “kneejerk” reaction to most situations, a fight or flight response due to prolonged and repeated mental trauma. However, I know that, again by observation, a fight or flight response to most situations will leave a person (me) without open communication, and possibly without friends or a family. I don’t know how better to explain my observation that letting an issue be, rather than run from or attacking it has served to offer me at last a peace of mind I never before dreamed of.
But it is not easy. Indeed at this very moment in my perspective I have someone I am observing near me, someone who lives in the same house as I, who as far as I can tell from my limited experiences, does not like me in the least. And upon reflection I have identified where I may have faltered from his perspective as a caring and freely giving person, which is how I generally view myself.
One morning this past winter, I was helping him shovel snow out of the walkways in an effort to get to know him better. The light conversation was very pleasant, until at one point he left to speak to a neighbor. I could hear the two men talking from where I was across the road, and I was strongly uninterested in what they were talking about. To my mind it sounded like the neighbor was complaining about his life, and the man I live in the same house with, was egging him on basking and wallowing in their shared misery in life. The conversation ended, and my housemate came back. I don’t recall exactly how he brought it up when he started talking to me; probably because I dislike shoveling snow and being out of shape I was having difficulty breathing. But what I remember him saying was, “I know I’d never rent to someone on section 8, their all a bunch of bums who leave cars that don’t work on the lawn…” I would like to point out that I put that in quotes but I doubt that is exactly what he said, but in that moment that is all I got from what he was saying. Now when he finished saying his piece, I remember thinking about what he had said, and being shocked and offended that someone his age, with over 50 years of experience in life, could be so prejudiced against the poor, of which I was one. That is when I think I must have overstepped when I said the following, “Wow that seems like a lot of hate to walk around every day with, it’s quite a burden to dislike so many people.” Now I was speaking from experience, but I didn’t think about how he was going to take that information about my perspective. So he hasn’t spoken to me in over six weeks, not for a lack of me trying to engage him the first three weeks or so of his silence, but all I got back from him were short one word answers. Thus my inference of his prejudice, led to me attacking one of his fears itself without really meaning to. In hindsight I wish my response had been more like, “Oh” or “Ah” being a form of recognition of his statement, without agreeing with his prejudice or attacking it, neutral.
Now I’m asking myself, why would I want to be friends with someone whose opinions offend me? Well, one reason is it would have made my stay in this boarding house more comfortable, but I wouldn’t have learned anything about myself or people in general had I not spoken. However from my perspective, someone, who although unwittingly, facilitated my clearer understanding of the world I live in deserves my respect for their contribution, however small. So out of respect I will leave him alone, and hope from time to time after I leave this place that he has a better opinion of the less fortunate.
I don’t like people assuming about me, so I spend a lot of time explaining myself to people who didn’t ask for an explanation. At this time in my life I have not worked a secular job in over 6 years; because of a… problem I have had managing stress both external and internal. I work on the problem as often as I can, changing my methods as it becomes necessary. Incorrect or incomplete diagnoses made to help me made things worse for many years, until a time of complete upheaval in my life came and things got worse still to the point I could not work due to anxiety.
That anxiety about working is something I used to feel an enormous degree of shame about, magnified by my perception of gross unjust judgments by some of my family, peers, and fellow citizens. I do not feel that shame any longer because I have learned, with help, something that many humans take for granted; What you think of me, is not my problem, and if you need me to think it is my problem, I can now tell you about one of your problems. Simple yet it took me many years to learn, and I am still learning how to implement it into my life, so I’m not as we say, “better yet”.
The preceding paragraph is an over-simplification on the issues of my mental health, but I hope it paints a clearer picture of what I have been doing with my life since I stopped working in 2007. I paint this picture not because I need anything done about it, though encouragement from some friends and family has bolstered my abilities to mentally endure. No, I am writing this for me to be able to say to the world that it cannot and will not keep me down, I will succeed in mastering my fears and I will make any society I choose to be a part of better for my participation because I will have overcome the darkness within and learned to stand tall and face each new dawn with my fellow human beings.
So for now, living on Social Security and Supplemental Food Income (food stamps, on an EBT card) I spend my days learning about me, something I would have done no doubt during my childhood had I not been paralyzed by the terror of impending physical harm from my father. Finishing typing that felt like I just took three deep breaths, in fact I may have been holding my breath while I was typing; perhaps I still have work to do regarding that particular fear.
I understand that people with a simplified view of work, ethics or whatever may read this and have opinions about me and my methods of recovery, you might even think I need to “…get over it…”, and I say to you, fine… think that, say it to my face or behind my back even. I was one of those people, but for me “just” getting over something takes more effort than a deep breath and moving on. I do not know why yet, or if I ever will know anything about it beyond my obvious sensitivity to emotions.
My name is Woodwise, and I am recovering from mental illness.
Eleven score and 17 years ago men and women we have little in common with, brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”.
The birth pangs of this country and its growth has cost humanity much blood, but for all of it the advancements made in human liberties, science, engineering and even art were something that we could be proud of, and still can be proud of.
However, just as a child changes over time from its birth so too has this country changed. I will not say it has changed for good or ill, but changed it has, this cannot be denied. The laws and morality from our youth as a nation need scrutinizing.
It should not be done by elected officials, whose priority is to stay in office as long as possible, it is the citizens of this nation who need to see and understand the household they have been born into. Not as lawyers, or politicians but as citizens whose lives are affected by the long winded bumptiousness of the majority of congress at this time.
“…No taxation without representation…” Was one of the principle’s this country was founded on, we need to consistently ask ourselves if we feel represented in our government, anything else is not democracy.
Many great civilizations have risen and fallen some without leaving a record of why or how they fell. With communications technology at an unprecedented level today instant communication is possible around this entire planet, and everyone must become aware that in some respects the world has gotten smaller in our minds because of it. To be able to simply sit in our homes or local library and touch anyone in the world who puts themselves near us in cyberspace is a humbling experience.
It is not 1776 anymore, and it is high time for this country to grow up and mature into what I know it is capable of being, not leading the world at anything necessarily but being a participating positive influence in the world community.
The principles of forgiveness are much easier if you can see back to the part you played in a situation where you felt wronged. If you ever feel blameless in a situation and feel that the other person/s in your story are fully to blame for desecrating some private and holy part of your life. I believe the idea of forgiveness; that we would ever need to forgive or indeed have the power to forgive is absurd and a kind of base thinking, better suited to less self-aware animals.
After the shity day I’ve had my list of things I am grateful for has not but grown. For someone like myself who has made choices that have alienated me from my family both blood and those not of my blood. However blood is not as strong as choice, and the friends I have chosen throughout my adulthood have proven most loyal and true. I believe all of my friends that can read this here are truly the cream of my life. I am also grateful to resin, without which I wouldn’t be able to remember what, and who matter.
My day started like any other day where I needed to be out of the house and on the road by 9:30AM. I spent the first two hours shopping for the rest of my months food, a new experience for me, as I was shopping only for me. The last half hour at that store was spent looking like I do outside watching the people of the town about their day.
The next stop on my days journey was a small coffee shop. Where I not only found some amazing varieties of wine and tea, but also a kind of “open arms” vibe I’ve only ever dreamt of for my own various shop ideas… It was like I walked into a liberal version of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Next stop was a Crystal Shop. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love looking at, and talking about crystals, which I did with the shop keeper, I will be going back there to obtain neat things.
Next stop was an art gallery, where I was able to sit down and chat with one of the painters about life the universe and everything, before I sat down with a man from Hong Kong and learned of ancient Chinese music while he played the instruments and told me much about them, and some of the origami pieces he had in the gallery. When eventually he and I wandered into the back room where a spirited game of Mahjong was unfolding.
Next stop was a pub that I got lost finding; but was delighted to find and enter since it was where I met a friend who I had not seen in 15-16 years. We soon began talking like we had never been apart, and then I helped (in my way) her and her really amazing friends come in second in a game of trivia.
I have never encountered a day where awesome greeted me around every corner, and then took a second to teach me of itself.
I don’t even know how to say how I feel after such a day… Good doesn’t seem to capture the warmth of my heart after being touched over and over. Great doesn’t have the punch in the gut I got every time I realized this is my life now. I loved my day so much that if I could have I would have taken my day home with me and cuddled with it all night.