My ex is one of the most amazing people I've met in my life. I want the world for him and even though I know I don't have the emotional security to handle seeing it, I hope he meets the person who is actually right for him and makes him as happy as I wanted to. Jay was an honest, kind, genuinely good spirited person. He made me feel more loved and secure than anyone ever has in my life. He was patient while I dealt with mental and emotional issues that were far beyond his, mine, or most people's scope. He was supportive of my crazy ambitions. I leaned on him all the time.
All of this is true. I have no ill will towards him and I still think he's amazing.
But he was flawed.
And I am amazing, and I am flawed.
Moreover, we're both basically people; the drama in our lives is just a blip in anyone else's; in the end, there's no sense of greatness to it.
Memory performs these magic tricks, making the people in your past seem perfect or monstrous. We don't keep around the average parts in the long term. It took awhile for me to separate from the idea that I was practically divorcing Jesus. I hated myself for being cruel to the kindest person in the world. How could I, what did that say about me?
I am only recently able to concede that he had faults. I know how strange that sounds, but I think we all have that view of someone in our life. We can't see the darkness in people we really care about simply because we care about them. I don't know if this is something we do to create distance or to simply justify our feelings; either way we're tailoring our perception to fit our reality.
Similarly, it's been a huge effort on my part to remind myself that I wasn't always shitty. I'm not going to say I excelled at being a girlfriend, by any means, but I had my moments. It's hard to remember sometimes that there was a reason he stayed with me. I wasn't a trap, I was a person he loved, and there was a reason.
I catch myself doing this all the time; it's much easier to do when you're hurt and angry. If someone upsets me I start digging in, honing in on any bad qualities they have and amplifying them ten fold. It's easier to hate someone if you no longer see them as a person who made a decision that effected you negatively. If you believe they acted from a place of malice, making finger pyramids and contemplating how to destroy you like some sort of cartoon villain, your pain and sadness seems legitimized.
The fact of the matter is, though, it's pretty rare that people obsess so grandly over your misery or happiness. Our hearts and brains are made of meat; we don't always think things through in terms of how they effect others. What seems like a cruel ploy could just be one of those insensitive moments of bumping into another person going through their life in a way where you didn't come up in their thoughts first.
This is part of why I have such backlash to the idea of living in the moment without offering it context. Doing so can feel amazing, but aside from being impractical it's hard for the average person to do without catering explicitly to self interest; that's the nature of now, you're in it and if you have no context, you're the priority. Not only that, "now" is an eternity, there's a lot of intensity you're allowing for if you don't grant perspective. I'm not against that concept, of living in the moment and in many ways I advocate for it, but it's not fully formed for most people; it's far more complex than a single traipse through Terance McKenna lectures is going to get you.
Context is the tool we're given by manifesting in a physical world. Even if it turns out we're spiritual beings, we are inside our container that bumps around in a world that was made out of trees and turned into concrete. We have to put things into context because we aren't acting within an amorphous realm of collective consciousness and emotion. Maybe that's part of it, but we're rooted in the hyle, it seems absurd to me that we feel the need to abandon the material world given we can generally accept certain rules apply to all of us within it. Maybe this is off topic.
I realized awhile ago I tended to deify or demonize events that had happened but only just now realized I do the same with people. People are self-interested, occasionally self-absorbed, confused and often shallow creatures, but we're not all bad. We care about each other to degrees, and sometimes that's more or less than what we desire. In a way that's a side effect of being separated by matter. We live in a reality where we tend to experience linear time and physical embodiment; it's incredibly difficult to be fully connected and understood, despite perhaps that being our greatest desire. Schopenhauer referred to this as "The Porcupine Dilemma".
"A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself."
I think it's important to keep trying; to remember that your need to be close is as powerful and important as your need to distance yourself. Moreover, you need to remember that you're responsible for yourself and how you handle yourself. Other people don't have control over how they make you feel, not often anyway. If they do, that's a power that you gave them, whether or not they asked for it. You may not feel in control over your emotions, but you're in control over your response to them, and you have the opportunity to contextualize them in a way that makes them less torrential.
I don't view Schopenhauer's porcupines as imagery of necessary alienation, it's an allegory of self-awareness. You need to be conscious of how other people might not be conscious of how they effect you, or if they even should. Making people into something they're not serves to distance or draw in a person without offering the possibility of the opposite. That being said, even though I'm slowly starting to realize this tendency, I don't know shit about what to do about it. Like most things, it seems to be altered primarily through time, and context. I don't really have an answer to that, and I know for sure that I build people into things in my head, but it helps to know that's all it is: the demons are internal; the people are real.
About A Blog
I'm a Denver Comedian, occasional cartoonist and person of interest to someone, probably. These articles are really too long.