You know, ever single time I judge someone, I am deeply aware of how wrong headed this is to do. I don't know more than anyone else. I am not superior to anyone else, no matter how much I want to think I am. It's all ego.
I hate vivisection. I hate people who harm other people or animals or life in any form, (even if the end supposedly justifies the means), and this includes trees. You should have seen how hard I glared at the men sitting on the machines who were just waiting for the signal to take out a neighborhood tree that we had all banded together to save a year or so ago. I was hating those men without knowing anything about them, their struggles, their loves, what their home lives were like. But even as I was standing my ground protecting this beloved tree I was aware that we, these men and I were equals. We just happened to be standing on opposite sides of something that meant a lot to both of us. I always have this awareness about me, despite what I may say here now, or stupid things I am sorry for having said in the past.
This journey I am on, this journey we are on, is all about change and growth and most of all love. I've said this before, and it certainly isn't an original thought, but I am certain that this planet we are on is a finishing school of sorts, a school for the soul, and that everything that happens to us here, and everything we happen to someone else, was a course of some kind that we selected from a list of classes long before we arrived here.
And this is why when someone comes along, (and there have been a few but never as many as the number of people who have been supportive), who hurts me in some way, insults me, wounds me, and comments on my choices, the way I live my life, my mothering of my son, my behavior as a daughter towards my mother, I forget to let it roll off me, as many of my friends here have so kindly suggested, and take it more to heart. It is precisely because I believe that there is value in everything, that there are lessons to be learned in every thing, that I let things in a bit too deeply. I find that I have to roll them around a bit, in my metaphorical mouth, before I can incorporate what is good and spit out the bad -- the parts that have been poisonous to me.
It is precisely because of the fact that I tend to begin by loving everyone, (if you look at the subheading of my journal you'll see that it has always been titled, Loving You With Reckless Abandon), that I accept that hurtful people may be beautiful people despite the hurting. I start by thinking they may be well intentioned, and so I wind up spending too much of my time and energy on them, with the process of trying to understand why they have been put in my life, and what it is that they have to offer that I should be taking advantage of.
In my semi-recent experiences with a housekeeper who tried to extort a large sum of money from me, a woman who threatened just about everything that I hold dear, and wound up bringing a lot of chaos and finally the police into our lives, I hold that we both gained something from the experience. I felt a lot of love for her, and wept as I let her go, and I think my loving her helped this poor woman who had been so abused and abandoned as a child that her only comfort when her hunger pains became too intense was to inhale spray paint. I behaved impeccably with her and did not take any kind of revenge against her for the damage she had inflicted, I just took reasonable steps to protect myself and my family from further damaging contact.
It amazes me how sometimes the people we think we have the least in common with are often the people we have the most in common with, and are often the very people who have the most to teach us, about forgiveness, about loving, about growth, and about saying no to things that are unhealthy for us when they become too wounding. I may ask for these experiences to be lifted, I may ask people not to behave in these ways, but I will look for the lessons along the way.
This is how I feel about the recent drama in my journal, that while yes, indeed there was some value in what this person had to offer me, the way this advice was offered was irresponsible and damaging. You cannot carelessly call someone a pathetic loser, harshly point out all of their perceived flaws, while sharing nothing of your own life, and expect them to blithely accept this as a loving gesture and take motivation from it. Despite the hurt of it, and the time it took to process this, I sought the lessons in it, I learned from it, I grew and will continue to grow. But I have taken steps to protect myself and am moving on at my own rate of speed.
I believe, as is written in the Bhagavad-Gita, that all things emanate from me, from my source, and therefore I must have needed to call this experience into being for some reason, and that is where I need to thank Lisa, for the exchange that will better both of us, even though I don't want to because my ego is still standing in my way, I am still smarting from the sting of it, and as one of my friends here so succinctly put it, "Tough love is for people who have established love."
I used to hate Ozzy Osbourne, and I never knew him, I just based this on things that I had read about him, that he was a drug addict, that he was abusive to animals in the extreme, and that he worshipped the devil. The Osbournes comes along and what do I learn? That he is my brother and that I love him, that we are both addicts, and that he is a good man who loves his wife, his children, and is actually kind to small animals, and that his "Prince of Darkness," act is really just that, an act.
And this brings me to Marilyn Manson and the images I put up here today. I was afraid of him before I began to experience him and I was tempted to dismiss and judge him. I'm still a little afraid of him, but now I can see that he is an artist just like me and I feel a kinship with him and an affection for him that I never felt before. Life can be so beautiful in the discoveries that you make along the way.
The first image here is a page that I borrowed from his journal that reflects how I feel about artists because I recognize that I am one, and Scott is one, and Beau is one, and you are one. I truly believe that artists are more sensitive and attuned to forces that other people may not experience or feel. I believe that artists exist in a different category and should therefore not be judged by their success or their output or whether they live within the confines of some social box that anyone would want to put them in. We are different, we feel more acutely, therefore we often turn to substances to mute the pain and drown out the noise that other people do not hear. We are unique flowers that grow at our own rates of speed, rates that may seem imperceptibly slow to some, while seeming faster than the speed of light to others. You may blink here and I will be someone else. That is why we cannot be judged by the same measure as other people, that is why we cannot be categorized with other people, and why unsought, unsolicited advice, no matter how well meaning, can wind up being perceived as condemnation and wind up damaging us more deeply in our exquisite sensitivity than you can know.
Please do not judge me for behaving in ways that you do not understand or perhaps think that you do. Do not judge me for loving rats when you cannot see that this is an elevated form of compassion for all things living, even the perceived lowliest. Do not judge me for the color or length of my hair, for the size and shape of my body, for my addictions, for my growth and relapses, for my processes, for my relationships, or my behaviors, as long as they do not directly impact you. Or judge me if you will, because I am certainly guilty of judging others, but keep it to yourself, leave it within the confines of your own journals if you must, look carefully at the damage you can wreak before you write, do not seek my attention through negative behavior, and please do not try to help me with the back of your hand. I am real, I am here behind these words. I am fragile and I am strong and as an artist with an open channel you can wound me beyond your imagining. I am so much more than you know, and I am always at least two things at once, which is why, while it may seem easy to do so, it isn't wise to try to categorize me. I may seem sweet and then be cruel. I may seem simple when in fact I am complicated.
You may read the words I choose to share here but you can never truly know the person who lives behind them, though you may think in your arrogance that you do. I am just living my life here, like any other person, and while it may look like I am a useless sloth and am not living up to my potential, I may be mining this experience for the book that I will publish when I am ninety or in my next lifetime or never at all.
My worth cannot be measured by my output, or by my artistic achievements. My worth may be as small and as infinite as an exchange I had with a homeless person whose life I may have changed, (or who may have changed mine,) in ways that you and I will never know, and that may be the extent of my mission here. My worth might be in the raising of my son in the best way that I know how, and in the fabulous person that he will become. My worth may lie in the moment I lay flowers on a strangers grave, or in the way I love my ancestors, or the garden I have planted, or the moment I chose not to squish a poisonous spider, or the hug I gave someone at any point in their lives. Just try to bear in mind that I may be painting my world with colors that you do not see on these pages. I may be channeling my muse for a smaller world than you would like me to, but again it is my life, my choice, my path that I am taking, and rather than standing in my way with your hands on your hips or your shaming finger pointed at my weeping face, next time try offering some comfort and solace, some empathy and compassion, a loving open hand rather than a clenched fist.
Today is the anniversary of my wedding to my ex-husband, and despite everything we've been through, all the hurt that we dealt each other, and everything I've written here about him -- the very funny, if I must say so myself (ego, ego, ego), I'm a Jerk fake journal that I created and maintained for about a year, I think -- I'm going to call him and tell him that I love him and wish him well.
Grey Daisy by Marilyn Manson
And here for the zillionth time is one of my very favorite quotes that never fails to lift my spirits when I'm low, when I think that I'm all alone and no one understands me, it's from a letter written by Martha Graham to Agnes Demille
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.
If you block it,
It will never exist through any other medium
and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
Not how valuable it is;
Nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly,
To keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction;
A blessed unrest that keeps us marching
And makes us more alive than others.
- Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille
PS: This journal is mostly Friends Only for now. I'll probably switch it back when I feel safer but in the meantime if you'd like to be added please post this here : )