I don’t have to allow people who hurt me to use pieces of my brain for their own purposes.
[Yes this is a bit of a Serious Issue, but the effects of writing it are far more positive than negative. Even so, after this, back to the break.]
What’s happening now that I’ve restricted my writing topics for a few weeks is very telling. Before I begin, though, understand that I’m the only person in the world that I hold to these standards. Also understand that it’s not exactly me holding myself to these standards. Because no matter that I live in a society that tells everyone that we are all separate, all individual, and that our thoughts come only from ourselves, that’s not actually the case. In a social species, everyone — no seriously everyone, no exceptions — is influenced from the outside. Sometimes those influences are good. Sometimes they’re bad. And I can tell that what’s happening to me right now is heavily external.
I’m having to fight the hypergraphic influence to write. But that’s not as hard as I expected. After all I’m still writing. What’s hard is this onslaught of judgement. And even though it’s taking place in my head I can tell it’s almost wholly external.
It tells me that I am not a real writer if I don’t run myself into the ground. And specifically that I have to constantly write about horrible traumatic topics or I’m not doing my job. That I’m required to spend as much of my day as possible in this horrible state where I’m focused on the worst parts of my and other people’s lives. That if I don’t allow myself to be eaten alive, under the direction of the worst forces from my past and other people’s present, then I have no worth as a human being. That if I can take a break, ever, at all, from reexperiencing the worst of this stuff and writing about it constantly, it means I’m both letting everyone down and not actually experiencing oppression, therefore not qualified ever to discuss it from the inside. (Because the only real oppression is the very worst experiences or… something. I have a feeling I wasn’t meant to examine that thought closely.)
These things are insistent. They are obsessive. And they have controlled my life for far too long. If I had not been persuaded to take a vacation from shitty topics I never would have recognized that they are not me. Understand that I have never had a vacation this long from shitty topics for as long as I’ve been writing, unless I was incapacitated, in which case the mentality was still pursuing me. It was still possible to frequently enter the state of mind that writing on shitty topics puts me into.
That state of mind, in my case, is dark and focused. Understand that there is good dark and bad dark just as there is good light and bad light. If you don’t understand this you will always be easy to fool. This is bad darkness, a kind that drowns, not protects. It gives a sense of clarity, but only about awful events. It slowly makes you think that these horrible things are all that happens in the world, to you or others. It makes you think it’s your duty to the world, maybe even your only purpose for existing, to engulf yourself in these things. This has a distorting effect on you and everyone who listens to you. And that makes it easy for these horrors to spread, even as you think you’re helping do away with them. Which you might be — but even as you’re helping do away with them, you’re carrying a bit of them with you into the “solution”. Which ensures the problem never really gets solved. And also wastes so much brainpower that the act of writing is much more exhausting. In addition to allowing people who really hurt me to continue to commandeer parts of my brain. Eww.
In order to get rid of these things, you have to realize that they’re not truly a part of you and never were. Your belief that they are you, connects them to you. They are really patterns of influence that arise from the very people causing the problems and try to take root inside of you. You have to do your best not to let them or they will always be there. This is hard work. Thought patterns ingrained in you from your own and others’ terrible experiences are stubborn. They don’t leave without a fight. But they do leave. Getting rid of them is a long drawn-out process that takes a good deal of repetitive effort. But recognizing the problem, and differentiating them from you, is the first step.
One of the first things I was taught in this struggle was “You are allowed to think your own thoughts.” I thought the person telling me this was trying to kill me, because terrible people had explicitly taught me that to think my own thoughts is to die. So it took persistence even for that tiny idea to take root. But once it did, many others followed, and for the first time in my life I began to make true progress against this stuff.
Progress is hard when you’ve been hurt from a young age. It’s important to find something good to root yourself into. Because more than anything, you need to connect yourself to the good parts of the world. This will make you stronger than you could ever be on your own. It will give you persistence to fight the onslaught that occurs once you begin to make progress. And onslaughts will occur, onslaughts that seem relentless. But so will sudden victories at the times you least expect them.
It’s way more than I can do right now, to write down every technique I know to fight these things. Over the last thirteen years, they have become so much a part of me that it’s hard for me to remember each and every one, separate. Fortunately I don’t have to write it all at once. And fortunately, because these techniques are basic parts of the way human beings relate to the world, you can find them in yourself and in others. But some of the very basics for me — and even these were hard at first — were:
These things are not you. They came to you from horrible experiences and horrible people. You have a right to your own mind, without these things in it. You have an absolute right to connect to whatever good there is in the world. In fact, you have a connection to good things whether you can tell it or not. Rooting yourself in those connections will help you get rid of this stuff. And everything you need to know to get rid of them already exists inside you, even if you don’t know it. And you have a total right to just stand up and tell this crap it’s not welcome in your head. There will be backlash and struggle but there will also be victory. No matter what this stuff tells you, the basic reality behind it is destruction and you don’t have to listen. Being physically or emotionally run down will make it worse, but you can find help in some of the weirdest places. The rest, really, is details. Lots and lots of details, enough that you can get lost in them, but you can always regain your footing.
And I’ve found that struggling against this stuff inside of me, getting it out, stomping it into the ground… that’s the very same as the struggle to make the world better for everyone who lives in it. Because I’m one of the people who lives in the world. And because anything like this that influences me, also influences others through my actions.
And honestly? I wouldn’t have survived long to do any good at all if I hadn’t learned to fight it. When people hurt you, really hurt you, on whatever level, they leave a piece of the worst of themselves to continue that work, and that work is to hurt you, to hurt others through you, and to kill you. This happens whether it’s their conscious intent or not. It’s just part of how true abuse and oppression works. And everything I’ve just talked about is getting that stuff out of you so it stops doing all that damage.
And for me, right now, taking this break has shown me that something I’d thought I’d had to do, something I thought was the only way to do things, was in fact a terribly destructive way to do things. Destructive to me and therefore also to others. And that what felt like a part of me, was actually a remnant of those horrible experiences that I’d felt compelled to reexperience every day of my life since they happened.
I don’t have to do that. There is no need at all to put myself into that dark, focused mindset, ever again. And when I begin writing about these things again, the challenge will be to do so in a way that doesn’t throw me right back into that state of mind. Anything that state of mind touches is poisoned, so I need to be very wary of it. Even when I’m not writing, I have to be careful of being thrown into that state just when thinking. Which has been trying to happen more and more often, because this stuff always tries to fight back. That’s how it works. But that also tells me I’ve hit on something important in realizing I can — and am allowed to — be free of this. I saw that in my head the first moment it happened, like a watery murk being slowly but surely detached from true clarity.
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