A letter I wrote in my head, the kind of letter you can't really give to the person


I don't know you. We aren't friends. But when people catch my attention, I start to talk to them in my head, and so this conversation is for you, even if it isn't. (You).

I was prepared to dislike you immensely because your file says you are mean to cats. But then I remembered that just because a person was mean to a cat one time in their life, it does not mean that forever and ever their name in the universe has to be PERSON-WHO-IS-MEAN-TO-CATS. Partly because that is a really ridiculously long name, but mostly because a person is a lot more complicated than just one action they did that one time, or even 50 times, or 500. Amanda is much more complex than that. So I figure you probably are too.

I am now 33 years old. When I was your age, I also broke down doors in screaming fits of rage. Afterwards, I was also mostly only inconvienced by the fact that the doors did not shut properly afterward. I thought doctors were supposed to help people, so I kept going to doctors for help. I went to a LOT of different doctors and I was given dozens of different labels and dozens of different pills.

And I will tell you a secret or two.

Lesson One:
Most people are mad. Completely Stark-Raving-Drooling-Bonkers-With-A-Cherry-on-Top MAD.

This is easy to notice but hard for you to BELIEVE. I mean, what are the odds of that? Statistically? You start off as a kid, and so you expect your parents and teachers and doctors, and all the grown-ups around you to, you know, like, actually know more things than you do. They ought to know more things because they have been around on Earth longer. As a new little alien earthling, you listen to them. They tell you that you are the crazy one, so you try very hard to fix that. There are a lot of sad and angry parts that happen next, but I will skip ahead to this...

Here is a very important statistics lesson that you learn:
If one million people claim a stupid thing, it does not change the fact that it is a stupid thing.

You are an unlikely Odd in the Universe. You are like that Columbus guy who said something like, "Hey, I do not care that all the people in the world say the Earth is flat. I am pretty sure that these Loony-tunes do not know what they are talking about. So instead of just blindly following these other cretins, I think I shall just go and find out for myself what is and isn't so."

This turns out to be an excellent decision. However, it is still a long journey. You make a lot of mistakes and bad decisions. You have to work out how to actually accomplish "finding out for yourself" by trial and error, and that can be hard to do when you feel all alone, and when everyone you know is arguing with you. I will skip backwards to another part...

From my perspective, it was like people were jabbing me with hot pokers and i was SCREAMING because, like, um, OW. hot pokers hurt.

And these doctors were filled with empty language like, "will identify triggers."

And I thought-- Identify my triggers? Easy. People keep jabbing me with hot pokers. Duh.

But their perspective seemed to me to be something like, "we will judge amanda as having shown progress when we can jam a hot poker into her eye and she will curtsy and say please and thank-you in response."

And i realized the world is mad. the world is run by people who are absolutely mad and never really LOOK at anything.

and i decided, i did not want to be mad anymore.

i decided i would get out of the cycle of madness.

i knew somewhere deep in my heart that all the answers (for me) would be found in stories. so i read. i read and read and read and read. i searched. i choked books down desperately. and i found people who echoed what i could see. i found authors who wrote words like:

 “You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second." 

"I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed." 

"You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs, or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate." 

"Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously." 

"You're antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated, or deceived. Misery depresses you. Ignorance depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Violence depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if you're a manic-depressive!" 

"Yes, sir. Perhaps I am." 

"Don't try to deny it." 

"I'm not denying it, sir," said Yossarian, pleased with the miraculous rapport that finally existed between them. "I agree with all you've said.” 

(Joseph Heller, Catch-22)

And i saw my own story in the story of others, and i found many other books that made me shriek, "THAT'S IT!!!! THAT'S IT!!!"

And that was my salvation- discovering that i was not alone.

So I want you to know, that even if my story is not exactly your story, YOU ARE NOT ALONE EITHER.

Your story is out there. And so, if you can not put yourself into words yet, it might help you to find the words of others that you can identify with.

And once you find words you identify with, FIND OUT WHY.

This part, is pretty important. If you don't ever ask WHY, you might just sit in your room for a million years humming a sad song. Sometimes, humming a sad song is perfectly ok. Sometimes, you are in a moment where you really need to feel the sadness of yourself echoed in someone else, because that can help you realize the whole, "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" thing. Just don't sing that song for too long. If you want to BE balanced, you have to CREATE balance. And so, sad songs are healthy as long as you are finding and identifying songs and stories that make you resonate with joy and hope and purpose too.

But. Back to Hot pokers.

Lesson Two:
How do I FORCE these idiotic people to see that they are CRAZY STUPID and MAD!!!??

You can't FORCE people to see or do anything. Move on.

Lesson Two and A Half:
Well, gee, thanks, that's super NOT helpful. WHAT THE HECK DO I DO THEN!!!???

Well, if you get all the way Here, then Here is When you come to a Crossroads. This is where some people become serial killers, or alcoholics, or descend into other kinds of darkness, because it is VERY VERY VERY DIFFICULT to let go of that impulse to FORCE-PEOPLE-TO-SEE!!!!!!

Here is the short answer to Lesson 2 & 1/2:
Decide what it is that you actually, SPECIFICALLY, want to do. Figure out what, SPECIFICALLY, is stopping that from happening. Be. very. very. very. SPECIFIC. 

No comments: