Everything in my life seems to point in a certain direction: grief.
Earlier today, I was watching Hoarders. I am also reading a few books, one of which is Unattended Sorrow (“US”) by Stephen Levine, and another of which is The End of White Christian America by Robert P. Jones. Also, the immediately previous therapist to my current psychoanalyst said that one of my main tasks at this point of my life is to deal with all the losses and disappointments at this current stage of my life.
US is a phenomenal book. And it is inclusive of all disappointments and losses, not just the obvious sorrow from Barry’s passing.
Hoarders is about people that can’t let go of stuff. And The End is all about the obliteration of white Christian influence on culture and politics. For example, Jones says that by 2024, people that are simultaneously white and Christian will be less than half of all voters. There is even a eulogy for these people at the end of the book.
And I talked to my friend Tamara. I reassured her that Trump would not be President forever. He is in his seventies. I cannot guarantee many things, but I can guarantee that. He can do a lot of damage in the meantime, make no mistake, but he is destroying the Republican party from within. Their credibility and integrity are gone forever, or at least for a generation or two. Their supporters are old, white, and dying off.
But I am in my fifties and she just turned sixty. What will we be around to see?
What’s worth my investment of my remaining time and energy?
This past week, I told the managers that if I do not show up for work and they cannot reach me by phone, to call the police to do a welfare check on me. I have been sick for over a month and have missed no time. If I don’t show up, I might be dead. I have not missed a minute of work in the 14 months I have worked there.
Part of getting older is having my tolerance for BS reduced. Perhaps that sounds ironic. We teach people how to treat us. As Dr. Phil says, “You don’t reward bad behavior.” Period. I got my lessons in boundaries from Al-Anon. They teach that you do not have to participate in any activity that puts you in legal, financial, or emotional jeopardy. Other people have the right to do what they want, and so do you. Just because your idiot friends or family are jumping off a cliff is not an obligation for you to join them. You are free to decline and say, “I’ll pass. Thank you very much. Oh, and by the way, don’t even bother calling me to bail you out. Good luck with that.” When people see you taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself emotionally, financially, and legally, sometimes that alone is enough to wake them up. They can see you are serious. In my opinion, that is how learning and growth occur.
This is why I see a psychoanalyst. I want to take full responsibility for my stuff (so I don’t just project it onto everyone else) and I want to take no responsibility for other people’s crap. I have enough of my own. But I am not capable of always telling the difference. I want my mistakes to be my own and not just the playing out of my family’s unlived hopes, dreams, and fears. And the clock is ticking, for all of us. Tick, tick, tick.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my weird spiritual journey lately,
Many years ago, I almost became a Mormon. Coming from a family where my brothers did a lot of alcohol and drugs, I admired the clean lifestyle they lived. It was a definite step above what I was raised with.
The reason I did not become a Mormon was that their canned presentations were not honest. I knew what they really believed because one of my best friends at the time was a Mormon. They truly believe that once you are married in the temple and are righteous, you and your spouse become gods and goddesses of your own planet. My friend and I would imagine what color we would make the leaves of the trees. The missionaries were talking about golden plates and other strange and unlikely things. Also, one day I was sitting in the hallway of the church and saw all these women walking past me who were 400+ lbs. It was surreal. Suddenly, I knew what they did instead of drinking and doing drugs: they ate.
Over the years, I have been attracted to many philosophies: Protestant Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism, New Age-y stuff. Some part of my soul is hungry for something. Maybe forever.
What I have learned is simple: philosophies and beliefs have consequences. And you don’t usually see the real consequences until after you sign on the dotted line. They make sure of that, It is not until you take things to their natural logical extreme that you see the real agenda.
Take Nazism, for example. It promised pride for humiliated Germans who got their asses hand to them on a platter after WW I. It got people back to work. It was exciting. And many of its ideas sounded remarkably reasonable and productive. Lately, I’ve read about recent white nationalists that are quoting things straight out of the third Reich. And their arguments are very persuasive–for those folks that don’t know the real-life results.
That stuff about the “final solution”? They wouldn’t really do that, would they? They would and they did. Auschwitz and Birkenau are real.
My point is that you have to take things to their logical extremes to see just what is really going on. Follow the money. See who benefits–and who is ethnically cleansed.
My suspicion, politics-wise, is that today’s Trumpers are tomorrow’s Germans of the 50’s and 60’s. Ten years from now, Trump will be long out of office, but his living supporters will have to justify their blind allegiance to a man intent on destroying our institutions of democracy. They will say, “But we didn’t know.” And the rest of us will say, “Because you did not want to. Period.”
Becoming a Mormon might not have been the worst idea in the world, given my upbringing. But it would have created a lot of future problems. It would have met some very real needs. Funny how temporary solutions have ways of becoming permanent problems.
The same with Balanced View. Everything it says sounds good–and it may be exactly what some people need. But, at the same time, its literature is brazenly honest about normalizing everything. Groups of humans require consistent rules that apply to all equally. Those rules can be called morals, ethics, codes of conduct, etc. If everything is okay, then so is ethnic cleansing, lynching, embezzlement. The ends justify the means.
It can all sound so good. Until you are the one embezzled from–or ethnically cleansed.