How do we help society work for the good of all people? Is it possible to live a just life in an unjust world? What do you do when bad stuff happens to or around you or in the lives of people close to to you? If you read about bad news or horrifying details in a newspaper or magazine, do you feel the story in a particular part of your body? What does bad mean, anyway? What constitutes bad versus good?
Introspective personalities ask questions that twist leaves. We are frequently quiet and gentle, kind as we are able to be. Skills vary because of so many factors -- upbringing, family composition, personal resolve, opportunity, chance. As I heard it put the other day, none of us chooses where we are born, whether to be born, what color skin we have, or how much money we are born into. Yet the things we don't control directly affect our abilities to function in the world.
For many intelligent and sensitive people, the primary struggle is with a decision of which words to emit. We perceive many angles, multiple views of how words may or may not be received. Our imaginative skills are so honed that we perceive multiple movies, books, or other cultural references to whatever is said or implied. Some of us think about so much of this so frequently that we really don't know what we want sometimes because we're really engaged in our thoughts about stuff not related to wants or needs. Then people come along and force their will on us, and we may not be aware of what is happening because our skills are not yet refined to recognize abuse or personal discomfort.
When rapist began the domestic violence cycle with a shove, I did not yet know about the cycle and how it starts. After he raped me, I did not have the confidence to believe in my assessment. I convinced myself the rape was ok and then told him that. I was educated, confident. But I didn't know what I didn't know because, well, how could I have known that? He went on to an arrest and jail time for another crime against a different woman. I saw him outside of a grocery store a couple of years ago. He stopped in his tracks, big ol' grin across his face. My eyes barely looked his way. When they caught his glance, they moved smoothly, slowly to the side and away from his gaze.
Out of the periphery, I saw him keep looking at me as I walked past him without acknowledging his presence. I felt so powerful. I mean, he raped me and I didn't report it because I loved him in an addictive and unhealthy way. He raped me and I blamed myself. It was awful. I spent agony in therapy going from one rich white lady's perspective to the next. Then I walked past him, nary a glance at his fake charm. In time, I've learned about the Asian-American experience here, the Chinese immigrant story wider than my family's lineage. Traditional Chinese thought processes, traditional Christian values... they do not teach a woman to have a strong or confident voice. I struggled through these values to gather an understanding of why and how multiple abusive events happened in my life. I've learned to answer my own questions, trust my own impressions, and work with the ambiguity that life offers.
May we all have patience and compassion for our personal process. May we trust ourselves as we are able and guide ourselves with good and joy. Sometimes the answers are not easy to find, but let's keep at it and applaud our efforts. We are worth the time and energy. Prayers of gratitude to you, Dear Reader. Thank you for waking up today.
Well hello there.