Everything I am feeling in this moment is in the context of having watched, via television and Twitter, the roller-coaster of events in Egypt these past 18 days, of having just listened to the Feb. 6 (2011) edition of Tapestry from CBC Radio with Mary Hines, and of having made the seemingly Herculean effort to order refills of my HIV, diabetes and “head” meds.
And already I have forgotten why I could only describe myself as despondent when I opened up this page.
Towards the end of the week, say about twelve hours before the start of Friday Prayers in Cairo, I was in discussion with some peers about the now-tired links I make between the distinct hells of elementary school and my adolescence, then of my instant activism after the 1981 bath house raids in Toronto (just add water, or steam, and stir!) Oh, and then I added that
leap fart of logic that permeated me for so long “…if anyone deserves AIDS I do.” Even though I quickly pointed out that I have dismissed this asinine proposition, intellectually, I allowed that it may still hide in the nodes of my psyche as traces of seemingly “undetectable” HIV viral load might hide from the best available tests – though I did not use that analogy. Frankly HIV could probably hide better, regardless of whether it is or not.
It stands to reason then, if reason is all I can stand on, that I might feel despair given Dr. Kenn’s self-diagnoses (AIDS-because-I-deserve-it and mental-illness-because-well-life-just-piled-up).
Listening to myself, as the conversation with my peers played over and over during the walk home, I understood – was aware of, made sense of – almost immediately how the 51-year old Kenn brutally judges (ever-present tense) the Kenneth of childhood, the Ken of adolescence and the Kenn of a promising adulthood. Then, with a deep sigh, I recognized (again) how tiring this is – to me, sure, and I can only begin to imagine how much so to any audience (at least anyone not paid to listen!)
John’s question emerged, from among the group, asking me how I would respond to someone presenting my self-evaluation. Not a new question, of course, I said I’d tell them it (circumstance=deserving) was absurd and to cut myself some slack.
That’s what I left with Thursday evening, not picking it all up again until listening today to the aforementioned edition of Tapestry (which, in all candour, is this loner-wannabe’s “church”-of-choice more than any other these days). While the Thursday evening mood personified wanted to dislike what I was hearing, I could not.
The stream of consciousness of the past couple of weeks (and blog posts) went like this: forgiveness (others and myself) does NOT mean condoning anything, the letting go frees me up for other things – happier, productive, more self-fulfilling things.
Now what? (Interestingly, this is one of the questions being asked repeatedly about Egypt this weekend).
Should I pack up for Haiti? No, I don’t think so – not today at least.
Do I believe that wishing to do anything is a foolhardy distraction from what I’ve been carrying, and working on, for years? Would a change of course, however big or small, negate everything? No!
Having lived for so long like I could not imagine surviving another year, never mind quarter-life (and more than occasionally not wishing to!), what small steps can I take to change my attitude?
“Fake it ’til you make it”?
“Act as if…”?
Well, internalizing those phrases would be a pleasant change from the self-defeating mantras, so – if nothing else – let this be a beginning.
I understand, and have experienced, how ‘getting out of self’ can lighten the load a great deal. Therefore I could do a lot worse with my time than thinking about ways to do this.
I would rather be cut down in the middle of something, only at the moment of my death, than continuously sharpening my focus on seeing it come from an undetermined distance.
Better to live unto/into hope than fear (which I must always recognize is inherent in any comfortable certainty of hopelessness).