We all have a past. We all made choices that maybe weren’t the best ones. None of us are completely innocent but, we all get a fresh start every day to be a better person than we were yesterday. – Anonymous
Another one of those 5am awakenings. I woke up, partly from the heat, but more angry over a dream. I am angry at myself for not having expressed any of my feelings through this blog. I’m angry at myself for allowing complacency to seep in. I’m angry at myself for realizing I am becoming everything I have fought not to be…that bitter, angry old man in the suite at the end of the hallway. I’m angry at myself knowing I engineered my own self loathing. But mostly I’m angry at myself for allowing compassion fatigue to overtake me.
I’m pissed at myself for having shut down while abandoning those that need my assistance the most, the marginalized. I have enough privilege to be a voice for the social justice deprived of so many marginalized groups and I have dropped the ball because I feel beaten down. I have to take responsibility for this and start speaking out again. I will not let (cannot let) a system I have spent my life railing against (being an inspiration doesn’t pay the bills and being complacent doesn’t solve problems) beat me following a fifty year battle.
I am also getting tired of beating myself up at the expense of other people. I’m tired of being a “systems” pleaser. I am tired of policies and regulations that prohibit my quality of life. So I am starting again and, to be honest, screw the “political correctness” by ignoring the continuous growth of “situational ethics” we are now experiencing. We see it regularly within, what passes for, governments these days. This didn’t happen overnight, it’s the result of 30 years of the slow erosion of our political process slowly being taken over by the desire of individuals for the purpose of their own ideological control. That is one of the biggest problems people now face, trying to make a 21st century work using a 19th century process.
I started changing early in this pandemic. I woke up one night in almost a fugue state. I was nine years old again watching the life drain out of the eyes of my seven year old hospital roommate. Twenty minutes later the night shift staff were loading (Peter) onto the gurney to move his lifeless body to the basement morgue. I rolled over and went back to sleep, in the hospital. At nine I had no real concept of what death was, I just know Peter wouldn’t be in that bed when the staff started our daily routine. I had that experience six times by the time I was twelve and made a promise to myself to squeeze a few life experiences in for those childhood friends who would never have the chance to experience a 16th birthday. Trust me when I say I had some very diversified life experiences by the time I was 25..
These are the memories that I have suppressed for generations but they are surfacing now. This is part of cognitive process called compartmentalization, which is one way to avoid dealing with a reality they are incapable of processing. However, the problem with suppressed memories is they have a habit of resurfacing when you least expect them. This pandemic opened the flood gates and one thing that is really clear is parents need to understand the cognitive milestones of their children. It is hard to raise a well rounded child when you have no idea of developmental milestones.
If todays parents would spend as much time researching “cognitive milestones” as they do the purchasing value of a new vehicle they would make much better parents. The last month has been particularly hard. With the reversal of the Roe vs Wade decision in the States, hard fought for women’s rights have slid backwards a good thirty years. I’m old enough and seasoned enough to remember seeing coat hangers in the ally ways of Vancouver covered in blood soaked flesh from those DYI abortions. And that was not an uncommon thing in many cities across Canada and the States. But the back breaker for me was the “resurrection” of polio this past week in New York. As a 3 year old polio survivor myself (pre-vaccine) this is something I would wish on nobody plus something that is so easily preventable.
So waking up at 3am and realizing by 4:30 I wasn’t going to get back to sleep I decided I needed to vent. No more trying to be a nice guys just to fit in. I need to get back to speaking out. #WordsMatter but to use the right words means understanding our history so we can really explain the convergence of so many issues. To some it’s history, to other, like myself, it’s lived experience.
I’ll be back but for now stay healthy and stay informed. Sometimes history may be unpleasant even upsetting but by burying your head in the sand and ignoring it just opens the door for it to be repeated.