Fighting the Good Fight and Redemption

So, I guess I’m in the mood to not make any friends today…so if you’re going to leap down my throat at least do me the courtesy of reading the whole thing.

We need to talk about redemption.

Do you know what a microaggression is? It’s the thing that comes before the lynchings and the deportation, the physical assault, and the gun shots. It’s the warning flare built into our society since day one that gives space for jokes to escalate to punches. It’s so prevalent that once the calling out began, the very idea of microaggressions launched a tsunami of “lol so triggered”, “eye roll okay special snowflake” and so on. It’s the thing that makes it incredibly difficult to have any meaningful conversations about societal issues because we’re kind of numb to the rhetoric now.

Yesterday, I watched as someone in a comment thread denied toxic masculinity and white privilege existed. He was politely informed that it is indeed a thing, and yet he persisted. To be fair, I could be talking about anything you’ve seen online in the last few months (or your whole life depending on certain factors), but I’ve noticed a weird pattern.

woman in red in small box

Nice and cozy. Picture: Cirkus Danmark

There is no actual room to recover or grow.

Or rather, that path on the flow chart of fucking up and correcting behavior isn’t readily built into our society.

On a personal level, I believe that when you fuck up, you sit and take the lecture. The lecture is essentially an act of mercy (I have seen shady revenge like you would not believe…) and a testament to someone actually thinking you have enough functioning brain cells to learn something. No one thinks anyone is perfect, even the activists for human rights make mistakes, but more often than not, the second the mistake is pointed out…well, it all falls apart.

Intrapersonal Level

I’ve had moments of saying the wrong thing and immediately falling into the chaotic spiral of thinking that mistake defines me as a person. So I make choices like that mistake is less like a paper cut and more like bear trap crippling my life. It took a while to realize that only makes me more prone to do it again because I have managed to turn the mistake into some sort of rule that I have to follow like a zombie.

It’s guilt. We’re talking about being guilt’s bitch.

I had to watch people I really respected say stupid things sometimes, and learn how to take guilt as more like a medicine you take when you’re sick and less like a permanent brand that you wear on your forehead. You don’t get a new life where your past failures are erased, sure, but at this very moment, you do have an endless supply of resources and people to talk to about learning from your failure.

“BUT MY PRIDE!!” I hear you scream as you glance into a future that seems so frightening because you don’t know everything and/or were questioned. Look. Your ego is going to get bruised plenty in this life if you leave the house. That is the beauty of living in a world where we have different opinions and that leads us to the next part.

Interpersonal Level
I am known for my temper, summoning hellfire from this belly like I am a dragon disguised as a human. I don’t lose it often, but when I feel it rising, I try to channel it as a passion and not a weapon. Not making sense?

Your pride is valuable to you and when your pride gets a little scuffed from not existing in a vacuum you can either protect it as a delicate thing to be treated with kid gloves or do what the Japanese do and fill the cracks with gold.

Perspective is gold.

kintsukuroi japanese gold broken pottery

How do you not want to be the walking version of this? Picture: Kawaii Study Japan

Our instinct is to lash out when we feel we are being attacked because these tiny little knicks can become deep cuts, i.e. words can escalate into violence. So sometimes when people see other people like them being persecuted there can be a collective pain and deep need for defense. You might sometimes find yourself on the receiving end of that need, with a lot of swear words, being called absolute garbage (even if it has nothing to do with bigotry, you just chose the wrong shoes today), etc.

You want to throw up your defenses right? “I’m garbage? What about you, Madame Half Ass, keeping the bar so low, I had to shovel it out and found a fossil first?” But sometimes what you’re meeting isn’t even rage directed at you, you just set it off.

Not everyone has lived your life and has your tolerance for the same shit. What? People aren’t all like you? I know right, we’re learning so much today.

So what are your alternatives? Act like a groveling sycophant? You could do that, it’s fucking gross, but that is an option. Checking your pride at the door of this new hallway of errors is another, and directly addressing that pain because it’s the loudest is another.

But how are you supposed to be magically aware of this pain?
It is the reason a free and open internet is so valuable to people. It gives them platforms to specifically discuss their experiences without being censored through the sheltered ignorance of an editor whose priorities are traffic and money. It gives us room to grow as individuals and as a society. It’s how you get perspective.

So I have heard on this internet thingy, you can type in things and find information about those things.

It’ll blow your goddamn mind.

So people actually create lists of resources to help people just like you trying to find perspective and graduate from your bubble where nothing bad ever happens because you’re always right TO actually being a decent human being. You’ll have way more fun, I promise.

So Recap with sidenotes
You don’t live in a bubble. The sooner you pop the faster you can grow.
Perspective isn’t an assault on you or your pride. It’s useful.
*If you need to dehumanize people to show you’re better than them, you have fucked up and your scale of qualitatively good and bad is skewed.
When in doubt, check your pride, let it know it’s going to get a little bumpy and try to understand the ride.
*Just because you have shit doesn’t mean no one else shit going on in their lives. There is no fucking scale and playing this game of who has it worse just slows the entire progress down. I want those five minutes back, Deborah! Let’s try a new game, first one to internalize the lesson wins!

Redemption is not a quick process. You earn it. It takes time, and depending on how bad the mistake is it could take a while. People don’t have to forgive you right away or ever, humble yourself, chill out. Whatever happens, take the lesson, and don’t let guilt make you live by some stupid rules. Don’t let your pride make you lash out and do something you can’t undo and lose your life to it.

Wait, are you saying people should forgive their abusers and/or oppressors?
Nope, I’m starting here with the little shit because this is something that relates to everyone, no matter what side you’re on before it escalates into physical, psychological, or systematic violence. This is the window before it turns into a shouting match and resentment builds because sometimes pain is stronger than rationality. Didn’t say you had to love anybody, just wrote a post about a different way to not lose yourself to guilt and pride.

For more on Living the Strange Life and how to weave the magic into the mundane, take a moment to Join the Strange Collective and follow this blog. To see a different perspective, follow me on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.

Until next time,

Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.

Zakkarrii Edison Daniels

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