Friday, September 24, 2010

I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened: Do not waste your time being stuck in the past

Yesterday I read a post by P.Z. Myers, who was reposting a video with a message inspired by the suicide of a gay teenager who had been bullied.

Dan Savage has started a new project, prompted by the suicide of a bullied gay teenager, Billy Lucas, in Indiana. So they're trying to get the word out: It gets better. Don't despair. And they're collecting other people's stories, too.

Danny Fisher posted in passing here, too, but it was Myers' heartfelt commentary that struck me:

This particular project is specifically about giving gay kids the strength to carry on, but it's not just gays who are made miserable by schools and religion and other agents of the enforcement of artificial norms. I suspect that the readership of Pharyngula, all you geeks and nerds and oddballs, is enriched for people who were outliers in their youth…and still are, but most of us have reconciled ourselves to our status. It gets better for all of us.
Another good essay to read is The disease called "Perfection". We all face ridiculous expectations from our culture, and we all face these pressures to conform with the boring mundanes with their distressingly unrealistic and uninteresting ideals. I didn't have the stigma of being gay, but I was the homely, unathletic, four-eyed weirdo no girl would look at twice…and I can say that it got better for me, and it can also get better for everyone.

 I too recommend that essay on the disease of "Perfection." I can tell you that this "disease" infected my family, and to a certain extent it still pervades thoughts, expectations, and reactions in a manner that is hard to be aware of one's reactions; one has to train one's self for that, or at least I do.  

It does indeed get better. I too, was unathletic, short, and no girl would look at me twice.  It got better for me.  Every now and then I have the strong assurance that this is exactly the way it is, and it is simply astounding.  Holy crap! This is my life!

But I think not everyone realizes it and not everyone commits suicide, at least not physiologically, or not all at once.  In two weeks from today it will have been one year ago that my mother passed away; she would have benefited well from the message that "imperfection" pervades the universe.   Yet, in some ways she also exploited this "imperfection;" I think in some ways it kept her alive longer than she might have otherwise.  But then again, had she been free of the shame of "imperfection" she would likely have lived a longer, happier life.

I hope all find release from  internal and external bullies.

1 comment:

Chana said...

This reminds me of the phrase "performance anxiety". It seems to pervade our culture, and for that matter many cultures around the globe. I know that I suffer from it. Trying to make life come out the way I imagine it should, in some special exalted way where mistakes, and embarrassments are absent.
Is nature perfect? There is not a straight line that we can detect. All is crooked outlines that define our world, but for us humans there is the perfect, the straight, the right, the noble. I fall short of these definitions almost every minute.
Reminded that there is no personal self, what could possibly be perfected? Our conditioned desire to be perfect is a source of suffering for us and those around us.
Thanks for the reminder!