June 19, 2009

Misanthropy is Exhasuting

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I outed myself on this blog. One can only write about one’s self for so long without divulging one’s inner secretes. Additionally, one can only write for so long using “one” as the main pronoun for so long without sounding like one giant ass hole.

I want to write about something I read in a book. Here is the quote:

The idea that we can be possessively loving of a few, can ignore the many, and can continue to fear or hate anybody, has to be abandoned, if only a little at a time.

Seriously, go back and read it again.

Because it goes on to tell me this:

We can try to stop making unreasonable demands upon those we love. We can show kindness where we had shown none. With those we dislike we can begin to practice justice and courtesy, perhaps going out of our way to understand and help them.

Whenever we fail any of these people, we can promptly admit it--to ourselves always, and to them also, when the admission would be helpful. Courtesy, kindness, justice, and love are the keynotes by which we may come into harmony with practically anybody.

This is heavy stuff. I mean really heavy. I cannot speak for all, only the committee of grouches in my own head, but I can assure you that I have spent most of my life loving just a handful of people, hating perhaps another similar sized subset, and then feeling indifferent and apathetic toward the rest of the massive nameless, faceless great glob of people on this earth.

When I am not indifferent, I will actually claim to hate people. I have said this maybe 40,000 times in my life when frustrated at the “stupidity” of the person near me, or angry at the young mother who tossed her newborn in the lake, or down right spitting mad at the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.

But if I think about the statement, “I hate people” in greater detail and with a calm mind, it is both terrifying and not accurate. I don’t actually hate people, I am terrified of people. People are unpredictable and mysterious and convoluted and uncontrollable. They generally don’t do what I want them to and cause me to have uncomfortable feelings.

I know, when I write it out on paper and read it I have to laugh at myself and my self-centeredness.

I have made countless mistakes in my life. Crap, I have made countless mistakes in the past week and do I wish to be scorned by my fellows? Or do I hope to be loved anyway?

Back in the day, before I had a kid and got all mushy on the inside, I used to watch Law and Order. And, being a junky of all sorts, I watched it addictively. I would venture to say I have seen probably every episode of Law and Order. I am far too soft inside now to watch it. Even a fictionalized account of an abducted child will send me over the emotional edge for days.

This particular Law and Order I am thinking of was about a man who was a pharmacist. In order to skim money from his business to donate to this church, he watered down the chemo drugs for hundreds of patients. He had pledged money to his church that he could not afford and was too proud to tell the church. Instead, he defrauded the weak and disadvantaged.

When all this came to light, dramatically on the church steps with a slimmer, sexier Vincent D’Onofrio (has anyone noticed that over night he gained like 75 pounds?) with the congregation slack-jawed with disgust, he was ruined. His wife and his fellow congregants moved away from him in judgment and repulsion.

I remember thinking at that moment, “But, this is when he needs you most. This is his greatest moment of need. And you are walking away from him.”

It is so easy to see the flaws of others, especially when it is on TV and the cancer patients who died are SAG actors who got $500 for their day of work. In reality, I probably would have led the charge to tie this guy up and hang him on the church cross as a constant and vile reminder to all the other congregants.

But in the end, it is forgiveness and love and tolerance of all people in this world that is the way to go. It is exhausting to hate and fear a couple billion individuals. Ironically, it is actually easier to love everyone. Weird, huh?

I am a fish out of water in this territory. Fear, hate and anger (it's all really just fear, but with different tones of voice) have been my knee jerk reactions for so long, that I actually have to learn to react with love and tolerance much the same way someone would learn to ride a bike. And I hope, that like riding a bike, I never forget how and I have a padded seat for the long journey.


Emily said...

"I suppose it was only a matter of time before I outed myself on this blog." You're a lesbian??????

This is how rumors get started.

Autoglass said...

You're good at this, Claire.

And it's good to hear that you are a lesbian. As Jackie says, "everyone loves lesbians...always a crowd pleaser."