on love as possession

[Original posting date: May 31, 2020 3:51 – 5:14 pm]

In my head
There is love, the feeling

This love encompasses

Me. You. Humans, animals, even things generally considered pests

Because I have found myself realizing other people have, at times, looked at me like I was an animal

Or like I was a pest

I even had someone, when I was homeless, literally tell me to “Shoo!”

From their trash can

That is not a nice way to feel.

But I have developed an abiding empathy for Pests of all kinds, due to developing empathy for myself

Those bugs in my house are there, when they are- because I wasn’t careful enough about keeping the door closed, for example

They are there because they are Bugs

not because they are Pests

(if that makes sense)

They are there because they were hungry and smelled food

Or because they were cold and sought shelter

And I left a way in for them
So killing them instead of releasing them outside, feels to me like punishment: punishment for the crime of existing as the species they were born as.

I was a drug addict because I was seeking shelter from the storms within my soul

And thought that hiding from them would make them go away

But this is like when Pico, my cat, hides his eyes under my arm when he is scared

He is still exposed

And the Scaries are still there

But sometimes they are just too much to look at all at once – too much to fix – and so I, and maybe the general We- act in ways that allow us to ignore them

for a time

But all the while, they are gathering in intensity, in the background

Pressure is rising

See, I also have a deep and abiding empathy for people who are currently struggling with addictions, particularly if they are also homeless

I barely made it out of either of those conditions, by the skin of my teeth

It could have all gone so much worse, so very easily

And I had every fucking advantage
Early education
Breathed in books like oxygen while I was a child
Had awesome friends, that I had chosen to distance myself from
Caring parents who tried their best, though were lacking knowledge in how they could have done better raising someone as insane as me, as different from them as someone like me was

I was an adult even as a child
Just as I am now a child – even as an adult

And they were unprepared for an adult in a kids’ body
And kept punishing
And I did not know how to communicate why that was counterproductive, then

Anyway

The people I met on the street
The kinds of people maybe even you reading this have probably seen and felt bad for
But still not really viewed as the same kind of person as you are (As I definitely viewed many of them, before becoming one of them)

One, named [ ]
In his 60s, probably, but life had been rough to him and it showed. He looked older.
He was one of the ones you could hear, at night, up and down alleys, screaming at no one, with such unfathomable anger

Well, he was a Vet
He was shot in the head in the Middle East, and maybe sustained multiple bullet wounds

And while he was recovering

His wife and children died in a car accident

He came back traumatized and injured, to having had everything he cared for in the world, ripped away from him.

Look me in the eye and tell me that wouldn’t break you

But I think I might need to stop thinking in terms of Broken

Because I’m not sure anyone I’ve met (though that is a hugely broad statement and I am not fully convinced of its validity)

is broken so badly they could not come back

Could not be helped back

One of my exes
had his children taken away

By his own mother

His dad was a pedophile

[ ] became a sheriff, briefly- for as long as it took to get his dad put behind bars

And his mom still took his children away, saying he couldn’t be trusted around children, because it might be genetic.

It broke him.

Regular people in LA, if they have seen him, probably saw [ ] making a huge mess and a lot of noise, dumpster diving in their trash cans

Which was not acceptable to me

I should say, is not acceptable to me, now…

Because, when we were dating, I was heading towards the climax of my slide towards total rock bottom, and I went with him

And I did not stop him, nor take the time to clean up the messes, myself.

But see- I don’t believe that anyone can fully shut out the shame of acting like that. It adds on in layers for as long as one continues acting in ways that are inconsiderate- especially ones that tend to cause people to continue treating you like a Pest. You start acting like one, intentionally- because then it’s your choice. Then, you aren’t really a Pest. Just pretending to be one, or something like that. This kind of impulse, this kind of manifestation of our psychological immune system can take an incredibly varied number of forms. [ ] felt worse as a result of acting that way, I’m fairly convinced of that. I’m not in his head though, and he always said otherwise, so I can’t be sure.
I did not have the strength in me, the knowledge- to teach him a better way
Because I had not found one myself, yet

I met people on the street over and over again that, when I took the time to really listen to them, had such similar stories
I also really got the feeling, though this is unconfirmed (but a really interesting thing I intend to try to look into more, later)
That an strikingly large percentage of them were closeted
Or, sometimes, out of the closet, but conflicted about it
(The story of Aaron Hernandez may have interesting connections here, but maybe not!)

But a lot of these people didn’t only have trauma in their pasts

They lived trauma, every day

Lived trauma, every moment they felt like who they are, at heart – as a person – was somehow Not Okay

My intention with bringing up those stories was originally to say that many of them came from abuse at an even earlier age
And most of them had little to no education

If I barely made it out, how can we possibly blame them for not being able to??

People often, if they took the time to talk to me when I was homeless, commented in surprise at how smart I seemed

In that “what are you doing here?” kind of way

And I would generally smile wryly

And tell them something like “well, clearly it wasn’t enough, was it?”

But it gave me a way out, finally- when no one else knew how to help me
And people were trying to help me

One of my case workers got me into a shelter

Twice

Where the only rule was to be inside by 11:00 at night

I couldn’t even get my shit together enough to take a shower there, let alone stay a night. And I did want to. I just couldn’t handle even the slightest whiff of pressure, anymore

Twice!

What do you do with people you cannot help?

I’m not sure. But I feel like there must be a way to stop trying to fix their mistakes for them 

By helping them learn how to help themselves. Helping us learn how to help ourselves.
That is what I learned on the street:

How to help myself

In a way that doesn’t hurt others

(Oh my god- I got a little derailed from Love, here!)

Hah!
Oh, right, okay
So that is why there are no more exceptions to my love

How it grew to encompass

Because I no longer see anyone as being exempt from doing things for the same sort of reasons I have always done things.
Just sometimes it is hard to perceive what those reasons are  – but I’ll talk about that later

So, then – there is love that possesses

That is a word that I feel like we tend to confuse with the feeling of love

“I love you so much, I could eat you up!”

Is a cute thing to say to children

But it was used in Altered Carbon by someone who was trying to possess a person she loved
And, in that context, became terrifying

When I think of love in a cultural sense, in movies and such –

The way it is usually used
I think of characters saying things like “I just want you to be happy”

But then acting in ways that frequently make their loved ones decidedly Not Happy

Control

But of what another person can do, can think – without their honest, genuine consent (which allows them to keep ultimate control of their own lives)

I think it may come from this idea that happiness is something to be sought

Something to be found in the external world, somehow

There’s a song I shared in [in the discord server] once – that I really like, but part of the lyrics are “Everything beautiful, people want to break. And you are beautiful, I’m afraid.”

I like that concept

But I would alter it:

To “Everything beautiful, people want to possess

Which frequently does result in breaking

When we think someone else can make us happy
Give us worth

When we find someone we think can do that for us

We feel like if they leave, our value as a person, our happiness, will leave also

 

What I’ve described in here, today

Is a fucking way out

Agency

For all of us

A way to view people as only temporarily malfunctioning

No longer as ‘Broken’ or ‘Not Broken’
Or maybe just altering the permanence of that state

Someone once told me that no, they hadn’t lost the thing they couldn’t find
It was just temporarily misplaced, of course!

We have temporarily misplaced something crucial about being human

But only because we keep looking everywhere for it, except within ourselves

Which is where it’s been all along

And that thought, to me

Is so freeing

And so fucking beautiful

Because all the suffering I see around me, of whatever degree

I can look at it and say: “I am doing everything I can to make that go away for you”

Because within this way of viewing the world, it becomes conceivable to not have suffering be a Life Sentence

No matter what the cause is or who is experiencing it

It’s all a matter of degree

And it’s like my street, in that post about my friend.

One piece of trash, every so often

On enough walks

Over a long enough period of time
and
I made it spotless

Without even really trying to

But only because I didn’t get overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problem, nor by the fact that I couldn’t fix it all at once

And that idea

That feeling

Applied to the world at large

Is what gives me the kind of energy

To dance

all the fucking time, now

brooke

I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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