Thursday, September 16, 2010

True Blood, Fibromyalgia, and the Foreign Concept of Forgiveness

Okay, I’ve been coming off of some of my medication and it has made me incredibly moody ... putting it mildly ... okay, never mind, the more appropriate and accurate word would be TORMENTED! All that has been going on in my mind for at least a week has been the people who have offended me while giving me supposed “advice” or “help” in regards to my health even though none was asked for.

More specifically, all that has been going on in my mind is a fantasy of telling off 4 such assholes at the same time, me facing them, all four standing next to each other in a sort of row shocked. Unfortunately these fantasies haven’t been making me feel better. They just make me feel worse, perhaps at the idea of having to change people’s opinion of me when such people know so little about the real me in the first place. After all, how can you prove to someone who has been morbidly obese all her life but has just discovered exercising a couple years ago that you have actually been exercising regularly all your life while she was still overweight, and that of course she wouldn’t know that because the only time she sees me is at family functions!
As well as fantasizing about telling people off, and pointing out that they’re flaws are actually much worse than mine, I’ve spent a lot of my time hoping that these same people will actually experience what I am going through with my Fibromyalgia – the debilitating pain, extreme fatigue, and often crippling depression, all of which makes it impressive that I have been able to work as hard as I am working – and this way maybe one day they can understand how impossible it would be for me to take their supposed “advice,” that I did not bring this condition upon myself any more than they did, etc ...
I know, wishing bad things on others is not an attractive trait in someone and normally this really isn’t the real me, but at this painful, lonely point in my life, I can’t help it and can’t actually feel very ashamed.

Well, having said that, the same tormenting thoughts were going through my mind Sunday, but when the evening rolled around I started watching True Blood – the season finale. Oddly, the whole episode was practically about the very things that were going on in my mind – to a point anyway. Take the following scene and compare it to the above desire to tell off 4 people who wanted to “help” me.

Ep. 36: Clip - Hoyt arrives at work

Though my fantasy lasted a little longer and went a little differently, it is almost visually exact and has a similar plot: doormat finally stands up to controlling oppressors.

Having said all of this, there are some other scenes in this episode that I felt applied to my situation. It was a little spooky actually, as I felt they were meant specifically for me to see - when Godric appeared to Eric and told him to forgive Russell Edgington instead of making him suffer, it felt like someone was telling me to forgive the people who hurt me as well.

Furthermore, when Tara returns home and finds her mother with the married Reverend Daniels, she has the perfect opportunity to tell her mother off, just as I have wanted so desperately to tell at least 4 or 5 people off. Tara could easily point out that, while her mother tried desperately to bring Tara back to the Church and even invited the Reverend to their home, her mother is obviously a terrible Christian to sleep with a married man, and a fool to think he would truly leave his wife and children for her. Furthermore, Tara had an opportunity to tell the reverend where to go as well – a after all, what kind of Christian commits adultery and leads a woman on to think he will leave his wife?

But after everything ... Tara just forgave her. Somehow, she just felt that the satisfaction of pointing out the error in her mother's ways just wouldn't be worth it. Godric pleaded with Eric to forgive the person responsible foe his pain - he didn't, but Tara did.

Like myself, I think that whatever Tara’s flaws are, they are nothing compared to those of her mother and many others who would criticise her and push ridiculous solutions onto her.

And so, this final episode of the season has made me contemplate the concept of forgiveness – not in any religious sense of course, but more in a personal, and maybe spiritual sense. Basically, I’d like to know how to forgive certain people, but inside and privately as opposed to verbally and to their faces. I don’t want to actually re-include certain people in my life or encourage further inclusion of certain other people in my life in order to have them just commit the same mistakes and hurt me further. I just want to be able to let go of what was said to me and how it’s made me feel over the years, so that I will never again review their words in my mind while here in my house and the said verbal vexers are nowhere in sight! I want to be able to forget that these people exist instead of imagining what I should have said and what I want to say if I see them again and they criticise me again.

- How can you forgive someone for criticising your flaws while supposedly trying to “help” you solve or cure them, while their flaws are actually infinitely worse?

- How do you prove to someone that they really weren’t trying to help you, but that they were only trying to feel better about themselves by giving you “advice” thus making them feel like they have things figured out?

- How do you convince someone that the advice they do give you is not insightful advice that you’ve never heard before that a professional would give, but obvious advice that one might learn during childhood?

- How do you convince people that you actually are listening to professional advice, which contradicts much of the unsolicited advice that you are being given?

Or do you just not try ... ?

Do you just realize inside somehow that you are the one who is better off than them, but be the bigger person and refrain from pointing it out?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Funny, Strange, and Wise: Quotes From a Former English Professor

Last night I was going through some boxes of junk that I have been having trouble parting with, in hopes that I will recognise some items as less sentimental or as less useful for crafts. I came across a book in which I write memorable quotes, particularly those of a former English Professor.
He made it very clear on the very first day of class that he has no guilt about being offensive and will probably say something to offend every single one of us before the class is through. He also informed us that, when he stops lecturing about literature and begins preaching or “sermonizing” about something, it is not necessary to actually record what he says – we can merely drop our pens, relax for a few minutes, and (I’m paraphrasing here) use the time to daydream and patronize him.

I should note here that my recording of these quotes should not suggest that I agree with them – I merely recorded them because I found it amusing that a university professor would say such wise things along with such obnoxious things to an auditorium-size class and mean them completely. I will put stars next to those I do think wise or worth remembering.

Having said that, the following are quotes from a professor at the University of Windsor who taught me both Later British Literature and, more significantly, Children’s Literature:

1st day of Children’s Lit
- Children are fascists and egomaniacs.

1st day of Children’s Lit-
If you actually had a baby it would be like being chronically ill.

- in response to the misconception that “castration” means severing the penis
Castration means cutting off the balls – remember that when you want to castrate someone!

- in response to sexual symbols in Children’s books and the children not being aware of it
By the way Georgie, this is sexual ... isn’t that just like your penis?

- To understand everything is to forgive everything. *

- The greatest sadness is in childhood.

- The way you force bullies to be responsible for their actions is to stand up to them. *

- You should never kill someone in the heat of emotion – wait till you calm down.

- Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.

- Love isn’t love till you give it away.

- He who loses his life will find it.

- The real challenge is to love adults the way we love children.

- You are not your conditions or your profession. *

- After the Jews interviewed God they went home and wrote it down all wrong.

- on vulnerability to being hurt by others
The only safeguard is to get a parakeet or any other pet, inherit a fortune, get a TV, and then you’re set.

- We all wear a straightjacket of realism *

- in response to the belief that devil worshippers go to hell, but that it would be cruel to send mentally ill people to hell
Nobody worships the devil except crazy people, and then they go to heaven and get put in a little pen where all the crazy people go.

- It’s more important to understand psychologically than to judge morally. *

- after signalling out 2 girls who came into class late but feeling sorry about it
If you ever walk into class late and your teacher is a prick about it, stand up and say, *shaking his fist* “I PAY YOUR FUCKIN’ SALARY!”

- A great work of literature is infinitely subtle.

- on daydreaming during a class
Don’t do that any fucking more!

on the negative aspects or “dragons” we all have inside ourselves
- What we should all do is face the dragons ... we do not love ourselves because we fear ourselves ... one way to un-hate yourself is to forgive someone. *

- after discussing that a cat in a poem is automatically female despite not knowing its sex, then discussing the clouds in the poem and pacing back and forth with his hands behind his back
What sex are clouds ...? I prefer my clouds to be female .... Thunder clouds are definitely male ...

- Let’s face it: everybody wants a demon lover!

- When you have the flu, the best thing you can do is read Keats.

- If you ever go to Hades, don’t eat anything!

- Philosophy is always on the verge of bullshit.

- What Freud needed was 2 or 3 courses in English literature.

- When we try to get back to Paradise we make things worse by getting further away from it.

Well, I hope this was entertaining. I realise some of the funny ones might not really be that funny if you weren’t present and did not witness the delivery.

If you liked any of these, or if you too have some note-worthy quotes from a teacher or professor, feel free to leave a comment and share them with me. They can be funny, insightful, or even border-line offensive like some of the above.