I took pride as a mama in my son being sensitive. I was fond of saying, since he was a young child, “he is a gentle soul”, or “he is sensitive”, or “he is innately empathetic “. I believed this about him AND hoped this somehow proved (to myself mostly) that I was doing my job as a mother to allow my son to embrace his whole self; that I would not be counted as someone who told him “boys don’t cry” or any of the bullshit rhetoric we hear is so damaging to boys/men, that oppresses their essential nature.
He was genuinely concerned about people’s feelings in a way that, honestly, I think taught me to be more considerate of others feelings. He didn’t like to upset anyone, he didn’t like to disappoint others, he didn’t like when someone was in pain. It always seemed like he favored the underdog, in sports, movies and in life. He wanted to help and fix and please.
I encouraged him to cultivate these inclinations, I praised them and if they were overlooked, I probed into why or how. I can’t tell you how many times I told him it was my job to raise a good future man. I used to believe this intention, in and of itself, was sufficient for producing intended results.
Looking back from this vantage point, I can see the holes in my idealism and even the judgement that informed it. As painful and bitter as this is, I think being honest with myself is a part of my healing process. To see it and not turn away from it and in that willingness, to strip it of its power over me. I believe in this way of truth telling as a pathway to recovery from this trauma. I have no idea if this is what everyone else is doing too, or not, with their stuff. I only know that it isn’t how I used to be. And that it seems to offer me objectivity, which may be subjective, but effective!
Anyway. I have many other examples I could easily put on display as ‘before and after’ testimonies of how I Have Seen The Light (and the dark). But I won’t. Because that seems like a surefire way to evoke a response akin to “don’t be so hard on yourself” and that is not what this is. Telling the truth to ourselves about ourselves is, I believe, the beginning of everything worthwhile. That’s not something I need you to believe or agree with in order for me to be happy. Not anymore.
It’s interesting. I often feel a deep awareness of the word and the action of purification, in my life, these days. I’m not pushing it because I’m a little weirded out by the idea in totality, so staying on the outside of understanding feels safe for me, right now. But there’s something steeping within me like an earthy tea. I can feel it and I’m just letting it be; no forcing, just allowing. Part of this includes thoughts arriving that may initially cause tension, fear, reaction. But when I remember not to run away, when I simply notice how I feel in my body OR when I stop and just see what the thought is, without a big story about what it means about me or you or him or whatevs, I am able to absorb the nourishment and pass the excrement, do ya know what I’m saying? It’s a process, literally and figuratively and in ways I do not even have words for.
Maybe this is The way and maybe this is A way and maybe this is a detour and maybe this is the long way home. I don’t know. I am not an expert– I am just here right now and taking in all the information I can in a strange new land with my listening and introspective side of my self as my tour guide.
I’ve really refrained from advice giving for the last couple of years; something I was always chomping at the bit to give in
But lately I’ve been inspired to give parenting advice (though No One asked), which seems absurd because, I mean, come on…Who the fuck wants my advice right?!?! Can we all please awkwardly laugh together on this?
But here’s what. I watch kids all the time now. Everywhere I go, I can’t help myself. I observe them. Honestly, I observe everyone, all ages.
“There is no such thing as a weird human being, It’s just that some people require more understanding than others.”
And here’s my advice. Just do whatever you have to do, as a parent, as a human being, to ensure that the children in your life, your own and everyone else’s, knows that they are loved, as they are, without having to earn it, period. When you see an asshole adult, just close your eyes and visualize them as a child, that someone loved or didn’t love enough, it doesn’t matter. Just love them. Maybe they are easy to love and maybe it takes a lot of reaching. But try as hard as you can to just love them. None of the other shit matters. I promise you– none of it– all the shit we worry about as parents means jackshit when it comes down to brass tacks. Everyday I think about what I would do or say if Isaac were still here. Or what I have learned. Or what I would do over. Or if I could go back what would I change or keep the exact same.
What would I want him to know for sure for sure for sure beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I would want him to know– feel– understand– believe–in the bones of his bones– that he was loved no matter who what where when how or why. No matter how he showed up. No matter his choices. No matter his thoughts. No matter who else does or doesn’t. No matter what he could or could not do. See. Be. No.Matter.What.
Maybe he knew it. Maybe not. This is not the point, today, in this post. Nor is absolving myself or blaming myself. And this is not a news flash or new idea or new paradigm shift or new way.
It’s just the most simple honest and direct piece of advice I have the audacity to give on a complex humanitarian subject.
Lets just fucking love one another better, with consideration and compassion and appreciation for their imperfections, rather than with expectation or progress or perfect conditions in mind.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them” –Mother Theresa