Tuesday, January 17, 2006

To err is human, to forgive yourself for being human is divine

My previous post elicited an e-mail from a friend that made me end the mini-pity-party I was holding for myself.
She expressed concern over how I was doing, and offered to meet to chat things over.
This woke me up.
I don't regret that last post, even though, upon reflection, I was tempted to delete it. Through this blog, I've chosen to reveal myself as I am, strengths, weaknesses and everything in between.
Of course, I can present the illusion that I hold things together every waking moment of my life. I can give the impression that I am a rock of indomitability. I can convey the impression that I always prevail.
Nonsense. Most readers are too smart for that crap.
In Japanese ceramics, particularly in vessels used for the tea ceremony, it's the imperfections that often serve to make a piece intriguing. A masterpiece, even. I need to keep this in mind as a counter to my often unrealistic stoicism.
Anyway, here's the e-mail I sent to my friend in reply, with a couple of abridgements for the sake of confidentiality:

Hi,
First, thanks so much for your extraordinarily kind note. I'm just feeling sorry for myself, is all. In small doses, life's setbacks are easier for me to process than when several things converge at once. But, that's life. Tough shit. I'm almost tempted to erase that blog post because it is so patently self-pitying. But, I feel I ought to leave it up because it reflects the reality that things don't always go my (our) way, and I (we) don't like when that happens and I (we) tend to get pissy about it. The only people I know who are fairly constant in their emotions are those on Prozac. Not that I'm condemning the pharmacological approach; people need to do what they feel is best, and sometimes that approach is best.
When I'm feeling generally positive, my true feelings on human nature tend to be overshadowed and cast into the background. When I'm having a bad day, the cynic and misanthrope in me is allowed to come out and play.
I just got back from the gym, so I'm in a better frame of mind. ...
You're so very kind to offer to chat, and I deeply, deeply appreciate it. But first I have to make sure I'm good company for myself, and then I can be good company for a friend. ...

Michael

17 comments:

g said...

You're allowed off days. It's in the fine print.

I do the gym thing too, for emotional recovery, but for the past eight months I've had plantar fasciitis, and have had to give up the basketball, tennis, running, even hiking and serious walking.

Luckily, I learned how to swim, just recently, so I can do that, and it's amazing what a little exercise can do for the spirits.

Gets the blood moving, I believe.

Green said...

I personally think expressing our emotion is very important whatever they are, negarive or possitive, it's a best way to heal ourselves. We need sun as well as shade. Both light and darkness makes human beautiful.

Michael said...

I agree, Greensleeves.

Michael said...

Hi g,

Yes, this was indeed a day off and I truly needed it. The gym surely helped ease things.

MikeDoe said...

Pity partues are OK. They help you to come to terms with things sometimes and can act as a turning point.

Do you believe that feeling and writing about some emotions such as pity is not OK?

LBseahag said...

its good to have friend who care enough to keep you on your toes...
sometimes in today's world, its hard to find. everyone has "me" syndrome...

but it is okay to have times with self-pity...thats the circle of self-discovery!

Kitty said...

Well, I'm smiling because I've had the same experience with regard to a recent post I made in my own blog.

What I am remembering is a comment someone posted to you not long ago, to the effect that in your blog you are bearing witness. That comment hit home for me ... above all else, I feel that's why I'm blogging right now.

"Bearing witness" covers a lot of territory, some of which the ego would rather me not expose to the world. I'd much rather be seen as a highly-evolved spiritual being (whatever the heck that is) who never gets frustrated and certainly doesn't whine about it.

My feeling about this is that in order to honor the authenticity of my experience, and truly and deeply "bear witness", I am having to write from different levels of my being (my human being? :)) in all its aspects.

For me, it takes strength and courage to do this. That's in itself bearing witness, I think.

At any rate, you're right, physical movement, anything that changes the energy, is a big help. I did that today, and I feel a lot better, too.

Michael said...

John,
I think you know the answer to your rhetorical question.

LB,
I hear you loud and clear! Being on the "wrong" end of the "me" syndrome reminds me of those times when I've been on the so-called right end of it.

Hi Kitty,
Yes, presenting the illusions of never-wavering stability, perpetual good judgment and a bright smile that never fades is highly deceptive -- to ourselves. Plus, how many people would believe it?

Matt said...

Thanks for sharing your story, sometimes we are allowed to feel sorry for ourselves. And sometimes it takes a good friend to bring us out of it.

You can't feel any differently than you naturaly feel. If something is bothering you then it is important to you.

Anyway, nice blog.. I have added you to my blog roll. :)

Matt
Empathy
http://e-m-p-a-t-h-y.blogspot.com

Michael said...

Many thanks, Matt, and thanks for stopping by!
I've received some interesting reactions to this posting. The topic may be worth further exploration.

Jules said...

Hi Michael,
Your normally upbeat attitude is really inspiring. You can't be expected to keep that up 24/7/365. I think you're very much entitled to a pity party now and then. :-)

I'm really sorry to read of the upturn in your calcium levels. Hopefully it's just a bump. And hopefully your endocrinologist will get back to you soon about that experimental drug.

Have a great day!

Take care,
-Jules

Michael said...

Hiya Jules,

As ever, thanks for your good wishes!

Lone Wolf said...

Hi Michael- Your post made me think about how I recently have been practicing acceptance of the "smelly ugly unwanted" sides of myself. I relize to do this is true compassion, not feeling like I am some saint helping all the poor beings that suffer. Can I except all those embarrising parts of my self along with the feeling of aversion to the enbarrisment itself. To except these unwanted sides of me, even while I try to better myself, also allows me to except other people's "smelly ugly sides" so I might not mess things up so much by slamming my veiws down there gullet which doesn't help matters.

I actually enjoyed your last post finding it not without truths. To be famous takes alot of work to sustain, not sure if I would want to be.

Michael said...

Hi Lone Wolf,
Thanks for your comments. As usual, your wisdom bowls me over.

anu said...

Well, what can i say, i go through the whiny shit all the time.

You are really balanced Michael :)

Michael said...

"You are really balanced"

Only sometimes, Anu, but it's something to shoot for. Thank you, though.
Every second, I feel I'm atop a unicycle.

mrsbeach said...

Hey Michael,
Hugs to you. Enough of the bitch part.
WE WANT TO SEE THOSE PUPPIES AGAIN!!!!

take care