It’s been an interesting week for So many reasons. One of the most interesting has been a conversation I had on CPTSD and mental health.
It is a medical fact that trauma shapes the brain. I know that, for example, because I was abused repeatedly in my single digit years, I have trauma that will probably never heal. Talk therapy helps, but therapy can’t do the impossible. It won’t completely fix stuff that got messed up while my brain was forming. That part of my life is done. I’m not the person I would be if not for the trauma.
And, I like the person that I am now.
There are things about PTSD that I don’t want: violent outbursts, continuing the cycle of violence. I spent a lot of time curbing those. But those pathways are there. I am not a good person by any classic definition. I am a recovering sado-masochist with violent tendencies so deep I often want to laugh at people who call me nice. Nothing I can do about the fact that I think by default about not just eye for an eye but eye for slaughtering your village even the cows. I get it. I do. Do not mistake my niceness for weakness. God only knows the immense effort “niceness” can take. I am functioning but not really okay.
There are other parts of PTSD that I am okay with: not trusting other people easily or making emotional connections past a certain point – ever. I mean it is actually simpler to not have friends or worry what people think. And it works for me. I also tend to be hypervigilant, always a bit paranoid, always looking for patterns even where there are no actual patterns in order to plan for the next attack. It’s just how I’m wired. I can burn a new circuit around the paranoia, but I like the way my brain is always finding patterns. It keeps things fun. (Just because two things seem connected, that doesn’t mean they are – or that the connection matters – but it can be fun to mess with it all anyway.) And just because I’m an antisocial loner, that doesn’t mean I don’t care.
There are parts of me – some of the most important parts – that I just don’t talk about, because I know people are going to stare at me and start asking questions I don’t know how to answer. It’s not that I don’t want to talk. It’s just that I have spent so much time alone that it would be simpler (and far likelier to succeed) for both sides of the conversation to learn Egyptian hieroglyphics and trade recipes in hieroglyphics.
As a Christian, I remember learning that we are supposed to evangelize. I’m not sure what that even means, other than telling a story. I have never been able to figure out conversion except as an abstract concept. I have always been in but not of this world for as long as I can remember. It’s called disassociation.
I don’t understand why “normal” people do the things they do. I have no real idea why someone is or should be this or that religion. I see good parts in most religions. There is a part of me that thinks maybe there is no God or maybe Jesus really is a demon pretending to be my friend. I get atheism. Trust no one. I get it.
It is important to me that Jesus anticipates all of this when he says – speaking to people like me – forget the miracles for a second, forget the virgin birth. Oh yeah, I’m over that whole sexist, Mary had to be a pure, chaste, docile virgin thing now. It took me a while to get over it, but I’m over it. I believe she was and is by choice, not because God needed it, but we humans do. Anything else is patriarchal BS that gets old about the time you realize no person has ever actually been made less a person due to being raped.
Jesus said to believe in me because of what I am telling you. Anyone could do miracles, and anyone could speak to my heart. But he does something more, shows me a path forward, a path worth fighting for – (or, to be slightly more precise, something like LaGrange points that sketch out best possible solutions to a path between us – and everyone else at all times.) He answers the deep longing of my heart for a savior – not just for myself but for everyone – and as a consequence helps me in my little way to represent the savior, not just for myself but for everyone.
I don’t know how to convert to Christianity. I never really did. I saw this guy standing over there and it was love at first read. I’m like that guy who said I was blind and now I’m not.
This has been a really weird week for me. Our nation’s capitol building was overrun by white supremacists, but the strongest memory I have is of Pence who I do not even like by the way, the anti-abortion sexist homophobe that I know he is, but there was Pence satisfying my brain by reading this boring, repetitive statement over and over about the votes from State X. Any objections? No. With this look of absolute focus on his face, like I’m going to do my freaking job, F you looters, F you Trump, F you all the people who think I’m just doing this to save face and maybe run for president in 4 years – assuming Trump does not torpedo my political future. I am going to have some dignity. Because he is that kind of guy.
You know, if the United States does survive, it will be because of people like that. Maybe it’s just me, but integrity counts, especially when that is literally all you have left, especially when I disagree, especially when you’re not actively trying to tear down our democracy at this moment, especially if you would really like to but our democracy is like nice try. How does prison sound?
I’m just saying – I feel like if we could just remove the oxygen from evil’s room for a second, we would see how much good there is in the world. It’s different from our good, possibly inferior and worth *peacefully* fighting against. But not evil. Just different, splinters in our brothers and sisters eyes. Then, once we see that, breathe. Breathe in the air that is deeper. Like how Jesus had food that no one else could see. It’s there. You just need to know where to look. How to detach, how to die to all you think you know about how this works – and help others to do the same. Not in a crazy anarchy way but in a try to believe the best way. Give peace a chance. Quit saying – but the other side. Shhh….
We are all in this together. Sometimes you need to not see it to see it.
I’m not trying to condone evil. I’m just saying to fight evil with good. I’m saying especially if that person really does intend us harm, then let’s make them really regret that by forcing them to have no choice but do us good instead.
Truth is, I’ve never really repented from sins in that way we are supposed to. I don’t know how. I was traumatized when I was five by a kindergarten teacher who made me believe for years that what she did to me was my fault. I was traumatized by abusive/absent parents. Guilt is in my blood. And forgiveness is too. I want to be a better person because I am worth it. I believe in a punishing God strictly in the really good personal trainer sense, who knows what I am capable of and when I really do need a minute, k?
Blaming people for their sins is as much a waste of time to me as trying to figure out why that kindergarten teacher would do what they did to a five year old girl. Would it help my healing one way or another to know if that person had psychological problems of their own? Or that they are burning in some literal hell dimension right now? Yeah, not really. Other people hope people like that are burning in hell, and I’m like – why? That helps my universe how exactly?
It really doesn’t. It does help to remember that unlike many of his so-called reps on earth, Jesus did not come here to fight enemies. He came here to save victims. Like me. Yet another victim turned advocate.