Monthly Archives: November 2008

An Antidote to X-ing


This is intended for the Disability Blog Carnival. The topic this month is, “I am.” The carnival is posted at Emma’s blog.

I’ve posted many things like this before, but I don’t know where they are, so I’m writing it over again in slightly different form. A little repetition of this concept never hurt anyone anyway. :-)

(See this entry by Anne for a better description of X-ing than I could ever hope to write at the moment, as well as a broader description of what I am talking about in this post.)

An Antidote to X-ing

It is not arrogant, stupid, foolish, bad, meaningless, or wrong to say that you exist.

There can be a lot of very strange patterns in the rest of the world, some of them involving people, some of them not, some of them seeming to come from inside of you, all of them basically boiling down to the message, “You do not exist,” in one form or another.

Especially if your existence is not something some people want to know about.

Especially if you are in one form or another dissenting from the views of seemingly very powerful people.

Especially if you are accustomed to taking people at their word, even when their word is, “You do not exist.”

Especially if you have been trained to endlessly repeat that mantra for them. (You may even have been taught to repeat it to others, and thus, for each moment you do that, go through the motions of that same destructive pattern.)

Especially if you have been taught that reality (especially the piece of it you inhabit) is upside-down, inside-out, and backwards from what it is.

Especially if you have been taught that existence is unimportant.

Especially if you don’t fit some usual pattern of existence that most people are looking for.

Especially if you have been led to believe that existence is only for people something-er than you. Cooler, smarter, better, stronger, whatever. That for the little piece of reality you are to exist without apology or shame, is arrogant or uppity.

Especially if you have been led to believe that to exist, you have to do, or understand, something complicated, something abstract, some grand and enormous theory about the world.

Especially if you have been trained to be the plaything of people who think that power consists of deluding themselves into believing they’re warping existence to fit their egos.

Especially if you have been trained to ask permission, and apologize, for something as simple as breathing.

Especially if you have been trained to view an assortment of superficial traits as who you are, by people who for whatever reason believe that themselves.

Especially if you have been taught that you have to know who you are, to say that you are.

Especially if you have been taught that existence has to come in a package of intellectually rigorous words all lined up in rows and stuffed into endless books to be devoured by an elite who have access to them.

Especially if you have been taught that existence is some other kind of secret, rather than something that is going on around all of us, all the time.

Especially if you have been taught that asserting your existence is somehow the same thing as the hubris in claiming that the flimsy imaginings of a vain ego are important and real and central.

Especially if your existence is one of those frequently deemed worthless, inferior, defective, and overly expensive.

These things can seem to weave a complicated web around you, and that can seem to control you, distract you, make your mind run in useless circles every time you come close to the idea of existing.

That can seem very complicated indeed.

But one thing, is very simple.

You don’t have to even think it, if even the thought of your own existence triggers some cascade of misdirection.

But it’s there.

It’s always there.

And that fact can’t be taken away.

It’s a very simple fact.

But simplicity is a strength here, not a weakness.

This fact is very powerful.

It unravels all that complex nonsense and shows it for what it is (even with all the complex nonsense in the world trying to claim otherwise).

It’s simpler than even the two words used to describe it.

That fact is:

“I exist.”

Without that, all the ideology in the world will be useless at best, and backfire at worst, becoming part of that strange pattern of destruction.

The more we are told not to exist, or that we don’t exist, then the more we need to assert our existence.

Not necessarily in words.

Not necessarily in ways that everyone would understand.

But certainly in ways that are active and meaningful, and going on from there.

I exist.