Tag Archives: xing

An Antidote to X-ing

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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.

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For Sharisa, and anyone else facing attempts at erasure.

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I wrote a version of this once for Sharisa Kochmeister, who was dealing with people trying to publicly erase her existence. But when I write it now, it is intended for anyone dealing with such attempts at erasure. I am writing it because it gets right down to the core of the problem, rather than getting lost in details thrown around by those attempting the erasing, the ones they will try to distract a person with. I am writing it because I know several people right now, Sharisa included, who might need to remember this:

Remember that when they attack someone you are not, they are not attacking you. They are just attacking something they think is you, an illusion in their heads.

It can harm you, because it can make people mistake the illusion for you, and they can act badly towards you based on that. And there is real danger, and I don’t want to downplay that.

But at the same time, they are hacking and biting and tearing and clawing away at a person who doesn’t even exist, someone they dreamed up in their minds. In the larger scheme of things, they can’t touch you, because they can’t even perceive you as you are.

Hate can’t understand love. Hate isn’t an action, it’s a state of mind. People in that state of mind are more thoroughly harmed by the hate they envelop themselves in, than the people they try to attack. Hate pulls a person away from reality. You have to be able to love in order to see who someone really is. A person enveloped in hate can’t do that. So all they are doing is ripping at all sorts of illusions they build up to surround you. You will remain standing even if they shred those to pieces, even if in fear you mistake those pieces for you at times.

I know how hard it is. I also know that when you go through things like this you often find out you’re stronger than you thought you were. Because any strength you have comes from something that nobody who hates you (and I tend to think attempted erasure of a person’s existence is the ultimate hate) can touch or even see.

It comes from the fact that you are a real person and nothing anyone does can change that. You don’t even have to try to exist in order to exist, you just do it automatically. Hate on the other hand takes constant effort, to push oneself away from reality, and to fight against what does exist. Hate will wear a person out. Simple existence will not.

I hope for their sake that the people attacking you learn how destructive hatred is to the person stuck in it. It can happen. I have seen people make that change, it is hard but their lives and the lives of those around them are better for it. But even if they don’t, I know that you will be okay, because you will still be there. You are not the imaginary person they are ripping apart, half plaything and half punching bag, and you are not just words on a screen or an example or symbol of something people have imagined up in their heads. And you never will be. You exist, you are a real person, and nothing can change that.

On a similar topic, you might want to read Cyber Bully by Donna Williams, which contains the excellent advice:

I don’t know where they get the time. It must rob their own families of quality time. And how can they escape that head space of militancy and hatred to really be accessible as parents, friends, brothers, sisters. In the end, their lives are suffering and they don’t even know it. They put so much passion into their cause in going after people, that it gets like a drug to them, and they are probably as available to their own families as an addict is when having a primary relationship with drugs. So as much as its really scary to find anyone pathologically fixating on me, in the end, whatever discomfort they cause me, I know there’s must be greater. Addiction is incredibly hard to live with and when these people think their addiction is their selfhood, they are far from any place of hope. Number 1 rule, no matter how personal they make it, don’t take it personally.