It is a curious thing, being a part of a species. Sometimes, I feel very much like an anthropologist, studying various cultures…studying myself. I almost went into anthropology until I found out how little it paid and that archaeology would never be as "cool" as Indiana Jones made it. That said, I do like to study humans–not because they are so much more interesting than their animal cousins, but rather because I am one. I watch and think, not passing judgment, rather, learning and re-learning as opportunity presents itself. Long ago, a very dear friend told me that if we are not learning something new every day we are wasting our lives. I have always felt deep gratitude to that friend for giving me a heightened appreciation of education, because I never had to put any effort into schooling and, with a high I.Q., it did not challenge me and I spent most days very bored. Consequently, I utilized my time in class memorizing the kings and queens of England and the years they reigned rather than listening to my teachers or professors or a sequence of a hundred letters in random order set out for me BY a curious teacher who asserted I could not possibly memorize them (I did).
Sometimes, in being human, I make mistakes. Life is, after all, trial and error in some ways. The letter "r" is not typically well-vocalized by a child until around the age of four, because they spend those early years practicing vocalizing it and perfecting it. Long ago, I made a mistake here. As many know, I brought a friend who was suffering from OCD and was too frightened to go to a doctor to see that people can and do live productive, happy lives with the illness and that there was help available to those who wanted it. Some arguing happened when some other friends tailed along for support and I felt I needed to leave. It was in the aftermath that I realized I had learned something. I learned that I had responsibilities here. I had friends here who needed taking care of and people I had genuinely helped who still wanted me around. I also had people I did not understand and very much wanted to understand, except, when you are yourself, you have one point of view and sometimes people are unwilling to listen or see you for anything other than a single mistake, and I am not discussing the fight here. I am done with that burden. I said nothing to offend either side because I cared for both. Still, there were people I did not understand and could not possibly understand without the ability to be around them. From this came a persona meant solely to interact with others in a different way and see the good and the bad in people I had previously met, as well as continue to look after the friends I had mistakingly left. I also met new people, which presented something of a problem, because when you are trying to understand one set of people you can't exactly diverge from the part you've given yourself.
I have to say I learned a great deal. I learned how to ask for help when my nerves bothered me, which I seemed incapable of doing before because I was busy trying to help others and trying to ignore having OCD at all and that was nice. I learned there were plenty more people in need of help and I attempted to help them when I could or defend them from injustices, perceived or real. I learned that people who did not like me were willing to give me a chance under another name and I could help those people, too, with their work, just saying a kind word, or reasoning out some way to co-exist in chat through long messages without upsetting someone's triggers. I learned that all not because I had nothing better to do. I learned it because I was extremely interested in helping and making amends. I learned it because I learned to like these people. I never laughed at their problems. Rather, I cried for them. Because of my inability to completely help alleviate some issues. I felt the same way volunteering in a first grade classroom in Detroit and watching little children with nothing trying to keep up with their peers in other school districts. Children who were not allowed to go on field trips because it cost money or borrow books from the school library because those books might not be returned and the district couldn't afford to replace them. I watched the troubled kids who were in foster care act out in class. Their bathrooms had no soap because it couldn't be paid for. I watched them learn to read from tattered softcover books the likes of which I'd never seen as a child in a privileged school district. I watched them smile when people like me listened to them or hugged them. And still, at heart, I knew all the things I brought them (books enough for each child to take home to own, stuffed animals for each child to take home to own, hats and mittens for each child to take home to own, a party with pizza) and all the times I spent reading with them or playing with them weren't going to take them out of what was basically a ghetto. I knew the statistics and I know those same children now are in middle school, will go to high school and some will battle addictions, teenage pregnancy, poverty…everything I didn't want for them and had no solution for except to be nice and try to make the current day count. To encourage them and let them know they were somebody. I don't know if they remember me. I don't care if they remember ME. I care that they remember someone thought they were somebody once and I hope that they believe that–that they are somebody. That's what I want for them and for the people I have met on the Tribe–for them to know they're somebody.
Yes, I made mistakes. I admitted to them. I'm far from perfect. I think I'd be kind of boring if I was. And I understand that some people can't forgive the mistakes that came with this. What I wish for them is for them to know I think they're somebody. That I tried to help them or just make them feel better–not because I had a reason to, but because I wanted to. Because those people deserved to feel good even if it only lasted five minutes. Indira Gandhi, one of my personal heroes, said a great many wise things. I will bore you with four of them.
"Anger is never without an argument, but seldom with a good one."
"Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave."
"My father was a saint. I am not." (I speak here not of my birth father or stepfather, I would rather talk of God.)
"You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."
Perhaps if you are inclined, you will mull these things over. I agree with Ms. Gandhi's philosophies a great deal, but that does not mean everybody will, nor do I expect them to. I think it is very easy to surmise what I mean with these four quotations and I hold no ill-will toward those who disagree with them. I am sorry to those I have hurt here. And I am at peace for having done what I could do for them before and after saying that.
There are certain people here I wish to address and know will not hear me, but I nevertheless address them in a general fashion. I know a certain person was hurt very badly and thinks that I have no care for them. That is not true. You do not have to like me. You do not have to be my friend. You do not need to do anything for me. I still extend my help to you financially.
And now, friends and otherwise, I end with what I always end the night with. Puck's Soliloquy from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this,—and all is mended,—
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long
Else the Puck a liar call
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends."
Thank you for reading and blessings to all.