You Hate the People You Love, Just Admit It

People assume that hate is the opposite of love because they are both such extreme emotions, but that is so not the case.

Think of emotions as a spectrum of human experience. On one extreme there is love, conqueror of differences, healer of souls. In the middle there is hate, a twisted form of love. Love gone wrong and dark, if you will.

So then what is on the other extreme?

Well, let’s think about it. The reason why we assume love is on one end of the spectrum is because its affects are so explosive and passionate. “Surely this must be an extreme,”we posit, and correctly so, thus placing it on one end. But then we look at hate and think “Hm, similar affects. Volatile, fiery.” And while that is true, we misunderstand.

An extreme should not be measured by how extreme it is, but by how oppositional it is to its antithesis. If one extreme is the peak of feeling and compulsion, shouldn’t the other be opposite of that? Lack of feeling, disinterest, genuine indifference? This is the reason why in reality it is not hate which is on the other extreme of human experience, but apathy.

The worst thing someone whom you love can say to you is, “I don’t care.”

Not “I hate you.”

At least with hate there is a sense of involvement and clear emotional attachment, even if negatively so. With “I couldn’t care less,” there is an acute sense of loss, a severing of a deep connection. It’s a way of saying, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

The worst kind of feeling is no feeling, numbness. Whether you’re giving or receiving it.

That’s why depressed people feel they have to do something as drastic as committing suicide. At least then they will finally feel something, even if it is a final something.

Sometimes, people feel worried when they find themselves thinking negative things like, “I really hate you,” when confronted with problems in a relationship. They’ve been told that because they love this person they should never feel anything as extreme as hate towards them. Or maybe they’ve just convinced themselves that this is the case.

Well, take heart! That’s natural.

Sometimes, as human beings we fluctuate towards the middle of our handy dandy spectrum. Conflict has that sort of effect on us. By nature we are weak when we don’t get what we want. Our intense feelings have turned dark and dour. “Wah wah, things aren’t going so well.” But most times the meter floats back to the love zone.  If we’re lucky.

It is only when you start to feel nothing that you should get worried. That means you no longer have any investment in the other individual, or at the very best, you’re on your way to apathy. In which case, your relationship is in great danger. Turn back! Unless you’re involved with an abusive person who you shouldn’t be associating with anyhow. In that case, full speed ahead.

The next time you catch yourself thinking, “Gosh, I really hate you,” about your significant other, sigh and go, “What a relief!”

Because if we’re honest, we all hate those we love just a little bit. At least some of the times. It’s because they hold so much sway over us. That extreme emotion called love has the effect of causing us to relinquish some of our self control to another person. We find ourselves doing things that are not in the least in our favor, except for the fact that it makes the other person happy, which in turn makes us happy. This power over us, though given willingly, has the tendency to make us a little bitter. We humans are really touchy about our autonomy, so we sometimes forget who made the decision to hand some of it over in the first place, once we feel things are not going quite as planned.

We all hate those we love if we’re doing it right. This means we are still invested.

~LDA

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Not In Kansas Anymore

I find that these days I am often surprised that I have a reflection. It’s not that I have lost my sense of self. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Recently I did experience an awakening that made me aware of what a lack of self I had. It’s not that I didn’t have an identity. I did. We all do, it’s how we get around and drink things without people going, “Hey, why’s that coffee mug floating in the air?”

It’s just that the self that I identified with did not match up with my true self enough to ring true.

Haha. That sentence was a mess.

What I’m trying to say is, I had been wearing a mask for so long just to avoid being invisible that I was surprised to discover there was actually a face underneath the mask when I took it off. And even more surprised that I don’t completely hate it.

It was difficult, shedding a mask that I’d worn for so long that it was practically chemically bonded with my skin. It was really difficult. Especially since the mask bore such close resemblance to my real face that I often forgot I was wearing one. Now this is about to sound completely contradictory, but I’m not one to be fake. I’ve hated the idea of posers and fake people since I was young enough to understand how humans often default to interacting with each other. From a very young age I understood that I thought differently from other people in the sense that I saw very little need to put on a show for the sake of reputation. I was what I was and I gave you the option to take it or leave it and that was that. I’ve never wasted my time much with people who wanted me to act a certain way or were obviously preoccupied with having me believe they were a certain way. The idea of relating with such people has always been boring to me. It’s such a false interaction. Why bother with the energy? It’s much more interesting to deal with people who accept the way they are and challenge you to accept it too.

The problem with the identity I had before is that in my attempt to stay as raw as possible I lacked the flexibility to change in response to others. I wanted people to accept the way I was but was quite unwilling to let them affect me in return, which is unfair. I think the reason I became this way is because I had experienced so many exchanges with dishonest people that I had become jaded. I had been let down so many times by the possibility of authentic people that I decided I would force people to accept me the way I was before I was willing to accept them. And I think the really sick thing about my condition was that it’s not that I wasn’t willing to take. I was completely willing to take anything people had to offer me in the way of relationship. I just wasn’t willing to take and accept them as a person in return. It was a trust issue.

Even though I’m pretty perceptive when it comes to reading people, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to reading their actions in the context of emotional and social cues. I would be able to see if a person was showing their true self for the most part, but then be very unsure of what they wanted from me. A question I often ask myself is, “What does this person hope to gain from this interaction?” People’s motives are often so double-sided and shallow that I didn’t trust that it was worth nurturing a relationship with them. And if I don’t trust what they can give me, then why bother offering myself in return?

As I encouraged this way of thinking and being in myself, I developed this thin, almost translucent mask that said I accepted myself so entirely that I didn’t need other people. It’s strange because it was a mask more for myself than for showing to other people. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and believe that I wasn’t this intensely lonely creature who longed for meaningful connection. I did a good job too, because I believed it. For a really long time.

I’ve recently gone through some serious bumps in the road that have led me to re-evaluate how I handled some of my most precious relationships (of which there are not many) in the past. I’ve gone through and am still going through this spiraling cycle of regret about how I could have loved better had I just not been afraid to be vulnerable and taken off my mask.

Even though the regret is still hitting me hard, I’ve pushed forward enough to realize that the thing to do is not to waste time reminiscing, but to strive to do better in the here and now. Even harder is to realize that I have to let go of those people I will not get a second chance with, because they have the right to say no.

So I’m all naked and gross now, like a snail who has lost it’s shell, but then realized it’s been a slug all along.

It’s nerve-wracking. I mean, really quite terrifying to try to approach the world with an open point of view after all this time hiding under a shell. And I’m honest enough with myself now to be able to admit that I’m terrified after being blasted into the sky by this tornado of a thing we call life.

It’s weird to walk past a mirror and be startled. Like, “Whoa, what was that? Oh, yeah, that’s just me. That’s how I actually look like.”

It’s even weirder to find I’m not invisible after taking off my mask. Not necessarily that I love everything I see. There’s still so much that I know needs changing. But I breathe a little sigh of relief when I realize, “Ah, I can work with that. Those frown lines can turn into laugh lines with some effort.”

It’s surprising to find I’m actually glad I’m not in Kansas anymore.

~LDA

Tongue Tucking Disclaimers

Wow, would I never want to be in the public eye. 

 

Which, I know, is ironic, because here I am posting my thoughts for all to see.  But what I mean is, I’d never want to get to the point where I’m popular enough for people to start thinking they have the right to misinterpret and put a spin on everything I say.

 

These days no one has an opinion, but everyone is shouting loud enough to think they’re doing a good job making people believe they do. It’s the same with average everyman and celebrity alike.  It seems like especially with public figureheads, whether it be talk show host, YouTuber, or famous athlete, everybody speaks with a disclaimer tucked behind their tongue. 

 

It’s ridiculous.

 

“So here’s what I think…BUT I’m not actually saying that I necessarily think such and such, I’m just saying it’s a way to think.  But in the end who am I to tell you what to think? *insert nervous chuckling* Did I succeed in not offending anybody?

 

I think humanity as a whole has lost some fundamental anchor in themselves.  Everyone is turning to everyone else for affirmation that they’re saying and doing the right things.  Of course, it’s questionable that we ever had that security of conviction to begin with.  Every generation thinks they’re the generation when humanity will fall apart.

 

In any case, it’s come to the point where it seems like the only thing people feel comfortable talking about is the fact that straight, white males are privileged.  In fact, it’s even come to the point where that’s all some straight, white males are comfortable talking about.

 

“Oh boy.  Confound my privileged position in society, am I right? Heh, heh…Oh jeez.  I apologize for my existence.  Please don’t hurt me.”

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate the fact that long-standing social injustices are being examined and exposed for what they truly are.  I just don’t think it has to come to the point where everyone is so afraid of being the next person/group being ostracized for political incorrectness, that we stop stating anything with real certainty at all. 

 

“No opinion is the best opinion.  If I just feed off of others’ thoughts long and hard, my individuality will become blurred enough for it to be impossible for me to be attacked.  Mwhahaha!  I shall engage in my genius plan immediately!”

 

Oh, wait.  You lost your soul in the process, ya’ dummy.

 

~LDA

Explosions and Water Slides: A Commentary on Human Nature

Human nature never ceases to amaze me. 

 

It’s even more baffling when I see it manifesting in myself.  It’s like, I know I’m a part of the “human race” in my head, but I’m so often watching other humans from a third person perspective that this obvious truth bowls me over every time I come into contact with it.

 

I was at a water park with my family the other day, enjoying my time in the skin peeling Florida sun, when out of the corner of my eye I notice other people noticing something.

 

People seem to be looking in a certain direction all around me and a few people are even pointing.  Naturally, my siblings and I turn to see what’s so noteworthy.  In the distance, maybe half a mile away, there is a thick, cloud of smoke rising. This was no cloud of barbeque grill smoke, mind you.  It was huge, charcoal black and aggressively billowing.  Similar to the amount of smoke you would expect from a large car fire.

 

That’s what we speculated it was to begin with.  It was the least threatening scenario we could come up with.  People never want to assume the worst when something is happening within their realm of comfort.  It’s too inconvenient.

 

But with the Orlando terrorist attack fresh in the nation’s mind, I couldn’t help but assume so myself after a minute or two.

 

What if this was another terrorist attack?

 

What if there were similar explosions going on in the area and this wasn’t even the only one?

 

What if the water park was the next target?

 

I mean, come on.  How ironic would that be?  A place literally filled with water and crawling with carefree Americans catching fire?  If ever there was a way to send the signal that no matter where you are, you are not safe from ISIS, that would be it in my opinion.

 

Turns out, it wasn’t a terrorist attack.  It was a construction fire from which, thankfully, nobody seems to have been badly injured.

 

But you know what really amazed me?  The reactions the situation prompted for the people in the water park.  Most people’s reaction was to go toward the danger and I thought to myself, “Only humans would take such a course of action.  Any other animal on the planet would naturally run like hell in the other direction.”

 

I kept thinking about it and realized I couldn’t make up my mind as to why that was.  Saying it’s because mankind naturally feels the desire to rescue those in need sounded awfully altruistic.  Saying it’s because mankind naturally feels the desire to excavate uncharted areas of knowledge sounded optimistically philosophical.

 

In the end, I settled with the conclusion that human beings are just that freaking nosy.  That it’s not a desire to help those in need or finding answers to the questions of life.  Maybe we’re just so curious that we fight against our better judgement and move toward risky situations out of nosiness. 

 

Almost like a “What’s going on?  What’s going on?  I wanna find out so I can tweet to my friends that I knew it before them” kind of thing.

 

That we want to know just to know.  Not even that we want to do anything further about the information than reporting it.  We’ll leave that kind of motivated action to someone else.

 

What’s more is the reaction of the water park goers after about five minutes of fruitless inquiry into the situation.  They just shrugged their shoulders and continued riding water slides.  I chuckled disbelievingly and muttered to my brother, “Just shows you human nature.  People are potentially being blown up and they’re riding water slides.”

 

Then it occurred to me that this isn’t anything different than usual.  People are always being potentially blown up or hurt.

 

In fact, it’s a statistical certainty that there is always someone in pain at any given moment in time. 

 

Whether it be via paper cut, slavery, or crushing poverty, there are always people suffering and most of us manage to go on with our lives as if nothing is happening.  I guess it’s just a survival thing.  We’d all go insane if we stayed aware of the suffering of every individual in the world at all times, but it’s kind of sobering isn’t it?

 

When push comes to shove, we can’t bring ourselves to care unless the suffering directly impacts us. 

 

We don’t truly bring ourselves to care unless we see a smoke cloud swelling in the distance.

 

As I watched the smoke settle down and the fire trucks spray tremendous blasts of water in the direction of the problem, my mind floated to thoughts of  people who have survived things like nuclear bombs and the terror they must have felt having had their glass bubble of personal security shattered.

 

How must it feel to go from watching terror to being in the middle of it?

 

I almost wish I could say I’d like to find out as an experiment in human experience.  That I’d like to do what it takes to be brought closer to my fellow human being.  But in truth, I don’t.

 

We take it so much for granted how richly sheltered and 1st world the United States is.  How is it that the RAM space of collective human memory is so small?

 

Why do we always have to fall down in order to remember that we picked ourselves up in the first place?

 

~LDA