Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quote of the day: 10/22/06, 2

This whole post at Pink Thunder: "A Brief Meditation on Fear and Self-Hatred"

If you've been reading the On Racism stories on PinkThunder.com, you know and I know: I wasn't born a coward. I once took on 7 big guys as a kid. Oh -- I got my behind handed to me. I knew I'd lose going into the fight and badly. But winning wasn't my goal. Or maybe it was how I defined winning: my goal was to save my new friend from Korea, Sue. To prevent them from getting past me and going for her. On that score, I won.

The thought of standing and delivering against 7 big guys now is pretty scary to me. Looking back it was scary then too and probably one of the worst beatings I ever took: it was after-school. So what gave me the courage to do it? What freed me mentally and spiritually to be able to do this?...

Why are people so afraid of their true selves, of their personal power? Why do we create the fence of fear? Tai chi sword was one for me. For years and years, this was a practice I hid from almost everyone. Why? I suppose I feared being different. I feared what it might say about me to other people. Mostly, I think I feared me.

At some point, I stopped caring though. I set myself free.

...I never imagined that it would be accepted so easily. That people would think it was cool. That I was cool. Isn't that funny. So now when I push up against a barrier of fear, I don't pretend it isn't there. It doesn't really matter how it got there. It does matter that it stands between me and claiming another piece of personal power. I've decided not to back away but to stand and fight the fear whenever I can...

Why the fear of personal power? With power comes responsibility. How much more relaxing to blame someone else -- your childhood, your job, God, fate, The Man, the wife and kids, your boss, the system, the Bush administration, Tony Blair, your parents, anyone -- other than you...Get over yourself, get around yourself. You owe it to the rest of us. Be who you really are. Without fear. Because who you really are -- is a pretty amazing person we'd all like to know better.



and i could be wrong wrt PT's own philosophy, but speaking for myself i interpret this as: no, this does NOT mean one stops examining the System or even assume that there is no such animal. Rather, i read it as a call to recognize the part we play in it, and see this as a hopeful sign, not as an excuse for more guilt and self-flagellation.

You have the power to help uphold.

You have the power to help change.

Yes. We do all have power. We do all have agency. We do all have choices. They may be limited choices--and it is important to recognize that, yes; and yes, one could certainly Blame the System for that, the restrictions;

but choices they nonetheless are.

and power it nonetheless is.

That's really important.

We already have what we've been looking for. We've had it all along.

Now, the scary part: the unknown. Leap.

Begin:

14 comments:

R. Mildred said...

That's what I said dammit!

belledame222 said...

Well, i was a bit distracted at the time...

i kind of like zuky's creed: "open mind and open hand strike."

http://www.zuky.net/

alternating it with bouts of Hothead Paisan beat-the-fucker-to-death-with-a-shovel, just for variety's sake, you know.

i'll never really get rid of the latter tendency, even assuming i wanted to; otoh i find it sort of exhausting to keep up constantly.

Taihae said...

Love that. seriously something everyone needs to hear. it seems like people are afraid to discover that, yes, they do have a certain power, because all power comes with responsibility. to themselves, and others. an old friend of mine is battling a crack addiction, i'm gonna send this his way.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Leep indeed.

You'll be amazed by the cliffs on the otherside side.

rosmar said...

Great timing, as usual, belledame.

Nanette said...

This is a great piece. I have a lot to say, but I'm too tired to say it, so will try tomorrow.

But this...

We already have what we've been looking for. We've had it all along.

Exactly.

Sage said...

The more we try to skirt around taking responsibility, the more fearful we become. It's a downward spiral.

In other news, any idea what happened to Bitch/Lab?

Andy said...

Fantastic article. Indeed, with personal power comes responsibility and people would often rather work with the false power of domination and control rather than the self-changing and enlightening personal energy within. x

Unsane said...

I've never been afraid of my own power, although at one time I did not conceptualise the world in terms of power, but I suppose in terms of passive objects moved around by fate. As odd as it might sound, for the first half of my current life, I did not conceptualise power at all. ONce I did, I immediately realised that power is what I had been missing (both in terms of my own understanding of the world, but also in terms of having any of it). Since I had to come to an understanding of power in the hardest way, it also suprises me how sometimes people mystify power. I do think it is mystified by various self help notions. In my own experience (and probably because of the nature of the small city, overgrown village that I live in), there is often the assumption that problems are rarely REALLY problems (that is, situations which could require more than just the individual dealing with it by making a stand or something). This makes it very easy for people to go, "oh Joe has a problem? Well why doesn't he just make a stand?" And then if the problem is one which one cannot solve by making a stand, then Joe has to take on the moral responsibility for having the problem, since he is too lazy, or guileless or weak, or hazy, or stupid, to simply deal with it.

So, I find it funny when in various contexts it is suggested that individualistic solutions are the most efficacious ones there are. It seems like so much "blame the victim" and defend the status quo to me.

Unsane said...

by "current life' ,,ahem..I mant the age I am currently.

Rootietoot said...

We can't ever be responsible for other folks actions, nor can we blame other folks for our own actions. Other folk may spur us to action, but the ultimate decision is ours alone. I admit to having been goaded into certain behaviors, but ultimately...I decided. THe problem with that philosophy is that if we are responsible for our own actions, then we are to blame when they turn out to be the wrong action, and no one likes that.
Nice post :o)

lilcollegegirl said...

Hmm...I may have my bf print this out and hang it somewhere (my printer is broken). I am, on the whole, a very fearful person, about a variety of things, some largely unimportant, some crucial. Slowly, I have worked through some of the most crippling of my fears, but there are so many left, and fear of responsibility is one of them, or rather the root of several. I know this, and yet, sometimes, I just can't imagine how else I can be, I only know I can't be this way. So at the moment, I'm looking for a map, and muddling through as best I can in the absence of one. (I have a terrible sense of direction.) I suppose this is growing up.

Unsane said...

Hmmm... sincerely I don't understand this "fear of responsibility" thing. I suppose that in the past I have erred in the direction of seeing myself to be responsible for all sorts of things that in retrospect I could not have been responsible for.I wonder why this is a tendency of mine. Perhaps it is because I tend to feel that I SHOULD BE powerful, even in situations which are not mine to control.

lilcollegegirl said...

Well, at least for me, it's really a fear that because I have this responsibility, I will, at some point, fuck it up seriously, possibly irreparably. Which scares the hell out of me.