I have realized that while aggression may be preferable to passive-aggression, passivity is preferable to both.
Assertiveness requires a lack of unspoken needs. It also requires a stable mindset. Lacking this prerequisite — knowing you have to go rogue on the room — most will choose to mask their darkness and pass it into the room via passive-aggression. That's the shitty way. That's the way of the bad human. It's dishonest. To me, aggression is better than all that, because it's the exact same thing, but out in the open. Except that's destructive.
I tested out my new passivity today at a doctor's appointment. Worked better than expected. Turns out if you just give in to the darkness, people will be cooler to you. They know you're hurting, but you're clearly not making it anyone else's problem. It's a good thing.
If the darkness is going to kill you, let it only take you down with it.
And fuck Dylan Thomas. He did more damage with that booolshit about raging against the dying of the light than just about anyone else save Walt Whitman with his idea of running naked out into the world and giving it a big hippie hug. No. The world hates you. It would throw Whitman in jail. Run silent. Run deep.
Experience is reality. Ask an EMT or a vet if they really want their kids to know about truth. There are people who are being tortured by the US gov't right now, and while a good portion of the population is against it, a good portion would wish for stricter measures. As the President himself said. He also said he would "go after their families". And though there was a controversy over her appointment, the head of a CIA black site in Pakistan (I believe) was nonetheless given the job of director of the CIA.
One of the ways she and others inflicted torture, with the consent of the US gov't, and much of its population, was to put prisoners into small wooden boxes, in uncomfortable positions that would attack stress points. They would leave someone in there for hours, take them out, interrogate them, and then, if they didn't like what they heard, drag them back in. Yes, I expect "drag them back" is not flowery language.
I would imagine that the problem with that experience is not so much the confinement as the claustrophobia. It would be much like being buried alive. Having the most massive, screaming panic attack of your life, at that point, is inevitable. At least it would be for me. Think about how long you'd be screaming into your knees.
One of out every three people in the US are the base that the President was really speaking to when he said that that experience isn't extreme enough. If there's ever more than one person in the room with you, math is trying to tell you something about hope.
I spent New Year's Day in a psych hospital near the MSU campus. After I ended up getting out, I met up with my old friends at the bar, and had one last meaningful drink. There was no way to hang on to the social connections anymore, and no one felt the need to hide it. That was the very end of my six years at college. I had to leave a month before graduating. I couldn't hold it together anymore. Back home I ended up getting arrested a couple times, went to jail once, to the ICU the other time. Eventually had my stomach pumped three times that year. Got kicked out and had to go live in Detroit with my ex's parents. My first group home was that year. Plus two stints in a Detroit psych hospital that were wildly hellish. That year was scary as fuck. This year is too.
I'd made my living by my eyes as a filmmaker, despite being almost completely deaf. I'd built a tower for myself with my wealth, so I could look out on to the Atlantic Ocean, practically from the viewpoint of the gods. And then I lost my eyesight.
I could hire attendants, of course. I could still live in my tower—my symbol of hubris and excess. But I was alone with my mind.
I had my memories of the perfect, circular view, two hundred feet above the beach, and much of the time that was enough. But my condition, by definition, was relentless.
The picture windows in my penthouse reached fifty feet. My bedroom was up near the top of the massive space, in the middle, reached via a winding staircase. (I would never have thought how dangerous my bedroom would become to me.) I'd been up there now for over a day, too afraid to leave my bed. No one had come up, everything felt as if it were silent, but there had been a storm raging for days. When there had been people coming by to take care of me, I could feel the wind and the rain vibrating on the massive windows below and around my bedroom floor, and my attendants had signed into my hand to stay inside and be careful. But soon they had stopped coming by, and soon I had become too afraid to leave my bed.
By the time two full days had passed alone, I had to risk investigating the state of things outside. I felt reduced to the over-riding needs for food, and drink, and space to move. My bedroom was comfortable normally, but it had become cramped. My fear couldn't outweigh the drive for essentials.
Now feeling out for the railing, I found the top of the stairs. It was a descent I'd made a thousand times. It could pose no real danger, I was certain. The penthouse would be empty, although I knew its layout well-enough. But something felt wrong. As if there were something wrong with the air. I set my foot down onto the first stair, and it sank up to the ankle in cold ocean water.
I'd slept so horribly, feeling as if I were on pins and needles. They weren't needles, though. Once I was awake I could see that they were little castles on the floor. Like the underwater faux coral in a fish tank. My bed was gone. Standing up on the floor hurt my bare feet. What was that stuff? And why was the overhead light standing upright on the floor?
Pete glanced over at the switchboard, leaned over with one hand — balancing a sandwich in his mouth with the other — and hit the yellow flashing button, calming its insistent peripheral noise. "Do you really think it takes that long to learn the work here?"
Malcolm shrugged. "I picked it up in about a month. It won't take you long."
Attending to the next flashing button, and then peering through the thick plastic casing into the darkness inside the tank, Pete could see movement, clearly, but got no sense of what was moving inside. It seemed to be a kind of viscous black fluid. "Tell me now."
"About what's in there?" Malcolm grabbed the other half of the sandwich.
"Yeah. I've been here a week and a half, and no one will tell me what we're sitting here looking after."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Pete."
Pete sniffed and took another bite. With his mouth full he said, "I actually would."
Malcolm pointed toward the glass. "Those are spiders, dude."
"What the fuck?"
"I know, man. Those are little spiders. I mean it. There are millions of them."
Pete shook his head in such disgust that it became more of a shudder. "It pays well. But we don't need ever think about that again."
"Yeah, Pete. No question. No one ever talks about it."
Malcolm bit into his half of the sandwich and nodded while chewing. "It's simple, dude. Just don't hit the flashing yellow button. That'll open the tank right on us, buddy. But other than that, there's never anything to worry about. And besides, we'd get another warning light if that were about to happen."
It's about simplifying in order to make decisions. How do I remember that the HTML for an ellipsis is hellip and not ellip? Because if it were ellip, for ellipsis, I wouldn't be wondering in the first place about whether or not there's an "h" in there. Some choices can be reduced to binaries, and that helps with decision-making.
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