— no.

anything that annoys you is teaching you patience

No. If it annoys me, I need to learn to do something about it instead of sitting there being slowly driven out of my gourd. If I can do nothing to affect what annoys me, then sure, I start on myself and how I cope.

anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand on your own two feet

No. Anyone who abandons you in the name of teaching you independence is a shitty human being. You’ll learn anyhow. But you don’t owe that person respect thereafter.

anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion

No. A great deal of the time, it’s teaching me what to shut out of my life, because all that rage is bad for my blood pressure. Compassion? Only when the anger is rooted in an injustice done to another.

anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take that power back

No. There are times when things need to have power over us. The law, for example. Anarchy sounds great until you realize that means someone can murder you with no consequences. An unjust law can be fought, even disobeyed, but one person is seldom correct in making that decision; community must choose, because we are all locked into social contracts within social contracts. You know. So we don’t all die.

anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love

No. Not anything. Some things I hate will at best be tolerated; one day I’ll be able to think of them and shrug. But love? We are human and emotional. Sometimes you can’t zen away the pain.

anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear

No. Phobias are irrational. Chemical reactions in the brain reinforce panic reactions. I don’t need courage. I need science, both soft and hard.

anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go

No. For me, at least, what I can’t control is teaching me how to reach for the things I can control, and the difference between the two.

Pseudo-Buddha memes annoy the piss out of me. According to this philosophy, I should just walk away without saying a word — but I felt something real, and for me a very large part of living is recording what is real to me. Another large part is speaking out when another perspective might be useful.

In this case, so much of what is prescribed is a dereliction of responsibility for the force that has sparked such feeling. I am double Pisces, in tune with emotion; I am Libra rising, and I favor a balancing of the scales. What is this litany but repeated blame of the person who dares to feel such things? What does it do but absolve the perpetrator of guilt?

This list is Recovery 501. This is graduate-level inner change. For the victim of injustice, first there are better things than slipping away noiseless into the night. Do not fear to rise up and try to change the world in hopes of no more pain. Do not refrain from naming the one who has hurt you; do not hesitate to request that reparations be made, in some way, specifically by that party if it be possible. Do not turn away from natural reactions to life events, repress them in the name of keeping sweet — I use that phrasing deliberately.

Sometimes you have to hate in order to get back to a healthy mindset. Sometimes rage is the expression of a very natural energy, and there are safe ways to be angry, like a storm spending its energy out to sea.

Fear is useful when it is productive. Fear teaches many of us about safety; I do not mean only small children confronted with hot pots on stovetops.

Grief is normal. You do not have to let go before you’re ready.

Being human is normal. You do not have to aspire to bodhisattva status. Some people are there. Some people are so very not. Do you think God hates imperfection? I don’t. I think God made imperfection. Feature, not bug. I think God flicked Her finger and set it all in motion, letting the chips fall where they may.

You want serenity out of me? That is the nearest I get. That’s my enlightenment. Take it or leave me.

But do not, and I mean this very much from the bottom of my shrivelled wee soul, do not ever shovel this crap down my throat as a panacea. Blood kin don’t even get a pass. I fall somewhere between neutral and lawful on that alignment axis. Rafael Barba is not only my lust object, he is a pretty good role model. Not law for law’s sake, but justice. And I have my eyes wide open.


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