Posted by: Mark Nielsen | August 22, 2011

Defensive Blogging

North Carolina Potter

A NC potter, our spiritual analogy of the day. Image by gurdonark via Flickr

I previously said I would give a more complete report of my latest adventures in the legal system in North Carolina and beyond, and I will do that… when I get around to it. Till then, this is a bit of a rant about struggles of a more personal or emotional nature that I have had lately. Not for the faint of heart, perhaps. You have been warned.

*  *  *  *  *

While I was in NC, I invited my ex-brother-in-law to visit us in the western mountains, and he was very encouraging and helpful. Some might think it odd that I still keep up with David, but aside from the fact that we were both married to two sisters for 20+ years, we have other stuff in common as well. We have stayed friends over the years, and I make no apologies about that. 

I also chose to bring Graham to NC despite my distracting and potentially painful “business”, then pretty much chose to go to jail (as the less expensive and more “educational” option than probation and community service hours… hours which I will pretty much do anyway by virtue of my church involvements).

All the above are rather unconventional choices. I am aware of this. I’m not stupid, nor socially inept.  I’m just “different”… as anyone who knows me will likely attest. But as someone who thinks outside the box, I often tire of the wasted energy I must expend trying to justify my choices to people who are up in my business, but have not (and likely cannot) walk in my shoes.

Yet people still think they know something, so they go stepping all over my boundaries and trying to tell me what to think or how to feel. To some extent, all my life that has  been a consistent and fairly rotten/painful pattern. I’m just now getting to the point of being able to say: “No, that’s your perspective (or problem), not mine.”

Sad that it took this long, perhaps– but on the other hand, some people never arrive at that place. They instead operate from a wounded, self-loathing kind of fearful place in all that they do.

I suppose this is one of the fruits of my pending divorce: breaking co-dependent cycles, maybe getting free of having to please Sue, or family, or anyone else but God and myself. Better yet, if I please God alone, then it’s highly likely I will not displease or fail those who matter most to me, for they matter to Him as well. Furthermore, despite what you may have been taught in Sunday School, it’s actually very hard to displease God. That’s the bonus of a God who is first of all not Judge but rather Loving Father and Mother, loving me equally thru the ups and downs. So I’ll be a ‘ight, people, thank you very much.

I am getting a bit jaded about other people, though. I am seeing that many if not most people have blind spots –in their hearts and lives– the size of Manhattan. And they are slow to change and grow, in either their ideas or their behavior. So I feel no compunction anymore to take what any old Joe or Jane says at face value. I used to be more trusting, but for better or worse, I’m becoming more suspicious and self-sufficient. I might still be wrong sometimes, and in need of correction, but I’ll take my chances. Because I’m tired of feeling shamebound, or like less of a person, because of someone else’s biases, or their invasive or critical tendencies. So I’m going to fight back when they’re out of line, or even when they just can’t see what I’m seeing.

I’m usually quite forgiving and non-aggressive by nature, but I’m getting quite tired of explaining myself. I don’t know myself that well, so how can someone ELSE assume they know me enough to question my choices or suggest outlandish options? These well-intentioned but narrowminded people who think they know what’s best for me better shut up soon –or at least wait to be invited into my “circle of trust” (thanks, Mr. DeNiro)– or I’m afraid I’ll start getting mean. Maybe I’ll start showing them all the ways I think they’re the screwed up ones, who barely know what’s best for themselves. I can pull out plenty of evidence to back up my points, too.

To use the Jesus analogy: My pearls ain’t being given to pigs ANYMORE. If someone does not welcome me for who I am and what I stand for, I’ll shake the dust off my shoes as Jesus said to his disciples, and move on down the road.

I know I ain’t the man I used to be, nor am I the man some folks want me to be in order to fit their conventional pattern. Of course I ain’t normal. Get used to it. I’m an original, one-of-a-kind. If I haven’t changed that soul-shape in 46 years, why would I change now, just when I’m trying to re-connect with my True Self and unbury my dreams, deferred for far too long? (I’m also an Enneagram Type 4, and being normal or going unnoticed as “special” is very hard for us 4’s.) For now at least, all of that abnormality is okay and necessary. Besides, as my favorite songwriter Bruce Cockburn once sang: “the trouble with normal is it always gets worse”.

So give me anything you wanna for my birthday, …anything but advice.  I’ve got enough of that to fertilize a large field full of crops.


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