Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The "N" Word...

It's not what you think...The N word I wish to write about is "Normative" or normal...it is a vulgar concept, and again by vulgar I mean commonly accepted meaning of the word.

So much has happened for me over the past years and months, I'm finding myself having to redefine the concept as it applies to me.  Since the diagnoses of AgCC and the subsequent application of new therapy and new medication protocols my life has changed radically.  More than I ever could have imagined happening.

This isn't to say that life is problem free, that its a "rose garden" and all that.  In many ways its probably similar to yours or anyone else's life to be honest.  It is this that I want to write about.

There is a portion of the disabled person (at least this disabled person) that you could say becomes "codependent upon itself."  That may seem a strange concept to many but I'll try to explain:

This latest protocol of medication and treatment I am on has improved so many areas of my life, cognitive, emotional, social on some levels, and others I can't even bring to mind.  While I've always had a high degree of intelligence (in the top 10 percent or higher) I've, for most of my life had great difficulty in areas that people might never even think about.  The longer I am on this protocol so many of those things have become simply a "bad memory."  This is not to say there is no room for improvement...I think whoever believes such a thing as that is either deluded, insane or evil.  

While talking with my case manager, I was explaining how I am having difficulty integrating with the normative experience that I seem to have in my life right now.  There is a part of me, all of us actually, I'm assuming, that depends upon its dysfunctional, disabled and broken parts.  Since I've improved so much in many of these areas it is all a new experience to me.  The normative aspect of things I am finding ever so slightly irritating, and I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop (and it doesn't.) 

My experiences of life have always seemed to me rather extreme, and I've always had to fight reality, or so it seems, in order to feel the least bit of stability and normality.  This isn't my experience any longer.  Sure, I'm unique...I'm still disabled/other abled, yet am finding that my ability to process thought and emotion, social intercourse and communication has improved...in many ways far beyond what I ever thought would be possible for me.

There exists a part of my psychology, that feels empty for want of that needy broken individual to care for.

Troya

In talking with my case manager, I'm also coming to realize that many of the thoughts, emotions, and mental processes I am experiencing now (many for the first time) are completely normal, that everyone at some time experiences them.  I'm speaking about such things as the overwhelming grief and anxiety of watching my best friend waste away from ovarian cancer.  In fact my case manager, she used the word(s) soul mate.  I'd always considered that to mean an intimate (physical) relationship, but upon closer examination I see that its not so.

Troya, in many ways is like me.  I'd not say that she or I are in any way anti-social, perhaps through genetics or experience or both we find ourselves largely asocial.  I think I can at least speak for myself and include her somewhat in saying that we both get that very few in the world experience life in the way that we do, have the same type of internal and external priorities that we do.  We've both always been happy with a group of select  few friends and such that fit in comfortably with our needs.

When I moved back to SoCal, I'd been very ill, the insurance I'd had in the State of Texas was awful, there was no way I would have gotten the physical and mental health care I needed to save my life.  I'd not even realized until I had begun my own chemotherapy that Troya had only just finished chemo herself when I arrived back in SoCal.  Yet, this special person extended her unconditional love and trust, even in light of all she knew about me.  She was for me a rare opportunity to "tell it all", uncovering all the varied parts of me, those that excelled, and those that appeared broken and disjointed.  She never flinched though.  

This makes the struggle I'm currently undergoing even stranger and more uncomfortable than I ever could have imagined.  I do not want to see her suffer (and I am seeing her suffer.) And I know that time will come when she will drop the body and no longer be with me physically.  At first I thought it a forbidden thought, ugly and unacceptable, as I was sharing with my case manager that there is a part of me that wishes it were all over, and that I could get on with my life.  I'd been thinking this was largely because of my newly found normative life, the ease with which so much is occurring for me now, and my simply wanting to "move on with things."  And this is where it gets tricky...

She (my case manager) explained to me, while that certainly might be  part of the equation, that there was much I hadn't yet looked at.  She explained how utterly normal my reaction and thoughts are when two that care for each other deeply know that the time will soon end.  She explained that part of me doesn't want to go through the pain of seeing her decline, and doesn't want her to go through the pain of decline either.  She explained that it is common for loved ones to want it just to "be over" and it is no way selfish or ugly or evil, only a normal part of the human pysche wanting to avoid personal pain and the pain of watching someone suffer. I could never have imagined, in my wildest nightmares that such a thing was true.  I felt guilt and shame, and yet there is no need...what I am going through is common in the human experience...and I hate it.

Strangely, there is also a part of me reveling in my ability to recognize and go through what is "common" and "normal" amongst the human race.  In fact, this entire experience reinforces for me, just how normative it is.  I never have liked the word normal.  It is an entirely subjective term based on accepted thoughts of how things should be.  But how can anyone claim to know what is right for another?  What society, religion, politics and philosophy says is "normal" is really only a consensus opinion.  This is not to say such things aren't necessary, on some level they always are for humanity to function with killing themselves (more than we presently are.)  Yet, at the same time, it is this subjective consensus built in xenophobic governments, educations systems, religions and philosophies, that at the same time are fully responsible for the death, disease, hunger war and murder in the world.  Of this I am certain.

I wonder if, in a world where we were each individually accepted on face value...who and what we were, what we individually can contribute (and can't) sans judgment, if I'd have had as much difficulty in my life, even taking my disability into account?  I wonder if the same is not true for each and every other individual on the planet either?

As major parts of my life are improving, and my ability to process thoughts and emotions is becoming more streamlined than ever before, I am realizing the pain and suffering of others...more intensely, and more deep than I could have imagined...and as such I am realize my own real pain and suffering.  This is not a dark and dreary or grim outcome.  In many ways I welcome it with open arms.  I have always intuitively understood and held to the unitive nature of existence, the Ground of Being, if you will.  I can remember as an extremely young child knowing without any doubt, that things were not as they appeared, that all creation is sourced in the One Consciousness, that some call God, or Truth or Reality. I remember Light in Extension, without limitation, in fact I can see and experience it even now.

Knowing this, in light of my own personality and individuality, I've spent my life avoiding pain and embracing pleasure/comfort.  Truly not much different from others.  Yet these days, I have come to realize that the entire package is a good one.  Without pain and suffering, we cannot know comfort and joy.  And its not so much comfort and pleasure that are "evil" or end in spiritual decadence, rather its our clinging to it as if it were something permanent, more real than that Light of which I spoke of.

I imagine to many, this post may seem more rambling than most of them I've done, and that's ok, it is as it should be.  I just want to express that I am so grateful to be alive,  I am grateful to feel pain, grateful to know pleasure and joy, grateful to spend time with those that I love and care for.  An entire new emotional world has opened up to me.  Very typical of AgCC folk, we can have extreme emotional presentation, and yet if anyone (let alone a therapist or Dr) were to ask us to clearly define the experience, often we lack the language to do so...which lead/leads for many into years of unnecessary suffering prior to a correct diagnoses.  I am so grateful that a drug, a medication that mankind has developed is actually changing much of my brain chemistry.  For the first time, I can look at love, hate, fear, trust, joy and suffering and actually know them in a way I never could before...Joy is wonderful, and yes, even so is pain.

While it is my personal belief, I do believe and accept that God/Truth/Reality/Consciousness both expresses and experiences life through all manifestation, God sees through the eyes of rock, and stream, flower and tree, you and me...it enriches my life beyond measure to know that who I think myself to be is but the tiniest reflection of the All, and yet It has only me to both express and to know Life as it flows through me...and that the same can be said of all beings, things, and activities...It is so wonderful to no longer have to fight life. To embrace all that comes, and to know that it is ok, and yes, that it is even "normal", brings me peace beyond understanding.    My only hope and prayer is that this become true for others as well.

If I had not known the unconditional love, acceptance and appreciation of another, like Troya, how could I possibly one day mourn the same?  What would it (or would it not) mean to me?  Everything in life, regardless of how it appears is a divine gift, so precious, so precious.

~Just Joe



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