Sunday, January 05, 2014


I want to stop the screaming in my head.

I want to stop the endless internal monologues that I have to prove to myself that another person's words, or actions towards me, we wrong or baseless.

I want to fully recognize that someones hateful and bigoted action towards me is simply hatred and bigotry and as such exist in their heart not something that exists in my reality.

These are hard things to want, but I want them.

We got on the elevator at the movie theatre. The only way to get to the movies there is by taking the elevator one floor up from main. This time, we were going down after the movie. We got on, pushed the button and started chatting about what we saw. After a few seconds, I said, "We're not moving." Joe pushed the button again and we didn't feel the elevator car shift even a little. He then pushed the open button and the doors slid open.

Two men were standing there, both of whom clamoured on even as we explained that it hadn't moved. Joe pushed the button again and again the car didn't move. He opened and closed the door a second time. The man on my immediate right, the one who was crushing into my space, the man who seemed to be radiating hostility, got off the moment the door opened again, he looked back at me and said, "Maybe it's not working because it's overweight." He put an emphasis on overweight to let me know that the word tasted bad in his mouth.

We sat there in shock at the vehemence of his attack as the elevator closed and this time journeyed down. We got off and I said to Joe, "Well wasn't that aimed directly at me?" Joe just said, "Asshole," and we continued on.

So did my mind.

I began a long talk with myself - explaining that I'd ridden the damn thing UP the theatre, how did he think I got there - I magically appeared at the door. I ride on elevators almost every day of my life, at home at work, on the subways ... they all work. This had nothing to do with my weight.

Versions of this went on for a couple of hours, at increased intervals and decreased intensity, but they went on.

It's kind of like when someone treats me as a person with a disability I am a person of little to no worth - and the long talk begins .. I talk to myself in lists of accomplishments and lists of attributes and lists of skills. I make lists to justify my own worth to myself in order to assure myself that I have worth. Forgetting, of course, that my worth comes from nothing on those lists, my worth comes simply from my status as fellow citizen.

But the dialogues I have with myself to explain to myself that a bigots judgement is incorrect, that a bigots actions are unjustified, that a bigots words are wrong - are long, and tedious, and reek of desperation.

And I want to stop.

I want to become someone who recognizes that hateful people who target me and hurtful actions which are aimed at me are just what they are ... that there's not a thing I can say to myself which will affect them or their behaviour. It's a lot of work with zero payoff.

I want a silence to ring inside me when I am targeted ... I want that silence to shine coldly through my eyes. I want to be a target that isn't pierced by sharp words or penetrated by hateful actions. I want the silence within me be so evident that it begins an internal dialogue where it begins - in the heart where hate lives.


Anonymous said...

If you have not tried mindfulness you may want to look into it. It is very powerful tool to control the impact others have on you. 20 minutes a day over a few months and you would notice quite a difference in how the worlds cruelties affect you. I have found it takes that assault on your being from lasting a few days to a few hours or less and sometimes not at all.

Anonymous said...

That is not only powerful, but helpful. I have bookmarked it so that I may retread as needed.

Rosemary said...

Yes, I am fat, but when did fat become a hateful thing? It should be just a benign term of description. Sometimes, I just to hide inside my home away from such hatred.

Anonymous said...

I'd say the elevator didn't want to have anything to do with that hateful man. Once the nasty man no longer wanted to use the elevator, it started working again. Even the elevator didn't want anything to do with him!
And we all want that serenity that keeps other people out of our heads but it is so very hard to accomplish.

Anonymous said...

A Prayer: O God, my God! Lowly, suppliant and fallen upon my face, I beseech Thee with all the ardor of my invocation to pardon whosoever hath hurt me, forgive him that hath conspired against me and offended me, and wash away the misdeeds of them that have wrought injustice upon me. Vouchsafe unto them Thy goodly gifts, give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them peace and prosperity, give them Thy bliss and pour upon them Thy bounty. Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting! (another to follow)

Anonymous said...

"If one is praised and chosen by God, the accusation of all the creatures will cause no loss to him; and if the man is not accepted in the threshold of God, the praise and admiration of all men will be of no use to him. By all these it is meant that thou must not be sorry and grieved because of these things ... written against thee; nay, rather trust in God and be unmoved by either the praise or the false accusations declared by people towards thee, depend entirely on God and exert thyself to serve His holy vineyard."
Hugs to you and Joe

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

It is about his cruelty - but part of you knows that. How to stop the internal dialogue? I don't know. No solutions just solidarity, Dave.


wheeliecrone said...

When I was a small person who was hurting from some thoughtless or downright nasty remark that someone had made, my dear old Dad used to tell me, "Sometimes you have to recognise the fact that people are no damned good. The fact that they are also, and at the same time, absolutely wonderful, is the difficult thing to get your head around."
Whenever someone lets me know that my wheelchair makes me a non-person, I remember dear old Dad -and it helps.

Anonymous said...

Joe hit it on the head - asshole. Honestly. I am so sick and tired of being targeted because of my weight. The last came from a bald guy. I wanted to lash out that he was less of a man because he had no hair. What did he do wrong? Why didn't he do something earlier? How dare he flash his bald shiny head my way. It was offensive. He obviously isn't smart or he wouldn't have let it happen. Sounds harsh, eh? Folks argue that he couldn't do anything about it...well, do they know my situation, my health? I didn't say anything, knowing my statement would have been as rude and ridiculous as his. As far as turning off your thoughts, it is tricky. Sometimes the old saying "there but for the grace of God go I" helps me. Viewing the ignorance with pity rather than anger. Yes, the elevator got it right - all assholes off please. Let those with care and love continue.

Anonymous said...

I want you to remember the girls words: "my Dave!"

And Joes Dave, (and Julias Dave - a little...)

It might not stop all the circles in your head, but it might give them a break.

If my head does something like that it also effects my physical health. I have friends who remind me that I am "their" Julia.

With hope, love and peace

Anonymous said...

Dave, you have spent a lifetime teaching the world that the valueless have MUCH value.

So maybe it is difficult for you to dismiss ANYONE as valueless? Even those who are Just. Being. Assholes.


Shan said...


Maggie said...

A few years ago I was invited to sit across from an empty chair and speak to my Infernal Internal Critic (a voice that, in those days, took up almost every waking moment with a barrage of abuse, blaming me for everything that went wrong or even failed to go perfectly, yadda yadda). Then I was asked to stand up and go sit in the Infernal Internal Critic's chair ... and let it use my voice.

It was an amazing experience.

When I first imagined speaking to that voice, I imagined it came from someone who was 10 feet tall, ugly in a way only the monsters in a little kid's nighttime imagination can be ugly, with scary teeth at least 2 feet long, each one aimed at tearing me to bits.

But when I sat in the chair, I burst into tears. My Inner Critic is really a cute little 5-year-old kid, who is desperately trying to do everything right ... but who has not yet noticed that the 2500 or so instructions she is trying to follow at all times contain a huge number of contradictions - and besides, some are impossible to do at the same time.

At the end of the session I held her on my lap and offered what words of comfort my adult self could muster for a terrified child trying to be more responsible than she knew how.

I tell you all this to say that, in the years since, I have used this technique to communicate with lots of my most abrasive inner voices. Once "I" understand what they're trying to do, I have often been able to show them a kinder, gentler way to achieve that result.

Nowadays, for example, my Inner Critic is the voice that gently asks, as I put my hand on the door to leave, "Do you have your gloves?"

So much love and hugs to you, Dave. May the voices that take up so much of your attention be comforted by the knowledge that, if they were ever needed, they can relax a bit now.

So much love and light to you.

wendy said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you, Dave. Dealing with bullies is never easy.

Anonymous said...

The fallacy of person-first language: "When someone treats me as a person with a disability..." ...he treats you as an unperson.


It's not your failing, that you react to it as you do. Being an unperson = danger. Being an unperson = powerlessness. People die of that.

The shortest shortcut I know is to recognise an asshole, a no-one worth your energy. (Your energy, specifically: you're just keeping a boundary.) Bullying happens where there's a bully.

If you can also place your hand (mentally, perhaps) in that of one Ruby or one Joe, you should be able to know that your worth to them is Worth. And an asshole can be just another asshole.

I wish that for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry that happened to you.

Doing the written exercises in the book "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by David Burns has helped me to pretty much stop those repetitive negative voices in my head.