This will be effectively a Philosophical/ Theological Musings Part 7, and probably my most counterintuitive post ever.
Recently I was contemplating (as you can tell I often do) what strength is and what it’s done for me. All my life I’ve highly valued strength, the ability to persevere and survive hardship, and especially physical strength which I’ve heavily relied on to get me through.
For most of my childhood I’ve also believed that emotions are weaknesses. Since my teens I’ve been training myself to ease up on that, to the point that I can distinguish positive from negative ones and can have some degree of knowledge of what makes me happy and sane.
However, toughness came with some hidden disadvantages which are only just coming to the fore:
- It implies you’re supposed to experience hardship on a regular basis, fighting your way through something or other, as if your right to exist depends on your ability to fight non-stop. Without something to keep pushing you you’ll revert to the weakling, the filthy coward you used to be. Yes that’s how I described myself verbatim.
- It makes you blind to your limits. By always pushing through pain and injury and exhaustion, you prolong it. You ignore/ scorn the need for recovery time, others’ as well as your own (a common trait of the King personality). This in turn makes you unsympathetic to other people’s problems and misfortunes, at least somewhat, which incidentally is very common in England. This leads to another layer of self-hate.
- On top of that, by ignoring a problem for so long you can blind yourself to what really caused it and end up fixing the wrong problem, chasing irrelevant solutions.
- It can make you ignorant or dismissive of blatant threats to your own survival, either because you’re so desensitised from having been through so much or conversely you feel so sure of your abilities that you don’t bother addressing it. To give an example, in Army Cadets I very nearly got hazed. It was a group of 7 boys, all ‘white’ unsurprisingly, who tried to pin me to the bed to shove a broomstick up my ass. It didn’t happen though because I was too agile for them to keep hold of, so they gave up and left. Despite everything I didn’t report it; at the time I didn’t see it as a big deal because it didn’t happen. To me it was a game, and I “won”. Only now have I realised that I let them off the hook.
- On a slight tangent it’s very typical of many ancient civilisations to glorify and promote war as a virtue. According to Michael Bradley’s The Iceman Inheritance violent aggression has been a feature of ‘white’ cultures since prehistory. Though I can think of plenty of other examples (god of the bible Yahweh), so it may just be a feature of expansionist civilisations. Or maybe a feature of civilisation itself, if A short History of Progress is anything to go by.
- It creates its own set of problems on top of whatever else you’re facing. By feeling like you have to prove your own toughness to yourself you think asking for help is a failure. You don’t fully recognise the value or strength of other people, or the limits of independence and solitude.
- I’ve had a subconscious tendency to trust my body more than my mind. It’s easy to know when I’m hungry, full, tired, pumped, etc. and what to do about it. However, the mind (which to me is synonymous with soul, psyche, spirit, etc.) picks up so many extraneous influences, changes its state from millisecond to millisecond, and can justify its way into or out of damn near everything (not to mention I only recently learned of the true depths of my self-hatred & avoidant traits) that trusting it seemed kind of stupid.
But that is itself another manifestation of self-hate, and only now am I learning how deceitful fear, depression and self-hate really are. They lie to me about myself, and I’ve believed them for so long because no-one taught me I don’t have to believe them or take responsibility for them just because they’re in my head. Nor did anyone tell me they are results of psychic injuries caused by an absent father, an emotionally dead mother who didn’t appreciate the importance of creativity and assumed I didn’t need help just because I was male and not autistic like my brother, emotionally & intellectually stunted English culture, nutritionally deficient food, inferior English “education” system, Islamically- & racially-induced alienation from peers, lack of positive ‘black’ role models, movies, websites & books that teach you how to live completely wrong… you get the point. A lot of shit.
At this present point in time it’s part of my spiritual recovery process to uproot this definition of strength. It’s taken me as far as it can so it’s time to update. And I am serious when I say that any help from YOU THE READERS is greatly appreciated.