free at last

I have been studiously avoiding my purpose in life for a long time now. I am not going to do it any more. The relief I feel is quite incredible, and hopefully I will now feel a lot more energetic and focussed.

Unfortunately, re-orienting myself means that I will have to p*ss off and disappoint a large number of people, but continuing to breathe carries that rap too, and I can’t help that.

I had been hoping that joining a church and becoming involved in its inner workings would help me become a better person. You know what? It DIDN’T WORK! I’m still an *sshole. I’ll be an *sshole for the rest of my life. A self-conscious *sshole is a TERRIBLE THING! You just get better at making excuses AND you feel guilty all the time. Watching this process take place on the inside of one’s skull sucks.

I thought that going to church would help me deal with the urge to slap people when they’re being stupid, and that didn’t work either. If anything, my pent up demand for slapping people out of their socks and into some sense is MUCH HIGHER. That’s why I’ve been so depressed. I have been straining LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE to find a loving way to speak my truth, but there’s no loving way of doing it, and what gives me the right anyway? I have two clear choices; put up or get lost; the rules are really clear. If you can’t say something nice….. oh, the tyranny of the nice. Except, in my case, the process of saying something nasty is how I find myself, so I won’t be lost at all.

Being angry with Unitarians is surreal and pointless. And it could be argued that I’m only p*ssed off with myself. You might as well say, I’m really p*ssed off with the QUAKERS! What a bunch of (floral homophobic reference, plural)! Well of COURSE they’re non-violent and peaceloving, that’s why they’re Quakers! If all the Quakers in the world took up kickboxing and gun club membership, I personally think the world would be a more interesting place, but it would be hard to argue that it was a better place. I had to delete the next sentence. There’s places even I do not wish to go, at least while my grandmother is alive.

So I lovingly acknowledge and respectfully reference the really amazing work that Unitarians do, but I’ve hit the wall on one of the principles: The free and responsible search for truth and meaning. You would think there was nothing in these words to jib at, but alas, free is NOT responsible, and responsible is NOT free. They put a nun and a temple prostitute in the same donkey costume and called it a principle, and I’m the poor slob that noticed that there is a problem that goes way beyond semantics and out into politics, human nature, reality and my sub-version of reality, in which there’s a damned big rip in the donkey costume and I can see Sister Mary’s undies.

There are few things freer than an 18 month old child, and few things less responsible. If I want to subscribe to the principles of Unitarianism I have to reconcile free speech and responsible community, and I can’t do it. I’m not saying others can’t but I pronounce myself incapable. I am miserably unhappy about this crack in my reality tunnel. But I can’t pretend it isn’t there. It’s the same thing that happened with Paul – he said that I’m verbally abusive and he’s right. That’s what made the alarm go off. I’m not supposed to be abusive towards anyone! But I can’t help it. The trick is finding the right things to be angry about, as Aristotle once remarked. It’s either that or stop attempting to communicate at all.

So I come up on the rocks of free speech. The landscape is jagged, and the wind comes from the future, and smells like struggle and death. Because it all comes down to this. Until the last 24 hours, I thought “I can tell the truth – my truth, which is mine, belongs to me and is not prescriptive – or I can be loved”. I never put it in those terms before but that’s how I was feeling. “If I want people to love me, I have to do things their way.” But there are only four people on this planet whose opinion matters to me, and they will love me no matter what I do. I think I was mistaking approval for love. Approval is provisional. Love isn’t.

Free speech is not free. We are living in a culture that is shutting down not just the rights of people to freely assemble and speak, but the mechanisms that teach people what free speech is. The internet is not a substitute for learning to think for yourself. That is something that only talking to people who are smarter than you can teach… and only if you admit that they are smarter! That plus reading, honest self-assessment and learning how to correct your course, even when it sometimes means you must abandon ship and swim for the rocks. The last year has made me realize that there is NO SAFE PLACE for me, except the inside of my head, and I only get to be here for another 30 years or so, and only if I’m lucky, and stay healthy. When I went to church I was looking for a safe place for me to be, but I didn’t know myself as well then and I didn’t realize my *job* is to be offensive. It’s what I do. My mental state is to live in the boundary layer between what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Culture is fluid – that boundary layer exists – it’s a place where creation and destruction take in each other’s laundry. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad, but it doesn’t go away, and it’s the best place in my world.

Any place that feels safe for me is likely to be unpleasant for other people. I am going to go live where all information is provisional, except that I am carrying the heft of the history of the universe in every cell of my frame. Everything else, as far as I can tell, is up for grabs.