I had a moment today. A straight up, losing-my-shit, everything-is-getting-blurry moment of total mindfuck. Everyone, everything, was wrong. If there’d have been anyone around to listen to me, I would have bitched about it all. Every single last unfair detail of it. The fury I felt in my body was no small thing: like all my cells were rattling around like pingpong balls, all my muscles tense and rigid — the contents of my mind doing drunk cartwheels over and over again.
I was angry at someone. I was in one of those places where, feeling misunderstood, misrepresented and condescended to, I could only conceive of one way to handle things: to mentally construct ninety-four different ways to tell someone to go fuck themselves. I would get about one third of the way through a mental response that I thought managed to make me sound like a more pristine, utterly superior human, before some part of me — operating at a level of maturity and perspective that the majority of me was currently without — shook her proverbial finger at me. Which meant my chosen response of the moment crumbled to the ground and I was onto another, better plan of counter-attack.
And then another, and another. I started collecting so many versions of Go Fuck Yourself — both direct and more subtle — that in a matter of 12 or so minutes I had a shit-satchel full of ’em. But every time I started to feel really good about myself, the delicate house of cards that was my imagined responses to my alleged attacker blew away. That was infuriating, too. I managed to believe that was this person’s fault, too: for having so many things wrong with them that even trying to come up with ways to tell them how wrong they were became confusing and tiresome. And being responsible for informing a person of their morbid stupidity became a resentful post I willingly filled, because I was at least twice as many kinds of right as they were wrong.
Eventually I reached internal terminal velocity. It felt like my insides were souring and I was going to start foaming at the mouth when I heard a voice say: W H A T A R E Y O U D O I N G Y O U A R E D O I N G T H I S T O Y O U R S E L F.
And — trust me that it took more than a moment — I realized Voice was right. I realized that for as many different ways I’d decided this person was wrong, I had been just as wrong.
But that thought infuriated me, because the logic of accepting defeat just because I’d been wrong, too, was unacceptable. So I fought the voice to the ground like I was motherfucking Ginger Thor, and was feeling pretty righteous and great about it when Voice spoke up again, this time asking:
I S W H A T Y O U ‘ R E D O I N G S P R E A D I N G L I G H T?
Boom. Hashtag truthbomb.
See, I’d made this deal with myself. A pact with all the parts of me that know how to win an argument. The parts of me that have been fortified from years and years and years of trying to navigate being a sensitive, emotional being in a world that felt full of zombies and ogres. I’d wager that for every conscious thought I’ve had about basic survival — where I’m going to sleep, if I have enough food, where I can find water — I’ve had seventy-thousand-times-that thoughts about how I’m going to survive in the emotional wilderness of life.
I grew up expecting this from the world: that if I was going to have a right to my feelings, I’d better get ready to fight for them. Ammunition, people, and lots of it. Which meant I’d better use every available resource, every intuition, and get inside the minds and hearts of those who could or would hurt me, so that I knew how to dodge their bullets and throw down landmines of my own when the time came.
But through the grace of “adulthood”, I’ve learned that I have to set some boundaries for myself, because even if I can win an argument — even if I have a stellar point totally worthy of garish amounts of graveling and apology — it isn’t always in my best interest to win. It isn’t in anybody’s best interest to use up valuable air — or word count — for the sake of making a point, especially if the point that gets made is to another’s serious detriment. And so the deal that I made with myself was this: to ask myself in every situation (where I actually remembered to ask myself), Is what you’re doing spreading Light?
It is a call to action I cannot rationalize my way out of. I recognized that it didn’t matter if I was right. It didn’t matter if I could construct a response to my assailant that would make me sound both better than them and full of reason and emotional intelligence — if it wasn’t spreading Light.
Right then and there, in the middle of code red, Mach-5 level shit storming in my mind, I let go. All alone and with no around to witness my gusto blast of sparkle-infused maturity, I forgot about trying to win, and decided instead to be guided into peace.