I have a problem.
Honestly, it is a hard problem to even describe. And, I can only hope to do it justice here. Bear with me.
The problem is that it’s hard to talk about problems. Especially in a one-on-one, in-person conversation.
Maybe this is primarily a ‘male’ thing, but I think everyone might have at least some of it.
For me, though I can write about some things here because it is thought out and able to be written in a logical sequence.
To try to explain problems to another person extemporaneously is hard because my mind tries to explain from a variety of viewpoints at one time. And I try to justify and/or diminish the seriousness and impact of the problems. I laugh because my fears and anger are not acceptable in ‘polite’ company or within myself.
I was raised to deal with my own problems. Sometimes there was no one to ask. Sometimes those asked belittled the problem or had no clue as to why I had a problem.
The messages I got were:
“You’ll just have to handle that yourself.”
“I don’t have the time or patience to listen to your drivel.”
“Everybody has problems.”
“That’s not a real problem. Stand up and be a man.”
“Figure it out for yourself. Don’t bother me.”
“I don't know how you can deal with that. But get busy doing what I asked you to do.”
“You got yourself into this, you have to figure out how to fix it. Nobody else will do it for you.”
All of these or combinations of them made me distrustful of asking for help. And, if I couldn’t deal with things, I was weak and incompetent. So I learned to ‘stuff’ my problems and confusion into that secret area of my mind where they were ‘out of sight, out of mind’ until they were diminished by time or blew up in my face. Be patient. Be resilient.
The logic of problems is that of a force-counterforce. And, logically it means that if you choose one side to put your efforts to, it will resolve. Which can work sometimes.
But some humans are not ruled by logic. Emotions and physical capability have a lot to say in real human interactions. And, emotions are much more fluid and often conflicting.
Asking for help is advertising that I am vulnerable on many levels. And vulnerability has often meant being attacked as ‘incompetent’, ‘weak’, ‘non-self-reliant’, ‘unmanly’, or ‘worthless’, and if help came, it was begrudging or insufficient to the need because I would settle for anything.
We look for a magic wand. When we ask for help it is often assumed, on one or both sides, that the ‘helper’ will try to step in and ‘fix’ the problem. I was trained, as a small child, that someone will ‘fix the boo-boo’ and take care of me. This became over-protectiveness and concern rather than support.
Many basic needs appear as financial or physical. That equates to beggar, lazy, and money-grubber. None of us wants to believe that anyone, especially ourselves, is incapable physically or emotionally of taking care of ourselves or our loved ones. We are pitied or dismissed.
I think anyone who has faced the possibilities of loss or degradation for a length of time has called themselves many rotten names for having gotten themselves into dangerous situations. Made dangerous by the judgment of society, our families, or our peers and reflected within ourselves. Even when we ‘put on’ the strong and courageous face of ‘normal’.
It is human to want to build things better for ourselves, our friends, our communities, our society, our world. It is also common for us to try and fail, again and again, and again, and again… Some of us do it for a lifetime.
So, yeah, I’ve done many impulsive things that didn’t work out. I want to do better things than the world has given me. I’ve been led by my emotions, my hopes, my dreams of a better future. I jump in where wise men fail to go and fall back from crowds marching forward. I am the Tarot’s Fool and sometimes the Magus for awhile. I have had great loves and broken my mind on high ideals and fallen into suicidal depression and fought my way back. I speak in Poetry which makes no sense to the common man. I am an outsider from another dimension where dreams are set to become a reality. These are my failures and my reason for living. It’s the adventures of the minstrel in the time of the plague, spreading immunity. I live hand-to-mouth and fear the hungry wolves.
It is hard to talk about ‘problems’ when you can find a different way to see things, where dreams and beauty overcome the dangers. Maybe poetry and imagination are a coping mechanism whereby I dare the world to destroy me in a moment of ecstasy. Maybe there is eternal life in the metaphor.
Maybe I can ask for help.
Maybe I offer something in this that will save me.
Maybe I must wait for poetic justice (so to speak).
Thank you for reading.
Dana Sanford ~ 3/22/2019