Whose fault is it?
How can we determine the cause, so we can know who to blame? I mean, someone or something must be responsible, right?
Usually, of course, the finger gets pointed at the person is somehow different. The one who seems to break the rules, to flaunt convention. After all, aren’t they they most likely ones to have stirred the shit?
The big advantage of convention is that it is always designed to cover up the shit. When my sister-in-law decided to clean up the kitchen here, she made sure that the outside of the microwave was lovely and shiny while leaving the inside untouched. It was the shit she could see that needed to be eliminated, not the shit in the works that could possibly gum things up.
If you can’t see the shit, it must not exist, right? So the blame never goes to people who don’t process their own shit, who just bury it, the blame goes to people who reveal the shit.
This is, of course, the essence of stigma, the social pressure against actually showing the fact that humans are born between piss and shit, and that we all have our own shit to deal with.
I have written a lot about being a phobogenic object, a phrase gifted to me by philosopher Jake Hale. People fear when they are exposed to me, that’s true. But whose fault is that? Do I have some magic ability to create fear where none exists? Or do I just let themselves open up to their own fears, whatever they are?
As I have said many times before here, I was the scapegoat, the target patient for my family system. My nickname in the family was “Stupid,” at least until 8th grade when it turned into “Stupid, Oh The Shrink Told Us Not To Call You That,” for a while before it ended.
I know, for example, that when I get upset during a phone call from my sister, my choosing to end the call is not seen as a sign of distress, rather it is seen as a sign of me being obstinate and unreasonable. Why can’t I just do what other people would do, what she wants me to do?
The essence of stigma is to assign blame to those who stir up shit. Those of us who are trapped in the system might explain that the problem is really all the shit that people hold, all the expectations and fear, all the assumptions that shit unseen is shit nonexistent, but that’s an awful hard sell to people who value their comfort over their enlightenment. They don’t want to hear that we didn’t cause them pain, we just revealed where they are not healed, they want to shut us down.
It is not sick to be sick of sickness, the wise ones tell us, but when sickness is the norm, being sick of it just seems sick to many.
I’m a grown-up, and I know that any solution for happiness that depends on others changing to something more comfortable and useful for my just by force of my will is an unreasonable and unworkable solution.
You have not converted a man because you have silenced him.
Yet, assigning blame to those who cannot be silent is the basis of much normative expression. The Emperor looks grand in his new clothes, does he not?
It’s my own fault that I feel like my life is swimming through stigma. After all, who else’s fault could it be? We make our own choices, and if you made the bed, you need to lie in it. If I just didn’t make it so hard for people to love me, didn’t push them away with my own porcupine queerness, well, then I would be much happier. Why the hell do I have to shove my own nature in people’s faces? Can’t I just be who I am quietly? Isn’t that enough?
I understand the way people defend and stabilize their own lives by demeaning, diminishing and blaming others. That’s the way that normativity works, using stigma to enforce silence and denial for the comfort of others.
I’m just really sick of swimming through shit.