Friday, December 23, 2011

Tidings of Comfort

When I was 16, a mental health professional told me that she thought I’d be ok for 4 reasons. I forget what the other two were, but one was because I still had a sense of humor and the other was because I was still able to feel discomfort.

People who go through severe/extended trauma can, for obvious reasons, numb themselves. Some do it through alcohol or other external measures, others transform their hearts and minds so that they are safe inside… deep inside… and nothing bothers them, nothing disturbs them… nothing really matters, nothing hurts at all…

It’s really not comfortable following General Assemblies and Spokes on twitter when there’s shouting and “just a joke” that isn’t funny and pain and ignorance and disappointment and panic…

But I just wanted to say—I am glad that people are speaking up and sharing their discomfort. It’s hard to read and I expect it’s harder to participate in. But please—please keep your sense of humor (the sense of it, not the brush-off/excuse of “it was a joke” but the true making-fun-of-the-powerful and the comfortable and the self) and please (oh please) keep your ability to feel discomfort.

Consensus doesn’t mean everybody’s happy all the time. It means that everyone works together to find (a) solution(s) that everyone is comfortable with. In the mean time, there will be awkward and uncomfortable moments. They are part of the process, a sign that you’re doing important work, not that you’re doing it wrong.

I’m not qualified to say if you’re doing it right.

But I’m so fucking glad you’re doing it.

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