I remember a younger me, angry beyond the point of explaining it, beyond any reason (although, I felt at the time with very good cause). I remember the ferocity, the righteous rage, the convenient slogans, the certainty of Aristotelian logic, the convenient disregard for any experience but my own ever-so-limited experiences. I remember the sting of frustration, the mockery of cultural enemies, the chronic anger of not ‘being heard’ – my lack of awareness that I, myself, was also not listening. At that point in my life, I was unaware of my TBI, and already struggling with PTSD from living a life of emotional and physical violence, deeply aware of a sense of being broken, damaged, different…struggling to communicate, to be  heard, to be understood. I was easily led, but had no sense of it; I considered myself a ‘free thinker’ and ‘my own woman’. Sometimes, perhaps, I even was.

Most of the time, someone was ‘managing’ me. I didn’t understand things that way at the time. When I finally ‘got it’, it was both incredibly freeing, and incredibly heart-breaking.  My parents, grandparents, the Army, a spouse, a lover, a partner, an organization with an agenda, an employer… Everyone who had their shot invested time and effort in convincing me theirs was the right and true truth, the way, the only obvious conclusion, the needful thing, the most righteous of right, the most just of the just. Generally all lies, or as nearly all lies as matters; people with an agenda, in my experience, are rarely about truth.

A difficult night; conversations with my self.

A difficult night; conversations with my self.

I slept badly last night, and my dreams were populated with different iterations of a woman I once was, angrily trying to ‘talk sense’ to the woman I am now, the woman I am becoming – a woman who finds that people matter most, and that relationships of all sorts are the thing most worth investing in. A woman who understands there is no ‘justification’ for warfare – these days all that violence and destruction seems a childish tantrum on a very grand scale, and clearly ineffective, unless the purpose is simply the destruction, itself. I don’t understand how any one of us can take the view that our hurts justify killing someone else. There’s a lot of it in the news. I try not to read it, but it isn’t possible to reflect on the world and not see it going on.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating. I read a story in which a man who was upset over getting divorced killed the woman who had been his wife. Killed her. For not wanting to spend more of her life with him. Her life. I seriously doubt anyone can offer a rational justification for that act.  It’s actually so commonplace I didn’t link it; a Google search will turn up hundreds of such articles. Of course, there’s more, and some of it is on a grand scale indeed. I mean… Gaza? Seriously? Why is an imaginary line on the planet an acceptable justification for killing? For genocide? How is it ever acceptable to deploy troops from one country to another to use violence to enforce an ideology not freely chosen by the people being attacked? It’s all very odd that we allow it to go on, that we do it, ourselves. We regularly attempt to force others to our point of view, and regularly fight for our own – or succumb to another.

I don’t usually write in a particularly political way, and if this is sounding political to you, you may be missing my point.  My point is, why not just stop killing people? What right does any one human being have to transgress on the life force of another human being, to rob or rape or kill them, or blow up their home, or do them an injury, or take their life or their possessions? What right at all? If no one human being can rationally justify those behaviors, how do we permit it of our governments? It’s bullshit, and honestly – we just need to stop. It’s been said. I’m not first here. (I doubt anyone is really listening – or this nastiness would have already ended.) But…I woke angry with the woman I once was, and found that simply to satisfy myself that the conversation had been concluded, and I have been heard – by myself – it feels necessary to say a few a things with as much clarity as I can to that damaged enraged delusional young woman still storming and screaming that she wants to ‘burn it all down’, who lingers in my past, still hurting, still raging. She had her chance to be heard in my restless dreams…so…for her. For me…

Have any religion you like; don’t force it on me. Live where you like, enjoy the customs of your people; but don’t force them on others, or steal to gain land or territory. Don’t rape, kill, or mutilate other people; do what you will with your own body, call it art, call it tradition – but do not visit it on others, most particularly not in violation of their reasoning consent. Don’t violate the consent of others. At all. Ever. Don’t assume your values and opinions are the one true truth; everyone I’ve ever met has their own thoughts on that subject. Govern yourself.  Help more than you injure. Build more than you destroy. Share when you have more, and be gracious when those who have more share what they’ve got with you. Listen with your whole attention. Recognize the fundamental humanity of every human you interact with – and all the ones far away that you only hear about. Understand that you are but one, and that you are who you choose to be, and you can choose differently if you are unhappy – and I encourage it. Happy is wonderful; you won’t get there at the expense of others. People matter. Their pain matters. Their hearts matter. When you lash out at others and do them damage, injure them, violate their consent, you are not one of ‘the good guys’ regardless what you use to justify your bad acts. Collateral damage is still damage. You can’t heal yourself through harming others, however satisfying vengeance may sound in the abstract. Make your own choices, understand they are yours, and don’t rob others of their opportunities to make choices for themselves. You are not wiser, smarter, stronger, better, or more reliably right than any other one human being – you are human. Only that. Be who you are – no one else can do that as well as you can – but don’t attempt to force others to your way, they are not you. And… one last thing? Don’t be a dick. All those other people in the world? Yeah – they’re people, too, like you.

Today is as good a day for humanity as you choose to make it. Choose wisely.

Today is as good a day for humanity as you choose to make it. Choose wisely.