|24 Feb 2006 @ 20:32, by N Marion Hage|
The poem "Unfeeling" is a play on words. The term is first used to portray callousness to the feelings of others. In the last sentence it is used to portray protection from hurt.
The poem is autobiographical, describing a dark period in my life where I was ganged up on by some older kids.
Although the poem is meant to be cathartic to those who feel loneliness and pain, it is also meant to offer an insight. "Turning off our feelings" is not the answer. It may seem like the answer in a given moment where we are overwhelmed by what seems vicious animals attacking. However, they can only do what they do because they are "Unfeeling".
Our ability to feel is what makes us human, and so, turning that off may numb pain but also make us insensitive to the feelings of others.
When I was a child, I saw through childish eyes, and even interpreted events through a childish perspective. It was real to me as a child. At the time, I was about fourteen, and this eighteen year old came up to me with a baseball bat in his hand and started poking me with it. I didn't know him very well, and imagine he was showing off for some girls (bet they were impressed) Well, his punk friend snuck up behind me and shoved a fistfull of dirt in my face, into my eyes, up my nose...When I was on the ground getting kicked, a crowd of my peers cheered these two on, because Gabe was adorable, "Kick his ....Gabe!"
Well, let's just say this event was the icing on a very bleak cake, and emotionally I died then and there and for a time was in such pain (long story) I quit. I wanted to be numb. Well, I was hardly numb, and in fact, quite suicidal.
Fast-forward, numbness never works in real life. Neither does self-loathing or seeing life as an unwanted burden thrust upon us. Life is really a gift if we have the right perspective. But we can make choices that cloud our perspective(Sometimes subconsciously) These choices we make in ignorance make us less human, hardened, angry, bitter. And so, we have to take the risk of feeling again to be set free.
Obviously an accepting/loving environment, surrounded by patient and non-judgmental people helps. But we don't always get that.
I have learned that the walls we often erect to protect ourselves becomes the very walls of our own prison. Living is a risk, and one worth taking; but when we endured hard periods where vulnerability allowed others to hurt us, we might not have thought that way.
And indeed, as children, we form our view of life, the very filters through which our future, our relationships, our hopes (if we have them) are seen.
Becoming a whole person sometimes requires reconstruction. We must rip down wrong ways of thinking and futile views life, and replacing them with healthier perspectives. Past wounds might cause me to assume all the world is unloving, and I can't trust anyone. This wrong belief may then prevent me from knowing love as I push others away, or place conditions on relationships that weary those who would try to love me. Defensiveness to pain may lead to loneliness and more pain, creating the circumstances for an even more painful life.
I am loved, and it doesn't suck being me. I no longer see as a child. For years I wanted Gabe to know how much he hurt me. I grew to be a very athletic six feet eight inches. For those who don't know what that is, picture that as roughly the same size of a standard doorway. Years later I saw Gabe, and wanted to confront him. Then I saw these adorable children, perhaps three or four, running up to their daddy. I imagine Gabe probably never remembered tormenting me that day, or sending me into a suicidal spin that lasted years and almost killed me. And unless he's reading this, he probably never will.
What I realized was that Gabe didn't control my destiny. His children loved him, and perhaps he grew to be a wonderful husband, father, and person. I chose to let it go, and move on with my life, and I said a prayer for him that he would have a blessed life.
Below is the poem, and instead of seeing it through a healed perspective, I tried to capture exactly what I felt when I went through that very harsh period of my life.
Sorry, I thought this would upload, but the machine couldn't grab the Photo/Poem. So, here is the poem:
Surrounded by taunts and scorn, an unfeeling crowd of crows mocks me.
I am as dung to be wiped from their taloned-feet. They are unfeeling,
heartless wolves, and I am their helpless prey, languishing.
I look for a friendly face, a defender who will come to my side, and stop this madness; but I see no hand of strength, none who love me enough to speak on my behalf.
Now I am unfeeling, dead inside with stinging numbness, defenseless to the cold, frozen, fingers wagging at me, taunting.
I have been left for dead, left to vultures; and I long for death to come and pull me from thick despair. But I must go on living, hungering for a sign that mercy and hope are naught but shadows in this land, ungraspable phantoms.
Seeing no sign of hope, I curl into a ball on the ground, waiting to be kicked again, and for dirt to be shoved in my nostrils once more, by tyrants,
Gasping for air, and longing for love, I press through the unfriendly faces, into an open space, and the realization that I am doomed to be alone,
defective, a fungus.
When I reach the mirror, I look at the haunted face of one robbed of the will to live; and wish I could reach in and help him become one of the unfeeling. I feel for him, because feeling is such a terrible thing for those who only feel pain.
N Marion Hage © 1/28/06
19 Apr 2006 @ 16:10 by : There were things as a child
causing copious weeping. They were all through cinema. I was the youngest at boarding school and could not be left behind and so was taken to the movies when the others went with the nuns. I always sat next to a nun. Cannot remember the order of appearance. One film was of a prolonged drought situation on dying wild animals, animals struggling along the ground, and collapsed carcases. An elephant with barbed wire around its foot, cutting in, goes to a swampy river and put his burning feverish foot in the river, there are no trees anywhere, just the occasional sticky thing once a bush. The fever increases in the elephant and he gets deeper into the water. ( I do not know why there is so much water here when all else is Sahara like ). Eventually the elephant sinks into the water and the only thing left is the tip of his trunk breathing, or trying to, and then he disappears. My weeping took me to the wooden floor boards gasping for breath, and I curled up against the nuns feet, putting my face in her long volumious white skirts laying on the boards not wishing to see the rest. The other film also in black and white was about "Our Lady of Fatima" who appeared to three school girls in Portugal. No one believed them when they reported what had happened, my heart broke for them, and it was total depression, at aged 7. The two films may have been shown together, the first being the Pathe News as it used to be, and as I write think this is most likely.
I am not able to recall even the notion of bullying at any of my schools, so I am so sorry Nate that this happened to you, for a boy child it is quite different, perhaps like my movie experience, going deep. As a child I knew two children who had died. One was buried outside my bedroom window, who died 30 years earlier from a disease which got me several times as a child, and whose grave was now covered in cacti. The other was a boy sent to school aged 4, 7,000 miles away not to see his parents again until he was 20. He took his own life shortly after. I knew this was not an option I wanted, but I was very much aware of the proximity of desolation which caused this in him. He was related to the parents owning the toy car pic in my log. I visited this house again in the darkest depths of Afric on my visit 2 years ago, and mention this as a mark of respect to a poor soul. Perhaps this story is meaningful to the reconstructed memories in your own words, Nate. Some people do good through various trials.
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