Gen X, Gen Y Redux

Man, did my last blog cause a shitstorm, online and offiline.

Readers took me to task. N took me to task.

I am standing by it. I wrote it. It’s mine. It was feelings I had at the time, and it was frustration borne out of experiences I have been having for a long time. I put it out there. I never claimed to be perfect, polished and proper. This blog is my very messy form of therapy. It’s raw at times, and it’s always fairly real.

N asked me how I could at, one point of the day, bitch about the utter bullshit cultural competency I am learning in therapy school — where my textbook is stating such things as: “All Asian clients will present this way …” and I could write something about how “All Gen Y people are this way …” How, she wondered, could I bitch about one totality in one hour and then write in the same totality in the next hour?

Because I am human, that’s how.

Conflicts exist within our psyche that are inexplicable sometimes. We see this all the time in the FA/SA movement. Many of us who are here fight the good fight, and yet still feel a strong pull to diet. We still cringe when we look in the mirror. We still hate ourselves in very real ways, while working to promote acceptance of ourselves in the very same day, minute and second. How can we exist within two totalities at once?

Because we are human, that’s how.

Progress and growth are not linear. We do not tackle greater understanding and awareness of ourselves and humanity all in one straight line. Nope. It’s some crazy, zig-zagging hairpin, windy mountain road. We may end up slipping back down to the valley a few times, even, before we reach the pinnacle. At least we’re aware we are even on a mountain — that’s something right?

It’s the reason so many of us were pissed as hell at the Bitch article about eating disorders and the supposed rejection of people with EDs by the FA movement. The FA movement is still trying to find its feet. It’s not perfect. It’s messy. Everyone here comes from a different place. A few totalities will get thrown out in the meantime, such as: No fat people have problems with binge eating. Or, All eating disorders come from dieting. Again, progress and growth … not linear.  We are all human, after all.

Evolution of the psyche and soul comes from many places — it’s a lifelong process. Is it possible to have a total integration of all ideas and emotions within one’s mind and soul? Perhaps, if one is Buddha, or Christ, or Gandhi. I’m not.  I’m just a regular old human being, in graduate school, in snowy-ass Madison, Wisconsin, who occasionally blogs about fat, mental health, and sundry topics. If I ever get to the point of Buddha-dom, well, I hope they have wireless in Nirvana.

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11 Comments

  1. mediashark said,

    February 26, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Thoughtracer,
    How are you ? Great I hope!
    The estuary occurs when the mind and emotions of a spiritual person
    meet. As the fresh water and salt water meets. Good and bad, what do you
    get? A ‘Gad’.

  2. Shinobi said,

    February 26, 2008 at 8:48 am

    I recommend a book called Mistakes Were Made (but not by me.) I recommend this book to everyone on the face of the planet earth. (Someone on Kate Harding’s blog recommended it a while ago.) It is so helpful to understand how our minds help us resolve dissonance, it explains tons.

    This blog post is a perfect example of dissonance. On the one hand you’re fighting against prejidice. And on the other hand you’re posting stuff against a whole generation of people, and that conflicts with your view (and other people’s view) of you as an open minded person. And Classicly (not to use you as a case study) you don’t actually admit that what you said was wrong, or bad, but you do say that you’re human and go into all this stuff about processes blah blah blah.

    And that’s true, processes are long, and non linear, and on the way we will often make missteps, say the wrong thing, think something untrue. We in the FA movement constantly deal with cognitive dissonance, and it is hard.

    I have found, and this is just me, that accepting when you say or think something wrong, and not trying to rationalize it makes it easier to move on. If I try to give myself permission to think or say the wrong thing, then I only cling to that thought harder. I refuse to let go, because I am a good, intelligent person and I wouldn’t think something that is inherently wrong. And i cling to wrong perceptions for years. But if I just say “you know what, what I said there was wrong, I’m sorry, I’ll try to think more clearly next time.” I can walk away from it faster, I can change that behavior easier than if I tried to rationalize my way down paths where I was not wrong and what I did was okay.

    I am human, I make mistakes. But if I don’t admit, in clear language, without caveats, that they were a mistake then I’m really just trying NOT to deal with the fact that I made a mistake. It is a lot easier to say “Everyone makes mistakes.” Than it is to say “I made a mistake and I’m sorry.” And Everyone knows that the first one is kindof a cop out.

  3. Sandy said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:22 am

    You cannot help how you feel in the moment. Even Buddha knew that. That is why he taught how to over come those emotions and turn them into something positive…and taught how to turn the bad karma around or at least offset the severity of it.

    Don’t stress it. Let it lie there in yesterday. Worry only about today.

    You voice your feelings to get them out. That is totally ok. It actually helps to see what you feel written down (or typed out) so you can sort through it and then act accordingly.

  4. thoughtracer said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Shinobi: Of course I made a mistake. I am a heated person, and run off at the mouth and keyboard. I can recognize that. I am also a proud person. It’s hard to own up to mistakes. What I find so interesting is how thought processes can be extrapolated out into larger segments — like from beyond just one human into groups of humans. Mistake-making is still part of the growth process. And how do people — whole segments of people — own up to a collective mistake? Like look how long it took the Catholic Church to apologize regarding the holocaust?

    I like how you speak to people. You have a good way of not placing blame — of approaching non-confrontationally. That’s a talent. I am learning about it in my Group Process class for therapy school.

  5. thoughtracer said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Oh … I didn’t see Sandy’s comment. I did want to say I don’t claim my feelings were a mistake. I don’t apologize for my feelings. I always say I have a right to those. The manner of expression, trying to figure out how they resonate with other things going on within me, that’s something that requires reflection and contemplation, yes. But feelings: They are always OK. That’s a lesson I learned quite hard at the age of 21.

  6. shinobi42 said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:44 am

    TR,
    It IS hard to own up to mistakes. But one of the interesting things I read in that book is that people actually prefer to be around others who openly acknowledge and apologize for their mistakes. (Which may explain why no one likes the Catholic Church.) So as hard as it is to swallow my pride and OMIGOD is it hard, I try to comfort my myself with the knowledge that it will make people like me more.

    Thanks for your thoughts about my communication style. It is actually not a talent at all, it is a skill I developed and am still working on to help me deal with my incredibly confrontational and never ever ever wrong family. I am still working on it, sometimes I fail utterly and am a complete asshole.

  7. Jae said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:56 am

    At least we’re aware we are even on a mountain — that’s something right?

    Exactly! That’s why I’m glad you made that post, even if I disagreed with how you felt. By letting those thoughts out in a constructive way (as you did), that’s how we eventually get to the top of that mountain.

  8. Sandy said,

    February 26, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I was just reading the other comments on the other post and it seemed like a lot of people were mad or at least offended. I was just making the statement that no one can help how the feel in any instant of time. You get a rush of emotion at certain times and sometimes you have to get it out to think rationally. And as far as labeling a whole group of people…well that is hard not to do when the only people from that group are all the same. It is a stereotype…but when every person you have met of (insert group here) acts the same way every single time you encounter them, of course your are going to get an opinion about that group instead of individually.

  9. Jae said,

    February 26, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    And as far as labeling a whole group of people…well that is hard not to do when the only people from that group are all the same. It is a stereotype…but when every person you have met of (insert group here) acts the same way every single time you encounter them, of course your are going to get an opinion about that group instead of individually.

    Sandy, I don’t want to be rude, but this is what most people say to justify their prejuidices. When you expect to see a behavior in a certain group you (and I mean the collective you, not you spefically), you are more likely to point out behaviors to justify it than you would in someone else. There was a cartoon posted the other day on Shapely Prose (http://kateharding.net/2008/02/18/sexism-illustrated/) that illustrated this point perfectly. When the boy sees another boy making a mistake while doing math, he concludes the boy is just bad at math, however when the girl makes the mistake, it doesn’t speak about that one girl, but all girls. He doesn’t have to see every girl suck at math to believe it; he just knows it’s true.

    No one can help how they feel, but when we are talking about one’s feeling about an entire group of people one can, and I would say must, always examine whether those feelings are valid or whether they are the result of one’s biases.

  10. Sandy said,

    February 26, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Jae, you are right. But it happens to everyone. Everyone does it whether they think about it or not. Everyone belongs to a “group”. The Christians hate the pagans because the only ones that they they ever see are the ones that are sickos…they never see the Pagans that actually are trying to do the world some good. Pagans hate the Christians because they are always calling them devil worshipers and trying to run them out of town. America hate the Muslims because of 9/11. There have been no small number of people on the fat blogs that make fun of & hate thin people. Thin people think fat people are gross. Men think women are stupid. Women think men are pigs. The North hates the South, South hates North…I could go on and on. Hell, a friend from New Zealand thought all Americans were cowboy boots and cowboy hats until he moved here.

    None of that changes the fact that there are always exceptions to those circumstances. My family is racist. I have had more black friends than white in my life, so I don’t see them in that way. I am a transplanted Southerner living in a Northern state. There were all kind of theories about me when I moved here…then everyone met me and got to know me. I used to be thin, now I am fat. I have seen both sides of that spectrum. I was raised a Christian, and now I am Buddhist…I have had people tell me I was going to hell for turning my back on Christianity and have known many Pagans that were more Christ-Like than His followers…and vice versa.

    I stand by what I said. Until you meet someone that isn’t the typical whatever, your opinions are going to stay a certain way. Should a person think critically about if they are just stereotyping? Maybe. Especially if it keeps that person from forming friendships based on that bias. We base all of our opinions on what we see and experience. I offended someone one day because of something I said about Southerners…and I don’t think she realized I was born and raised in the South. But…my experience living in the South has colored my perception of them. Are there exceptions to my perception? Yes. But I will always feel the same about the general Southern mindset regardless of those exceptions.

    Is that wrong? Probably. But I don’t care. I know how I have been treated but that group of people, and I will not apologize for my feelings about them.

  11. Jae said,

    February 26, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Is that wrong? Probably. But I don’t care. I know how I have been treated but that group of people, and I will not apologize for my feelings about them.

    And you are entitled to those feeling. But in my experience, you are only going to continue to have negative interactions with people if you look at them with the assumption that they are, if you’ll forgive the cliche, guilty until proven innocent.


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