Thursday, March 29, 2007

it's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to

“Two brothers of an alcoholic father went very different ways. One became an abusive alcoholic the other a successful man, with a good family, never touching a drink. When the alcoholic was asked why he turned out the way he did, he responded ‘with a father like mine, what would you expect?’. The brother who turned out successful with a good family responded by saying, ‘with a father like mine, what would you expect?’”

Why do some people from bad childhoods, bad neighborhoods, or bad trauma make it and others don't? Why do some gang kids say, "I ain't got no other choice but to gangbang." while others say, they want a better life than any gang could offer. Why do some people act as though they have no choice in who they become?

Hear this...the only thing in life that is not optional is death.

There are people who just ask those with trauma to “just get over it.” Then there are others who want those with trauma to relive it over and over again and call it counseling. Still there are others who think that any way they decide to behave can be blamed on their history.

Poor you.

Maybe you excuse your behavior of being in a gang as somehow related to the fact that “daddy wasn’t there”, or “someone is just trying to keep me down.” Maybe you stick your head in a beer and keep it there because “that’s all daddy ever did was drink” or because it helps you cope with mommy leaving you. Maybe you hit your kids and blame your anger on the fact that daddy hit you. Maybe you are as addicted to attention as you are to any drug.

Wallowing in self pity sometimes isn’t so obvious. Sometimes the “wallower” is smart enough to say, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but...” Yet that is exactly what they are doing. More so, they get their sense of worth, from getting you to feel sorry for them.

Their very definition of themselves has for so long originated in what they are labeled, or rather in what way they were victimized, that becomes the only identify they know.

I don’t believe that you can be sexually abused, physically or psychologically abused or otherwise suffer a trauma and “just get over it.” Yet at the same time, when you drown your sorrows in everything from drugs to pity parties you aren’t doing anything to get better. You become the victimizer of yourself. Someone else mistreated you and you complain about it...but you don’t seem to have an issue mistreating yourself.

People destroy relationships and blame it on everyone else. Some are smart enough to act as though they “played a part in it” but tend to say so, so that you will turn around and tell them it isn’t their fault. They like to wear their trauma on their sleeves so that the whole world can see how bad they have it.

There is always someone that had it worse.

But that is the last thing they want you to think about. Trauma and pain is difficult to get past. Sometimes it is impossible to “just get over it.” But making a conscious effort to bury everything positive that comes your way, because you are comfortable in the chaos, doesn’t solve anything. There are kids who are dying of cancer who exhibit more strength than some adults who will have the privilege to live a long life. You think you have it bad? Go to Lebonneur Hospital and visit the kids who are dying.

Then go up to their parents and tell them how bad of a life you have.

Everything that is said or that people do is not to hurt you, make you suffer more, or somehow be some sort of threat against you. Don't be so self centered as to think that the world is out to get you. Or that everyone you meet is just going to betray you or hurt you. The world does not revolve around your problems and it never will. Get off your “low horse” and start working to make your life better.

Stop intentionally making the same stupid mistakes that you know better than to make. Stop sabotaging relationships so that you can keep living in chaos, and stop whining about how “no one understands”. You are the one who doesn’t understand. People who try to help or befriend you don’t leave your life because ‘your life sucks’ or because of some supernatural curse of a bad life, they leave because you ask them to. Because you force them to. Slam a door in someone’s face enough, and eventually they will get the message.

If you want to keep having pity parties, don’t be surprised when people stop showing up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just shut up

"Don’t bitch about the mess the world is in, if you are not willing to help change things. You should just shut up."

I hear people complain about kids in gangs all the time. Usually adults who have about as much insight as a doorknob. Or apathy so strong that not caring about anyone else becomes their hallmark.

It goes kind of like this...”Well if a kid is involved in a gang, it is his fault, and it was his decision.”

In a sense this is right. But how dare we expect a child to make adult decisions. Especially if the only adult in his life acts like a child. Especially if the adult in his life doesn’t care about his child. Especially if the adult isn’t even present in the child’s life.

How dare we presume to assume that a child would make the same adult decisions that we didn’t make ourselves as kids. Not without guidance and training. That is the very essence of a gang involved kid most of the time. No guidance no training. Yet we expect them to act as such.

I wonder if such people have as callous response to a kid that gets run over in the street by a car. Most kids know that it is dangerous to play in the street. Yet if no one is watching them we normally do not say that the kid should have known better.

It is simply easier to make some sort of offhand remark than to face the reality that in our apathy we are just as responsible for the mess the world is in. We used to watch out for one another, for one another’s kids. Now we just watch out for ourselves. Then complain about everything else, to keep attention off of ourselves.

Those who do so, should either put up or shut up.