Amorphous Engagement

On February 28th, 2020, I was on a road trip alone to visit a life-long friend. A song I had never heard by one of my favorite bands of all time came on my Spotify playlist. “Heal the Separation” intrigued me even though I didn’t understand the context. Like many of The Shamen’s songs, it was catchy with clever lyrics. I remember the first time I heard the Shamen. It was a song called “Make It Mine.” I wasn’t connecting with their lyrics yet because I didn’t understand them. We tend to see the world as we are because of how we have learned to respond to how things make us feel. I was unaware of the impending drama unfolding on a world stage.

Three days before this, I had a traumatic flashback on a road trip to a concert. I was escaping reality because it was so visceral and raw in that season. I wanted to have fun for one evening without being crushed with grief, for once. What’s a road trip without eating at a greasy spoon? I don’t think it was the food that made me sick. This trip traveled through some familiar places that I once knew. It was like an energy field engulfed me with darkness and emptiness. It got heavier when we stopped at a restaurant. I thought it was just me being extra and overthinking. As soon as we walked in, I had a flashback of the last time I was there as a twenty-year-old college student. We tend to accept nihilistic trappings as a normal and inevitable part of the college experience.

That was so profound that I saw everything as it was then. I saw everything frozen in time because it was still bound to those places. That may explain why it felt so cold and detached from reality. I know not everyone can do this because of how they look at me when I can feel energy fields around trauma. It is like my whole world floods when I open sluice gates on dammed emotions. It is too much when those emotions are flowing from memories of trauma. It creates a connection with our desires when those emotions remind us that life is beautiful. Our pain never has the opportunity to translate into empathy when it is consuming us. All of our resources go toward escaping the intensity of it all. I am in processing mode now because of the irony of hindsight. The evidence is ever-present and is twisting in our side. We perceive a thorn in the flesh as something we want to avoid because of how people react to what they internalize.

After a job interview in May, I started looking to further my education. Much of my previous experience was in stasis. This word can mean different things according to context, but the outcome is the same. It is a painful way to die if we don’t seek intervention when things aren’t moving forward.

Here’s what I have learned in hindsight.

You don’t win at life because “God is in control.” You win when you realize that life doesn’t work on terms that misinterpret everything as a sign for you. God reveals the truth of the matter and gives a real opportunity for you to ruin it for yourself. He allows you to be a jackass that sabotages things with what you do with that knowledge. A man is not defined by how much he destroys. That’s inevitable. He’s going to fail and disappoint you if given a chance. If your theology requires you to jump straight to silver-linings and redemption, your god is too small. If everything has romantic trappings that have to be exciting, you are under the influence of a veiled lust for power. A man is defined by how he recovers damages that he causes even in full knowledge of the options he left on the table. That is the fatal flaw in what women believe about relationships. It’s not fair to the men to carry the gravity of that glory. Everyone ends up feeling slighted by how this wounds us in the end.

My youngest son was sitting with me during my online phlebotomy class last week because the weather canceled the skills lab. He asked how to find a vein to draw blood. I wrapped a tourniquet around his arm and told him to pump his fist while I palpated a vein. I found one almost immediately that wasn’t obvious. He asked how I could do that. I told him that it isn’t about what you can see that is obvious. It is about knowing how to identify what you can feel. It wasn’t long before my instructor said the same thing. I could feel a tendon running alongside a deep vein while palpating my son’s arm. I told him that my knowledge of underlying structures also gave me the ability to minimize pain.

Life is this simple when we haven’t complicated things with a pathological desire to control outcomes. I know my job, but I also have the training to respond to emergencies because nothing is ever under control. Life happens, and sometimes that is the greatest thing of all. You break it with your hands when you see that as a liability to yourself. I don’t care how much education you have or how much money it supposedly qualifies you to make if you still play the victim in situations you are mishandling. That sounds harsh, one-sided, and unfair, but I have learned that life is different according to cultural conditions. Women feel other pressures in their responsibilities than men do in their desires for respect.

The words “allied health professionals” have been making me stand in awe for months. They are more than just words. They are allowed to mean what they mean. The experience is life-giving as well as humbling. There is no one trying to talk down to me or talk me out of my confidence. People are direct and honest with me, and it isn’t because of the energy I project. I am even more chaotic and insecure now than when I was a 20-year-old college student. Telling me that I deserve mistreatment because of what people can see is psychotic BS. I’m a nerd that likes to do word studies. I looked up the root word for allied and was stunned into silence. The original Latin transliteration means “to be joined in marriage, to bind.” That might be why I feel safe, accepted, and hopeful in my future. Those who have authority over me talk to me as though I am already there. I have an opportunity for them to cover me but not protect me from the consequences of my actions. They are kind but firm. They don’t just want me to succeed, but they act like my success is already a done deal.

That is how it works. If you have to break people to prove a point, your ideas are worthless.

Yeah, it is intense upfront to see who is serious enough to complete the program. The ones in authority don’t have to “weed people out.” Irresponsible attitudes fall away when they can’t keep up with reasonable expectations. No one needs a freeloader in a system that understands the value of networking.

I wish I had known all of these things twenty-five years ago. I was in survival mode because all I had was my own devices. I didn’t learn love growing up. I learned by example to manipulate others to get what I wanted and needed. Then, I was confused and frustrated by the punishment I received for knowing how to play that game. People use worthless platitudes to cover their inconsistent behaviors. It is amoral hypocrisy when they cover themselves while leaving others vulnerable to their attacks. The real issue lies in what their god is revealing to them about them. They know what that will mean for their future. We live long enough to become the villain when we weaponize our trauma instead of accepting intervention. Interference and intervention mean almost the same thing in the original root word but for different reasons. It is a coming together that gives context to make things better when it stops an unhealthy cycle. An interference can block success by striking things in unfair ways. Blocking someone because you don’t want to see and feel what they are showing you is immature as much as it is abusive. They deserve clarity when they are honest about what they want and need.

I believed that my life and my relationships didn’t work. So I obsessed over understanding how to make things work without focusing on why they don’t. Not everything is there for the taking. Some things are just there because life goes on even when we don’t understand what we see. I didn’t know that what I feel wasn’t about what I should do. If I liked someone, I thought I had to pursue them in some way. I never knew what to do with the emptiness I felt when someone disappointed me. I thought something was wrong with me because I never learned the purpose of intuition. It is an early warning system that preserves us when we perceive what we don’t have the context to process.

So much of what is coming full-circle for me now is what I should have had my whole life. That is the nature of the pretense of trauma. It is like coming out of a fog. You get to see all of what is true long before you know why others couldn’t survive the healing of that separation.

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