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Ponderings From A Photo

Updated: Oct 26, 2019

Been thinking for the last half week to months, about friendship, empathy, Autism, feelings and living, and has culminated to make this image and title. This post is about ponderings from this photo, ponderings and overthinking, I can overthink overthinking about overthinking and more. So I do, it can hurt but also can help, allowing insight into everything. Can bring peace and pain. But always shows the truth, even if it just takes time and analysis as it shows many possibilities, even if the “truth” is an option, but one considered less likely than assumed, it is nevertheless a consideration.

Emotional and psychological abuse over years from someone who used me, depression from whenever I can remember and everyone in my life questioning the extent of my empathy being ‘abnormal’ although that word is rarely used, but also rarely seen in a good light, or alternatively people say it’s nice but act like it isn’t. Despite overtly what people may say. All the way through I have kept holding onto empathy and kindness being core for me in every way, but in less than a week, even these have begun to falter, so that even care, is lessening in feeling. A numbing kind of feeling, but this isn’t bad, because you get used to pain until numbed from it, you see it, and feel it there, but not feel it hurt after a while, you may even stop noticing it like you don’t notice a ‘stop’ sign on your way to work, it’s always there, and you always see it, but it slips notice from your mind but doesn’t change the reality that it’s there. I guess there’s an irony for the pain, how you can accept it in, embrace it, empty all feeling and you feel free, but also empty. Chill, but also without feeling.

I would always help a friend and truly do anything for a close friend, always thought that I would even go to the beach every night for 3 months to chill on the beach for 5 hours to make sure, if a friend was in a rough place, they wouldn’t be in it alone. I have never believed care or kindness to be a mistake, apparently a fault of mine. Over the last half week, I’ve been, for the first time, contemplating if it is, recently. I lost my best friend over the weekend, someone who means more than family to me. Been thinking, about my want to give all I can to help someone feel better because you care so much. Got me thinking about my last blogpost recently. Rethinking empathy. It’s been dark.

Also got me thinking, of a person in America I met through an app I use, a person I’ve helped, someone with kids just slightly younger than me, in a bad marriage, in poor health, economic poverty, and having lost their house. I helped them, got them to do a little photography on their phone. They’re an ocean away, a continent away in the US, and a complete stranger, not sure if they even told me their name, probably, but I remember helping them, chatting to them a little bit every day for months (despite painful timezone differences), and even this didn’t stop empathy. But losing everything has nearly done so.

I don’t care, about people who hate. Always have needed to learn how to tell them apart from kind humans. It’s difficult to tell the difference between someone who’s terrible or manipulative or someone in pain. In the darkest times, I will stay when everyone else has left, I do not tire of empathy, not at all, helping another doesn’t drain me but does the opposite in fact. Questions like these reminded me of a Rick and Morty quote while I was overthinking on a bus back on Monday, a quote about Rick not caring for others, leaving people, where Morty says to Summer “so if you really want [him] back, grab a shovel. The one that won’t let you down is buried in your back yard.” Won’t add more context, I just have most of Rick and Morty memorised, much in the same way you may remember your own birthday. Got me thinking, considering if this is true about humanity, the weekend took me to the darkest place. I’m not kidding when I say Rick and Morty remind me of life, even quotes come to mind at different times, different moods, with different thoughts. This quote meant a lot when I was reminded of it.

Maybe my friend’s right, maybe, actually, it’s probably my fault. I can believe that. I’m far from perfect. I’m shitty many times, of course. But I can say I always try. I’m always there. I stand by even when everyone else has left because I know very well the feeling of being alone, being trapped, not understanding, it’s a promise I made to myself a very long time ago, to myself, the world, one I’ve never broken, one that will be kept. If it’s not enough that I’d do anything to help, if a person doesn’t care, then I feel okay to extinguish empathy for a person who doesn’t deserve it.

As for my best friend, they are not that person, they were kind, and always there. But maybe it’s me, with an inextinguishable well of care for another, maybe… probably… I’m ‘abnormal’ as I have been called, for holding an endless well of care, because what draws from it fills it, not depletes. Maybe I’m abnormal. But it’s me. I feel very alienated from, because of this fact. Often have to pretend otherwise, pretend to be ’normal’ even to an extent. Even a counsellor mentioned to me how the one thing they could tell about me was my high level of empathy, even ‘self-sacrifice’. My friend’s not an unkind person. They’re not a person like I’ve described. Not at all. Always will care. It’s okay.

This photo; “Lose Everything, And You’ll Cease To Be Afraid” has many meanings, has been a project and as stuff has gotten a little better the image reminds me of the path across it, the thoughts, lots, all I’ve written and thought from dark to better. Losing a friend, losing empathy, wanting to get rid of empathy and lose something you’ve always held on to. I have lost many close friends recently. Sad. But not going to lie, was kinda expecting it by dealing with my own mental health. Unfortunately. Unfortunately, as with most times, what I thought would happen happened, despite hoping it wouldn’t. The only thing that surprised me is that it was my closest friends. And even then, I guess, I shouldn’t be surprised, they’re people I don’t hide from. So, of course, they’d leave. I don’t blame them. It was my fault in the end, I’m not perfect.

I’ve found peace with this fact, after a while of turmoil. I’ve been writing bits of this blog over the week, so it represents, like the photo which was made over this time, the change and progression of thoughts over time.

Yesterday evening had a really good gig with a large group of friends I don’t see often and some I haven’t seen in years, but it was nice. I’ve made progress, even if slow and painful, even if it’s gotten much worse to make some progress. Sometimes I guess, you gotta burn everything down, and what remains among the ashes are the only things to be kept. Peace in a feeling of casual emptiness. Maybe this is what it feels like to be ‘normal’. Lots of ponderings, from a photo. But it's okay.

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