trespasses against ourselves

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We could spend an eternity trying to rid ourselves of the things we yearn to forget, and an eternity trying to remember that beautiful thing that you know happened, you know you felt, you know you thought, but you cannot quite hold onto. It is a fleeting essence, on the tip of your consciousness, it is nothing. Because the memory is no longer there, just its shadow, and shadows are always the darkest part of something very real. It gives the shadows roots, and they begin to anchor you to the now, permit you to wilt within the darkness rather than grow out of it.

The things we should hold onto dearly we never do, and that which holds us down, disables us, that which we let win, we remember. It sinks into our skin, we soak it up until it is no longer something that happened, but it is a part of us, something which defines us and roots us to the earth.

How to untangle ourselves from something so integral to who we are. How to wash away that which makes our skins feel like tar, our breaths poison and our touches numb.

As time passes we keep running, never stopping, like a gale we move with abandon and desperation. Running from something we do not even fully understand. But we are not fleeing from the past, we are fleeing from ourselves because they can become synonymous.

It can take a long to realise that we are not running from the past, but from ourselves. We are not running from our pasts, but running toward them. What we can do to ourselves, is worse than anything anyone else could ever inflict upon us, because even though we may not fully know ourselves, we know exactly how to burn.

I have hurt myself, more than anyone else ever could. And this realisation is my most liberating and terrifying realisation to date. Terrifying, because I have spent so long torturing myself over something I have full control over. If we are the ones hurting ourselves, then only we have the power to stop that hurt and forgive ourselves for our own trespasses against us.

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beauty before the beast

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Been thinking a lot lately about the idea of stereotypes, labels, judgments and beauty standards.

An article I previously re-blogged talked about doing away with beauty standards and this is inherently to do with labels and negative undercurrents in the way we think.

It is standard discourse now – and has been for a long time – to call for the breakdown of stereotypes and labels.

I understand why people call for this, but I think it is impossible.

How can you breakdown something which is a fundamental part of language and a way in which our brain internalises information?

We understand something is what it is, what it does and why it does it, based on putting it in particular categories based on our sensory interpretations. We understand a table is a table because it has legs, stands off the floor and you put things on it (loosely speaking). It feels solid, it looks like a table. There. We have subconsciously defined it. Given it a label, a category, a stereotype, with no conscious effort.

If we didn’t have such cemented categories and labels then we would find it increasingly difficult to determine between a table, a chair and a shelf – for example. I understand that tables and people are not the same! I am not suggesting that I am like a table. I don’t imagine it would end well for the person who decided to put their feet up on my back. A table is not reactive (technological innovation not withstanding), but people are. We are sentient, which is where the labelling issue blurs.

So how – when the whole concept behind the human language is to apply a label to something in order to understand it – are we to break down these categories and stereotypes?

Instead of disbanding these labels, perhaps what we should do is aim for a more fluid method of understanding and internalising the information we receive about someone or something?

A radical overhaul of how we think and talk about each other, as opposed to how we categorise people to build assumptions about them and their potential behaviour?

Is it so terrible to apply a label and make assumptions providing that you understand that they are just that, assumptions?

Were we not to take advantage of our ability to reflect, question and be reflexive, might we do away with the emphasis placed on stereotypes and labels as opposed to disbanding them altogether?

Putting our efforts into changing the way we think about ourselves, each other and the things around us rather than fighting to disband labels and categories can help breakdown the issues associated with stereotypes in the first place. In doing so, they may not carry the same weight they do now, and help breed an environment where people see the beauty before the beast.