This is your becoming

“And for your entire life you will be doing, on some level, the opposite of not only what you are doing but of what you think you are. That is just going to go on. And what you need to do is to honor that. To understand it. To unearth it. To listen to this other voice. You have, which is a rare thing, the ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself. To at least give it the floor. Because it is the key, not only to consciousness, but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity, and identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just “who you are,” it is a process that you must be active in. And it’s not parroting your parents or even the thoughts of your learned teachers, it is, now more than ever, about understanding yourself so you can become yourself.”
— Joss Whedon

I’m a big fan of Mad Men. The show is certainly not for everyone. It’s not very plot driven, there’s not a lot, seemingly, that happens. If you want to enjoy the show and get a lot out of it, you have to watch closely and pay a lot of attention to the characters and their own subtexts. This show is pretty much entirely character and psychology driven, which is why I find it most fascinating. A lot of the buzz around the internet as the series draws near to its close is how it seems to be, at its heart, a show about whether or not people can really change.

I hadn’t really thought about that specifically until the beginning of this seventh season, and at first it made me uncomfortable. Of course people can change! Of course people can grow!

But as the first part of season unfolded and I thought about it more in the context of the show and my own life, I understand more that change and growth are not necessarily the same thing.

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He wouldn’t

Please be sure to review my intentions for this blog in general.
As I prepare to file for divorce tomorrow, it’s fair to say that there is a lot swirling in my head, gut and heart all at once. But what I keep coming back to the most is actually a scene from Hook. It’s somewhat interesting to me how deeply these artifacts of entertainment from our childhoods embed themselves into our experiences and bubble up at the most unexpected times and in the most unanticipated ways.

But the scene I keep coming back to is the one where Hook gives Jack a hammer to destroy the watch his father gave him.

Captain James Hook: For a father who’s never there, Jack? Jack, for a father who didn’t save you on the ship.
Jack: [starts to cry] Who wouldn’t save us…
Captain James Hook: Who *couldn’t* save you, Jack.
Jack: [tearfully] Well, he – he wouldn’t. And he didn’t even try. He was there and we were there and he wouldn’t try.

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On our unintentional intentions

Ironically, intentions have always been unintentionally important to me.

I’ve spent my life trying my best to have clear reasons for the decisions that I make. It’s always been important to me that I don’t just do things without a reason or a rationale. What I’ve spent the last year of my life becoming more aware of is how, while rational, logical reasons are important, it’s also imperative to be aware of the deep, underlying emotional reasons driving our choices. Try as we (or at least I) might, we are not purely rational creatures. We do not do things, no matter how much we may try to convince ourselves otherwise, for purely logical reasons.

We are always trying to get our needs met. And we unconsciously find ways which we think will accomplish that. A great many of us, myself included up until this point, cast out and make decisions which we have rationalized as being objectively good for us, without taking the time to step back from ourselves and analyze and fully understand the why of it, or even the exact need that we’re trying to address. It leads to haphazard communication. If we don’t understand ourselves, we cannot expect others to understand us, either.

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