It’s My Life

Warning: Certain graphic descriptions in this post may upset some people.

It is apparent that there are those in the world who think the process of embracing other’s needs is often pointless and annoying. A case in point appeared yesterday: trigger warnings in a set of book contents, which one author decried as spoilers and pronounced were fundamentally wrong. The process of acceptance, that certain people (given the choice) would like to know what they’re going to read beforehand is part of the evolution of words that I spoke about yesterday. Authors might consider ‘spoiling’ work ahead of time a bad idea, but honestly, it is far better to make an informed decision. It was like when I discovered my 12 year old watching the first episode of 13 Reasons Why because a friend was doing the same, and that made it somehow okay. If you don’t know this show… well it has been critically acclaimed, but even I get any drama with the elements this one contains is going to give me nightmares regardless of age. I think I made the right choice in telling her exactly what she’d end up seeing, and in the end she told her friend it was a bad choice too.

Life can be about honesty and truth without pain, if you choose to walk that path.

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Last night I dreamt of an air crash, but it was so much more: the details so vivid when I woke up that they can be recalled even now. A gun battle in the cockpit, the plane having to circle to lose fuel, and a landing so frightening I woke up with a gnawed lip and blood in my mouth. The worst part however was the fact that due to a malfunction only half the plane’s passengers got off before the aircraft burst into flames, with remaining people effectively cremated inside the fuselage. I had to watch all this too, wasn’t able to walk away, held in place as the horror unfolded. Waking at 6.30am as my husband went to work, my hands shook, and I used the mindful breathing exercises I have learnt to take away the pain. Then, I slept again, and the dream this time was a revelation.

In my dream home, entirely of my own design and furnished to my needs, nothing would go right. I’d ask people to respect the way I’d organise things and they’d leave surfaces in chaos. My son flooded the front room in innocence and destroyed thousands of pounds of irreplaceable books. For some reason an increasingly exotic number of birds arrived to sit on my kitchen table, and ended up not leaving, and there was a point I reached where I just ran away, and kept running. The perfect world created myself was ruined ultimately by other people, but inevitably they had no idea what they’d done. The birds of course were the final straw, but the best metaphor: you can’t prevent the Universe destroying your plans sometimes, it just happens regardless.

The key to both of these dreams, effectively, is the sentence above. In my head are a set of perceptions and beliefs that create the unique being that I am. I can learn to control those perceptions in differing ways, the beliefs can shape and mould my understanding of the World around me, but unless I am capable of adequately communicating those to other people, there is a problem. In the case of trigger warnings, asking someone to communicate for me when it is difficult for me to do so myself is beyond useful. It gives a choice I would previously not be afforded and, if I’m honest, is sometimes a relief. On days like today when talking to people will be tough, because I am the one with the faculty issues, words come again to save me. I can express myself though a medium other than speech. Concepts can be expounded that would normally be left well alone.

Some days, the only way I can communicate successfully is via the written word.

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That revelation’s only recent, and it comes as I begin to grasp that there are moments when the intellectual process of having to build sentences and construct metaphors and deliver them dispassionately is simply a better alternative to opening my mouth, because when I do all the emotional components of these arguments falls out, without any of the structure. I don’t want to speak to people, I need to jam headphones so tight into my ears that none of the outside world gets in. I’ll want to lose myself in ambient noise, even without lyrics, and just have sound as the means to sooth a brain that’s only now beginning to grasp how it works best. Those days where other people demand you make it about them, when you just want to make it to the end. It isn’t that I don’t care… it is almost that I can’t, and that’s a concept I really do have trouble trying to make other people understand.

Today, therefore, there will be lots of pictures. I suspect I may end up throwing plants at a lot of people. Most importantly, having made this significant step forward, I think I want to try and listen more to what my subconscious has to say. I’m sure a lot of it is rubbish, but if there are revelations like this to be found that I can understand and resonate with, it is well worth both the time and effort. After all, only by better understanding myself will I ever be able to become a better person overall.

This seems like a decent place to start.

One thought on “It’s My Life

  1. Late to comment on this one because I have been away on holiday (and it was wonderful).

    I think ‘content warning’ is a better phrase than ‘trigger warning’ and I don’t understand why people object to them with books, but are fine with them applied to other media such as films, games and TV shows. TV shows here in AUstralia have had content warnings for at least 30 years “please be advised the program contains the following: coarse language, drug references, nudity and adult themes”. The classification system for TV/movies/games exists to ensure people can make an informed choice for themselves and their children. I really don’t understand why it isn’t okay to have it with books.

    I know an author who does do content warnings, and I have not bought one of her books because it deals with miscarriage and I’m not always up to dealing with that. I still buy her other books and I appreciate the heads up because it lets me decide.

    I’ve had personal experience with the issues around not knowing what a book contains. My daughter a few years ago (I think she was 8 or 9 at the time), she picked up a book at her school library, it was being promoted at the time because it had recently won a childrens book award. It had a one word title, no blurb and the cover was fairly innocuous. There was nothing for us to go on regarding the content of the book. Talking with her as she was reading through it, I found out it was a book about WWII and kids hiding out from the German forces. Then one night she started screaming and crying. There was a graphic description of a toddler killed by gunfire, and she doesn’t handle supernatural and gore very well at all. It took nearly an hour to get her calmed down. I ended up writing a note to her teacher requesting the book be reviewed for it’s appropriateness for her age group given the complete lack of any indication of the subject matter on the book. I think it’s important to learn about historical events, even the bad ones, but I wouldn’t’ have let her read that one if I knew it would have graphic descriptions of violence. Several staff reviewed the book and they ended up categorising it as a grade 6 only book (12 yos).

    Allowing people to make a choice that is healthy for them is far better than causing unnecessary trauma in my opinion.

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