Saturday, January 30, 2016

maybe if we explained it to you more clearly....

Maybe If We Explained It To You More Clearly...:
A Play
(and also a History of my Life, but not just of *my* life)

Them: If you conformed to what is normal, things would be easier for you.

Me: I know. But I don't want to conform to what is normal.

Them: Maybe you don't understand what is normal. Let us explain it to you. Maybe you don't understand the rules. There are rules. 

Me: I understand the rules, but I don't like them.

Them: If you do not conform to the paradigm, we will kick you out of the group.

Me: Please don't kick me out of the group. That would hurt me.

Them: Then conform.

Me: Okay, I will try.

One year time passes.

Them: You are not conforming to what is normal.

Me: I know. I tried. It didn't work, even though I tried hard.

Them: Then we kick you out.

Me: No! Wait! Please don't kick me out!

Them: You are abnormal, nonconforming, and bad. The gate to this realm is now locked to you.

Me: But the food and water and warmth and shelter and human and company are inside that realm. Please let me back in.

Them: Fuck you, you little cunt.

Me: Please please please please please please.

Them: Okay. You can come in, and live in a dirty corner in the far reaches of the realm, and we will monitor your behavior.

Me: I don't like that arrangement. But I am really hungry and cold and lonely, so okay.

Them: We heap shame on you, because it will force you to conform.

Me: Shame hurts so much. It hurts, it hurts, please stop.

Them: We heap shame on you, because it will force you to conform.

Me: Shame hurts so much. It hurts, it hurts, please stop.

Them: We heap shame on you, because it will force you to conform.

Me: Shame hurts so much. It hurts, it hurts, please stop.

Them: You are not conforming to what is normal. Our patience is ended. Now we will punish you.

Me: Screaming

Three years of wandering, scavenging.
Then, accepted in by a kinder, gentler version of the paradigm-adherents

Them: Welcome. In order to be among us, you must conform to our paradigm.

Me: I want to be among you, but there are rules that are a part of your paradigm that I don't want to conform to.

Them: They are good rules. Are you saying they're not good rules?

Me: Sometimes I think they're not good. Sometimes I think they're just not a good fit for me. Either way, I don't like them and don't want to follow them.

Them: But we follow these rules. Are you saying we are bad?

Me: No.

Them: But these rules work so well! Everyone is following them and they are working great for everyone! How can 200 million people be wrong?

Me: The Russian pogroms. The Trump campaign. The Cambodian genocide. The Rwandan genocide. Proponents of slavery. Every man who has ever raped a woman. It's very common for 200 million people to be wrong.

Them: How can you be so judgmental?

Me: Justice isn't possible without the willingness to make judgment calls.

Them: Why are you trying to force us to do things your way?

Me: I'm not. I''m trying to get you to stop forcing me to do things your way.

Them: But what about humility? What if you're wrong?

Me: I might be.

Them: Maybe you don't understand the norm. You don't understand the dominant paradigm. You don't understand the accepted narrative. You must be naive, or not very smart. Don't worry: we will explain it to you--in simple, clear terms--because if you understand it, then you can conform to it, and be happy.

Me: I understand the norm/dominant paradigm/narrative. I understand it well. I know extremely well how to mimic conformation to it. It never made me feel at peace with myself, at ease in the world or in my own body, or joyful.

Them: Then you must be broken.

Me: Maybe. Or maybe the paradigm is broken.

Them: How can you say that? It works for us! How can you judge us?

Me: It works for you, but at great cost to people like me. People like me are oppressed by your paradigm.

Them: Then you must be broken. How hard it is to conform to it?

Me: For people like me, it's impossible. When I do try to conform, life becomes unbearable.

Them: Then you must be broken.

Me: Maybe you are right. Maybe I am broken. I will go try to figure out the ways in which I am broken, so I can fix them.

Five year interlude.

Me: I investigated thoroughly, and the investigation cost me almost everything. It almost cost me my life. And I have concluded I am not broken.

Them: Great! So now you will conform to the dominant paradigm?

Me: No. I do not like the dominant paradigm. It does not align with who I fundamentally am. I have thought more carefully about the dominant paradigm that most people I've encountered living within the dominant paradigm, and I have concluded that it is a terrible fit for me, and it's a terrible fit for many of the people trying to conform to it, and although it does work relatively well for many people, it also has oppressive and straightjacketing parts that are intrinsic to it, and though that oppressiveness might be a trade-off some people are willing to make (for the sake of security or safety or because it does not feel very oppressive to them), I am not willing to make it.

Them: Maybe if we just explained it to you in a more hip way, or more punitive way, or more contemporary way, or a more clear way...

Me: Goodbye.
The end.