Last week, my sister displayed some odd behaviour that got under my skin. It wasn’t bad, she lives hundreds of miles away, so at best it made my electronic juju wobble a little.
Today, in order to right the juju balance, I sent her a little olive branch in the form of a “hello”. In my opinion, she owes me a ginormous apology. Not just because of the tirade of inappropriate and rude messages that she sent, but also because she hacked into some of my friends with her crazy and said some not very pleasant things about me. If I hadn’t accepted her as mentally ill, this could have been categorised as unforgivable.
Today she told me (after a cursory “hello”) that the doctors have found a tumour in her stomach and they think it’s cancer. My first reaction upon reading this was (sadly) to roll my eyes at the tale. And to puzzle as to the complete bizarreness of this person that seems like a completely obviously nutty ball of nugget. Anyway, I said the customary, I’m sorry to hear that, let me know how you get on. And then I scuttled off.
The thing that disappoints me the most, is that I thought she was getting better; I thought she was growing, making progress, getting her shit together. I thought I was helping her. This all seems a little self-serving, self-centred and judgemental. Who am I to say what’s the pinnacle of togetherness? I’m certainly no poster child.
I read a blog this morning called the “empty mirror”. It was really bloody good. An entry about the human desire to communicate; the tendency to observe and opine, and a query as to where that urge really comes from – is it altruism (a genuine desire to help mankind) or more self-serving (a desire to be recognised as enlightened and somehow superior). Ultimately, I think the blogger came to the conclusion that trying to influence a human collective is futile. Instead the messages that need to be heard will be heard when the time is right.
It got me to thinking the same about my sister. My attempts, hopes, wishes to change her by influence are futile. I don’t really change anything – I simply provide a scaffold around which a person may wish to change if they want to. In which case, I can offer it up, but it always has to be on the understanding that it’s not my place to attempt to enforce or expect anything as a result. I can do it (put forward my wisdom), but it’s mine. If I weaponise it (make it a club and bash people over the head with it) I have to own that as slightly oxy-moronic.
To want to be a one that actually changes things, from social paradigm (at one extreme) to a personal psyhological outlook (at the other extreme) is the wrong emphasis entirely.
The “want” could be instead to put the information or support or tools out there, and to encourage and assist anyone that takes the bait and fosters change. If no one takes steps towards the solutions and insights that you offer, well, so be it, a separation from control of outcome has to be the right price to pay.