Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being Challenged...

Do you know that every single time I write a post on this blog I get a squidgy knot in my stomach? And every time I check my email for comments to these posts there's part of me that wants to throw up? Fear of judgment is what it is. Fear that someone will disagree with what I've written. But mostly, the fear that I'm wrong. And that if I'm wrong, I will cease to know who I am.

I feel anxiety around new information. I find things hard to assimilate sometimes. The new often feels like a mortal threat to my psyche. Perhaps this is a common symptom/foundation of fundamentalist thinking. Is this ego? Is this our desire to define ourselves by what we think? When I wax philosophical asking the question "Who am I really?" this is the kind of stuff I'm thinking about. If you strip away the attachment to beliefs and release the need to be right, the need to be certain, do you cease to be? Are you what you think? Are you the arguments you defend, the job you hold, the label you wear?

Funny thing though, in spite of these fears of judgment and the need for ego-protection I keep writing. Logically, I know I'm bound to be wrong more than I'm right. That there will always be someone who disagrees with me. And that judgment isn't necessarily a bad thing. Your comments here push me to new heights. And really, I'm so much more than these words.

So, please continue to challenge me here. I do very much appreciate your gentleness and respect though. I still experience a fragility that I'm working on turning to deep strength. A journey it is.

tall penguin


Tammie said...

It's funny, because whenever I comment on a blog entry I feel that same squidgy knot. What if I offend the blogger? What if they disagree? I think this came from the many years i spent as a jw, worrying about "stumbling" someone. God forbid we disagree on something---oh! the horror.

oddly enough, when it comes to my own blog i dont worry so much---i just publish and couldnt care less about it. even though my blog isnt as heavy as yours, i think the fact that i have this "publish and dont care" attitude is my own way of dealing with everything ive been through in the past few years. sort of a way of being independant and having my own thoughts and feelings and opinions and not being concerned about appearances. it's a good feeling.

and for the record, even though i dont comment often, i read every single entry. im immensely thankful to you for being brave enough to take your journey publicly.

matt said...

I disagree with both of you on everything.


matt said...

Seriously though, I don't think it's a fundamentalist/JW thing, but of course it can be a reason for it.. any system that denies you the right to disagree about the system is a destructive force.

I get the nauseous feeling too, especially when it's something so emotionally attached to me that, after I've sent it, I don't know if I can keep it up. Worst are emails, which you can't retract. :)

In the end, it's all about standing next to your own beliefs in the world of other people's beliefs.
To explain and defend them.
To find compatibility with other ideas, and to grow.

To share yourself is to prove that your beliefs and thoughts matter.

But I still disagree with you all.


hannabelle said...

It takes courage to claim to know something I guess.

But as long as you take the humble attitude of a knowledge-seeker and stay open to change. So what if you're wrong? It just gives you room for growth.

tall penguin said...

"I think this came from the many years i spent as a jw, worrying about "stumbling" someone. God forbid we disagree on something---oh! the horror."

Yes, I can empathize with this. That whole jw "bloodguilt" thing is a complete mindfuck. I think of how many times I heard that scripture about it being better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea, than to stumble someone from the faith. I used to think, "Hey, if they're that easily stumbled, what the hell is faith for?" It all seems so silly now.

Thanks Tammie for your comments and presence here.

tall penguin said...

"I disagree with both of you on everything."

Figures. :)

Flonkbob said...

Fundamentalist 'thinking' isn't, really. The whole point of the "Live by Faith" world view is that you don't have to think for yourself, and if you do you're certain to be wrong because only Gawd is perfect.

So yeah, it could be a holdover from your Fundie days. Fact is, it takes a while to get better. You're damaged goods kiddo, but the true inspiration here is that you've found the strength to repair yourself.

And I think being in my 4th decade makes it easier for me. I realize now more than ever that I don't have to suffer fools...gladly or otherwise. If I have given something clear and rational thought and I'm countered by someone I think is coming from an "*-ism" mindset, well I never have any trouble calling a dumb ass a dumb ass.

It doesn't make me many friends, but since I refuse friends who won't think, I don't lose much.

Flonkbob said...

And speaking of dumb ass, why do I always forget to check the 'email comments' box below? Sheesh.