Who You Gonna Believe?


Growing up was a challenge. I just couldn’t figure out how the whole social thing worked. Apparently I had attributes of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, (a form of autism). And then I had to deal with school. Which got even harder going into Junior High. Which for me was 7th through 9th grade.

By 7th grade I had become very aware of what people or more accurately other kids thought of me.

I’d had the usual bullying and torment from certain kids and didn’t really know how to handle that sort of thing. I was skinny, tall and awkward. I remember longing to be thought of as “cool”. Whatever that meant. Bottom line was what other kids said about me could lift me up or, as was more often the case, drag me down. And I mean down….

Now what was said about me was mostly not even true. I was just unable to navigate the adolescent social scene very well. Over time I made the mistake of starting to believe that who I was was what others said I was. Then in response I tried to be invisible. Not give anyone a reason to have to comment on me or something I said or did.

It was a tortuous time. I ended up hating school pretty much. Who I was as a person had been defined firstly by other kids opinions of me but then later by myself as I personalized and integrated their negative descriptions and definitions into my personality and belief system. I believed what they had said. Not what was true or correct. And so just like that I ended up with a really crappy self esteem.

However it’s not totally their fault. I could have discarded or dismissed their negative comments, words and opinions. I just didn’t know how. Fast forward to 10th grade…

So since I couldn’t muster up the courage to try and become a Jock by going out for the basketball team, (which I would have excelled in due to my height and abilities) or other sports I instead turned to the “Partyer’s” or “Stoner’s”. If I could survive the initiation process maybe one day I’d be “cool” as a Stoner. As so it went.

I started smoking pot, became more lazy and less goal oriented. I did the minimal amount of school work and finally graduated after my 12th year having to take a summer school class (I didn’t have enough credits to graduate in my class). They did however let me dress up in a robe and walk with my classmates in the graduation ceremony. I was just given an empty diploma holder… FYI I did stop smoking pot after a few years because I didn’t like the way it de-motivated me and slowed my mind.

Thus my early years were defined in a big way by what others thought of me. Or more accurately what I thought they thought of me. I had again believed others in the quest to figure out who I was. My value. My esteem. What I learned later was I had become Peer dependent when I should have become Family dependent. With the later probably becoming disrupted due to my parents getting divorced among other family issues.

In any event a high price was paid due to my listening to others. I should never had bought into what those kids had said about me. Fortunately after years of personal work and healing I now know who I am and it is good. I’m OK. But I can still recall how awful it felt being me back in those days.

But now it’s 2018. People are making all kinds of claims about who I am and what I believe. And who you are as well. There are now so many different categories that people are getting pushed into by other people.. Race, Gender, Sex, Christian, Muslim, Secular, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Leftist, Socialist, Communist, Gay, Straight, LGBT etc. etc. etc.

Caricatures have been built that describe each of these above titles with one group of people defining that category one way and the other the opposite. We are, all of us, whether we like or not being placed into an identity box with specific alleged attitudes, beliefs, opinions, and desires. But way to often these caricatures are not who we are. They are generalities designed and created to manifest a reaction in other people. Mostly a reaction of fear.

They, these people seeking to drive public opinion to then cause a certain action, reaction, or approach to voting, are telling us who we are. Why “those people” are bad and others are good. And why it would be terrible if “they” got elected.

Well the truth is much of what is said about “those people” isn’t really true. Yes, we do have our differences. But when people start believing exaggerated claims that in effect turn the “opposition” into monsters we have begun to loose our humanity.

Then what happens? People start behaving less humanly. They start seeing other people as not worthy of regard or respect. They become more capable of treating them with contempt, hatred and even anger And then out of that can and does come violence.

What others say about us matters.

So when other people start describing and defining who we are we need to take it with a grain of salt. We should’t believe everything we hear. Shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. And we should resist the urge to be manipulated by fear. Cuz even worse than loosing an election is loosing our humanity. Like I kinda did in school and too many of us, at the hands of others, are today.

Thus the question is….. who you gonna believe? What others say? Or what we know to be true? I say we should always strive to believe the best in ourselves and the best in other people….no matter what anyone says….

- Dave

Dave Henderson1 Comment