...As the late sodomist and film critic Myra Breckinridge
used to say, if you keep notes about where you are, you can always
figure out sooner or later where you are in relation to other
Gore Vidal, Myron
What is prejudice, and what is objective reality when it comes to
society's take on what is acceptable human functioning and what is
Even with an official diagnosis, and if you take your meds and go to
the recommended therapies, you will probably notice or come into
contact with those who think you are a faker or that you are
pretending to be more helpless than you are, that your character is
flawed or you don't have much willpower, spirit or pride, with those
who treat you as if you are invisible or not worth talking to, with
those who are embarrassed by you (including friends and family), and
you will be made fun of in countless ways by pop culture.
It doesn't matter to me that I might be able to pass for normal for
a short time. I don't want to have to hide who I am or make things
up for other people's comfort. I am not okay. I don't see how I can
have genuine contact with others if I have to pretend I am.
The people who inhabit our environment are just as important as the
environment itself, and the various issues going on in the world at
any given time. All of these aspects are parts of a system that
affect each other. It's important to try to understand more about
how human beings process the complexity of modern life, including
the evolutionary history that resulted in modern adaptations.
Unless we plan to ship all the 'defectives' off to some kind of
renewable energy gas chambers for modern times, it is in our best
interests to find out more about our psychology.
A lot of people are socially isolated in large part due to the stigma
involved with being different or not 'normal' enough, which in turn
increases psychological distress and may lead to increased
..."character is not cut in marble - it is not something solid
and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become
diseased as our bodies do."
"Then it may be rescued and healed," said Dorothea...
George Eliot, Middlemarch
How do you draw a line between showing compassion or an open mind
and excusing people from the responsibility of living their lives? I
realize that with the way humans are made, sometimes if they can get
away with less effort, or if they think they have a reason for
suboptimal performance, it might inhibit their coping resources from
kicking in. I realize it's difficult to sort out. What can't be
denied is that a lot of distress is experienced, and is likely to
in some way affect the system as a whole, as well as being a symptom
that reflects what is happening in the whole.
I have felt the pressure of stigma since I was in my teens. I was the
family secret, hidden away, not going outside, and we all tried to
hide this shame to some extent from other relatives and the world at
large. When I lived on welfare or disabililty, and I tried to be open
about my situation, I often experienced painful results. I became
more reclusive, and more fearful of encountering anyone I used to
know during the times I was a promising student. The more you hide,
the more your ties to life dissolve, and the more difficult it is to
I was lucky enough to find a few people through the years I could be
open with about my situation, but when it came to meeting family or
friends of such people, I would always feel again that sense of
being something shameful that should remain hidden. I dreaded such
encounters. It's not that people can't accept an unusual past, but
they need to see that you are moving forward in some way that they
can recognize. You need to be able to communicate and behave in ways
that they can understand and accept.
During the early part of my life, I was probably often viewed as a
people-pleaser. It's interesting that after a while I began to
consciously refuse to do what was necessary to be accepted when it
was false of me to do so. So while in that sense I am more of
a person now, I am seen as less of a person.
...And then she would counsel and try to give courage: 'You're
neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you're as much a part of
what people call nature as anyone else; only you're unexplained as
yet - you've not got your niche in creation. But some day that will
come, and meanwhile don't shrink from yourself, but just face
yourself calmly and bravely...
Radclyffe Hall, The Well Of Loneliness