philosophy: the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
Everyone has a philosophy. Whether or not they know it is another question. I like to think I have a pretty good handle on mine. I’ve had to think about what kind of person I am and want to be. I have also had the opportunity to demonstrate these qualities. In addition, I’ve had my beliefs and attitudes questioned and put to the test.
You really get to know who you are when you’re in a difficult situation. Well, you might figure it out afterwards. But that’s when it’s put to question and you make the choice on who you want to be. Just because you put whatever situation or belief to question doesn’t mean anybody is watching what you do.
I was a Facilitator who worked with groups to help them work better together. I’ve had activities where the focus is getting to know one another, communication or working together in different roles in a cohesive manner. The one that sticks with me though, is the focus on accountability.
I like to use the electric fence or spider’s web for this. Basically, there are some thin ropes, strings, or elastics stretched across a frame. Teams must get every person from one side to the other. I like to break out some story telling when I lead this. Partially to mislead my group. (Facilitators are kind of sadistic, get over it.) I said if they touch any part of the element, that everyone had to start over, or just the people who touched, depending on how I felt that day. If the group caught the touch themselves, I let it pass and didn’t count that one. However, we’re not that honest. A group could have very few or 20+ touches.
When it came time to debrief the activity, there was always a somber moment where the group realized that you don’t always get away with everything. Once they were aware of the consequences, I challenged them to keep themselves accountable in all areas of their life. Who do you want to be? What will you do when it’s harder to do the right thing than the wrong thing?
As it turned out, I wasn’t just speaking to my group, but to myself as well. I said, to myself, that I wouldn’t stand for cheaters in my classes. I also refused to stay with anyone abusive in my life. I’ve now added “selling my soul.”
While my absolutes have been challenged, I have done my very best to hold them up, even through a hell of a lot of adversity. In one of my classes shortly after facilitating that accountability activity, one of the people in front of me was cheating. A first offense will have you kicked out of class, and a second out of the university. He received an automatic F by cheating on a 20 point quiz. There was like 600 or 800 points total in that class. I feel bad, but cheating cheapens my grade and what I earned. I’m damn proud of my grade in that class.
About a year ago, the person I was living with crossed the line. My parents, not understanding the gravity of the situation, wanted me to stay. Then again, they don’t have a right to be the authority on the situation, since my mom has stayed year after year and will never leave. I suppose it’s easier to not fight back and just take what comes. But to answer the question in the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” I was born to resist.
And when I got the job that would put me in to what was essentially isolation, I didn’t do it. Yeah, I’m lame and quit. Sure, I gave up, but I knew all the consequences, whereas, no one else does.
I can’t psychologically handle isolation, actual or perceived. I spent two months alone, with nothing but the internet and fear of everything around me. I’m still not over it, but it’s not easy to just adjust to normal social interaction, even after almost a year. I’m far better than I used to be. I know if put into the situation how it will end. I’m surprised it didn’t before, but I believed once I was out, life would be better. It wasn’t. I have absolutely no doubt that I would kill myself. It sounds dramatic now, but I can’t live in isolation again. And I can’t live in fear.
While it all really sucked, succinct, I know, I have fought back. I fought myself right into homelessness. I haven’t completely gotten myself out of that. I only have a roof over my head, a mattress, and a daily shower because someone has taken pity upon me. Of that, I am not proud, but merely grateful. It doesn’t seem like enough. It probably never will.
It’s damn fun living with my boyfriend. And so not traditional to start dating and live together from the start. It wouldn’t be my choice, but I don’t have a ton of options. There is no one else I’d rather live with. Frankly, I generally want to kill anyone I’ve spent 4 or more days with.