As I have gone through the labour of giving birth to a new self, a new consciousness and a new dna inheritance, I have come to see exactly how being right has played out in my life. However, I could be wrong about this.
When I was young and raised by a man with 168 IQ (as ascertained by army testing) and a mother who continuously took courses at the local college never garnering less than an “A”, the message was that the family was extraordinary.
Yes, we were. We as a group were quicker to deconstruct the news the media was delivering. We read volumes. In fact, no other eight year old I have ever met had H.G. Wells’ Outline of History read out loud to her. My father was fascinated with mesmerism as it was called. He studied mind control and the body’s shifting in the face of expectation. No where else in the society was I hearing anything about the connection of belief and body.
He designed and built a model balsa wood house with corner windows and architectural features in the 1950’s that I only later saw in the 1980’s as a reality.
Although both of my parents suffered mental illness, addiction and lived a tangled chaotic life, their minds were exceptional. The consequence was that I was taught to read; to think for myself (one cannot rely on authority when authority is crazy). We also frequently feasted on the stupidity of the Average Joe. At the dinner table I ingested the judgmental narratives of how individuals around my parents were unaware automatons. At the hospital where my mother worked as a scrub nurse, I heard about drunk surgeons making egregious decisions. I learned from my father about the normal citizen was allowing him or herself to be manipulated.
In school, I had the advantage of an inherited high IQ, living in a household where ideas were flying around as frequently as furniture was being thrown and I had the gift of escaping into reading.
Consequently, my vocabulary by grade 10 was that of a second year University student.
I remember distinctly heading home from grade 6 with a group walking behind me chanting nasty, little colorful curses upon my head for utilizing words in class which they could not comprehend. I could feel myself shut down and become numb. I was different. Should I camouflage in order to escape the social censorship?
What I see at this point in my life is that my parents used being right to cover up their own bleeding out. They taught me to learn, to grow, to not trust what the culture tells us is the truth. But they also taught me that I can stand taller if I am standing on the neck of another person. He is beneath me. He is stupid. She can’t understand because she is unintelligent.
These coping strategies worked brilliantly for me. They justified my isolation. They reinforced my ability to trust what I was learning without trying to make it fit into the cultural puzzle.
It allowed me at 14 to attend a fundamentalist Sunday school with a friend and be uncompromising.
The minister told us that all who did not believe in Jesus Christ were damned. I ignited. I flamed into passion. “How can someone be cursed who was born before Jesus appeared on the earth?” I asked. I envisioned millions of souls writhing in eternal agony in an unjustified condemnation. The class began to murmur with the question sending the vibration of doubt through the rigid rows.
I was asked to never return to the class.
How can an ant see the top of a mountain? How can a person trapped into competitive right/wrong warfare fly above the learned self? These are questions I am sitting in at the present time.
The deleterious effects of the “superior being” attitude is that it has prevented me from growing. To lock into a belief with the addiction twist of the mind tool of ego has kept me locked down. Any tightening, rigidity, hardening means that there is not the open, soft space for my growth.
It is in not knowing, being “wrong”, looking over my shoulder and seeing I have been enthusiastically pumping my knees in the air and moving my feet on the wrong path that the gift comes.
So when I see a comment on facebook that is incorrect; when I hear a person say something so unskilled it makes my jaw clamp; when I eaves drop on my interior monologue and say WTF, I have to do the work of seeing why it triggers me.
The reason I react in such a rigid and condemnatory way is because I want the self rewarded prize of being right. I want the winner’s ribbon, the stamp on my life passport, the silent accolade.
I want to be seen as correct, as astute, as an early adapter, as one who sees beyond the illusion. And that comes from my own lack of self esteem. That reaction comes from my fear of making a mistake, of being a mistake.
If I hold the belief that life is a war; that life is a jungle; that it is survival of the fittest then I will most certainly need to be correct in order to survive.
Competition, fear, anxiety, lack of a strong interior space have lead me to hold on to the need to be seen as “right”.
The question is: Am I ready to let that go? Am I ready to be as one who is in a kayak going down white water and just imperceptibly shift to the forces at play? Can I keep my seat, my balance by allowing energy to play through my body?
Standing up in the kayak and making a speech about how I knew that rock would be there, seems pretty stupid to me now.
But I could be wrong, deluded, up the dark alley, dead dumb. And so what?
All I can do right now is call out, “Sit down in the boat, woman. Trust me.”