I talked to my sister recently and asked if she was interested in the “occupy” movement.  She said “It’s just a bunch of young people who want to make trouble.”  I said actually there were older people too, and real conversations were going on.  I may even have said that they were creating a new kind of community.  She focused on all the garbage left in the park.  I finally said “Let’s talk about something else.”
I thought I was OK.  Even though I had been tired all day, I was able to teach an evening of dance.  But the next morning I woke up depressed, barely able to function.  Eleanor came in and told me her latest tale of bureaucratic bungling, and then asked how I was.  I said depressed and needing to cry (crying will often relieve the feelings, even when I don’t know what they’re about.)  She said “Can I help you cry?” but I was already crying.  First I said I didn’t know what it was about.  Then I said maybe it was disappointment because I had hoped to see Cory that morning and had been unable to get ahold of her.  That kind of disappointment will often cast me down.  Then I told her about my sister invalidating my excitement about the “Occupy” movement, and she said “Oh, Jenny, that’s BIG.”  I cried some more, then gave her a hug.

Looking back now, I see that the person who spoke so intelligently and eloquently to the reporter with the video camera at Occupy Littleton on Saturday, that person just disappeared when it came in contact with the “family field.”  The “family field” is like a magnetic field.  It’s what I call my internalized parents, a very particular energy that shuts me down, especially when I’m being enthusiastic about something I care about.  It’s something that I’ve never met from my sister — I know she loves me and she’s been a great support in the past.  But the “family field” is still inside me, and can be triggered, especially by my siblings.

I’m always sad to see how easily I can be struck down into depression by a relatively trivial event.  At least I now know what to do.  First I called my most politically aware friend, but only got a machine so I hung up.  When another call failed to connect with a living person, I went to the computer and found Ellen Kennedy’s video of dancing to “American Prayer” as part of “Occupy Boston.”  It has become very meaningful to me over the past weeks, but somehow it didn’t work.
So I went to Marianne Williamson’s speech at a church in Berkeley.  I had already watched about 30 minutes of it, so I moved the cursor to start halfway through.  I found her enormously helpful.  She speaks intelligently about politics, but always in the context of Spirit.  She reminds us of our history, and of the other movements: the Abolitionists, the Suffragettes, the Civil Rights movement.  I had to stop listening because it was time to leave for Montpelier.  I felt much better, but also very strange, almost like I’d been called out of one world and into another.  In some ways that’s true, I had been submerged in the world of a traumatized infant and had shifted to the world of an intelligent, compassionate, and aware adult.

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2 Responses to Invalidation

  1. libramoon says:
    Punching a Hole in Bubbles of Denial and Addiction: Late Capitalism and Its Discontents of the American Autumn
    “Within the present societal structure of the corporate state, “learned helplessness” is encouraged (as opposed to embracing reflective sorrow and deploying focused rage). Because it sustains itself by exploiting an individual’s instinctual drives and human longings, the present order of late capitalism is depended upon allowing an individual to possess just enough libido to vampirize–but not to retain enough élan vital to be roused to rebellion against the corporate state’s relentless practices of economic coercion.”

  2. jenny says:

    Fancy words, but very true. Barbara Ehrenreich has correlated the rise of depression (called “Melancholia” in Medieval times) with the suppression of public celebration i.e. dancing in the streets. See my post

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