As I laid in bed the other day for an afternoon nap, I started thinking of one of the many dark subjects that revolve in my head. Those who follow my blog will probably know by now that I’m a bit of a fan of dark subjects. Sometimes I think I should have named this blog darskside.me rather than areyoureallywithme, but, oh well – genius ideas always strike too late. So, as I placed my head on the pillow, it occurred to me that I should speak about hate. The train of thoughts was as follows – if I really don’t wanna speak about it, I probably should. So here.
In many of the minds of the people, the feeling of hate doesn’t really exist. Or, rather, the reaction to it is along the lines of “it does exist somewhere in the world, yeah, it’s horrible. Not in me, though. I don’t do hate.” The popular view it that hate is the incomprehensible state of mind that rules someone else somewhere outside of the realm of OUR conscience – it’s the feeling that only the “bad people” who can’t control their emotions go through. And we are not bad people, so why should we hate?
Regardless, I really doubt there are that many people on planet earth who have never felt hate. Mother Teresa including. “I hate you” is a 5-year-old-child tagline for the act of rebellion towards the tyranny of the heartless rulers – the parents. If hate exists at such an early age, is it really something an adult can escape?
For me hate was always an object of fascination – I couldn’t bear witnessing it for it always made me feel oh so helpless. But feeling it was totally beyond my comprehension. And though the episodes of hate in my life were only brief, they were enough to make me fear it. I never wished (not to myself and not to anyone) to go through an experience of feeling so petty and powerless as I felt when overwhelmed by hate. No matter how brief, hate makes you lose your own sanity. And as human beings we’d like to think we’re in control, so I guess that explains why is it so scary to go through even the briefest episodes of losing it.
My mechanism of dealing with hate before (not a conscious solution, just to point that out, but something I did instinctively) was to repress it. Deny it. Ignore it. Occupy my mind with something else and pretend it doesn’t exist. Which is the equivalent of getting your hand burned and pretending it doesn’t hurt. So by trying to be very cautious of not allowing hate to enter my heart, I actually invited it to take over. I hated the hate which I quite deliberately failed to acknowledge. I knew it shouldn’t be addressed to anyone, ‘cuz nobody deserves to be hated. Little did I know that by ignoring it in a hope it would fade, I wasn’t escaping it, only directing it towards myself. This ingenious coping mechanism led me to the point where the energy of hate was so high, that I felt overwhelmed by it all of the time. My vision was distorted by self-hate. I hated everything I did and what I was and, as such, I couldn’t like anything about myself or the world around me.
I remember I used to say just how liberating it felt to be able to swear on stage. How empowering it was to hate on stage. How performance to me was more real than that which I call life. And, indeed, it was – because on stage, in writing, in the process of creation, I was actually feeling. I was allowing myself feel. It was a legitimate pathway towards claiming my dismissed emotions and not having to associate myself with them. But once the stage was gone, there was no place for those emotions anymore. And so it all boiled down to hating myself and my life which, ironically, was the consequence of trying to escape hate.
There is a reason why depression and repression rhymes. I believe repression is the source of many misfortunes in our lives, including depression. Repressing the energy that rises from the unpleasant reactions to how life is and how unfairly it sometimes treats us (i.e. hate), leads to not experiencing the pleasant reactions too. Hate is a massive source of energy which, when unacknowledged, remains unexploited. And when not being used, this unwanted reservoir of power clogs up the natural energy flow in human body. The flow of energy which we need for living. This leads to apathy which we often cast as depression. That’s how, in brief, repression rhymes with depression.
There is, of course, another way of channeling the energy of hate. And this one comes in a shape of another word to match the rhyme – aggression. Aggression is another consequence of an un-acknowledged hate. It’s like burning your hand and smashing the stove that burned you. That’s in the best case scenario. It might also result in kicking your dog. Or screaming at your neighbor. But there is a third word to add to this poetic verse that can help solve the equation. Expression.
In my view, the power of expression has been greatly under-estimated. When I talk to people about my experience of being in therapy, the reaction quite often is: “but therapists don’t do anything, so what’s the point?” No, they don’t really do much, the therapists, they barely even advice. But they create space for expression of those frowned-upon feelings without making judgments. And in the world as we know it today – that’s rare. Nobody wants to accommodate the emotions of haters. Not in ourselves and not in others. Cuz we’re all so perfect.
I don’t believe that anyone at the core, in their heart, is a bad person because I don’t believe I’m a bad person myself. I carry a lot of guilt for the things I feel, though. The key lesson for me to learn was that what I feel does not define what I am. What defines me is how I deal with it. And not acknowledging my own feelings, good or bad, creates a well for the demons to thrive upon. I don’t think there is that much harm in expressing the emotion of hate – for the act of expressing it is way less harmful than acting upon it. So, if by any chance of misfortune you’ll come across the feeling of hate, remember this piece of writing. You can hate this out loud. The only thing that demons can’t survive is light exposure.