A short post, this Sunday, and apologies for its lateness...
I research by conversation.
A few years ago I had close to a real job - awareness raising for some charities I could really put my heart into, working on international child education programs, healthcare, working with rather than imposing themselves on local cultures. Co-operation.
Through this work I got to have conversations all day every day understanding the perspective of the person I was talking to, quite admittedly for the purposes of trying to best convey the experience I was trying to share of someone in quite a different context and the importance of the work of Amnesty or UNICEF or Save The Children or whoever. And the subject matter itself was so compatible with the same education. I feel as though I keep teaching myself the same lessons without realising it: through my life, I am doing a research project on co-operation, vs. alienation.
In my recovery I keep concluding these dual truths of meaningful connection. That to really be in life we have to be fundamentally open to sharing the experience of others, and open to the possibility of sharing our own experience. The latter requires that we acknowledge our own experience, so that in theory we don't even need to share it... because just being open to the possibility that it is 'shareable', we have ceased to view it with alienation.
I think that people with eating disorders, through my "research" - many, many conversations - seem to be powerhouses at these skills, at the same time as being quite handicapped. We often believe so much in the fundamental truth of our own experience, defending it desperately, that really we are not so open to the possibility that other perspectives are possible - think about someone telling you that you deserve to eat. Yet often this population is terribly good at adopting the perspective of someone else, at the cost of their own experience seeming at all relevant.
I am, thankfully, at a point where I'm not so much thinking about "eating disorder recovery" as my foremost goal but recovery in a much broader sense - finishing the job letting go of an entire old paradigm of being alienated from myself and from the whole world, and trying to build a new one. And I seem, as I say, to keep finding myself in situations where the lesson is: community is necessary. Connectedness and honesty are critical. Acknowledgment is fundamental. Disconnection and alienation, and refusal to view common ground, common flesh... is this thing causing so much hell, everywhere.
Just musings, this week. This is a double-pronged goal of mine, in my unfolding life. One of the most important lessons I am learning as I shake off that old brittle skin... an obstacle, but not a protection.
I think I am going to include in every post a song. You will learn my tastes are quite diverse. My boyfriend laughed at me when this song came up on shuffle the other day. Well, fuck 'im.