Thursday, August 16, 2007


Appearances suggest that Pretty Lady's commentary has been aggressively and pre-emptively censored, over at I Blame the Patriarchy. She is still willing to entertain the notion that this could be a tragic and accidental oversight, but so far her private inquiries into the matter have gone unaddressed.

Pretty Lady will gloss over the obvious ironic implications of the fact that an individual who professes to be championing the free and unfettered expression of the Female Voice would stoop to such totalitarian tactics. In fact, if this wounded person feels threatened or violated by Pretty Lady's method of discourse in any way, such uncompromising maintenance of personal boundaries is to be commended, rather than otherwise. It would have been courteous of her to inform Pretty Lady of her decision, but not necessary.

No, Pretty Lady is bringing this up because of a free-wheeling and tangential observation that she has made, many a time, when she has enthusiastically bounded into a group of Suffering Persons, and openly shared a Healing Experience of her own. There is nothing which offends the sufferers more.

Again, Pretty Lady can understand this. Nobody knows better than she does that Boundaries are Paramount, and one of the things that chronic Sufferers suffer from is chronic, well-meaning assaults by oblivious Do-Gooders. Pretty Lady herself, as a penurious artist, has long experienced the parallel phenomenon, of such persons informing her of how she might solve her financial woes by merely adding another sixty hours of Mortifying Drudgery into her already overloaded weekly schedule. She has only one question for these people, and it is a sincere one: "Why do you imagine that Pretty Lady has not already thought of that?"

However weary she becomes, however, her annoyance with the whole issue does not extend to the rejection of Money, Period. Despite the fact that, having thoroughly considered the issue, she declines to open a side business selling homemade salsa, with cute little labels she designed herself, Pretty Lady would not go so far as to reject a person who offered her a big whopping check for, say, a painting of hers. Nor would she rudely interrupt an individual who might be on the verge of recommending her to their high-profile art dealer; she'd cock a courteous ear and wait to see how the conversation panned out. You never know.

Thus it strikes her as distinctly odd that many, many, many people who live their lives, according to their own accounts, in Unabated Misery seem to be constitutionally allergic to the word 'healing.' Use it once, and you might as well have cut the power to the building.

(This allergy does not extend to the notion of 'fixing things.' Fixing is A-OK, as long as the fixing does not involve any action on the part of the sufferer, except of course for the Issuing of Impotent and Draconian Orders to the Indifferent Masses. Other people must fix things. That is non-negotiable. Which, of course, ensures that nothing, nothing, nothing will change, because of the Cardinal Rule of Responsibility; you cannot change another person. You can only change yourself.)

Pretty Lady will not now go into a Treatise on Healing, because she is due to hit the road in a few hours, and interested parties are agitating for her company. She will merely ask a somewhat rhetorical question: What's that all about?


Anonymous said...

I think a biiiig clue is in the responsibility issue. A Sufferer has much invested in NOT taking responsibility. If they accept healing that also means taking on what comes with healing, a whole host of issues they don't want to deal with. That is why it is almost impossible to be near someone who doesn't want to be healed (at least if one is not a Sufferer themselves) as nearly always they are an emotional black hole, sucking all the emotional energy from anyone near them.
It's difficult to be someone who loves such a person, as all you can do, more often than not, is watch while they spiral down to either the point where they do want to change, or more often they do choose to self-destruct rather than change. Choosing to be healed is just that - a choice that cannot be forced from outside the person.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, Morris, and I am one who has, in the past, been unable to heal myself until self-destruction. I am presently going through this dilemma with someone I know with an addiction problemo. I have chosen to cut this person out of my life because of this "emotional black hole" they've created but I feel bad about it. And I'm angry at myself for feeling bad about it. Ahh...guilt. It is difficult watching someone who you care about spiral down, like you say, and not do anything about it. It seems harsh and inhumane but, yet, I do it anyway because I don't want to get sucked down any more than I already am.

Anonymous said...

One phrase "professional victim" says it all.

Some folks would rather be miserable (masochistically) then DO ANYTHING THEMSELVES to end the suffering. They like the benefits of suffering or dread the fix more then they desire to end their pain.

Frustrating as it is to those of us who want to HELP - some folks are beyond anyone's help b/c they won't do what they can to help themselves. They define HELP as "give me exactly what I want all the time but you must still listen to me complain and feel sorry for me!"

I've never been good with the "poor baby" routine.

Anonymous said...

About the extra 60 hours to make ends meet?

Why not bail from a city and area where a 800 Sq. Ft. apartment in a hundred-year-old rat and cockroach infested building costs $5,000 a month?

There is much more to the world than New Yorks odd version of living.

Pretty Lady said...

Morris, Anon, and Terrymum--right on! I shall hold civilized discourse with you after I have dealt with Bobert.

Bobert, Bobert, Bobert.


1) Pretty Lady knows all about the Rest Of The World, having lived, probably, in a more diverse cross-section of the world's communities than you have, dear Bobert. She has found something to love in all of these locations, from tranquil villages in the South of France, to Bay Area ghettos, to North Beach condominiums, to town centers in Mexico made entirely of stone staircases, to rural Maine. Her decision to live for a time in NYC is neither blind nor unconsidered.

2) Pretty Lady's 750+ square foot apartment in Brooklyn does not cost anywhere near $5000 a month, nor is it infested with rats or cockroaches. Are you accusing her of a) slovenliness or b) bad management? Because she thought you knew her better than that by now.

3) Cost of living in any location is proportional to wages in that location. If Pretty Lady were to move to a location with cheaper rents, she would also have to a) rebuild her client base from scratch and b) adjust her prices to the local economy. Thus the net economic result would be negative, when you factor in the cost of the move, and time wasted.

4) There are very few places in the world where an Esoteric, Cutting-Edge painter can develop a collector base, and New York is one of them. Galleries in Other Places specialize in Kitsch, which Pretty Lady is well-known to Utterly Despise.


Pretty Lady said...

Now that Pretty Lady has gotten that off her chest.

Pretty Lady has known many people who were willing to do absolutely anything to achieve relief from suffering, except relinquish the notion that they know how things 'ought to be,' and do their damndest to force the rest of the world into conforming with this notion.

These are the people who subscribe to draconian diets, and So Should You; draconian exercise regimens or lack thereof; draconian political philosophies; draconian religious philosophies. They will self-righteously martyr themselves in any or all of these arenas, and vociferously Blame everyone around them for not becoming martyrs too.

It all boils down to the fact that Responsibility and Control have nothing to do with one another. Neither do Responsibility and Blame. You pick one universe or the other.

Pretty Lady said...

And Anon, please bear in mind that your cutting this person out of your life may turn out to be the spur that they need to turn their own life around; and if it isn't, you know for certain that you would have been harmed by their problem, and they would NOT have been helped by harming you. There is nothing, therefore, for you to feel guilty about.

Chris Rywalt said...

It's so easy to blame someone for their problems, isn't it? It's so much easier than realizing that many times, things just happen which are beyond anyone's control.

Remember that, not all that long ago, it was a scientific fact that people got cholera and died because they were too lazy to work hard and afford to live in a neighborhood with better air quality.

Now we look back and, having discovered that cholera is, in fact, caused by tiny little bugs in the water supply, laugh at those people who thought disease could be economically motivated. Meanwhile all sorts of people have all sorts of things wrong with them today, the causes of which remain unknown; and yet we continue to blame them for their maladies.

I've only recently been willing to accept that I have type 2 diabetes. And one of the more difficult aspects of the disease is everyone -- even doctors, who should know better -- everyone feels free to blame me for it. After all, I'm obese. And we all know -- weight of scientific evidence aside -- that gluttony and weak willpower is the cause of obesity. Therefore, it's my fault I'm dying.

And that just feels totally awesome. I'm definitely going to get better now!

Anonymous said...

Me insinuate that your castle/pad/home is less than pristine? heavens no!

It's just that some places in NY can fit the description.

As for mysrelf, I have travelled a bit over two million miles in my lifetime. About the only places I haven't been are/were mostly commie countries.

And I really didn't much like New York: Too noisy, too dirty, too much traffic, way too many rude people. I had to work there as a field service engineer for a medical equipment company for a time, and spent most of my days at or near area hospitals and/or clinics. Ugh.

Pretty Lady said...

everyone feels free to blame me for it.

Chris, have you been staring into space the whole time that Pretty Lady has been explaining the complete conceptual incompatibility of Blame and Responsibility?

'Blame' and 'illness' do not belong in the same conceptual universe, and anyone who tells you they do is toxic and should be avoided. You are responsible for dealing with said illness, whether this dealing includes denial or not, for the simple reason that you are the autonomously acting entity which is primarily affected by it. Nothing and nobody can change this fact. You choose how to re-spond to it. Re-spon-si-ble.

This does not mean you caused it, only that you are the one who has to decide what to do about it.

BoysMom said...

Type-2 sucks. I'm sorry to hear that, Chris. My dad has it: even when he follows the dieticians' advice he can't loose weight. He has had some luck loosing weight with whatever drug mix he's on right now. (At least ten different prescriptions for a whole host of issues including cardiac.) So there's some medical hope, I guess, if an unanticipated side-effect.
I wish Dad would try eating the same sort of diet his ancestors did, on the theory that his genes might be programed to process it better. He's ethnicly Finnish, so that means fish and rye bread. Maybe when he retires he'll have time to experiment, after all, what's he got to loose?

Chris Rywalt said...

The trouble is, PL, that there is an extremely fine line between placing responsibility and placing blame. A line so fine most people have no trouble whatever crossing it.

Further, admit that it's possible that there are conditions which themselves prevent the taking of responsibility. Narcissism. Depression. Schizophrenia. And probably a vast number of more mild afflictions we might not even medically recognize at this point. Depression, too, can probably be caused by any number of otherwise physical ailments, obstructing treatment.

What I'm saying, here, is that taking the stance that people must take responsibility for their own healing opens the door for blame. You can say it as many times as you like -- and put in boldface, and underline it, and use the BLINK tag -- but it doesn't change anything to say that "'Blame' and 'illness' do not belong in the same conceptual universe". They do, for most people.

Especially, in my experience, New Yorkers. There's something in the native New York City character that always blames the victim. "You should know better" sums up the New York attitude nicely.

And, in personal terms, one of the things that makes it hard for me to take responsibility for my own healing is that most people freely blame me for my disease. Again, you can say that these people are toxic and should be avoided. Which, in the case of anyone suffering from obesity, means moving to Samoa or some similarly distant land where fat people are accepted.

I've heard big hairy men are considered sexy in Mongolia. Maybe I should go.

Pretty Lady said...

that taking the stance that people must take responsibility for their own healing opens the door for blame.

Okay, Chris, in order to avoid the slightest possibility of tipping over into blame, I'm going to take the stance that people are NOT responsible for their own healing. This means that they must sit around whining that they are feeling bad and are going to die, and if I want them to get better I must move in with them, control their diet, force-feed them their medications on a strict schedule, monitoring their blood-sugar levels by taking samples every hour, and force them to exercise. They'll hate me for it, they won't get better and either they'll eventually beat me to a pulp in self-defense or I'll have a nervous breakdown.

Is that better?

Look, one of the reasons that Pretty Lady writes without pay, month after month, year after year, (aside from the fact that it happens naturally), is that she feels strongly that certain messages need to be repeated and repeated until a few people hear them, and one of those messages is that BLAME IS USELESS. It's human nature to want to place blame whenever they feel uncomfortable, but it's a toxic habit. It's an entropic force, and Pretty Lady on a good day is an anti-entropic force. Sometimes the establishment of order is uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes the establishment of order is uncomfortable."

Especially when a person is used to the order of disorder, meaning that some people are so used to chaos that it *is* their 'order' or at the least their routine, and change is always uncomfortable. Too many people really hate any kind of change, to the point of self-destruction.
My heart goes out to people who are in this position, as I know it too well, having been there. But I cannot aid or abet them in their mind-games, or enable their sickness - I have no intention of going back to the gaping maw of near insanity.