Shared with permission. I read this post by cbpotts
and was like yes, yes, yes.
Originally posted by cbpotts
at Monday and Being Meat
This is one of the conversations that people either get, or they don't. If you're one of the Tribe that gets this, I'm thinking of you this morning, and sending you what strength and comfort I can through the wonders of the web.
Sometimes bad things happen in relationships. Really bad things. Breathtakingly bad things. And when these bad things happen, what we do is simple: we smile, we put a good face on it, we lie like a rug. We do whatever we have to do to keep the bad thing from becoming a worse thing.
Afterwards, our actions, our words, our conduct, our decision making, seems suspect, even to our selves. The people we would like to be would not act in such a fashion, but there is no doubting that the people we actually are did some hinky shit. This can lead to feelings of self-hatred, loathing, guilt, doubt - a whole candy store of suck, and everything is free - or more correctly, you've already paid.
We are always human beings, but we are not always treated as human beings. Sometimes our actions, our words, our thought processes, are shaped directly by the way we're treated. And sometimes the way we are treated is terrifyingly similar to the way a cat treats a mouse. They are the predator; we are the prey. They are hungry; we are meat, fixing to happen.
And here's the thing about being meat. Meat is beyond morality. Meat is beyond any imperative beyond survive right now. It's nice to think you're bound by cultural convention and code, and would conduct yourself accordingly, but meat doesn't have a culture. Meat exists outside the bonds of society. If the mouse could kill the cat, the mouse damn well would. Failing that, the mouse will do what the mouse has to do to prevent itself from being eaten.
Sometimes you'll see a cat with a mouse and the mouse is frozen in place with fear. It looks like the mouse could run - and maybe in fact it could - but the mouse does not see the possibility for escape, perhaps, or even with the route espied knows it can not run fast enough or far enough to truly get away. There are mice who die in place at this point; their wee hearts give out, they have had enough fear.
But you have not died. You are still here, and that is the first victory. The second victory is making the long, hard journey back from meat to unquestioned humanity. Every single person I know who has been there, done that is consistently, obsessively concerned with morality. Our codes of conduct may be extremely eccentric and are at times incomprehensible to anyone who isn't our own selves, but they are there and believe you me, they are comprehensive. Survivors have rules for everything. We have strategic flow charts embedded in our souls: in this situation, I will do this, in that situation, I will do that.
All of these lovely, lovely plans are to keep us from falling back into that place where we're meat again. Because do you know what? A mouse, in the absence of a cat, remains a mouse. Having been prey, you will never lose the knowledge that you could be prey again. And if you find yourself in a situation that looks like you're up against another cat, you will revert to the skills and strategies that helped you make it out the first time.
These skills and strategies may not always be in alignment with who you've worked so had to become once you were free to own your humanity once again. The third victory comes with being able to acknowledge this and move on without the self-injurious dance of guilt and blame that comes from having the knowledge only meat has. This dance does not help us. It's okay to sit this one out. You don't have to get up just because the fiddle's screaming her song.
Today is for the third victory. You did what you had to do; if the situation comes up again, you'll do what you need to do then. Do not hate yourself for this. This is not your blame to shoulder. Put it down and let it sit on the ground. If no one takes it up, so be it. Not every load needs to be carried. You will be lighter without it, and this will speed your journey back to where you are unquestionably human once again.
Onward, upward, forward, y'all. Within us all are the dark places. We have all done wretched things. And yet the dawn still comes. The world keeps spinning. There's work to do, and we remain to do it. We are here, and we are standing, and soon enough we'll dance.