Few people would disagree that I am a pretty intense character. In fact, if I am being honest, no one would disagree with that. I am angry. I am in a state of preemptive warfare against the world at large because it is easier than giving it a chance to hurt me first. I am pissed at the unfairness of the cruel universe that endowed me with a learning disability that went on undiagnosed for most of my life, which in turn gave me a shitload of psychological and emotional problems. For the longest time I even thought that I was devoid of capacity for love. Of course that ended up being proven wrong with the most disastrous of consequences for my already troubled mind. And now I am perhaps more jaded than ever before and I do not want to love. Now, nor ever again.
I mean look at the disaster that is my life! I have so many fucking problems! I am totally justified for feeling the way I do! My goddamn issues are so goddamn fucked up and the world just doesn’t understand me! I am the most royally screwed fucker in the whole fucking universe!
To be fair, this does not really represent my serious, considered thinking. I am not always this dramatic and wallowing in self-pity but it is a fairly accurate distillation of my inner cognitive distortion(s).
So the other day a story of two young women – named Megan and Grace – has come to my attention. There are some general similarities between their lives and mine. Megan and Grace come from a very loving (perhaps even more so than mine) and supporting family. They grew up a fairly regimented life and have always known how their lives would go. Of course, that is where the similarities end because while my family is completely unknown to the world at large, Megan and Grace’s family is arguably the most reviled group of people in America. That is because Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper are the granddaughters of Reverend Fred Phelps, the founding head of the Westboro Baptist Church.
http://www.cbc.ca/player/AudioMobile/Q/ID/2350556712/ (WordPress won’t let me embed a flash player so you will have to use the link instead).
Listening to these two remarkable young women and reading about them, it struck me that even though they are clearly traumatised not only by the horrible message that they used to spread but also by the fact that their family – whom they still love – considers them traitors and will not speak to them, both Megan and Grace have kept their love for the world in general and hope in the future. While I dread the times ahead and what they bring because I expect the worst, they look forward to whatever it may bring. I have an education and a career. I have hobbies and friends. I still have my family, however small it may be. They have left all that they have ever known less than a year ago. They made some new friends but they may never see they brothers and sister, their parents again. So why have I been feeling such complete absence of hope for so many years? Why have I so little energy to try to go on living? Why do I feel so much pain?
Learning about Megan and Grace Phelps has been an incredibly transformative experience. Though I struggle to see the hope in this world and emotional point of loving again, their example gives me strength to keep going forward. Their actions and words tell me that if they can overcome their hurdles in life, then I can overcome mine, which seem so pitiful and banal in comparison. Despite all the realisations Megan and Grace have come to about their family’s hateful message, which they did not choose to grow up in no more that I chose to be born with ADHD-PI and get co-morbid depression and anxiety, they still love them. That is not something to be ashamed of or something to hide. Their love for people who have so royally screwed them is empowering.
Follow Megan on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/meganphelps and Grace here: https://twitter.com/gracethecurious