So this morning I found myself going over the RO Behavioral Balance Sheet for 2015, making lists of the best and worst things I did last year to see how I've been doing on the overall "expression of my Word" thing in this Great Work business.
It was mostly good. I'm way behind on a lot of things I said I'd do, but the wrap-up is in sight. I'm happy, successful, and people are happy with me in general (unless they're waiting for a Seven Spheres Conjure Kit, some of those people are pissed, but they should be ready by end of January, I promise).
But one thing stood out in my mind in the "fucked it up" column. One memory. The worst thing I did last year. The thing that as I'm falling asleep five years from now my brain will pull out and be all, remember when you did THIS? HA HA, YOU SUCK.
The worst thing I did last year was this:
Someone posted a pic of what looked like an altar designed to conjure, with absolutely no exaggeration, the Primordial Archetype of the True Hipster God (you probably haven't heard of him).
The table it was on was like one of those spools that construction teams use to wrap fiber optic or copper cable that you see on construction sites. Like a huge wooden spool made out of terribly cheap plywood, obviously found on the side of the road. I can't remember all the details of what was on it, but I remember a large can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, some cheap looking tea lite candle or other kind of candle, some really vintage looking stuff that had a shabby "found-item" look to it all, and it was like really scarcely decorated.
I took a screen shot of it and posted it to Facebook with a hilarious tag about conjuring the Hipster God, of course. It was brilliant, and witty, and funny, and barely mocked anyone who isn't already self-deprecating.
After getting a lot of likes, because likes are important, and my friends posting some really funny stuff about what the Hipster God was all about, I get a PM from the dude who posted the pic. It turns out they were honoring a friend who had committed suicide. The stuff on the altar as stuff the guy had liked in life. Things that defined who he was.
And I turned it into a joke. Centered entirely around the kind of guy he was.
Before he killed himself.
For fuck's sake.
I felt like TOTAL SHIT. Deleted the post, apologized profusely, and basically tried to make things not shitty for that guy and his friends. I was an ASS.
I'll do some Work on healing that memory and get on with my life over time. This isn't the worst thing I've ever done, but it's pretty shitty. I'll move on and do other terrible things this year, and one of them will stick out, and it will haunt me, and like most people on the planet, my first urge is to keep it to myself.
So why make it public now?
I don't entirely understand how it all works, but for some reason people listen to me when I talk. More people will read this post than belong to the OTO and A.:A.: combined in the entire world.
And a lot of you are like me. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.
You fuck up a lot, but you don't mention it, you keep it to yourself. You punish yourself for being a total asshat that one time, and that other time. You think the things you do were awful, and there's a part of your brain that will punish you all year for some shit you did.
And no one else is talking about how shitty they are as a person. We post the good stuff most of the time, and we roll our eyes at the people posting their shitty stuff. We keep our own shit to ourselves.
Everyone is doing that all the time.
So there's no honest, true standard of behavior we can use to figure out how we're doing, compared to other people. So you flipped off that asshat in traffic and later felt bad because you were PMSing or hungry or horny or something. You made fun of the fat people at the gym, who are actually there to do something about getting healthy. You did that one thing that no one else knows about, and it haunts you and you feel stupid, dumb, ugly, insensitive, awkward, whatever.
And I got to thinking this morning that always posting how awesome things are is bullshit. Sure, I completed the Great Work, created the Philosopher's Stone, spoke my Word of the Magus and everything.
But I also made fun of a memorial to a suicide victim.
I wanted you all to know that other people, people you listen to and respect, are fuck-ups who did terrible things they feel guilty about. I want you to feel better about that one thing you did that you think is so awful. I want you to know that the worst thing you did last year probably wasn't as bad as you think it was, really, and you should cut yourself some slack.
Unless it was worse than what I did, you sick fuck.
If it was, don't do that again, for sure, eh?
But don't beat yourself up. You'll do far, far worse things before you die, probably. Let that one terrible thing go, and look in the other column, the awesome things you did last year. I got a bunch of people to do magic to make their lives better financially and emotionally and intellectually. I inspired some crusty curmudgeons to see their religion as alive and hopeful and active instead of as a backdrop to their personal dramas with their lodge mates.
You did awesome shit too.