Your gift is your poison - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

I think it was 1999 or 2000 when I came home from alternative school, turned on Oprah and heard something she said that really struck me.

Oh my god, whenever I’m texting my younger sister and start typing the word “oprah” I always hear Mike Myers in my head. “OHHHppraahhha”. Never gets old.

So Oprah had a couple of women on her show to talk about self acceptance. They may have written a book about it, I don’t remember. Oprah posted a photo on the screen from her vogue photo shoot. The picture was from a few years back. In the photo she was thin and beautiful. She said that the criticism she received from those pictures she took extra hard. Those pictures made her feel like an imposture. The guest speakers essentially drew the conclusion that if Oprah didn’t subconsciously agree with the criticism it wouldn’t have stung so deeply. The heart of their message was to acknowledge how you really feel about yourself deep down.

Your gift is your poison - Finger Pointing To The Moon Quote - Anarchist Kitchen Blog


OHHHppraahhha paused and rephrased what the women were saying. If someone hurts your feelings and you spend all your time focusing on who said what then you’re distracted by focusing on them. They are the finger pointing at the moon.

Your gift is your poison - Finger Pointing To The Moon Quote - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

So 15 years later brings us to 2015. I wrote about that year calling it The Year of Death & Taxes. As mentioned there I ended a friendship which is a huge waving flag that something had changed in me.

The day the cord had been severed my head was spinning. Should I tell her why I’m abruptly ending all communication? The catalyst was some bullshit she said in passing while talking on the phone that day and it lit a fuse. We can not be friends anymore my mind announced but I didn’t say it to her.

A huge amount of the decision had nothing to do with her per se. It became super clear that I was the jackass over extending my energy while engaging with her. I’d drain my battery thinking about shit she’d say & do trying to make sense of it. She’d tell me a story and draw rock solid conclusions. This is what it all meant, every store had a concise conclusion. I’m not kidding, rock fucking solid. She’s incredibly descriptive…. but then parts of the conversation would bubble up in my mind later that day. I’d reexamine all of the details and come to wildly different conclusion. I’m talking the logic would be different, the moral stance would be different, who the true victim or victor was would be as different, on and on. Light years different. Every time. And because all of her stories had a strong sense of struggle there’s really no place to jump in and tell the victim who struggles to overcome adversity that maybe they were never a victim in that situation in the first place. But why risk hearing the words “victim blaming” being pointed at me when I’d hear those were so easily coming out of her mouth to point them to others. In the end we just thinks differently. And the silly part was that I LOVED hearing her stories. I learned major life lessons from the things she talked about. Her stories were so descriptive that it was like reading an imaginative novel with quirky characters and epic amounts of wit! Always laughs to be had and wisdom to gleam.

But when it come time to bring this to an end I really struggled with whether I should say, “I don’t want to be friends any more” because that is an opening line which leads to picking apart someone’s short comings. All they have to ask is “why?” and it’s all over.

For days I imagined starting that conversation with her. Every time I’d think of a way to point out something I would imagine her feeling deeply hurt. Essentially she told me a million secret over the course of 3 years or so and by no means was I thinking of bringing up anything on that level. It’s just to say, if you tell me all of your secrets then I have a very good idea of what hurts your feelings and I do not want to do that at all. Knowing her sensitive areas meant I couldn’t be impartial. “I’m a computer. I just ran a report. Here, go work on this” Ah, no. I’m going to error on the side of caution and not act like I’m just giving you data or “FACTS” as the kids arrogantly say on facebook.

Plus I asked a friend of mine who I think is super fucking perceptive to the trappings of human relationships. She told me an allegory of living in your own backyard. If you’re living in someone else’s then who’s living in yours?

Your gift is your poison - Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

All I could think was, “If she’s just going to misunderstand me AND feel hurt then I what’s the point”.

When I later came cross this quote “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. It pointed exactly to a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And this is why you stay in your own backyard regarding unsolicited advice. She’s busy working on her own shit. Everyone is trying their best.

I committed to silence. I wasn’t going to talk about her, think about her or see what she was doing on the sly through social media. Internal silence didn’t happen immediately because I was still trying to process all of the mixed emotions I had about the situation. When the momentum was winding down it struck me! Really, whatever negative thing I had to say about her was actually intertwined with all of her strengths. The more I thought about it it started to seem universal. If I say some mean shit (even with good intention) I’m crapping all over the things she should be proud of. Criticizing her really wouldn’t make sense.

I reflected on shitty criticism of me. Instead of staring into the abyss of “I’m found out. Yes, I am still working on that. Why can’t I stop doing that.” then taking the baton to go even further into how this negative behavior is somehow a reflection of my damaged self I decided to turn around. Could there possibly be a fundamental strength to any of these criticism? Clearly by the title of this post you can see that I did found diamonds in the rough.

Your gift is your poison - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

Things are very much a matter of perspective to varying degrees. Just spewing negativity, only seeing what annoys you and obsessively focusing on the shit that stinks is compulsive behavior. How often you see something is NOT an indicator of how accurately you’re perceiving it. I’ve kind of touched on this in my post You ain’t a hypocrite You’re cognitively dissonant. I’m talking about tunnel vision people. Seeing my weakness as the parts of myself that I need to ignore, change or remove might be living in a tunnel.

I love reading books and listening to stories about strategy, habits and behavior. Our quality of life is the expression to our inner world (to a certain degree). I heard this quote which I can’t remember for shit so it will only come out as cliche but this post already has plenty of that so away we go! The people who master their genius are the ones who embrace their madness.

Maybe the old me would have interpreted that to mean embrace for the sake of manipulating and change. Hold to handle & to manage. But current me is hearing embrace as intertwine & cradle. Like the very thing you think is harming you could being your saving fucking grace. Minus crack cocaine.

There's a crack in everything That's how the light gets in - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

I’ve been wanting to write about this for the last couple of years but I’m glad I didn’t. At some point last year I heard this podcast and it completely blew me away. I am amused easily. According to her tendency grouping there’s 4 ways people deal with expectations.

four tendencies four interlocking circles - Anarchist Kitchen Blog After hearing her talk about it on the podcast mentioned above I dug through her own podcast to hear about each of these in more details. Here’s a pretty good overview on the 4 ways people function and the pros & cons to each. I completely nerd out to this.

Her specific way to talking about it exemplified the idea that your gifts are your poison.

I’m an upholder so my strengths are that I’m self directed & take direction from others. You need something, I gottachyyyou! I want to starts some shit? We’ll sit back because I’m all over this. Don’t need someone to remind me to count my calories or upload another video to youtube. I direct myself. Those are major strength but for a very long time I couldn’t figure out why I am so rigid. For years I felt secretly ashamed that I was so into health and that I took it so seriously. Being rigid is complete fodder for second guessing myself. I remember being really into raw food and wondering “Why do I care so much about this?! No one else cares.” I think that’s the main reason why I admire people who couldn’t care less about shit I care about. It’s like “wow, that person is intrinsically more flexible about these subjects than I am.” I can’t help but admire that.

Even though upholders and rebels are kind of on the fringe I do think a lot of my friends are rebels. I wasn’t until I listened to her take on this personality trait did I see that I was judging you guys all wrong. It’s easy to see someone else’s poison but that poison is truly the yoke holding their genius to their body. The majority of folks are obligers & questions. They’re all good and bad. Everyone’s gifts somehow are breaking their own balls.