I can still remember when I lost my childhood’s innocence, when my point of view turned form local to global. I was about 14 at the time.
I had a very good childhood. I grew up with my mum in my grandparents’ house, along with an uncle and an aunt. Granny looked after me while mum was at work before I started school, so I had sort of two mums. I was loved and protected. My world consisted of close family, friends, and after the age of seven, also school. I never watched or read the news, so I was happily unknowing about what humanity did on a global scale. I was a happy and optimistic child.
Then, in my teens, we started to learn about history in school, and I began to pay attention to the news. I was horrified to learn about the atrocities humans had committed, and continued to commit, against each other, against animals and against nature. My safe, little world shattered. I was thoroughly disillusioned, and it triggered the first serious episode of depression. What was the point of living, I wondered, when the world was so filled with selfishness and greed, with cruelty and evil?
I turned from happy and optimistic, to brooding and angry. I still had a spark of hope though, that I could in some small way contribute to making the world a better place. I became politically active, became a member of a political youth group and a member of Amnesty. I participated in stands and marches. I wrote a lot of letters to governments all over the world on causes chosen by Amnesty.
In my 20s my depressions became more frequent, which made me feel a lot more pessimistic. The anger against the atrocities of humanity was still burning, but I no longer believed I could make any difference. I became a misanthrope; I thought the world would be a better place without the human species. The anger was like an angry dragon in my stomach, clawing my insides with sharp nails. Worst of all though, was the overwhelming sense of powerlessness; there was nothing I could do to change how humans mistreated each other, animals and nature; I was just one person among billions.
Depending on whether I was depressed or not, my feelings would fluctuate between rage and apathy. I didn’t have much trust for other humans, so I never let anyone get really close to me.
In my mid 20s, I decided that I didn’t like the person I had become, so angry and mistrusting. I decided to narrow my point of view down to a local scale; I stopped paying attention to the news, and focused on close family and friends, on my “tribe”. Anyone outside of my tribe didn’t matter. I was too sensitive to continue having a larger POV.
I worked on changing myself, to let go of all the rage, to try to trust people more. Then I had a couple of really bad experiences with people, and I retreated again, keeping most people at arms distance, apart from my mother and my best friend.
To protect myself, I stopped caring about humanity as a whole. From my POV it seemed like greed and selfishness trumped compassion, discrimination and bigotry trumped understanding. Humans were chasing sex, money, material wealth and status, which all seemed meaningless to me. I often felt like I didn’t belong to the human species, that I was born on the wrong planet. I thought: “There must be more to life than this?”
Then, when I was 31, I was first visited by a male entity who liked to cuddle with me in the mornings when I was half awake. Suddenly I had proof that there was more to life than just the material part of it.
During fall that year, my granddad died suddenly and unexpectedly. A couple of weeks after his death I strongly felt his presence in my living room; I felt him stand there, looking at me and I felt that he was saying goodbye. Another proof that there was more to the world than I had previously thought.
When I was 44, I invited Loki into my life, and He came. I fell head over heels in love with Him and He filled an emptiness I didn’t know I’d had. He became the light of my life, the centre of my universe. I learned to love and trust again.
Then when I was 47, in November 2012, I had a major breakdown. I felt like I had been shattered into a thousand pieces. It wasn’t until May 2013 that I became well enough to start rebuilding myself. I discovered that I didn’t have to put all the pieces together again; I could let go of old pain, resentment and anger. I applied for disability and got it. It was a relief, because then I could focus on healing and rebuilding myself.
I came across a website that has meant a lot to me: “Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life“. I learned values like compassion, patience, understanding and mindfulness, both in dealing with myself and in my interactions with other humans.
I can’t change humanity. I follow the news again, but I’m stronger now, and I don’t get as easily overwhelmed or depressed. I still think humanity as a whole sucks, to put it plainly.
What I can do is care for and love the people in my “tribe”, my family and my friends and my feline companion. I can strive to be patient and compassionate in my interactions with humans on a person to person basis.
I am much more content now, than I have ever been before in my life.
Read more about The Pagan Experience here.