The Sting of the WASP

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, it’s just that

I have some long-standing frustration to express.

My personal experiences with the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture which I was born into are not meant to characterize everyone who identifies as a WASP.

The WASPy culture of my home community is one in which
everything is wrong, but nobody talks about any of it.

This illusion of perfection only fools ourselves

In reality, we are just as lost, anxious, depressed, alcoholic, drug addicted and trapped in abusive relationships as any other community.
From the outside, everything looks fine:
Picket-white fences, freshly mowed lawns
The house has been painted and the windows washed.
On the inside, our bodies are ravaged by insecurity and fear, leaving us worn down and raw like the bulimics that we are: caught in the binge and purge of a life of vanity.

We’ll do anything to keep up appearances even as we disappear further from our authentic selves.
Putting such effort into pretending to be what we are not is a tremendous waste of energy.
We strive to keep up with our neighbors in an empty shell of consumeristic existence, even though it costs us the true richness of our souls.

We go to church and recite prayers monotonously like mindless drones.
Can any discernible note of true worship be heard when we are only regurgitating printed words without feeling?
In our daily lives, how much are we really doing as Jesus would do in our thoughts and actions?
From what I have seen and heard, we could do much more.

Even as a young child I felt that attending my WASPy church was a time and place to desperately try to save face-
Emphasis was put on what to wear,
Instead of how we felt on the inside, in our hearts and minds.
We went to church to trick ourselves into feeling like we were living our lives right.
When actually we were living quite selfishly,
Without true regard for the suffering of others.
Our capacity to give was far greater than what we actually gave.
Even in giving, we were narcissistically trying to feel better about ourselves.
The same people who faithfully vowed to ‘judge not’ in church
Could be heard loudly judging their neighbors before and after the service.
I don’t want to judge WASPs on being judgmental.
I know they have suffered a lot and are doing the best they know how.

In a sincere wish to help them live their happiest, most fulfilling life

I want to gently remind them that they will suffer less when they judge less.
I’ve noticed that when I judge others, I only hurt myself.
Mentally separating ourselves from other humans by labeling them as ‘other’, ‘inferior’ or ‘defective’ only separates ourselves from our own humanity.
No wonder we often feel that our lives are insanity.
This rings true for judging ourselves too.

I judge myself and others every day, and every moment is a new opportunity to practice non-judgement, which to me is the highest form of spiritual practice.

I feel the heaviness that judging leaves in my heart, and I am ready to lessen my load.
Changing mental habits is a practice, not a perfect.

I feel lighter and happier when I connect through my heart to humanity.

I pray for spiritual awakening and liberation from suffering for all.
It is a goal as lofty as the tallest church steeple-
It is my dream, big enough to include all people.

The divine light within me bows to the divine light within you.

Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety

My nervous system is far too nervous for my own good
Surrounded by a sympathetic nervous system storm
I try to remember to breathe
But most of the time I forget
Holding my breath, biting my tongue, clenching my jaw
I long for the gentle pitter-patter of my parasympathetic nervous system to rain softly down on me, soothing and nourishing me

I first heard about social anxiety after I had already been socially anxious for a decade and half (all my life up to that point)
A fellow fifteen-year-old announced, ‘My doctor diagnosed me with social anxiety’.
As usual, I remained silent, although I thought in horror, ‘I would never tell anyone, especially not my parents or a doctor, that I feel anxious around people: I am far too anxious to do that!’
So I lived my life terrified of many things but more terrified still of letting people know I was afraid.
As a result, I did it all:
I did whatever other people wanted me to do
Which lead to many dangerous and unpleasant situations
And also some remarkable accomplishments
Like a samurai, I went into each battle as if I was already dead
It is amazing what you can do when you let go of yourself
But let me make one thing clear:
Spending all my time doing things I don’t want to do is hell.
I’d like to stop this habit that kept me alive when I was very small
The first lesson I learned was to please those around me in order to not get physically harmed
Now I am bigger than I was, though still small compared to most
I am ready to reclaim my life
Enough is enough