For the past five years I’ve been going through an incredibly intense healing journey prompted by the opening of Kundalini energy in my body. It’s been a process of deeply healing things within me that don’t resonate with Oneness. Healing ‘duality’, or as I’ve been calling it: the human condition.
Because of all this healing I’m able to understand people’s motivations much more deeply than ever before. I’m also not nearly as reactive to things in life because so many emotional triggers have been dissolved. Instead of seeing the world in black and white, right and wrong, there are all sorts of shades of gray. Do I still have a moral compass? Absolutely! But I’m able to hold all sorts of people with compassion who I’ve previously condemned. Don’t get me wrong, feeling compassion for someone doesn’t necessarily mean I want to hang out with them – it means I understand where they’re coming from and don’t hold it against them.
Recently watching an interaction between three people on television, I saw a professional comedian make a spontaneous joke about a woman’s shaved head. While her husband and the audience laughed at the joke, it hit on this particular woman’s tender and raw spot: her hair. What the comedian likely didn’t know was she lives with alopecia, hair loss, and being in a business where a woman’s looks matter greatly, having alopecia has been shameful and embarrassing for her.
The joke wasn’t funny for her. Not at all.
When the husband looked over at his wife and saw she was hurt and angry, his own anger flashed up in her defense.
I recently listened to the first several chapters of the husband’s autobiographical audiobook and know a bit about his abusive inner-city childhood. A place where rage and violence weren’t uncommon. I also watch his wife’s show, Red Table Talk, and have learned a bit about their relationship over the years and what some of their challenges as individuals and as a couple have been. That they’ve both done counseling and therapy, have come a long way, and in the past several years their lives have taken a spiritual turn.
In an emotionally triggered rage (just like he experienced from his father growing up) the husband left his seat, walked onto the stage (because it was a few easy steps away) and open-hand slapped the comedian in defense of his wife, went back to his seat and yelled at the comedian, letting him know in no uncertain terms that his wife wasn’t fodder for his jokes. I can only surmise that being up for one of the highest awards of the night, best actor, had the husband already edgy and nervous.
When people are wound up, sometimes it takes nothing for them to overreact to situations they’d normally handle much better. And this is one of the reasons why some people sabotage themselves in high-pressure situations: all their insecurities come out just at the wrong time.
The comedian, standing on stage in shock, barely knowing what to say, fumbled a few words and moved on the best he could. Because as we all know, the show must go on. Minimal acknowledgment of hurting the actress’s feelings. After all, it was only a joke, right? And who, in their right mind, storms the stage at one of the entertainment industry’s biggest nights of the year? It was just a joke!
What most people don’t know is the comedian was diagnosed in 2020 with a mental condition called Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Finding this out at age 55 answered so many questions for the comedian about why he seemed to have trouble interacting with people from time to time his entire life.
One of the effects of this condition is missing social cues. Not being able to read people, to understand the effects of his actions and words. Because most of the audience laughed, he thought the joke went over well. But he didn’t seem to realize when the butt of the joke wasn’t laughing, it wasn’t a good joke. That’s why a lot of comedians when it comes to poking fun at people, either aim at themselves or people they know will take it well.
And most of the time when a joke doesn’t hit, the effects are usually groans, boos, or a quiet audience. Not being physically slapped. After all, slapping someone is assault, isn’t it? (Unless it’s spanking or swatting your kid or an adult “disciplining” a minor, but I digress).
So while the world of social media is up in arms about the blight on one of the biggest nights of the year in film entertainment, condemning the actions of a man who had the audacity to commit a violent atrocity upon another who was just doing his job, trying to be funny, my heart hurts.
Hurts for all three involved in this exchange. Hurts because people see the world in terms of right and wrong, victim and perpetrator, and they’ll be jumping to claim their side of righteousness today and for as long as the media cycle lets it ride.
Having met my inner child so very many times, getting to know this part of me who carries my anger, pain, sadness, shame, regret, and other negative emotions and helping relieve her of so much of what’s triggered these feelings has given me a perspective most people don’t have. And because I’m still deep in the thick of addressing things that activate my inner child, it’s beyond easy for me to have great compassion for people in their worst moments. When their inner child is crying out to be seen, to feel safe, to feel validated, to matter, and to feel in control.
Situations are no longer black and white but filled with shades of gray. And frankly, when the world is up in arms about something and I feel no inner “trigger” to take sides and react, it makes me feel a little bit strange. But I’m getting used to it. It’s my hope that today’s fervor and uproar will quiet quickly.