Eating the Bitter

We are who we are…progressives/liberals/radicals/democrats…because we care. Because we feel. Because we have the capacity for empathy, the capacity to feel the pain of others.

This is a curse.

The curse of consciousness.

Like, we don’t have enough pain of our own, we need to have more pain? The pain of others? Puhleeze. But that is just who we are. We want everything to be wonderful for everyone…and are willing to suffer to make that so. Compassion, empathy. We join with others to try to ease the suffering in the world. To some extent. Until we reach our individual limit. Or until someone pisses us off and we bail. Or lash out. Or blow up.

We work hard and struggle to build a Progressive Utopia…until it gets too hard or someone says something we don’t like. We are full of high ideals and noble goals. Until the shit hits the fan.

Then we are just humans again, having to face our own pain, instead of the pain of others. Having to face our own limitations, instead of bemoaning the limitations of the wingnuts or Bush or the enemy du jour.

Working for high ideals and noble causes and making a difference (and believe me, we do) is sweet. Having to face our own limitations, our own pain, our own humanity and all its failings in the course of that…is bitter.

We are good at eating the sweet.

In order to survive in this world, let alone succeed…. we have to pretend. We pretend to be strong. We pretend to be confident. We pretend we know what we are doing. We pretend that all of the hurts and pains don’t hurt as much as they really do. We pretend not to need each other as much as we really do. We pretend not to be vulnerable. We have to. In order to survive.

We build grand structures of self to shield us from the world.

And then they blow up.


It is sweet when the grand structures we build work, and succeed. It is sweet that after years of pretending, we find out that we are strong and confident. When the grand structure blows up….and in the midst of the explosion when find out that we are not quite as strong ad confident as we thought, when we find ourselves in the rubble of that grad structure with what appear to be grievous wounds…it is bitter.

We are good at eating the sweet.

When we have a common enemy to fight and we can all band together and fight the noble and righteous fight, when we can display our strength and confidence and courage to those we admire on the field of battle, when we have that chance to let the best of ourselves shine…and see others that we admire shining as well…..there is nothing sweeter.

When we defeat that enemy, when victory is at hand ….and we realize that now there is no more external enemy, when we have only the enemies within ourselves and our comrades before us and we find that we cannot stop ourselves, after all the years of fighting and building grand structures from which to fight….. from now fighting them….

We are good at eating the sweet.


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  1. Photobucket

    And yes, the multiple “we’s” above all include me as well.

  2. So I am here living the dolce vita – or sweet life – in Italy. And today was tyhe first day I could blog in 5 weeks. There is 0 internet access where I am.

    My first stop – where my heart is and will always be – here of course. And yo…full brake stop….and mind you I am driving like every other crazy Italian driver now – these are some growing pains here.


  3. when my structures crumbled, i actually discovered that i was way STRONGER than i thought i was.  

    but being strong doesnt mean i dont get weary.  and weary i am.

    wasted a lot of energy holding up those structures….sigh….

  4. And I’ve always liked Granny Doc.

    I wonder what “eating bitterness” will mean in 2009.

    • scribe on July 1, 2008 at 19:08

    ..writing addictive stuff like this? The kind of stuff that gets into my head and triggers the old urge to blog blog and blog some more? Once I start, I am powerless over blogging, and my life becomes unmanageable. I tried moderation management and it didn’t work. I had to quit. Go cold turkey.

    I should have known better than to keep reading blogs, even if I wasn’t writing on them.  This isn’t working any better than back when I thought I could still hang out in bars, as long as I didn’t drink! Yeah. Right. Make it a double.

    You wrote some real good stuff here that I really want to respond to, but I am afraid if I start I won’t be able to stop. But then again.. maybe I try saying “just one” thing”..?

    What if?  

    What if the word “enemy” got obliterated somehow and no longer existed. What if it was replaced with the word “shadow”, simply defined as a “place still waiting to be illuminated”?

    gotta go now


    • RiaD on July 1, 2008 at 19:20
    • brobin on July 1, 2008 at 19:20

    That is the Democratic way.  Inward insight is what we do our bestest.  The sharing of that insight is what we love to do.  The arguing of the difference between tomato and tomahto is the crux of our existance.  The inability to gather ’round and come to a consensus is our downfall.

    Well, not me of course, but all those other Democrats…


  5. …and the lengths some people will go to are scary sometimes.

    We’re in the midst of a major crime wave here in Des Moines.  Fifty brassieres were just stolen from our local Victoria’s Secret, valued at $2000.  Keep an eye on eBay for some good deals coming soon (assorted sizes and colors available).  

    And a determined thief robbed a local Walgreens of one item:

    He grabbed a toothbrush and ran out the door to a white car with a get-away driver.

    A get-away driver?  For a toothbrush?  Although it was an electric toothbrush.

    • Robyn on July 1, 2008 at 19:37

    I am a bitter super-taster.

  6. BTW, isn’t bittersweet chocolate now considered a healthy food?  IMHO, it’s food for the soul…

    • robodd on July 1, 2008 at 22:07

    I have become much more wary of people taking advantage of me for my “caring” nature.  I am very wary of people who are full of their own self-regard.  It’s a sickness.  It’s toxic.

    Particularly so when neo-fascists run our country.

  7. Buhdy at his finest.

    (except of course the Sex essays – tee-hee)

    • on July 2, 2008 at 08:54

    belive it or not i had a “life” before this season of madness

    & my garden is back in bloom

    i will keep a i out & a ear to the floor in this internets madhouse , but my tillen & plowen is Loong in need

              PEACE BD & THX & THX ALL

               LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC !

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