Monday, August 27, 2012

In Defense of Intuition.

As a small girl I had odd experiences.  I would just "know" things.  I would know who would win Miss America, I would know which horse was going to win the Kentucky Derby, I would know when something bad was about to happen.  These were not guesses, these were full on impressions.  Information would just appear in my head, like I had spontaneously downloaded it.  It happened time and time and time again.  I told myself that I was mad, that I was stupid, that there was something wrong with me.  And there were enough people that supported this fear that I believed it for a long, long time.  It can still be a struggle not to discount impressions that I have.  I have a scar on my forehead as a tiny reminder.  I ran into a log not long ago because I ignored an impression that I had that I should turn around and abandon our hike up the face of Bridal Veil Falls.

Shortly after I began dating my first serious boyfriend at the age of 18 I began to have very powerful feelings we should break up.  I have since heard this particular feeling described as "The Pit".  I think it very accurately describes it.  I had a sinking feeling, like a weight or an anchor right in the center of my person.  Not excitement or anxiety or butterflies in my stomach, it wasn't that.  It was something dark and awful and undeniable.  I tried to break up with this particular boy on multiple occasions because I had this "pit".  When I told him I wanted to break up I was forced to defend my decision to break up with him but could say nothing more than, "I have a bad feeling."  I adored him, I was crazy about him, we got along great.  There were no apparent issues.  He made the argument that it was illogical and my decision was based on fiction and I had to agree.  It was just a feeling.  But the feeling persisted and I told him so.  He never respected these feelings or my decisions to break up so each attempt on my part fell flat.  He'd laugh at me and my illogical argument and then talk me into staying together.  It's not like I took much coaxing.  We dated for a year and around the time we were fully and completely and ridiculously in love,  a girl he dated came home from her mission and reminded him that he was late for their eternal marriage.  I can not understate how devastating it was for me.  For years I was just...lost.  I married a nice person who was so very wrong for me as a direct result of this one relationship.  I left the church because of issues that arose (that were MY fault) as a direct result of this one relationship.  I made 100 bad decisions based on the outcome of this one relationship.  He married and graduated and lived happily ever after, his life went on unaffected.  Mine was thrown off track for over a decade, in fact in all honesty I still struggle because of this one relationship.  I got the warning because I needed the warning.  What I wanted to do wasn't what I should do.

When I was in college a very nice boy started asking me out.  We went on a walk one night and my family dog came along accidentally.  I didn't feel it was important to go back and put him on a leash because nights in my neighborhood are dead as door-nails.  I now live on that same street.  The entire walk I had this horrible feeling and kept hearing a whisper, "Go pick up the dog."  I finally decided to stop pushing the thought into the back of my mind and as I approached him a single solitary car doing about 90 hit my dog.  I saw it happening and I tried to wave to the driver to stop.  It was just like in the movies, you see the car, see the dog, instantaneously calculate trajectory and speed and you know where and when they will collide.  His head hit the bumper and it took him a half an hour to die.  There were no vets open at 11:00 at night and there was no way he would have lived long enough to get him to one even if they were open.  I prayed he would hurry up and die and I said I was so so sorry.  The dog died in front of me, in my arms because I didn't listen.

I had a baaaaad feeling the night my now ex-sweetheart cheated on me.  I held his arm and begged him not to go out with his friend that night and I even cried because I felt so strongly about it.  He told me I was being crazy and emotional because I was pregnant.  In the recently spoken words of my mother, I have paid a dear price to learn one particular lesson over and over again.  Because of these experiences and more, I listened when I felt I should quit my job and quit college even though I was single with two young children.  In prayer I was told that even though it was illogical I should not continue my education because I wouldn't need one to do what I would be doing.  Exact words I downloaded into my head, I wouldn't need one to do what I would be doing.  Two weeks later I began working full time in film.  It went from something I did four times a year to four times a month in the blink of an eye because I listened to inspiration, I listened to the spirit.  I listened when I was told when I would meet my one and only.  I knew the week I would meet him, I knew what to do to find him and I knew before I opened the door on our first date that he was the one.  My thoughts when I opened the door were something along the lines of, "How many times do we go out before I tell this guy he's gonna marry me?  How does THAT come up in conversation?"  I still hear people say, "There is no ONE right person for everyone, it's silly to think so." and I just shake my head.  I think it's sad not to believe that magic can exist for some people.  But I digress...

I have believed myself a freak my whole life because of this gift.  I don't tell people about these experiences usually and I still feel a certain amount of shame and embarrassment.  I mean, if you get a miraculous gift from God it's usually something more socially acceptable like a truly beautiful singing voice or the ability to hear and memorize music instantly, not the gift of being able to look at someone and know where they should go to college. (1992.  Met a co-worker, shook her hand and heard, "BYU Hawaii" clear as a bell in my head.  She got her degree and met her husband there.)  Now these are anecdotes to you, the reader.  But they are real and sometimes painful experiences to me.  I have learned to listen to them every single time or I will be sorry.  Sometimes I have been very, very sorry.  Other times it just seems impossible.  For example I just KNEW this house was ours even though it didn't belong to us, it belonged to friends that swore they would never sell it and we had just barely bought a house up the street.  It took years for it all to actually come to pass, but here we are living in this house that I just KNEW was to be ours against all logic.

I could keep recalling other "supernatural" experiences but that's not why I wanted to write this post.  The feeling I want to mention is my impression not to immunize.  Right now a whole lot of people I know are getting really upset at those who chose not to immunize and are calling them names on the Internet.  It's become a thing today I guess.  And I won't delve into what they are saying but it feels purposefully hurtful and mean spirited and one guy went so far as to say he was done being patient with us idiots and another mocked anyone who's feelings might be hurt by being called stupid and unthinking.  I am that person who's feelings might be hurt.  I felt that after my daughter's infant shots I should not continue with any more immunizations and I didn't know why.  I felt my son was fine to continue with his shots but I had a "feeling" not to continue to immunize my daughter.  Just a "feeling".  I made a big decision based on a feeling.  I knew the risks, I knew the benefits, I knew logically what the consequences could be.  And I had to have faith in the feeling.  I still must.  Even though people are calling me stupid.  My friends are calling me stupid.  I think I was right to make this decision when she was little.  I am actually amazed by how right on I might have been. I mean, I made the decision years before I knew about my auto-immune disease and years and years before my sister was diagnosed.  I had this impression way before I ever even heard the name of this crazy auto-immune disease that has most likely been passed on from female to female in my family for the last four generations.  Do I know that this was the reason why I felt like I shouldn't immunize?  No.  I can't prove that.  I don't know why I felt I should not immunize.  I suspect this could be why but I do not know that this is why, I just have faith enough in these feelings and promptings because of past experience that I continue on in faith.  Like a lot of us crazy Mormons tend to do in our illogical support of the miraculous.

I don't think we all are given the same gifts.  I think some people are given keen minds and are able to judge their paths for themselves and God says, "Sweet, cool with me."  Like my friend Julia.  And then some people are given keen minds and judge their paths for themselves and God has to step in and say, "Yeeeeah, that's not for you."  Like me.  God guides me, a lot.  I don't know why.  I don't think it's because I'm stupid, but maybe it is.  Maybe my whole life I haven't been getting enough blood to my head due to my AV Block so God steps in to assist.  That would suck for me.  I'd like to think it's because I'm an intuitive person who is trying to be a logical person 100% of the time the way the world tells me I should be but when it's not the right path for me and I'm making an error I require course correction.  I need "the way hedged up" for me, in the words of my patriarchal blessing.  Maybe it's because I was raised by wolves and I was given a really strong guardian angel who's talking in my ear.  Doesn't matter.  At any rate, I'm cool with the gift of revelation.  I need it in my life, it's a part of who I am and a principle of the religion I choose to belong to.  It takes a lot of humility and attention to nuance to be obedient to it.  It's a gift that I now have come to appreciate although I have had to defend it both internally and externally. But I guess having a weird gift comes with a certain price.  Today, that price feels like maybe it's a few people that I thought were my friends. 

14 comments:

Jewels said...

I love you. Immunization is a touchy topic (which I only learned after I had children) and although I immunize all my babies, I know other people that never do. Guess what? It's not up to me. It's not my business. I've never been one to be like, 'Oh man, you don't immunize!?!' but I know there are people like that out there. I'm sorry you felt attacked and targeted, I hope that those who inflicted that on you did it without intention. I've told you before that you have this marvelous, marvelous gift and you should never be ashamed of it. If you are feeling a prompting, then for Heaven's sake - listen to it! It's never steered you wrong before. It's like having a Driver's Ed teacher in the passenger seat telling you which exit to take or when to change lanes. Your trip might be different than other peoples, but you'll reach your destination - no question. Love you.

Reyna said...

I just had no idea. About you. I mean, I've always adored you from afar, mostly because I've never had the geographic privilege of making sure we hung out. Now that I realize this blog exists, and I've spent the last hour reading it, I have a much clearer picture of WHY I have always adored you without knowing you well. And it makes me sad that I can't make you hang out with me right now. As for your intuition--I think it's amazing. So much of life is learning not to second guess ourselves, and it sounds like you've learned to do just that. You are rad.

dalene said...

It's so sad to me that it's so easy to judge without knowing someone else's story and to paint everyone with the same wide brush. I am both supportive of immunizing and also a big fan of following your heart. I love you and appreciate that you both recognize and honor your gift. Hugs.

Cherie said...

My oldest daughter had a horrible reaction to the shots she had at age one. She pulled through, but I swore I'd never immunize again. I expected harsh words from my doctor, but he actually told me that even though he still wished I would immunize, he respected my choices as a mother, and he even helped his nursing staff to not be pushy about it. Ultimately, several years later, their kindness and respect for me helped me decide to spread out the shots and finish up her immunizations in time for kindergarten. We gave her one shot every few months. Her body was so much bigger that she didn't have any trouble at all. I wish all the people who say harsh things and do name calling could realize that they are only making you less likely to do what they want. Moms intuition is not a joke.

Heather Bliss said...

At the beginning when you talked about your scar, I thought of you as Harry Potter. Never mind that. Amelia! I love you and I love the way you write. My sister Christina chose not to immunize her girls because she had a feeling she shouldn't and her first daughter ended up with a rare auto-immune disease and from what she has told me, the two don't mix well. Anywho, Eliot and I decided not to immunize Reddick until he's a little older because I wasn't ready to shoot up his little body. So I'm kind of an in the middle person. I just think it's awesome that you have this gift, wish I could say that I have that strong of feelings, but I usually don't.

Jaymerz said...

I don't know why people feel the need to attack other's who don't agree with them, especially Moms. I can remember every time I didn't listen to that voice, probably because I remember the consequences so clearly. I always try my best to listen especially when it comes to my kids. It isn't always easy, and sometimes it doesn't make sense right then!! Big hugs!!

AzĂșcar said...

I owe you a ginormous apology, a truthful explanation, and I promise to make it right.

Emily said...

I kind of envy your gift...but not in a "thou shalt not envy" sort of way. It's more of an "I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants all the time" way. I can only imagine what a struggle it can be, especially at a tender, young age to have such a gift but I am glad you are such a strong woman and have embraced it. As far as immunizations, thank you for helping curb my enthusiasm as a pro-vaccination voice. Though I was aware some children have adverse reactions to the vaccines, I didn't give it as much thought as I should have. Thank you for being you.

Mrs. Organic said...

Yes, this. The internet ate my novel of a comment. Kudos to you, and I wish we could all be more supportive of each other and the decisions we make.

Streetlights94 said...

I think you are tremendously beautiful, inside and out. Thank you for sharing.

La Yen said...

This took a lot of guts to write. I respect you a lot for that.

Amelia Merritt said...

I think it took a lot of guts to comment on my blog after you called me stupid. Writing this post was easy.

La Yen said...

Um, I don't remember calling you stupid, ever. I remember poking fun at all the people who were saying, essentially, "I am ignoring your science argument to tell you that your words are hurting my feelings and I am not going to respond with any personal facts or reasons, but stop hurting my feelings." Were you in that camp? Because here it seems like you DID have personal facts and reasons with which to respond, not just "I saw it on Oprah and you can't argue with Oprah."

Amelia Merritt said...

Big Picture is this, "you guys" were internet mocking people who essentially are just like me. What ever their reasons for not immunizing, they are just like me, they chose not to do it. A group of folks that you and I know openly stated they find that unconscionable under any circumstances and you, Yen, made it very clear which camp you are in. You are in the "People-Who-Don't-Immunize-Are-Stupid" camp. You guys flew that flag loud and proud all day. You, Yen, specifically made fun of people who use their feelings to guide them. I do that. Semantics doesn't matter, you know the comments you made and the tweets you tweeted and what they implied and so do I. I mean, it was broadcast. Now it feels like there may be an attempt to mend ways with some people that the PWDIAS camp didn't expect to be hurt. Like me. But there are consequences for how this was handled. I think this group neglected to anticipate what those consequences might be in advance but your living them now. One consequence of your behavior is that yes, people had their feelings hurt. Think of all of those people! Everyone's neighbors and friends and family members and co-workers that were brazenly called stupid and unthinking and taunted with stuff like, "Math is hard." And "I'm tired of being patient with you idiots..." I get sick when I think of it. I heard you, Yen, when you implied in a tweet that you don't care if people's feelings are hurt over this issue and I believe you.

There it is. You planted your flag yesterday, you are with those that think I'm stupid and I honestly just don't know how to be friends with people who think I'm stupid. It makes me feel, well...obviously, stupid.