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The Little Known Upside of Animal Abuse

October 13, 2012

The title is a poor one, I just wanted to get your attention. Also, it’s bloody freezing here tonight so this is just a quickie to tide you over till tomorrow, where I’ll post up a longer one.

A few years back I kicked my dog in the head accidentally. I mentioned this on a message board I’d not long joined, in a “lol that was funny” kind of tone, and the post got deleted. I messaged the moderator team to ask why, and one of them messaged me back to explain that my post sounded like it was condoning animal abuse. I wasn’t really in trouble per se, but it wasn’t exactly winning me any favours.

Then he commented on my username, Hatamoto, and asked where it was from. I told him I’d just started watching Shogun, the miniseries from I think 1980. This led to a discussion of a mutual passion (awesomeness and Japanese weaponry) and suddenly a couple of hours had gone by and I found myself with a new favourite person to talk to online.

This isn’t my usual thought provoking or particularly inspiring (he flatters himself) post, but I thought I’d share it because the moral of this particular story, which I’ve criminally edited for time and simplicity and leaves out a great deal of this person’s awesomeness, is pretty cool. It is simply this: Sometimes things happen that you didn’t plan for and don’t exactly want. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be gained from it.

This obviously doesn’t only happen with getting in a spot of bother with a moderator team on a message board. I’m talking about things like losing your job, falling out with a friend, missing a flight.

If you lose your job, you may find your next job is your dream job.

If you fall out with a friend, it’s clear that you weren’t on the same wavelength anymore and it was just time to move on. The argument was only a catalyst to the inevitable. It saved you time and an awkward breakup.

Miss your flight? So did that dude on September 11th 2001.

And if nothing else, these things tend to make us re-evaluate ourselves, recalibrate our norm, and that takes strength and sometimes real courage and fortitude, and developing those things, even if what makes it happen is really painful, is never a bad thing.

And in case you think “oh, missing a flight, big whoop, and I have lots of friends, those things aren’t that important,” then firstly I feel sad for you, because everyone *I* call friend is someone I’d take a bullet for and I’d be devestated if I lost any of them, regardless of it being the right thing based on what I said up there. But secondly here’s one more example from someone I recently met.

My friend had reached a stage of alcoholism where his body would react with violent seizures if he went without alcohol for a few hours. What possible good could come of that? Well now he’s getting himself together, and he’s made massive progress, and based on his own experiences, he now volunteers in a group that helps recovering alcoholics and substance abusers sort themselves out. This is something someone who had never been there could never do quite the same way.

And my own experience of bouts of suicidal depression and the kind of anxiety that keeps you housebound for weeks at a time has led me to now aiming to start my own support group courses in my area, which I could never do if I’d never been through it as well. It’s like some wise dude said about using your light (painful experiences, in this case) to light another’s candle (help another) without costing you anything.


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