On Crossing the Line

I stayed up late a few nights this week binge watching the Dirty John series while knitting or painting. Last night I was up long past midnight finishing the second season which told the Betty Broderick story. I can’t stop thinking about human nature and what it means to cross the line and go crazy this morning.

Is there any point where we can understand how an otherwise rational human being can “go crazy”?  

What does “going crazy” mean? Where is the line? 

Things that are invisible are difficult to quantify but we all understand them. Depending on our own experiences and how much we have been “pushed”, we often empathize or judge. How we have been treated and our own life experiences will so very likely dictate how we will respond to and sympathize with others. 

Unfortunately it takes pain and suffering to understand pain and suffering. I personally think it’s an Achilles heel to have a charmed life or to be given more than the basics. A person who has charm or has been given ‘things’ believes they understand everyone else. But they will never know they really have no idea and even more unfortunately it is those very same people who end up in positions of power and judgement over the rest. 

Generally, the rest of the people are trapped whether or not they know it. Whether or not they know it, they are being imperceptibly challenged for being born into their circumstance. This is undetectably mentally draining and creates indiscernible anger and resentment. Most people are completely unaware of their anger and resentment because they have lived with it so long, it is part of their baseline being. 

What percentage of society is walking around like this? Ticking time bombs being quietly pushed to their limits. When someone does go off, it is those who are walking around just like them that understand that it is inevitable. The ‘charmed’ who don’t understand judge, make the rest feel worse for their unwanted circumstance. So the time bomb groups tiptoe even lighter, creating even more fuel for what will be an inevitable match somewhere on their path unless they happen to get lucky. Like a minefield in a war. 

This morning I couldn’t help but do an Internet search about the Betty Broderick story. Her children are split on whether or not she should be released. Written about two of her 4 children when they testified regarding her parole as recent as 2017 “On one hand, Lee [Kathy Lee] argued her mother could live her life “outside prison walls” while Dan argued Betty was “hung up on justifying what she did.”

The show presented reactions from the public at the end of Betty’s first trial. So many women empathized and understood her. It’s not surprising to me that her children’s gender’s fit the bill of bias when advocating for/against her parole. I was painting and not looking up at the moment, but it sounded like a black male defending how far a person could be pushed before we can completely understand them snapping. 

I don’t want to be stereotypical but I am going to be for a moment. This doesn’t apply to all – but a person with an outward appearance of a white male will likely be the least sympathetic. Why? Because as a whole, white males experience the least prejudice and push back from society. I’m going to also be a little presumptuous here. White males in general have it easy. They are generally trusted. Have almost nothing to fear while walking down most streets. Have not been looked at suspiciously or accused of using their sexuality. Are not thought of as weak. They are treated with respect by most of society just for being white and male. So throughout history when opportunities arose and a white male is in the running they have been given opportunities because they seemed like no brainers. More so than any other type of person, a white male will have it easier than a female or individual with a different skin color in the same exact circumstances. 

In Betty’s case, such a man can cheat in a marriage, call their spouse ‘crazy’, and be believed and able to carry on successfully with confidence throughout and after a divorce. 

I’m surprised more women and nonwhite males aren’t crazier and angrier. 

I am completely aware that this story told for the sake of entertainment. But the writers and producers are artists. Art as part of the humanities is a luxury because it allows us time to think and contemplate. Like a piece of static visual art, there is more often than not a deep story way below the surface.  

I’ve also been binging Call the Midwife before taking a brief break this week for Dirty John. How is it that we put a man on the moon before figuring out solid contraception in a marriage without condoms?  Condoms were mostly reliable yes, but most married men at the time thought it their right to not wear one. Women were trapped until very recently in history by unwanted pregnancies. 

How in the world did we make homosexuality a crime? How could a homosexual possibly have felt comfortable in their skin when their very being was criminal and thought to be cured with some treatment? 

And racism… Enough said there. 

How could anyone not feel ‘less than’, manipulated, and put into a small box? How could these parties possibly spread their wings and contribute to their fullest potential in making our world a better place?

Betty Broderick thought she was part of a couple hood where her role was to raise the family and not spread her own wings but share on the ride of her husband’s flight. Very few people want to ride on someone else’s coat tails unless they have no way to make it on their own. Those of us who can make it on our own but decide to support someone else who has a better opportunity (historically the white heterosexual male) will always feel like they had more to give but were stymied. When that is taken away – when someone gave up their own livelihood for someone else, and then that person took what they helped that person to get away from them… I get it. I get the anger, frustration, rage… 

But how does one express that without crossing the line? 

What is the line? 

Because someone crossed it, if we forgive them does it mean we make it alright and they believe it will be ok to cross it again? 

Who are we protecting on the other side? 

Does the person on the other side really need protection? 

Who were the laws created for? 

Why are they changing now? 

Why aren’t we thinking about preventing some of these human reactions? 

If we are all equal as a species, then we should listen to those in low places as much as anyone else and hear where we are going wrong. Because somehow, we are getting it wrong or the jails wouldn’t be full, there wouldn’t be cities and towns where anyone would not want to walk, and every person would feel full and safe when they laid their head to sleep. 

The term “crossing the line” carries many meanings and applies to so many situations. In my own food for thoughts this morning I am relating it to human limits in ordinary situations in the first world. 

And that’s all I wanted to write about that. Just some thoughts from the crazy side out here. 

Namaste.