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The Effect of Impact and Intent on Hurting Others

Branches in a Grey Sky - branches frame a grey sky on the bottom and right sides of the photo

Branches in a Grey Sky (c) 2012-2017 Windy Johansen

So, I have been thinking about impact as compared to intent as applied to mistakes and hurtful things. This will probably be short, even though this is something that would benefit from a longer post.

If someone crashes into you, and the event paralyzes you…you’ve been hurt. No one can be truthful in saying that you were not injured. Paralysis changes someones life. That’s fair to say.

Maybe you’ll never walk again. You have the use of everything other than your legs. You might feel a lot of things. This is a traumatic thing, even if you can still do almost everything even after this.

But think of this possibility. The driver of the car wasn’t trying to hurt you. Maybe they had no idea that the car was faulty, and something broke…and you were hit. The driver is apologetic. Pays all the bills needed to help you get back to as much of you as possible. Maybe you find out that you can drive again, but you have to have hand controls for your car. The driver pays for all this too.

You’re still paralyzed, but this person has apologized and tried to set things as right as they can.

Compare, though, someone that wanted to hurt you. Maybe they thought they’d get money for it or something. Or they just straight up hate you for whatever awful reason.

If I were in such a car crash, I’d want to be dealing with the first driver.

I really think intent does matter, because it can change what happens after the injury. Even if it doesn’t, I’d say that one suffers less when you know someone wasn’t trying to hurt you. It’s worse when someone wants to hurt you, I think.

And yet, you’re still paralyzed. And you need kindness from others, and it hurts when people are nasty to you.

Even though intent is important, I know I have a holy responsibility to be the person who lifts others, even when the initial injury was nothing I caused. I’m a fellow human being, and it’s only right that I honor God by acting towards them in the way that He would.

It’s only what I need when I fall.


Human Horrors, Marginalizations, and the Faltering of Words

So, I was thinking.

There are a ton of marginalized people. Marginalized for different reasons. Race, sexuality, gender identity, disability…..and more. Sometimes people are marginalized in more than one way.

But something bothers me.

I remember, within the last year, someone (from one of these groups) was angry because they weren’t seeing their more privileged friends speaking out about terrible things that had happened.

And something in that bothered me. There was an assumption that everyone that they wanted to speak…even could. Or would be listened to if they did.

It’s not that I don’t think you should speak out and protest evil things being done to others. You should. But there are multiple ways to be marginalized, so if I don’t belong to your group of marginalized people, that doesn’t mean that I’m free from any type of marginalization.

I’d like to channel my privilege into something productive, but I’m not free from marginalization myself.

And again, the assumption that everyone even can speak out..is just not true.

I am autistic. (Or I am a person with autism, if you prefer.) For me, this creates trouble in understanding language, as well as producing it. I mean, I realize that I sound like there’s no problem, but here’s the catch: the problem I have is applying the proper words to the right contexts. I have a rich vocabulary, but I can’t use it effectively.

And as your emotions grow (and mine too), my ability to express myself even passably falters greatly. I know that the event at hand was awful. I am appalled that people treat each other with such disregard for their common humanity.

But I also know that your heightened emotions require carefully planned words, because I want to be supportive. I want to help you, not hurt you. I don’t think that you need my faltering, stumbling words in such a moment. You need someone who can actually say the things that don’t hurt.

I mean, when I’m hurting badly, I really don’t need more pain, even if the other person means well. I would need friendship and love at such a time. I want to be that person for you at this time.

I just..I want you to remember this when you are upset about how few of your friends decry a horrible event.

Sometimes, I just can’t say anything, because I just do not have the language skill that I need to express myself. Sometimes, I can work it out. Sometimes, too much time has passed and it feels like saying anything would just get me yelled at.

Please remember that there are real reasons for people to not be speaking when it would be helpful for you for them to do that.

Telling Positive Stories to Ourselves

So I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. (That happens in the span of more than two years.) I thought about the stories we tell ourselves.

I like positive stories. I think that’s because my mental landscape creates dystopian fiction at an alarming rate.

I know dark, gritty stories might seem more realistic. There is a realism in admitting to ourselves that people aren’t perfectly good or perfectly bad. Life isn’t always full of “happily ever after”. Life is messy and imperfect.

And then there’s this excerpt from a Superman comic. Continue reading

Writing Prompt: Precious Antiques Extracted from Nougat (?!)


(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

(I’m trying something new with my writing prompts. *hands you a hard hat just in case* I’m not sure whether this will be rickety and awful or lovely and wonderful. Hence the hard hat.)

Write something using these words:


(The title is an attempt to do exactly this. I thought it was funny. :D )


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