by Jon Biddle


I can throw around such definitions of hyper-reacting to anything and everything that happens to me. Then something interesting happens. All the loftiest sounding definitions get me thinking about what my personal definition might be. Then the self-imposed pressure of rising above these definitions of hyper-reactivity strikes back. I think I am one of the regular people. Somehow they think they have the right answer about feeling the weight of my burdens.

The truth of the matter is that I am a regular person. I mean, I know what normal feels like. I have an easy labeled way of thinking in which ‘normal’ has more to do with what’s normal for my friends. And my friends are pretty much on the same wavelength as I, not all but some. 

We fight, always wanting to slow everything down, keep things the same, make the moving and talking easier. 

Something that succinctly describes hyper-reactivity happened the other day, leading to a realization in me.

A friend called me. Not your average friend. This was a brother, someone who shared a hole in the ground, took effective enemy fire with and share everything, including the chewing gum in my mouth. It incensed him that a police officer had cautioned him for shouting obscenities at a crowd of people protesting about the Israeli military action against the Palestinians; he thought incorrectly I would be on his side. 

He was miffed because a police officer had the nerve to caution a veteran, had worn the cloth of the Queen, had even cradled in his arms a dying brother in combat – why had he not had the right to shout back at the protestors? Wasn’t this a free country? 

The protesting apart, what he failed to understand, that he wore that uniform so these people had the freedom to protest without prejudice, and fear of reprisals. We only have to look at Myanmar this year for reasons I wore same uniform. Globally we fail year by year to remember the past. History is there as a valuable lesson for us all. What my mate was doing was in fact disturbing the peace, something lost on him and was an arrestable offence. He may argue the point of the protestors, but in the right context.

The same guy, and I love him – we have been in some scrapes where we perhaps shouldn’t be alive, had an opinion of All Lives Matter Vs. BLM. While this is true in the wider context – you only have to read Roots by Alex Haley, or Arkala’s book Native And The Ruin Of Empires to understand using All Lives Matter as a rebuttal to the BLM movement, is churlish and ridiculous at best, maybe indirectly racist at its worst. Seems to only be white balding dudes making these wild claims cascading down the bigoted ladder of stupidity and white privilege. 

It’s interesting how we perceive the world we live in. The convenience of equality is abundant in the developed world. We struggle to see the abundance we have, how lucky we are to live this life, yet we are convenient in our compassion, our respect, our love, and our time. As long as it fits our current paradigm with no friction, then we’re happy. 

Let me give you another example. 

A family member, law-abiding, paid their taxes and paid a lot of them to boot. Saw nothing wrong in using elderly relatives disabled parking badge. Parking in the town’s busy car park, yet the wider impact unknown to them was that someone disabled could not park at that point in time, maybe visiting the pharmacy/GP for medical help – convenience, beautifully at work.

Shouting your opinions to a group of peaceful protestors that may evolve the protest from peaceful to inflammatory and ultimately violence is like teaching a pig to sing.

One, it’s a waste of your time and secondly, it annoys the pig. 

If you feel so passionately that your opinion ought to be heard, then maybe start your own protest. By agreeing to military action the Israelis are conducting against a predominantly unarmed, starving society that even basic drugs are prohibited and acute medical intervention is outlawed let alone provided – I have friends that crawl through the many tunnels delivering morphine, fentanyl and other surgical interventional drugs to a civilisation fighting for their lives. One of them is a professor and emeritus and a mentor of mine who I love and respect enormously. 

My bias emerging there and I apologies. 

I think that this is because we more often than not live in an unspoken divide on all subjects. 

And for the above reason, both Sam and I today have decided to become vegetarian – Yep, I can hear you snap forward in your chairs and dial in, thinking how do you go from the bombing of Palestinians to vegetarianism – the world longest literary leap of the decade!

Let me explain – it’s a decision based not on health reasons, not because of the environment; lord knows I’m one of the worlds worst environmental recyclers. Too lazy for that shit. 

The reason we have chosen this is that I abhor violence and cruelty in any form. I lived a world of violence, was violent myself. I stared down the sights of my weapon and actively killed people – I’m never going to mitigate that because I am proud of who I am and even more proud of who I have evolved into – the Orwellian quote

“People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf.”

Is something that I am grateful for. Remember that freedom we enjoy isn’t free in its truest form.

I see meat eating simply as cruelty. Every life in the world has a right to life. Roger Moore, the famous actor who played James Bond, famously said that:

 Hunting is a coward’s game. In a world of boundless opportunities for amusement, its detestable that anyone would choose to get a thrill from killing who ask nothing from life but a chance to remain alive.” 

So, having a conviction to argue with one of my closest friends about something that although I don’t feel so passionate about but would argue in the police’s defense, I realized as I drove through the glorious countryside, seeing the spring lambs shivering in the cold bugging the hell out of their mum’s, I realized for many years I have held this conviction and done nothing about it. And while I can apply a conviction in an intellectual argument with a close friend on another subject, I sit and ignore other less convenient postulations that swirl around my head.

So I have decided.  

I am now a vegetarian – Spoiler alert here, we will all be veggies in twenty years’ time. You heard it here first.

Remember that it is not your place to judge and explain away or mitigate your own opinion to me, just it let go. Live your life with your own convictions. 

When I was a kid, I responded to the experiences in my life simply because there were people around to see me. I couldn’t be myself as a child. As a child, through developmental process we have to experience and celebrate the whole gamut of emotional adventure. For me, the only emotion that was acceptable was happiness. The flip side to this was abuse, judgement and relentless criticism at every turn has left me in a state of flux as a man, father, husband and author. But I kinda get it now. 

This decision is one aspect of a complex process of healing that I am experiencing. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s revelatory, almost an epiphanic realization of who Jon is. 

Today, I am well and that’s all that matters right now.

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