I know you are abusive with the same comprehension that I know a pumpkin is a pumpkin. I know the traits of pumpkins. I know they are typically orange, and globe shaped with a thick skin, and stringy pulp and flesh inside, riddled with pale seeds. I know pumpkins grow on twisty vines with big lobed leaves and curly tendrils. I know how a pumpkin smells and how it tastes. I know a pumpkin is a pumpkin.
You can tell me you call it by a different name. I'd say, 'sure, okay.' You can tell me that they have been bred pale and warty and in various shapes. We can debate about whether it's a fruit, a gourd, or both. We can discuss the history of the pumpkin, and allegory and myth concerning pumpkins. I still know how it smells and how it tastes to my senses. I still am entitled to my personal relationship with pumpkins, and my opinions and feelings and perceptions. I still have my reality, concerning pumpkins.
You might tell me that you do not believe a pumpkin is a pumpkin. If you matter to me, and if I yearn for a shared reality with you, and assume you do with me, I would probably tell you all the reasons why I have come to know pumpkins, and why I believe they exist.
I might tell you of my personal experience with pumpkins; their taste and smell. I might explain to you how I prefer my pumpkin pie with lots of cinnamon, and real whipped cream. I might tell you how my youngest brother grew a patch of them next to our old barn. If you are quite important to me, and I assume I am important to you, I might tell you how I feel about October and Halloween, and how I associate some things emotionally with pumpkins. I might explain that aspects of my emotional and spiritual reality hold more poignancy and veracity than cold scientific facts, and sometimes, in moments of epiphany, science and spirit meld into an experience quite profound and sublime.
After I share my self and my feelings with you, you might pronounce my thoughts and opinions invalid. You might say I have no right to say what I say or feel what I feel. You might insist that I'm not sane, or honest, or entitled to my point of view. You might say I'm premenstrual, menstrual, or menopausal, and that I should take a pill. You might become hostile with me because I tried to communicate with you. You might become very angry and gesture violently and throw things. You might call me names, discount my observations and accuse me of 'pumpkin voodoo'. You might yell about a friend of mine, or my brother, or how our home is sometimes messy, or that you don't like my haircut or my boots. I might be stunned by your response. I might ask you what all that has to do with pumpkins. I might tell you your behavior hurt me. You might treat me with disdain and leave me in disgust. You might make no attempt to talk to me and to mend our relationship. You might spurn my attempts to reconcile with you.
I would then have to conclude that you don't share my reality. I would know that I am not important to you, and in fact, you demonstrate no good will toward me. I would have to acknowledge that you feel no compassion or empathy for me. I would have to question why I had believed you cared about me, and why I care so much about you. I would know that I do not matter to you.
And, I would still know that a pumpkin is a pumpkin.