Thursday, February 22, 2007

Checking In

I'm not officially back, still got personal life stuff to take care of - looking like mid-March before things settle down. But it's my birthday, and I've been thinking (yes, I do occasionally use the ol' noggin for something other than banging my head against the monitor).

Sometimes people really piss me off. I'm not talking about the mentally ill or straight up criminal types, I'm talkin' about the regular folks. This is not exactly an earth shatteringly new insight, but it is one that comes back and demands attention every now and then. It breaks my heart and frankly confuses the hell out of me. For those of you who are thinking "oh crap, another Pollyanna moment," think again. I spent several years working with the truly screwed up in our fab society, so I mostly get what that's about. Nine times out of ten, when someone shakes their head and says "I don't understand how anyone could do 'x' to 'y'," I do understand. I'm not saying it's right or justifiable, just that I get where the behavior came from.

What I don't get is the rest of it. What's up with the "normies," people who are generally nice folks, getting all weird and often downright mean? I've seen it happen so many times & I've done it too. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I was thinking about one of my old jobs while working on the novel and remembered the random cruelty that came about because someone felt jealous, inferior, threatened on some basic level that generally had nothing to do with the situation at hand. Rumors got started, cruel and disparaging remarks were made, nasty looks and nastier attitudes. And yeah, there are some straight up bastards running around, but for the most part it's just regular folks doing dirt to each other. What a waste of time and energy.

What's the big about owning your crap instead of projecting it onto those around you and making him/her the baddie? Is it so hard to just deal and maybe remember that everybody else on this planet has their own closet full of guilt and fear monsters? I dunno. Guess so. When I left the behavioral health biz, I confess to being pretty much empty in terms of caring about anyone else's crap. The accepted term is "compassion fatigue." In my case it was more like "compassion extinction." You know what? It's still easier for me to feel compassion for the addict, the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled than the "normies." We know better. We just don't choose to act better.

Makes for good writing fodder, but sometimes makes getting on with the life thing way harder than it needs to be. On the writing front, I've worked in a sub-plot that's pretty much centered on this notion. It's working well with the story line, but it still makes me wonder. Dude, I need to go read some Tom Robbins...maybe another dose of Skinny Legs and All. He always reminds me of the humor and beauty of being stupidly petty and human. A great reminder of the flip side. Plus, I love Can o' Beans and the whole turning the Airstream trailer into a giant silver turkey. Boomer and Ellen Cherry Charles are such great characters. Yep. Just what the doctor ordered for the mean people suck blues. Bjork helps a little too!


At 3:20 AM, Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

Happy birthday, Angie!

(Bjork looks SO young here)

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Bill Cameron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger angie said...

Thanks, Daniel. Bjork WAS super young in the video. She's still a cutie & I'm always amazed that that huge voice comes out of such a small woman.

There are no easy answers to people doin' dirt to each other. My rule of thumb is if something gives me that twisty stomach feeling, then I probably shouldn't say/do it. Chances are, either my motives are funky, or someone's going to get hurt. When I do screw up (and I do, a LOT), I try to be honest about what happened and why (from my point of responsibility). I can't control how someone will react or respond, but I can choose my reactions and responses. It's when I get into the bigger, "but s/he did this or that," or "s/he SHOULD have done this or that" that I end up in trouble. Keeping it on the personal responsibility level helps me to manage. If you wanna talk war, I think you'll most often find the net of accusations running way past personal responsibilities and into generalities. It's easier to maintain anger and straight up hatred from that place.

Hope your week gets better & you find some clarity, dude. Trauma drama isn't good for much, but it can help bring shit to the surface that's ready to be looked at. Okay. That was totally Pollyanna, but that's how I keep getting out of bed every morning - always something new to learn and experience.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Hulles said...

Lots to digest, particularly in your last comment. I think I'll just shut up for once and confine myself to saying "Happy Birthday!" a day late. I wish I had made it over here yesterday. But you're on my calendar now.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger angie said...

Sorry to get all serious, Hulles. Sometimes it just slips out! Guess it was mostly 'cause I was thinking how things have changed over the past year or so & this is something I don't have to deal with on a day-to-day basis any more. I was asked to apply for a job & it just got me thinking...think I'll stick to staying at home & writing in my pajamas for a while longer!


At 8:05 PM, Blogger C. Atrox said...

Happy birfday. Warm milk and honey. That's all I'm gonna say.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger dink said...

Sorry, I missed your birthday. Hope it was a happy one.

At 1:34 PM, Blogger anne frasier said...

hope you had a nice birthday, angie.

and i hear you about the normal people doing crappy things. i have to wonder if that kind of irrational behavior is a throwback to days when we had to hit our neighbor in the head with a rock to steal their cave. i don't know, but it baffles me. and it is easy to get swept up in it if you don't realize what's really going on.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Everybody makes mistakes, and it is part of how we learn. Sometimes, people make mistakes because they don't have all the information and reach a wrong conclusion. Sometimes they make mistakes because they're being stubborn.

Sometimes people are just bullies and jerks. Not one of us is a perfect person. One thing I'll say is that if you have a principles, even if I don't agree with them, trying to make you change your fundamental values is bullying. I'm tired of seeing people abuse authority, gang up on people, overlook the sins of others for their own convenience, pick sides because it makes them more popular with more people or has a financial gain for them... Instead of doing what's right. But I'll never know why it surprises me.

Kevin said on the weekend 'A friend is someone who hasn't stabbed you in the back yet.'

At 8:22 AM, Blogger tiff said...

Hi Angie...Sorry I missed your b-day. Mine was in October...and you missed it...but I don't hold it against you...I hope you'll do the same for me. Whatcha up to? I've been not-so-social lately and my stops at the Raven consist of filling my coffee mug and waiting for someone to pay attention to me so I can give them money. Just checkin in with my favorite pinkish haired lady. hasta luego!

At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Evil Kev said...

I completely agree with Bill. When people get into a mindset where they are right and are willing to post false information to disparage others, it is a sad state. Ironically these people also tend to believe they are right in what they are doing.

The interesting thing is that morality is defined by the majority. So while it is fine for someone to believe they are right; if the majority of people disagree, it is wrong.

I am reminded by a situation that Sandra faced some time ago. She was part of an organization that I felt had an excellent goal. But as time past, it changed and I told her that she had to be careful.

She raised objections that others agreed with in private, but seemed to lack the courage to say aloud. I told her to send a message to the entire organization and alert them of the dangerous course they were taking. They then forced her out.

One person in particular went out of their way to slam her twice publicly. The first time I was forced to tell this person to remove it which they did. The second time was a rude comment on a blog.

It is very confusing to me that this person would continue in this kind of action. I hope that there will be a realization soon that I documented everything that happened and have a lengthy article about what really happened within that organization. If that information ever got out, it would seriously effect this person's career.

The interesting thing was that this person told her that they would respect any decision that she made but posted a lie when she did not side with the organization.

If I was to post this information, this organization would discover that the majority of people would find their actions distasteful and it could affect the entire organization, projects they are doing and possibly their careers.

I am a strong believer in letting the truth be known. I believe some of the ugliest parts of the publishing business exist solely because no one speaks up about it. It is out of respect for Sandra and her remaining friends in the organization that I have not exposed them.

For three years, Sandra and I have been making hundreds of contacts in the publishing industry and she has so many friends, many of whom have huge profile. You would think that common sense would dictate that this person should, for themselves and the organization, leave her alone.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

See...this is why I like coming here. You're always so upbeat and cheerful.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Hulles said...

m. g. tarquini can cast my vote as proxy whenever I'm not here.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger angie said...

Dammit, this post wasn't supposed to be a big bummer. That wasn't my point at all. Guess I'll have to take my own advice & accept that I can't control how folks are going to interpret what I say/do and how they respond. Everybody back in your corners...I think we all need a milk & cookies break followed by a nice nap. Then we can all sing kumbaya while we do some wake-up yoga. Er, or something...

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Angie, I don't think the post was a bummer. I think it's a reality check, and anyone who thinks life is never-ending sunshine, rainbows, lollipops and happiness is going to be in for a rude awakening.

I'm not looking for friends who are perfect people. But part of being friends, and part of being human, is being able to see your own mistakes and own up to them. How people handle conflict tells you a lot about them. I've learned a lot about that, and one thing I've realized is that I have two extremes - I completely withdraw and shut down or I lash out in anger. I'm working on a more balanced response. It might happen once or twice before I die.

I hope things are going okay for you and look forward to seeing you back when things level out.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger dink said...

Big bummer?

No sense of that for me. I thought it was interesting, set me thinking about various things and my own (painfully slow) evolution as a human as well as the infinite reasons "normal" peeps behave badly, but I just didn't have anything to add to what you I didn't.

I don't want to go to my own corner ...ha.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday Angie. Hope you got your dose of Tom Robbins. I'm going to watching The Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis. My favourite moment-When she's driving a truck and says: "Suck my dick motherfuckers." God that's so therapeutic.


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