This January, I've taken part in a program through "Writing Our Way Home," in which we practice mindful writing, "small stones," noting things as we take time to be really present and see things up close. Because I receive daily boosters as well, I was sent this: "Love means to learn to look at yourself the way one looks at distant things." ~Czeslaw Milosz
My challenge is, based on this premise, "Write a small stone which includes you, somehow."
This IS a challenge, because generally in prose, I write from inside my hectic brain (which is far too close) or through poetry, in metaphor, personification, etc. which is far more complicated and distant. Changing perspective will help me get myself out of my head. It could also help increase my self awareness in a positive way. It could go the opposite way, though, unless I'm being non-judgmental, the way I try to be with other people. I say try because non-judgmental with others is not automatic. It takes work.
Example: Yesterday, on the way to my mother-in-law's funeral, we stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break. Coming out of the store, I automatically held the door for the person behind me. Apparently, I didn't hold it long enough because I heard from behind, "REALLY?" from the woman I'd accidentally hit with the door. I turned and again, automatically, said, "I'm sorry. I thought you had it," (meaning the door). Then I noticed she wore a neck brace, but as we walked away, I heard her say to her friend behind her (whom I guess then got the door), "THANK YOU REX," in that "I will send that rude lady (me) a message by talking loudly to someone else."
I was pissed, got into the car and said to my husband, "I should have told her, 'You might be in a neck brace, but I'm on my way to a fucking funeral, bitch.'"
It took me a little bit of time to get past this and say, "Well, she was probably just grumpy and in pain."
But then I was irritated with myself for feeling bad. I mean, if Rex was that great, why hadn't HE gone ahead and opened the door for her? No matter, I said again. Some people are just ignorant and looking for someone else to blame. "Will you let it go?" my husband said.
"I know, I know, I just have to remind myself that there are reasons why people act like they do, and it's not about me in particular." And while she surely could not have recognized the uptight state I was in, she probably wasn't in a place where she could or wanted to.
Some people, for whatever reason, really don't care and/or can't get over themselves. In my complicated way, I know this, resent it, but try to get over it, which makes me feel better about myself eventually. But I'm not very patient with myself. Why do I have to process every g-damned thing, feel that stupid guilt, like I had contributed to her pain, and be expected to just 'move on' myself? That gap between the incident and my understanding irritates me, which makes progress slower. Why do I always have to be the one to turn the other cheek? G-damn it, I've only got two cheeks, (or four, depending on how you look at it, but I prefer people ignore the other, larger two). Why can't people take the time to think about me the way I think about them and figure our, "Hello! Obviously, there are things going on in my life, and it's not like I'm hiding any of it. Are you that stupid? Or are you really just a bunch of assholes?" Hey stupid lady, why do you think we're all dressed up in BLACK on a SATURDAY? Bug also as obviously, she was blinded by her own pain.
I've gotten angry this way a lot throughout my life because even when I try to tell people things in way more direct than wearing black, THEY DON'T GET IT. For example, "Hello, boss. I'm writing you a series of emails directly about my experiences, and I need your help." I incidents, which seem obvious to me that they cause STRESS, more stress than I am already under. This has been my pattern, but apparently, it doesn't work, and in an environment where there is already poor communication, the result is I have a nervous breakdown and can't continue with my work. Yet these people, who are supposedly educated and trained STILL DON'T GET IT! I have far more compassion for the lady in the neck brace than I do for these supposed professionals, which leaves me judging myself for being impatient and still angry. Eventually, yes, I just forgive because it's a lot better to do so, but you can bet I try to avoid people like this in the future and try to be even more direct. But that also gets me in trouble because then I'm told things like I am "insubordinate." WTF?
If you want to know what causes division in society, it's this refusal to have an open dialog and really try to understand why people are behaving the way they are. This seems like a "No DUH!" to me, but apparently, it's not. And THAT is something I personally DON'T GET.
Apparently, I'm over 750 words now, but the system doesn't care, so I'm just going with it, no cutting.
Now there's a pun, huh? Or do these people NOT GET IT?