Category Archives: People

On Overcoming Rivals

On Overcoming Rivals

I never thought of myself as a competitive person because I saw how much more competitive many others were than me.  I never cared to win much at sports or other “see who is best” events.  Maybe it was because the effects of losing didn’t last long or I’d just rather not dive to the ground just to keep a ball in the air.  Regardless, I did engaged in my own competitions from time to time, but they weren’t always so sportly structured.

Often my rivals were simply my friends in school.  We were all trying our best to get good grades and we were all in the same boat when it came to intelligence, so it was often a close call.  I only had to win by a few inches, not cram for a whole mile.

Other rivals were family members of a similar age vying for attention or adoration from the adults, which we were never actually starved for.

These competitions were constant throughout childhood.  As I got older and became aware of these behaviors, I realized that the scars I was accumulating and causing were not longer a result of healthy competition.  It was down right mean.

Though all of this I always thought of myself as a nice person.  I was at heart a people pleaser to the point where I put other people’s wants above my own.  But I wasn’t fully a nice person.  I inflicted social pain on others when they didn’t even know there was a competition.  I felt triumphant when I finally felt better than a specific person.

Then I looked back and realized that they were just being themselves, reacting to the world, looking for a friend.  Here I was jealous of their natural advantages, needing to prove myself when my friend just stood there defeated by my behavior.

Its been over 10 years since I had this realization.  I’ve since made new friends who were so beyond my own situation in life that I felt no need to compete.  We are simply not comparable because we play life in completely different arenas with completely different rules.  We can simply talk about life and try to understand each other without one-upping.

I still encounter my old rivals, often with compassion and guilt over having “beat” them when they were already too far down to fight.  Others, I just avoid, having never settled the score.

The bad friend

The bad friend

I am a bad friend.

All her friends have always said so.

When she was nine, her best friend told her she was a bad friend because she wore glasses.

When she was 12, a friend told her she was bad because her braces and mouth retainer made her breath smell.

When she was 15, she was a bad friend for standing up for her boyfriend.

When she was 18, she was a bad friend for not being friends with a girl she hadn’t spoken to in two years.

When she was 21, she was a bad friend for not saying hello to a friend of a friend who really needed people to be nice to her.

When she was 24, she was a bad friend for not keeping in contact for the few weeks she went home to help her dad recover from heart surgery.

When she was 27, she wasn’t a bad friend because she had given up on having friends.

When she was 30 she was a bad friend for always calling another friend in the evening after a few drinks.

At least she’s got a few years before someone blames her for trying to be friends with them.

My Puppy

My Puppy

I cry for her before she’s gone, My puppy.

She’s not a puppy anymore.  I won’t have her forever.

Is she my favorite of the dogs of my lifetime?  Perhaps yes perhaps no.

I will never say, who could ever compare, they are all my favorites.

I love them all so so deeply.

Just one for a lifetime, that’s all I need, but I am blessed with many.

Only a very few so far.

I can do the math.

One day my puppy will be gone.

I will have a new puppy, of any age, that I will also fall in love with.

I will keep her also until her dying day.

I bare this burn of mourning, perhaps too young.

It is easy with humans, they often bring death upon themselves.

Through old age or stupidity or mismanagement of the body.

But puppies, oh if I could have them all back.

I’d keep them forever.

They don’t know any better and they are so loveable.

I cry for her in advance, not because I expect she’ll be gone soon, but because I miss all the rest of my little sisters.

Such sweetness and fun lost yet more born to find.

 

 

People who don’t like being told what to do

People who don’t like being told what to do

I have a never ending fondness for learning new and better ways of doing things.  It makes life continually fascinating to look back at what once made sense and think, “what was I thinking?”  I find it hilarious and entertaining.  Generally I accept advice for my problems positively if the advice really does solve a problem better.  Not everyone does.

I remember old friends pointing out, in a moment of complete frustration, that I am always telling them what to do.  I think there was a disconnect.  Obviously I didn’t always tell them what to do, but if I did it is because I notice that they are struggling with the output of some sort of task and they were constantly complaining that something wasn’t working right.  As a friend, I thought it natural to share a method that worked for me.

These individuals don’t see it that way.  They don’t see advice or opinion as friendly unless they directly asked for it.  Some have inferiority complexes where in they interpret the words “I know a better way” as “you are always doing everything wrong”.  This causes them to get defensive towards the good intention tossed their way.

Some, not all, dislike being “told what to do” so much that they will purposely not follow advice to their own detriment.  They value the liberty in their decision making above seeking the best methods of taking care of oneself.  It is a social disorder in the sense that they will eat unhealthy food because of who told them to eat healthy food instead.  There is no recourse to why they should eat healthy food in their brains.  Until they personally decide to make an effort to keep themselves healthy, they will not take any advice on the subject.  But once the decision is made, suddenly my advice is soaked up like a sponge.

Because of this strange internal switch, I find these people very difficult to be friends with, therefore I avoid them like the plague. This saves me the lecture because when I hear the words: “stop telling me what to do”, I really hear, “you’re a horrible friend.”

The mirror trap

The mirror trap

There you are, chatting about the past.  Answering honestly questions about how you perceived things happening.  Suddenly the questioner doesn’t like how you saw things and begins to argue that it didn’t happen that way.  They see the most negative extreme of what you said and you meant something judgmentally void of right and wrong.  In an attempt to keep clarifying, you realize that it is going nowhere and just as you are about to give up on the conversation, they throw shit at you: “Well it isn’t like you never did something stupid?”

Suddenly your eyes narrow, your throat wells up and you’re pissed.  “We weren’t talking about me, sooo what does that have to do with what we were talking about?” you ask.

“I’m just saying….”  the other party continues looking smug.

I try to retrace the conversation aloud with the person to figure out where I missed a turn but they are so dead set on putting me down that they refuse to map out the logic.  My mind races to map it out alone before the emotion wells up enough to take away my voice.

step one: she asked my opinion

step two: I gave it to her, she seemed fine until I said that one thing

step three: I kept clarifying and she couldn’t see that what I said was just a neutral observation.

step four: the tables turned and now I am under fire.

step five: escape!

In reality I said something she didn’t agree with and instead of staying on topic, she was offended and responded with a verbal jab.  I guess what I thought to be truthful common knowledge actually wasn’t.  I so unknowingly offended her first and she fought fire with fire.

Moral of the story: don’t use examples that include the person you are talking to… use examples about other people instead.  If they are still offended by that, then just don’t answer their questions anymore.

 

Summoning past lovers

Summoning past lovers

In a brief moment of despair at not being in love for far too long, I summoned up my favorite lover from my memory.  After dancing the softness of his skin and reliving the sparkling spot in my soul where his memorizing eyes met mine, I finally remembered what it felt like to be in love again.  For a brief second the portal between us opened again, long enough for me to whisper “but i love you…”  Swooning once again in a state of ecstasy, he awoke from my spell, “Mareks…Mareks, darling are you still there?” said a sweet voice over the phone. “Hm, hmm, yes yes, uh blue, blue is a great color for the guest bedroom, look I’ve got to go, I’ll call you back when I’m on my way home” he replied….”Love you too….cheers….bye”.  He nervously stood up and looked out the window over Sydney Harbour.  He remembered too.

On being allergic to people

On being allergic to people

As social beings, we are naturally inclined to react to other people.  Growing up, we are conditioned on how to behave towards people as well as how to read the basics of communication, yet there is still so much for which our vocabulary is heavily insufficient to explain.  Often people apply all the right rules and following all the social back and forths only to be further away from others than they were when they were strangers.  In all manner of capacity, the cultural social cues should have been enough, but more often than not, they fail us.  In all honesty, human connection is one of the least understood aspects of life, cognitively speaking.  There is no explanation for subtleties affecting why certain people are great friends yet others can’t stand the mere mention of one anothers’ names.  In reality it isn’t the social banter that it important, it is how others make you feel.  There are some of us who are quite sensitive to how other people affect us, meaning our internal reaction to someone’s presence drives whether or not we bother to make contact or continue on with mindless social exercises.  There are many different ways that people make me feel.  Some more pleasant than others.  One feeling in particular is horribly annoying: the allergic reaction.

Like any allergy, it take a few interactions with a person to realize that I am allergic to them.  Once the allergy is full blown, my immune system switches my brain into self preservation mode.  All energy goes into getting as far away from the person as possible.  My vision narrows so that my brain can focus solely on escape routes as well as be unable to make clear eye contact.  My vocal cords tighten to only allow out desperate cries for freedom.  My sinuses tighten so my nervous system can be ready to produce tears in case I really need to show someone how serious I am.  I instinctively want to curl up into a ball by hugging my knees to keep the individual from thinking that I am open to their presence.

I know this is an allergic reaction because once the allergen is gone, I feel relieved that I am able to act normal again.  Like any in any other allergy situation, the best thing for my health is to avoid the allergens, so I do…and guess what?!?!? I’ve been allergy symptom free! 🙂

Crush

Crush

Crush always likes to slam into me like a 30 foot tsunami.  I just don’t know what hit me and I don’t see him coming (no pun intended).  His desperation for a home is a result of my desperation for autonomy.  I say he is “desperate” because his fancy takes such a wide variation of forms, so wide that I couldn’t possibly choose just one.  I love them all (all meaning foreign ones, domestics are just pass times).  He makes me love the way they speak, the words they say, the tone they use, the stuff I would normally shun, the actions they so easily express without asking…I love it all.  I want to take it home with me.  Nurture it and live off it to the point where I am completely dependent on it.

Sadly crush doesn’t stay in one place for long.  His constant shifts sadden me.  But in my deepest, darkest despair over what I can’t have there is always a little light checking in.  He feeds me attention when I least expect it.  He actually gives me hope…. but I think it is just crush in friend’s clothing…

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you

You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you

My words are ink blots, designed to play upon the very essence of what my readers want to hear.  Sadly, I have neither granted wisdom beyond what they already knew, nor I have provided them with insight beyond what pieces they had already put together.  Whatever it is that they seek they will not find here.  But what of me you ask?  What do I see in it all?  in every word I see his bright blue eyes peering down at me in first sights spark, I feel his arms toss me into the sky only to catch me in his bed of roses, I hear his foreign voice resonate through my mind in a harsh language spoken so sweet, I see that smile that was only for me that night he took me to watch the Emerald City’s lights, and I feel my heart start pounding again like it did when he put his palm to my chest and astonishingly said, “you have a pulse.”  In the divine, star-crossed madness of it all, I have to catch my breath and smile because I can still feel him pulsing through my veins.

Powerlessness

Powerlessness

How does it feel to be a slave in a world so full of beauty?  Do you feel grateful to your silent and invisible master for allowing you feel the touches, smell the scents, see the sights, taste the flavors, sense the unknowns?  Is it really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?  Would you not be happier in a box where at least you know what everything means?  Have you not noticed that no one wants to talk about it for too long?  Have you counted how many times the subject has been dropped?  When you speak of it, have you not seen the look in their eye that tells you they think you are mad for talking that way in this situation?  Do you really think you are the crazy one?