In fifth grade we would play a game called “popcorn” where the students would take turns reading out loud and when that student had read enough they would yell out “Popcorn!” and the name of another student, who would start reading where the previous student left off. The process would repeat until the entire section was complete or the teacher got tired of hearing the word “Popcorn!” yelled in as many different ways as the class could come up with.
Once the “cool” kids (who were really just bullies) got a hold of the popcorn torch, I pretty much lost all chance of getting to read out loud. One day my eagerness to read out loud caught up with me. I couldn’t contain my excitement for the story and was reading silently along, eager to see how the story would unfold, when I started whispering the words only loud enough for me to hear. Unfortunately I was so lost in reading that I started reading out loud along with the “cool kid”. The girl looked up at me, confused. She and I made eye contact; I shrugged my shoulders as if to say “opps” and blushed as she continued to read. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice. The awkwardness only lasted a second because I once again found myself engulfed in the story.
Doubts. I don’t know where they come from but I would love to be able to ignore them and continue on as if I didn’t have these lingering thoughts flashing through my mind at oh so specific times. The fact of the matter is that they are there and keep reoccurring.
So what am I going to do about it? I don’t really know. Doubt, to an extent, is inevitable because it serves to sober you from some sort of ecstasy by lifting you way up in the sky where you think can see clearly all the players in the game and pass judgment outside yourself. In this it is deceiving. Doubt is an emotion, so by using one emotion to view others, you’re essentially still acting emotionally. No one emotion has all the answers, yet in our craving of one, we must encounter the others. This check-and-balance system, which I am assuming I learned from somewhere, needs to be monitored even for the dry emotions because I need to figure out what blanks they are filling in.
Every once in a while I run across a guy who thinks that just because I make some sort of witty comment back at him that I am flirting, or that I am playing some sort of word/communication this-means-I-like-you game. Without knowing my personality, they must assume that I reserve this behavior to someone I am interested in. In this situation (lately it happen to be sailing class where I was stuck on the boat with this guy for 6 hours three Saturdays in a row) no matter what I did I couldn’t escape the guy. If I commented back, he would make it into a bigger scene for the rest of the classmates to witness and if I remained silent I still heard my name being annoyingly tossed around. Even after I declined his drink offer, nothing changed. I can only attribute this behavior towards me to my singleness, because he wasn’t harassing the married girl on the boat. But maybe if her husband wasn’t there he’d’ve harassed her as well.
I’ve been noticing the influence of power in life, more importantly the abuse of power. The easiest example is always my boss, who can give me unwarranted shit since she is in the position to do so. Power abusers don’t realize that it is actually more difficult for others to judge if the criticism is an authentic critique of a specific situation or if someone is using the situation to show their power. Because most situations fall on a foggy line between the two, the recipient of the abuse- once aware of what is actually going on- cannot tell what the real problem is. So a cycle starts where the abusee ends up doing all these things at the request of the abuser, but never does it right because the abuser forgets (or even worse changes their mind without disclosure) what they instructed the abusee to do. The abusee can never explain the correct side of the story because abusers see their own power as a right to construct reality- as they see fit- for those which they have power over.
Sadly, it can take a long time to see comedy in all the ways which I have been tossed around at somelse’s whim. I’ve learned that once I laugh over a situation, I am more able to rationally deal it with and therefore end up relaxing because I start to express less defensive emotions in future encounters. From there I can see how the content is not worth reacting to because each situation is just a drug people can chose to feed off to get their power abusing fix. At the point it is just a game where I am a player capable of choosing not to play.
The most annoying aspect of an over expression of annoyance or anger is the transition by way of guilt . How one passes from positive to negative emotions I think plays an important part in their behavior towards other people. If I were to get into a positive mood by relaxing, reading, playing golf, etc. and completely moving into a positive mood unrelated to the negative state of mind then the forthcoming actions, when presented with that negative situation, is different than if I convinced myself that I have gone too far and used that realization to further “make up” for my previous over expression of emotion. Thus being able to be overly nice later is not honest because it would not have happened had I not been in a bad mood yesterday. Some people just need to be bitches in order to get to that super nice state of mind they probably wish they could always be in.
In reality, it is best to simply own your bad mood, possibly admit to those who took the brunt of it that you were wrong to get that heated or at least, completely address it to yourself so you can better understand yourself. Then, and this is key, return to homeostasis! Don’t go on a super overly nice spree because it is way, way obvious that your doing it because of yesterday’s behavior and just don’t want to address it by admitting you read way too far into the email for some stupid, emotionally reactive ego protecting reason. Beyond that, you’ll burn yourself out because most probably the people you are now trying really hard to be overly nice to, probably don’t deserve THAT much niceness. Knowing this, you will eventually get bitter and play the game called “Look at how nice I’ve been to you” and end up getting really, really pissed off at nothing once the wick of your Nice candle gets blow out by some common minor annoyance, which, had you been maintaining homeostasis, would have hardly been noticeable.
I think a major factor in determining if I am enjoying the people I am with in the moment (any moment) is the image of myself that the other person expresses back to me. Sure I can read their facial expressions, get feedback about how they interpret what I am communicating to them, or even see whether or not they personally like me, but regardless there are those comments, gestures, glances, etc. that paint an underlying picture in my mind of how they view me. When that matches my own idea of how I’d like people to view me then, well, the other person gets me! hooray!
Okay so, on the flip side, (this is the story that got me thinking this), I made a series of comments (2 or 3 maybe over a few days) to a friend of mine way back when and in my mind it was a sarcastic joke in lieu of something better to say, maybe not the best choice, I admit, but I could tell the person wasn’t comfortable being viewed as my comments suggested. I would think the other person would be thinking, “shit, I don’t want her to think that way about me. Game over.”
I just want to know why I act the way I do, or at least, to enjoy thinking about it.