The prompt for this week's Documented Life Project was to "Document a random act of kindness (RAK for short) from you." You can read more about it HERE, but basically, the prompt was to take note of a time you did something nice for someone without expecting something in return.
Instead, I decided to document something someone else did for me. I guess there was a big conversation on the Facebook group about this prompt. Some are of the opinion that you're not supposed to tell other people about RAKs, because it lessens the act in some way. If you're doing something nice for no reason, you don't broadcast it, because then you're doing it for praise, or whatever. Personally, my reason for not documenting my own RAKs is kind of a selfish one...
It's not that I don't do nice things for other people. I've bought lunch for people. I've mowed my friend's lawn because she needed help. I used to cut my elderly land-lady's toenails because she was too old to do it herself...I got made fun of A LOT for that one. There's other stuff too. And while part of me thinks that kind things should be done for the sake of being kind, you as a person know what your motives were, and that's your business, so if you want to tell people about it, rock and roll. The world needs more kindness either way.
As I said, my reason for not documenting my own RAKs is a selfish one. It's because I don't want people to think I'm nice. Or, more correctly, I don't want them to think I'm too nice. Because sadly, then people expect you to be nice...and I like people to be surprised by my niceness...and I like not to be taken advantage of. Oh sure, you guys know me as lovable and darling (haha), but in my real life...ok, I'm lovable and darling there too...but I'd like to be...less darling and more...caring towards myself...
I'd like to not need people to like me...and I'm slowly moving towards that. I'd like to be able to say "No." and not worry about whether saying 'no' will cause the other person to not like me. I want to do things for other people, but because I want to do them, not because I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't. I recognize the...I don't know what the right word is, childishness?...of that line of thinking...but it doesn't change the fact that I think that way.
I recognize that I am a weirdo.
And that's the first part of the story.
The second part of the story is this: There's this guy I work with. We used to be really good friends...at least I thought we were. We ate lunch and took breaks together every day. We were just good buddies, you know? Well, one day, out of the blue, he just stopped talking to me. No rhyme or reason, no explanation, just silence...and avoidance. I tried to talk to him, at the very least, to find out what happened. But he told me to "Leave it alone." That was all I got. After being, in my mind at least, good friends, that was it. That was about a year ago.
And a 'normal' person would probably have just put that in the "Oh well, screw him" section of their brain, brushed it off, and forgot about it. But me? Oh, no.
Instead, I've pondered, ruminated, obsessed, and scratched my head every single day since he stopped talking to me. It takes a lot for me to genuinely like someone. It takes a lot for me to put my real self out there in my non-internet life...probably because of crap like this situation, but I digress. But I didn't say anything...I was doing as I was told...'letting it alone'.
Last week, I decided I had enough of 'letting it alone'. I suddenly decided that what I'd rather have is an argument. (I'm slowly gearing up for a much larger argument with someone else, and apparently my brain decided I needed some practice before the big blow up.) Just so you know, I am the LEAST CONFRONTATIONAL person you have ever met.
This is the conversation that happened:
"Hey man, I've got something to say to you!"
"I thought we were friends. What the crap?"
"But then you just quit talking to me, for no apparent reason, and you couldn't even be a decent human being and tell me why. And I'm sorry it took me a year to say it, but you're a bad person."
"I'm not a bad person."
"Fine, you know what, that's fine. You're not a bad person, not to anyone else, but you were to me and that's messed up."
"That's it. I just had to say that. Good day to you, sir."
First off, yes, I did actually end the conversation with "Good day to you, sir." I feel like it wasn't a horrible fail until that point. Perhaps still a fail, but not a horrible one.
Secondly, this is the most disappointing confrontation ever. I was ready to have a fight. I was ready to cause a commotion. All I got in return was "OK's" in a voice that was almost smiling at me and "I'm not a bad person". WHAT THE CRAP? This wasn't satisfying in any way. It just made me more angry. Honest to goodness, he could have said ANYTHING other than what he did and it would have been more satisfying. You know what's worse than having someone hate you? Having someone be apathetic towards you.
Again, a rational person in my shoes would have just chalked this up to "That guy is a jerk." and went on about their life. But, clearly, I am not a rational person.
I look at that conversation like this: I am not a good judge of character (which is something I pride myself on very highly). I am an idiot for saying anything (which is wrong, I should have said something...just A LOT sooner). This person, who's friendship I valued very highly, not only didn't view me as his friend, he doesn't even view me as his equal/a human being, because I don't even deserve a freaking straight answer.
And again, I understand that thinking like that makes me a crazy person. I understand that being wrong about one person doesn't make me a bad judge of character. I understand that I don't need anyone's approval or acceptance but my own. I understand that this guy is a jerk.
But I was fired up.
So, when someone at work (who knows the situation) asked me what was wrong, I told him. I told him what happened. I told him using many more words, in a round about way, as is my fashion. Probably in a very loud voice, because I get LOUD when I get worked up. But, in so many words, I said all I wanted was resolution. And I ended with: "I WANT TO FIGHT AND YELL AND HAVE SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME! JUST FREAKING TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!"
And my friend looks me in the eye and calmly says to me "OK. But what if I don't think there's anything wrong with you?"
It was kind of like a punch in the stomach.
My immediate mental reaction was "Of course there's something wrong with me!"
I've spent my whole life thinking there's something wrong with me. If something's wrong, someone has to be at fault...therefore, whatever is wrong, it's my fault. As silly as it sounds, this arrangement always seemed hopeful to me. Because if I'm the one to blame, I can also fix it. I can change. I can do better. I can make you happy. I can make everything better.
With one offhand remark, I suddenly see the ridiculousness. I've spent a LONG time under the impression that there was something wrong with me, when (maybe) there's not. And if there's not anything wrong with me, it's no longer my job to make everything better. It's not up to me to fix every problem in the universe. It's not my fault. I'm not to blame. I'm not responsible.
It's kind of crazy (hey, that's me), but "What if I don't think there's anything wrong with you?" is one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me.
And here's my journal spread commemorating that moment:
|"What if I don't think there's anything wrong with you?"|
And gratuitous close-up:
|I painted this in the Pointillist style, using a pencil eraser dipped in paint for everything except the hair (which I did using a Ranger Acrylic Paint Dabber (in Lettuce), then I used an Inktense pencil in black to outline a few things.|
I made this page in the Pointillist style, and even though it was a gigantic pain in the booty, I'm glad I did it...once...
All those tiny dots of paint made me think of how much every little thing that happens makes up who we are. All these tiny things come together to make one whole person, flaws and quirks, interesting things and beautiful things...all of it.
I might be crazy, but I'm not only crazy.
We might be weird, but we're not only weird...or bad or good or funny or sarcastic or bitter or lonely or happy or jealous or anything. We're not ONLY anything. We're all of those things, in different proportions, making us unique individuals. We're not responsible for the things that happen to us. But, at least to a certain extent, we are responsible for how we let those things affect us.
I've let myself believe I was responsible for every bad thing out there. But I'm done with that now. I will take responsibility for my part. I will disregard the rest.