Monday, May 5, 2014

The Things People Say

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 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."

End scene.

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.


  1. Sweets, there is nothing wrong with you! Whatever happened had nothing to do with you. You need to realize sometimes people just go wacko. Maybe something in his life was too much to bear. Maybe he heard something that he took the wrong way. Maybe, a hundred other reasons. Always remember, everything happens for a reason. Just remember the good times and let it go. You don't need someone, in your life, who doesn't need you.

    You are freaking amazing and you just don't realize it. Love you bunches... Hugs, Pamikins

    1. Thanks Pamikins! I like what you said: "sometimes people just go wacko"...that is the category to put this situation in I think. You are right, I don't need anyone who doesn't need me! I'm lucky to have real friends like you in my life...I don't have space for the ones that go wacko! <3<3<3

  2. My dear Sweets, I agree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you and you should NEVER feel that you have to change to make yourself what you think someone else wants you to be. You are perfect exactly the way you are. And your philosophy equating our experiences in life with pointillism is something I have felt for years. That every single little point of life we have gone through has contributed to the person that we are today. The good, the bad and the ugly. So whatever is going on with that guy at work, remember, people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We don't know what that is going to be. But if he decided he didn't want to hang with your anymore, all I can say is, it's his loss. <3
    By the way...I LOVE your painting! It was worth all of the work.

    1. Thanks Raine! You are right, I/ we shouldn't have to change ourselves into what we think other people want us to be! I should know that, because I get very frustrated at a certain person in my life who does that...I have fussed at her many times for that exact thing! I guess it is easier to say than to do...

      I like what you said: a reason, a season or a lifetime. And, not to sound haughty, but it IS his loss. I was a good friend to him, and I don't think good friends are easy to find...if karma is real, one day he will realize what an idiot he is, and he'll have to try to find someone to make up for the loss of me...but that's just my meanness coming through... :)

      Thanks for the painting love! <3<3<3

  3. My crazy little flawed Sweet. tea, every quirky thing you say, do , believe, and think, make you who you are! I would rather have someone who is honest, rather than nice, all the time! When your nice to everyone, your not nice to yourself! We are suppose to love our neighbor as our selves, but we don't have to like them! You are a sweeping out the cob webs in your corners and clearing the air, for that big confirmation that will take place! Your going to make it girlfriend, and you have lots of supporters on your side! Love your face, that was quite a feat you pulled off. I would have got one cheek finished, and said to hell with this nonsense and quit!!! Sending the best wishes as always, girdle up for the showdown, you can do this!! Love ya, honey bee 💛💙💜💚❤️

    1. Thanks, my honey! I am definitely working on being genuine vs generically nice. You are absolutely right: when you're nice to everyone, it's impossible to be nice to yourself too. I really am trying to build myself up for the massive confrontation ahead...I just have to do it. I know once I do it, everything will be fine. It's just the doing it that's scary, just the confrontation that will be bad. After that, it will be ok. I like what you said: GIRDLE UP FOR THE SHOWDOWN! That made me smile!

      I was very close to giving up on the face...because it took FOREVER, and I am impatient...but I'm happy I went ahead and finished. If there's ever a next time, the image will be MUCH smaller! :)

      Also, what is the link at the end of your comment? Is there one you want me to check out specifically?


  4. Ok, I'm having a "Twilight Zone" moment here. You and I were writing about the same topic more or less at close to the same time. Creepy or thoughtful? I think, thoughtful. I think we all have quirks and our quirks make us who we are. I love how the style of painting you used perfectly describes how life is. Our lives are lots of little bitty dots all put together to make us who we are. Your last sentences are how I'm trying to live my life these days. I look at my part. Take responsibility for my actions and let go of the rest. That is easy to say and oh, so hard to do... but I keep working at it and that's enough.

    1. Thanks Boo! I agree, the "great minds think alike" kind of way!

      You are right, it is easy to say we'll only take responsibility for our part...but much harder to put into practice. I think it's probably one of those things that will get easier the more we do it. When we catch ourselves taking on more than belongs to us, we'll have to stop ourselves and say "nope, not mine!" And the more we do that, the faster it will become second nature to us.

      I think that there is a huge freedom in being able to say that everything is not on us...and we deserve to have that kind of freedom! <3<3<3

  5. First of all, my take on the thing with the guy? Call me a romantic, but - I think he was having inappropriate feelings, couldn't use his words to explain why he had to walk away, and appears like a jackass because of it. Just my take.
    Your words were MINE here:
    "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."
    That about sums up my whole life, my constant pursuit of "self-help" stuff - to fix the (obvious and glaring) flaws in me.
    It has warped me, deformed me, rendered me incapable of being "normal", trapped me in a sad marriage, and brought me to a place where I care more about cats and dogs than people.
    Knowledge may be the first step, but - I don't know when I will be able to take the next one.


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