Saturday, June 7, 2008

Writing Plans

Well, it's Saturday, can you believe it?! That means I actually made it through the week! I think I put in a total of around 12 hours of overtime. I was kind of stressed out about trying to get everything done in time to be able to go with my wife to her brother's wedding yesterday too. Neither him nor his wife seemed to care much that I was there, I felt a bit snubbed when they came up and talked to Tara and pretty much ignored my existence. On the bright side, though, my daughter and my son were wonderful. They looked very nice in their outfits and made a perfect Flower-girl / Ring-bearer.
At the reception they had a fountain with Belgian chocolate that you could dip strawberries and marshmallows and several other things in. It was delicious! Now, I've seen and tasted the regular chocolate fountains, but they could have very well been flowing with liquid charcoal compared to this fountain of tasty goodness. Everything was beautiful. It was a very nice ceremony, the reception had a wonderful atmosphere. There was even a 4-person orchestra playing in the corner. I was impressed.

So, about being snubbed... It happens. In fact, it happens to me quite a bit. I think it's my not-so-sunny disposition, in most cases anyway. My wife's brother is the type of person who will be talking with you and when you are in mid-sentence he will turn to someone else and start talking to them instead. I hate those situations. You really want to finish verbalizing your thought, but you know any attempt to do so would be in vain. He's gone. So, you let your voice trail off and look around contemplating what you should focus your attention on so as to appear totally consumed and unaware that you were just the victim of certain rudeness. It's awkward.
There are certain circumstances where you just can't help how people will act towards you. Other situations can be changed greatly by the way you carry yourself and your general mannerisms. I am actually quite aware of these things. Unfortunately, coping mechanisms we develop to protect ourselves in bad situations can bleed over to situations that should be good and generally wholesome. When I was in the military I began having trouble breathing around jet fuel. I was one of the guys that drove around in big green trucks with 6,000 gallon tanks and pumped fuel into the jets and cargo planes. I was the all-American supa-troop until I started having problems. I went from the model Airman to the Dirtbag. I was openly accused of faking my problems by upper management. A Senior Master Sergeant had no qualms telling me that as soon as my condition cleared up, I could get back to normal duties and non-extended work hours. The Chief Master Sergeant told me to my face that I was a liar. It's funny, I probably wouldn't have minded as much if he told me that he thought I was lying, but when you are called a liar by one of the top ranking enlisted members, it has a different effect than you would have previously thought.
Anyway, as time wore on I stopped being as outgoing and started being more withdrawn. My constant smile that I had perfected over years of hardship turned hard and instead of a look of empathetic inquisitiveness my eyes glared with suspicion. People who had been my friends before now laughed as they made me take out their trash and snickered before walking across the floor I was mopping with their muddy cold-weather boots. I lived in that atmosphere for over a year before they finally completed the medical disqualification process and had a training date for me to change jobs. Over a year of being a sub-form of life and being hated for what they believed was a conscious choice. To them I was just a selfish person taking up a manning slot. The weakminded were quickly convinced that I was causing them each to work extra hours and making their lives miserable. They didn't care how many times I missed lunch or how many Saturdays I worked after a full work week without even a full day's notice.
I guess I started 'looking angry all of the time' because I got tired of people thinking they were better than me. Looking back, it was the lazy thing to do, I changed because I couldn't change other people and dealing with it every day hurt. Maybe saying it was lazy isn't being fair... but saying I did the best I could isn't exactly honest, is it? Old habits die hard and being closed off and not vulnerable seems safe enough and it's easy to sit and observe things without being bothered. I queitly watch people and situations unfold and I absorb mannerisms and determine motives, I can roll these things into believable characters because I have an understanding of how and why people do a lot of the things they do. I used to be empathetic and I tried to listen and be there for people. Somewhere along the line that became bothersome, probably when it felt hopeless that anyone would ever reciprocate for me.
So, what does it take? How do you break out of that shell you've created without exposing too much and risking an ultimate withdrawl back into the shadows? It requires effort and consistent kindness. Notice I didn't say constant kindness. No one should ever be expected to be constantly kind, but kindness on a consistant basis never hurt anyone. Also, the knowledge that kindness is not weakness, but a subversive demonstration of strength is a wisdom that must be tempered by fire. Anyone who believes a kind person is a weak person, an easy target for manipulation and exploitation, should question their own intelligence. They have confused 'kind' with 'simple' - a mistake that could prove deadly, after all, we've all heard that some experts can kill with kindness, a more clever weapon has never been forged.
Perhaps that would be a good subject for a piece of writing... a person who kills with kindness, and not in the way that people like to say when they are normally oppressed. Being nice to people who are being rude to you takes a resolve much greater than I possess. I think I would rather actually kill someone with kindness, literally. It would be amusing to find out how someone would go about killing with kindness and how they would come about such a course of action. Would it be a result of seemingly dim-witted do-gooding or would it be the result of perfectly planned good-doing? Interesting.

So, this post has been full of things I would normally never tell any of you and things I should never tell any of you. Pain is best left unspoken and talked about only after you've died. Thus far the post has naught to do with the title, Writing Plans. Here it is, this weekend I will be putting together a few posts for Tam at Fighting with Writing. Tam's been going through some tough life changes recently and I've always enjoyed his blog. Sometimes when life is at the forefront of your attention, a blog seems an insignificant responsibility. An unfortunate side effect of putting a blog on the back burner is that people stop visiting when you stop updating. When people stop visiting it's easy to decide to throw in the towel and focus on other things. While I admit that I do see a day when I will no longer be blogging, I am not ready to see that day come for Tam. That's why I am going to give him a few guest posts that he can mix in with his regular updates so he can take a day off here and there without suffering too many blogging set-backs. He can use them at his discretion and I am not doing this to promote my own blog and won't mind if he chooses never to publish a single one. This is just a gift from one guy who has been through a period of hard times, to another guy who is going through a hard transition.
If you get a minute, and you've enjoyed Tam's blog in the past, please drop by and give him some words of encouragement.

Creative Writing Prompt:
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