Wednesday, November 14, 2007     « Untitled (discarded flowers) »


It's been quite a day. I have so much to say but my brain is also reeling from it. I am also tired having suffered a bout of insomnia last night, a direct result of a brain that was too fired up to sleep. I may be headed there again tonight.

This afternoon, I walked away from a work-related meeting and was suddenly overtaken with the very strong realization that I am a 34 year old adult human being with responsibilities.

First of all, Ummm duh. Secondly, this isn't a bad thing.

Of course, I deal with responsibilities everyday and in many ways felt like an adult with too much responsibility well before I should have. I think the difference is I am now feeling the weight of this not as a weight at all but as a challenge that I want to take. I am constantly working to define how I want to grow older and within that defining comes a call to action. I have high expectations regarding the person I want to be and am coming to a place where these expectations do not feel so scary or overwhelming but something I can do and do well. And being able to meet that standard makes it a hell of a lot easier for me to expect some of the same from other people.

On Sunday I turned on the CBC with lunch hoping to watch something remotely interesting while I ate. We only get a few channels without cable so the CBC is the most hopeful option on a Sunday afternoon, especially given that one time when someone said "Fuck" (sorry I searched but can't find that post). Anyways, the show that was on was about Farley Mowat and how he and his wife were bequeathing some land to the Nova Scotia Nature Conservancy. Friends of Mowat were interviewed describing him as uncompromising and intellectually ruthless. The word "ruthless" reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend one spring evening while stranded underneath the protection of a tree during a rainstorm at my community garden. She brought up the idea of being ruthless and my response at the time was the recognition that yes, I need to be more ruthless. Then I promptly forgot the word I had decided I needed more of in my life and struggled for weeks to recall what the hell it was. I was certain it could not be ruthless. Certain that that could not be the word I had decided I needed to embody. The drama wrapped up in the "forgetting" of this word makes me laugh now.

But coming back to the idea of being ruthless: This doesn't mean I should become an asshole. I'm not saying, "You know what I need? I need to start being a real heartless motherfucker!" It means that as a person with opinions, perspectives, and views I need to be ruthless in having a perspective, asserting that perspective, and acting on it. I need to be less afraid to put my foot down and take a position. As much as I have tried going the route of flattening myself into a seemingly safer middle ground it has never worked to squash my opinions -- I've just been more afraid to travel the dangerous ground that exists on either end of the spectrum (joy or rage) where passions are high. I am afraid of how people will regard me. I am afraid that feeling anger or god forbid rage about something will be destructive. I am afraid to be my parents. But the thing is if I am a thinking and feeling person with opinions than I am going to be passionate about the things I care about. Flattening myself into the middle isn't doing anyone any good. So part of being ruthless is essentially about being less afraid to push myself into those scary spaces where I might make someone feel bad either by being too happy or too pissed off. Neither are easy for me to express. I am equally uncomfortable with both. And really, when I think about it that's a pretty condescending way to live with people, assuming on some level that they can't handle the fact that I feel strongly about things either way and might express it. That expressing it is dangerous and destructive when really it might actually bring us closer together. Sure it will push some people out of my life but it comes back to the point about how that's not working for any of us.

Flattened, repressed people bumping into one another in a boring and flat world: I am so fucking over that. I probably have been for a long time I just needed to say it out loud.

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