What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

Holiday Conversations With An Orange Elephant In The Room

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{ source }

I don’t know what to say.

And even though it’s awkward to say something, remaining quiet, somehow, seems wrong considering how not normal all of this is.

For me, an introvert, this holiday season is quickly morphing into, if not the worst one ever, high up there on the list.

I admit that it’s not like I adore this time of year to begin with, but I am, at least, trying to be social. Talking sense + spirit. Attempting to meet people halfway.

Not ranting about politics.

But after this presidential election, there’s an orange elephant named Donald in the room, and people are getting completely whacked, saying goofy things that do not put them in a good light.

ARE YOU FINDING THIS, TOO?

~ ~ • ~ ~

So far I’ve heard…

  1. Well, we couldn’t have a girl running the country, now could we? I had to vote for Trump.
  2. I finally got a gun so with Trump in office I’ll be prepared to shoot anyone [Nazis?] at the door.
  3. If you’ll only empathize with the Trumpsters and talk with them about the true meaning of democracy, I’m sure they’ll come around to a more moderate point of view.
  4. I’m glad Obama is out of office. He made me buy health insurance, that I was going to do anyhow, but I don’t want him [a black man?] telling me to do it.
  5. I hate, hate, hate to the nth degree anyone who voted for Trump. I can’t talk with them anymore. I just cannot.

~ ~ • ~ ~

EACH ONE OF THESE PEOPLE IS NUTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

But the thing is that I’m not their therapist, so I can state an opinion.  I’m not their confessor, so I’m not required to forgive them.  And in many cases, I’m merely an acquaintance, so you’d think they’d keep their attitude to themselves.

But sadly they don’t.

I mean, on the one hand I don’t care how delusional people are as long as they’re no danger to me or society;  but I can’t help wondering if I don’t figure out a way to speak up consistently against politically based crazy, am I not contributing to the problem?

An orange problem named Donald Trump, that is.

Well It Goes Like This, I Shredded My Past. Hallelujah!

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Bifocal glasses, not mine, left on a picnic table in the park. Someone is not reading the fine print today.

• • •

SO LAST WEEK while stuck at home because of this, I decided to go through all the writing ditherage I’ve kept over the years.

Much of it was in boxes in the basement.

Lots of it was spiral notebooks from the late 90s to mid-2003 filled with my handwritten Morning Pages a la The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I was diligent about my daily 3 page writing practice for a while there.

Just about all the notebooks contained a repetitive selection of whiny, self-absorbed, humdrum scribblings that suggest to me now I was stuck and unhappy during those years.

My inner muse had not caught my attention yet.  

• • •

AFTER SAVING THE few good or funny thoughts I’d captured years ago in these notebooks, I had an epiphany.  I thanked the writing practice for guiding me to today, then as a way of making my life lighter I shredded these notebooks.

Every last one of them gone.

Thus I’ve freed myself, literally and spiritually, from a bunch of heavy negativity that I’d been saving in boxes in the basement for over a decade.

I tell ‘ya, if you’re feeling burdened by life I recommend shredding outdated thoughts.  It may sound corny, but doing so has lifted a weight from me.  And I feel free to get on with that which needs to be written now.

Muse, lead the way.

• • •

Reflections On That Which Baffles Some Ohioans

save-the-matchesAll I can think to say is one of my favorite sayings: SPIT FIRE AND SAVE THE MATCHES.

This is an exclamation of surprise that means: Well, I’ll be darned! What do you know? Huh.

I’ve also heard this saying in a slightly more vulgar form wherein the “p” in spit is changed to an “h” thereby creating a different word that imparts a similar meaning.  This ruder saying then sometimes becomes a phrase in a NSFW longer saying.

But this is a polite blog so we’re going with the sweet shorter version of the saying.  Plus I like mine better.  It’s cuter, rather dragonesque in its imagery.

• • •

I only share this saying with you, my gentle readers, because it has come to my attention that some of my fellow Ohioans have asked one particular question of ye olde Google.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-4-52-35-pm It is a question that I find to be an odd one, but then my fellow Ohioans often baffle me.

I’ve lived in this state most of my life, been educated here, but cannot explain how some of us are, shall we say, enlightened, while others are in the dark.

Dim.  Lacking any spark whatsoever.

• • •

This, I believe, explains how it is that the most popular question on Google that comes from the Buckeye state is: HOW TO MAKE FIRE?

I kid you not, as the following image shows.

It’s a question that suggests overall we Ohioans aren’t the brightest bunch of people, looking as we are for the answer to a question that researchers suggest our ancestors in the second part of the Middle Pleistocene knew the answer to.

But in Ohio today, not so much.  😉

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{ Find out more about your state’s questions HERE. }

A Nobody Shops For Jammies

A few doors down from Ulta, which I adore, is a Soma.  I was in Ulta and on a whim, being in a good mood, I walked over to Soma.

They sell bras + undies plus PJs. I thought that I might treat myself to some new pajamas.

I got the idea of indulging in new PJs after talking with some friends about how we adore cotton flannel jammies, the epitome of autumn/winter comfort and practicality.

Not to mention, flannel jammies are classic.

Timeless… or so you’d think.

# # #

# # #

I walked into Soma, intent on buying some PJs, but when I noticed lots of gorgeous bras + undies I thought to myself: “I think I’ll get some of these, too, while I’m in here. I deserve to upgrade my unmentionables.”

My mind was in a happy place, giddy with possibility.

Eventually one of the employees came over to wait on me. I asked her if they had any 100% cotton or mostly cotton PJs, summer or winter, I didn’t care which season.

With a dismissive laugh she told me that: “No, we don’t carry things like that. NOBODY WANTS COTTON PAJAMAS!”

[Considering that I was SOMEBODY standing in front of her this statement was factually incorrect. But out of the largesse of my heart I chose to not mention this lapse in logic to her.]

Ignoring her attitude I told her that my friends and I liked cotton flannel jammies, and suggested that: “I’m sure there are lots of woman who want 100% cotton pajamas. I think that my friends and I are the norm.”

Could be wrong, but kinda think I’m not.

# # #

# # #

She shrugged, indifferent to me, the NOBODY standing in front of her, and started to wander away from me. As she turned her back on me I told her: “Tell the corporate people that we want 100% cotton PJs. You got that?”

She just walked away from me, without a word.

No apology for not having what I, the customer nobody, wanted. No sympathy for what I was asking for. No suggestion of where I might go to buy what I wanted.

No indication that she cared in the least [because she didn’t].

Now you’d think I’d be mad about this, wouldn’t you, my gentle readers? But really, can you blame her for behaving this way?

After all, I was, quite obviously, a NOBODY.

Disliked While Waiting In The Doctor’s Office

I dunno. This is a weird one…

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• • •

LATE LAST WEEK I WAS sitting in my PCP’s waiting room.  I was there for my annual check-up.

I had on my basic summer look: v-neck short sleeve t-shirt, bermuda shorts, leather sandals.  Curly hair pulled back with two barrettes. Hoop earrings. Recent pedicure. Nice purse. Rimless glasses.

And I was reading a book, a mystery.

Another patient, a conservatively dressed 40-something woman, checked-in at the reception desk, then walked by me to sit directly across from me.

As she went by I moved my feet under my seat so that she wouldn’t trip.  This movement, which people generally acknowledge with a tip of their head or a thank you, earned me a glare.

• • •

BUT IT DIDN’T END THERE.

After this woman, who had long straight hair and was wearing a long skirt, long-sleeved cotton blouse buttoned up to her neck and ballet flats got settled into her seat, she continued to glare at me, looking me up and down.

I began to wonder what she was seeing when she looked at me:

  • A wanton harlot with bright red toenail polish?
  • A stoned hippy wearing Birkenstocks?
  • A liberal feminist reading, of all things, a novel? 

I smiled back at her, as polite people do, then went back to reading my book.

• • •

SHORTLY THEREAFTER HER NAME WAS called, and because of the waiting room chair configuration, she had to walk by me again.

This time she glared + snorted derisively as she walked by me;  she needed for me to know that she didn’t approve of me.

For some reason. Nonspecific.

[Another patient across the way, a woman dressed about like I was, rolled her eyes and grinned at me as it happened.]

• • •

NOW OBVIOUSLY I’M NOT LOOKING for validation from strangers who I encounter in my daily life, but the fact that something about me really irritated this conservative woman fascinated me.

And truth be told, I was equally fascinated by the fact that I rather enjoyed the sense of power it gave me over her.

I mean, if I can bother someone by merely existing in their view, imagine what I can do when I decide to speak.  😉

• • •

Question of the Day: 

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a stranger’s hateful stare for reasons you could not figure out? And if so, how did it make you feel?  

• • •