I am sorry.
“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” — Jacob Riis
That's such a great quotation. Thank you.
so much to think. so few people actually do it. i admire you for it.
Thanks. I think people think about these things quite often, actually. It's actually acting on that, changing behavior, that is the hard part for me.
Man, I am so proud to know you.
I'm sorry today was such shite.
I think you're doing a damn fine job these days.
I'm happy to let you lean on my faith in your greatness.
Anytime, baby. Anytime.
I'm doing okay--trying to walk the line between immersing myself in the various emotions that come up and rationalizing them away and not turning them over and inspecting them.
Today my landlord called to talk me out of getting rid of Java. I love her.
"Today was a horrendous day, but I'm trying not to dwell on the fifteen flavors of fail."
I like to blame it on mercury.
Oh, shit--I can haz Mercury in retrograde?
i think the passive-aggressive thing is related to the class/work thing, and i would even go so far as to tie them to WASP culture, not all white "culture". my phenotypically white jewish family talk about *everything* - sometimes too much. see my recent post comparing my mom and dad.
also, the work thing may come from this idea of the PROTESTANT work ethic. again with the WASPS.
it's been my (limited) experience that catholics are more open with conversation and emotions as well. but you know, the jews and the catholics have so many similarities.
at least for me, being raised in a non-stuffing-things-away family makes it really hard to deal with the emotional repressing that goes on in WASP families.
and for a totally white pop-culture reference on this topic, there is a great episode of will & grace where they go visit their respective families on thanksgiving (i think).
Totally--I edited my post. (I'd actually intended to refer to a specific kind of white middle-class culture in the first place but was too tired to edit the original post last night. And I think it is a WASPy thing, though it's bled out of that into other parts of the culture.)
By the way--I realized something about your emails yesterday. Not sure what side you were taking on your birthday--I wasn't even in town. I was on the east coast.
So, now I'm even more bewildered.
Also, I'd love to meet up at Truck one of these nights. What are you doing later? I'm working from home now but could head to the city later. The rest of my week is pretty booked, though, between Just Cause, a reading, and a dinner party.
Will you be at MEAT?
God, that WAS one hell of a day, jeebus lady. Glad to hear about the cocktail and curry: good decompression.
I wouldn't mind being in for more of those conversations if you'd like to keep having them; we could take a post-work walk sometime...
I hear you on the unfortunateness of the P-A behavior that runs through certain white cultures. It's something I have to challenge myself to push through on a daily basis, and that I experience all around me every day in little ways.
Yes! It was actually our conversation over dinner a couple weeks back that inspired some of this.
I would love an after-work walk, but this week might be tough. However, I think I may try to drag myself to Amber's dance class on Friday. You going?
I've been thinking a lot about communication and why we have such a hard time disagreeing amicably.
Props to you for holding the space to have all of this going on. It's a lot, and you're right, sitting with the feeling is super almost impossible. Eugh.
For me, I think disagreeing amicably is something I'm getting better at, but there are a few caveats attached that I'm not fond of.
It's the being uncomfortable that is work for me. There are some sure-fire ways of making myself feel better that I've relied on in the past, but they're not necessarily helpful, and I know it. I'm trying to identify my various bad habits/coping skills and unlearn them.
Sorry about the shitstorm day. And these things? They are all interesting to think about. I hope you'll write about some of them in greater depth when you fee like it.
Or even when you "feel" like it. Jeebus.
"I'm thinking of passive-aggressive behavior as one of the more unfortunate symptoms of a certain kind of white middle-class culture in which the expression of any emotion, and especially "bad" ones, is generally viewed as negative."
This is most definitely a WASPy thing... and it describes my childhood exactly. My mom still struggles with this and doesn't say what is on her mind until all of a sudden she blows up.
Once I figured out how that worked it helped me understand her and get along with her much better. I would like to see her get past this kind of behavior before she gets too much older.
Not just middle-class but also upper-class, too. In fact, I would say especially upper-class, as the country club set would probably rather die than tell each other what they really think and feel.
Does this only apply to white folks?
I'm not sure that it only applies to white folks, but I think it does have a lot to do with class--and in a country where moving up in class for some people of color means assimilation and mimicry, I think it's more common among PoC of means. Some family members of mine definitely come to mind.
I was also thinking of this within the context of some schools of modern psychology that eschew expressions of anger or frustration in lieu of the "calm, rational" approach. In my experience, this ends up looking a lot like condescension and sarcasm and rarely is rational, no matter how well-modulated the tone is.
2008-01-30 12:13 am (UTC)
...that you're thinking about a lot of important things. I'm very impressed that you're addressing them, particularly because this could be a list of all the things I personally need to work on. I found myself saying "exactly" after each.
If you don't mind, I may use this as a to-do (or to-challenge) list for myself.
Not to cherry-pick, but as you know:
I'm thinking about how many people I know who have a hard time really believing in their own greatness and worth, and what we can do about it.
really resonates with me; I think about it all the time. I think that you too suffer from this (at least at times). I wish it could be as easy as telling and showing people the truth of it and having it stick. Alas...
If you come up with any brilliant ideas, let me know.
I'm thinking about forgiveness, and what it means, and what purpose it serves for all parties.
As for the rest - all things I should be thinking about.