wordjunkies

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Expectation, Unreasonable or Otherwise April 6, 2012

Filed under: Philosophy,State of Mind,Writing/Words — Annie Maier @ 1:22 pm
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Part 3; April 6, 2012

Previously on wordjunkies: Distressed at having been dissed by a quasi-friend and collaborator, Annie Maier took her disappointment and anger to the keyboard, hoping in the process to 1) catch and release said emotions (slippery little devils that they are), and 2) determine her role in the wake of said dissing. We now rejoin Annie, who sits sipping a now cooled coffee and reflecting upon the smoldering embers of her previous relationship.

Cool and warm: I need heat. I need movement and expression and closure. Except that I don’t. At least not the last part. An amazing thing has happened over the past few days. I’ve let it all go. I’m not angry. I’m not disappointed. I’m not concerned about my role in what I saw, six short days ago, as a disaster. Shit happens. I mean honestly. Everyday people step on one another and love one another and ignore one another, and life goes on. We move through the good and the bad with varying degrees of “success” (whatever that looks like). Hmmm. Maybe that’s my word for the day. Success. A new direction in the rant turned exploration turned musing turned miniature apex in my existence.

Success:

(noun)

  • the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
  • the attainment of popularity or profit
  • a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity

Let’s ignore number 2 for now, as popularity remains, to a geek like me, a completely unknown entity, and profit, well, profit and I have never, ever seen eye to eye. And, because I don’t believe people can be measured by nouns, let’s skip number 3 as well.

So number 1: What did I hope to accomplish in the penning of “Expectation”? The easiest answer is that I sought to vent what was quickly becoming a miasma of emotion. But the deeper, more honest answer is that I wanted to determine if there is a difference between anger and ill will. Between stating your mind and aiming to hurt someone.

Should you be so inclined, following me into this next installment will require a completely different bit of knowledge. As briefly as possible: boy met girl. Boy was black and white. Girl was gray. Boy and girl ignored all indications of color blindedness and married… No wait. We don’t need to go that far back! Remember when I said my husband patted me on the shoulder and urged me to wait? (I think that’s in Part 2.) Well, that was fine. It is, after all, in his nature to be cautious. But me? I’m more of a “oh, pretty rattlesnake!” sort of person. Anxiety has enough say in my life, I will not admit caution. Sunday, the day after I wrote the bridge-burning email, I said, aloud, “I hope I didn’t wound (insert person’s name).” Because that is what had concerned me from 3 to 5am as I alternated between counting fluffy miniature sheep and replaying the unfolding events of the weekend in a continual loop of baas and brain-words. And my husband, ever loving, ever supportive, ever practical, answered, “Of course you did. That was your intention when you wrote the email.”

Wound

(noun)

  • an injury to living tissue caused by a cut, blow, or other impact, typically one in which the skin is cut or broken.
  • an injury to a person’s feelings or reputation

(verb)

  • inflict an injury on (someone)
  • injure (a person’s feelings)

I was horrified dear reader. HOR-RI-FIED! 

My mate and I went back and forth for about an hour—him saying wounding was the intent, me saying wounding is NEVER my intent. Him saying wounding was inevitable, me saying wounding involves taking aim. Him saying wounding is a consequence of anger, me saying wounding is not a byproduct. Then, because I was damned if I was going to get pissed at him for something he hadn’t even been involved in, I threw my hands up (quite literally) and shouted that I just did not GET IT! I was incapable of processing his inability to see a distinction between speech and attack.

But the whole thing did make me wonder: Is there a difference?

That’s what the last three posts have been all about. And the answer? Well yes, dammit. There is a difference. While I did speak, I did not take aim. I had no intention of hurting the former quasi-friend and collaborator, only of saying to him/her “This SUCKS,” as clearly as I possibly could. I believe I did that. And I believe that, in writing this blog, I’ve come to accept that arson is sometimes necessary to integrity. Burned bridges be damned.

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Expectation, Unreasonable or Otherwise April 2, 2012

Part 2; April 2, 2012

Previously on wordjunkies: Annie Maier was distressed at having been dissed. Enraged, she paused… Thought about her reaction (gone and done, no time to change. Desire? Not really.) Wondered if she had perhaps erred in her previous assumption that one would, if done with another, speak up. Such thinking had, after all, led her “straight toward expectation and into the arms of…”

Disappointment:

Noun

  • the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.
  • a person, event, or thing that causes such a feeling.

and,

Anger:

(noun)

  • a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility

A very strong feeling. Upon learning of this deception (noun; the act of deceiving), I freaked out. Hearing my screech and observing the force with which I hit “respond,” my husband very gently placed a hand upon quaking shoulder and suggested I hold off till morning when I might better be able to “control” my emotion. But at that moment, I had little interest in control. I wanted to stand on the roof and shout this person’s name for all to hear. I wanted to whip out my credit card and order a two-page ad in the Charlotte Observer. I wanted to D E L E T E D I wanted to… cry.

Ever since taking “Mind Moving” with Erik Anderson, possibilities for using writing not only as an access into our own inner workings but as a method of contemplation and release have been swirling in my brain. When the opportunity to make this dream a reality arouse, I leapt at the chance. I plotted, wrote, and marketed the class. My cohort was not idle in this time. S/he worked as well. Not as hard, not as passionately, but still.

The day came. I sweated and worried: Was the idea as good as I thought it was? Would people be inspired? Had I chosen the right examples, written the best exercises. left enough time for all I wanted to accomplish? Would everyone show up? Would they be glad they had? Would I?

The time came. Everyone filtered in. With the exception of one slight glitch,  D E L E T ED – – D E L E T E D – – D E L E T E D     The day was a success. We planned another workshop, six weeks out.

So what went wrong? And more importantly, did I have the right to become so angry? To feel betrayed? If it was simply a matter of I’m sorry, I don’t want to work with you, well, fine. But say so. If it was something more, okay, still fine. But say so. In the ensuing silence, I assumed all was well. Assumed six weeks meant six weeks. I waited.

Now, that may have been a mistake. Should I have initiated the conversation sooner? Maybe. Would that have changed the outcome? I think not.

Anyway, Saturday night. I pounded out a response. Expressed my dismay. Told the person I was horrified. Hurt. Said his/her behavior was reprehensible, unkind and presumptive (that felt good!). Said I wasn’t surprised, as I’ve witnessed such behavior in the past—that felt even better.

Maybe that was a mistake. Not the saying so, but the witnessing. The expecting I wouldn’t be treated that same way. I ended the email with the assertion that I would not be returning to his/her studio for any reason. That felt best of all! Because I’ve been supporting this person’s business for FIVE years. Not only by attending his/her classes but by referring potential clients. We’ve made drums together, chanted beneath the moon together, shared wine. In the past year, D E L E T E D. The  D E L E T E D.      D E L E T E D.  D E L E T E D continued to go out of respect for the person and our history. D E L E T E D. But no. Fed up, I burned that bridge straight to the ground and left it smoldering.

Which leads me to…

(to be continued)

 

Expectation, Unreasonable or Otherwise April 1, 2012

Filed under: Philosophy,Writing/Words — Annie Maier @ 9:37 pm
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April 1, 2012

Expectation (part 1)

Hang on boys and girls, I feel a rant coming on! Or a vent. Or maybe just a meandering, meant to bring clarity and clear my cluttered head.

I made a fateful error this week. Well, actually, I made two fateful errors.

One error was subtle: Unbeknownst to my brain, my heart has, for a couple of months, been holding an expectation for the future based upon an agreement with a quasi-friend and collaborator. The other error was blatant: When my expectations were unceremoniously crushed, that is, when the person in question D E L E T E D failed to uphold what I saw as his/her part of a deal, I responded with an extraordinary burst of fury. To understand the import of such emotion, it is important to note that I am not an angry person. My mom is what is commonly, sometimes even affectionately, called a loose cannon; raised in a household of frequent rages, more often than not accompanied by potentially lethal flying objects, I coped by becoming a cream puff. I rarely raise my voice, never strike out, and refuse to use the “f” word because of its negative, decidedly angry, connotations. Nonetheless, I’m telling you, on Saturday night, my head nearly ripped from the scrawny mooring of my shoulders.

Up until then, my day had been going great. My daughter is home for a visit; I had held a successful event that afternoon; and we had just returned from a lovely dinner and movie. Intending to send a note of thanks to the afternoon’s attendees, I saw it: An email, bearing the innocuous subject line: D E L E T E D Suspecting nothing, I opened the email. That’s when I learned that what had started as a joint effort had, quite suddenly and without warning, become a one wo/man venture. I had been cut from the team.  My quasi-friend and collaborator did not come out and say this last bit in the email, however. Rather, I had to visit his/her website to confirm my suspicion. Yes, there it was, a blurb I HAD WRITTEN for a workshop we had designed together. Except this time, there was no mention of Annie Maier.

WTF! my brain screamed (though without the F of course). How could anyone be so unnecessarily mean? So senselessly D E L E T E D? So blatantly D E L E T E D?

Which brings us to today’s word:

Expectation:

(noun)

  • a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
  • a belief that someone will or should achieve something.

Throughout time, philosophers have debated the nature of such beliefs. William Shakespeare felt that expectation was “the root of all heartache,” while the Dalai Lama teaches that it is only in “reducing expectations,” that one can “promote contentment.” In general, I agree. I also believe completely in the Buddhist tenet that all acts must be performed without expectation of personal gain. I do struggle however in maintaining an equitable sense of what I should or should not “expect” from others in regard to their behavior not only toward me, but toward all sentient beings. Albert Schweitzer asserts that we “must not expect anything from others,” as “only from oneself has one the right to ask everything and anything. This way it’s up to you — your own choices — what you get from others remains a present, a gift.” Yes, yes, Mr. S, I get it! But the fact that we should not expect such “gifts” cannot possibly mean that we are to have no sense of trust that another person, someone who has professed a seemingly sincere desire to be in community with us, will not squash us beneath his/her wriggling toes without so much as a “piss-off you worm.” Is it too much to ask that said person, having apparently come to the end of his/her interest in such communion, would not wo/man-up and SAY SO?

Maybe I am wrong. Clearly it was just such thoughts that led me up the proverbial garden path. Straight toward expectation and into the arms of…

(to be continued)

 

 
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