The Conversation

Home
11/13/05
11/14/05
11/15/05
11/16/05
11/17/05
11/18/05
11/19/05
11/20/05
11/21/05
11/22/05
11/23/05
11/24/05
11/25/05
11/26/05
11/27/05
11/28/05
11/29/05
11/30/05
12/01/05
12/02/05
12/03/05
12/04/05
12/05/05
12/06/05
12/07/05
12/08/05
12/09/05
12/10/05
12/11/05
12/12/05
12/13/05
12/14/05
12/15/05
12/16/05
12/17/05
12/18/05
12/19/05
12/20/05
12/21/05
12/22/05
12/23/05
12/24/05
12/25/05
12/26/05
12/27/05
12/28/05
12/29/05
12/30/05
12/31/05
1/1/06
1/2/06
1/3/06
1/4/06
1/5/06
1/6/06
1/7/06
1/8/06
1/9/06
1/10/06
1/11/06
1/12/06
1/13/06
1/14/06
1/15/06
1/16/06
1/17/06
1/18/06
1/19/06
1/19/06
1/20/06
1/21/06
1/22/06
1/23/06
1/24/06
1/25/06
1/26/06
1/27/06
1/28/06
1/29/06
1/30/06
1/31/06
2/1/06
2/2/06
2/3/06
2/4/06
2/5/06
2/6/06
2/7/06
2/8/06
2/9/06
2/10/06
2/11/06
2/12/06
2/13/06
2/14/06
2/15/06
2/16/06
2/17/06
2/18/06
2/19/06
2/20/06
2/21/06
2/22/06
2/23/06
2/24/06
2/25/06
2/26/06
2/27/06
2/28/06
3/1/06
3/2/06
3/3/06
3/4/06
3/5/06
3/6/06
3/7/06
3/8/06
3/9/06
3/10/06
3/11/06
3/12/06
3/13/06
3/14/06
3/15/06
3/16/06
3/17/06
3/18/06
3/19/06
3/20/06
3/21/06
3/22/06
3/23/06
3/24/06
3/25/06
3/26/06
3/27/06
3/28/06
3/29/06
3/30/06
5/19/06
5/20/06
5/21/06
5/22/06
5/23/06
5/24/06
5/25/06
5/26/06
5/27/06
5/28/06
5/29/06
5/30/06
5/31/06
6/1/06
6/2/06
6/3/06
6/12/06
6/13/06
7/3/06
7/4/06
7/5/06
7/6/06
7/7/06
7/8/06
7/9/06
7/10/06
7/11/06
7/14/06
7/15/06
7/16/06
7/17/06
7/23/06
That's what they make linoleum for.

Dear Kim:

I am thinking about how judgmental I am and wondering how I can keep it in check.

When someone, especially a friend says or does something with which I am uncomfortable, I often don't say anything. At least not as often I might.

I think I get confused. I am not always sure how much I should take on and what I should let go in recognition of people's individual differences.

But I am also just not very comfortable with conflict. And I haven't seen many examples of people having differences of opinion in a way that feels mutually respectful. I certainly wasn't raised in those circumstances.

In work situations, it is much easier for me to hold a different position.In my personal life, I somehow experience things—or rather, myself—very differently.

So, instead, I tend to withdraw when someone does something with which I take strong issue. It is as if some essential connection I have trusted with them has been severed.

Earlier this week, I was having dinner with my friend Norma and several other people at a Mexican restaurant after the political songwriting workshop that her company had sponsored.

Norma is a phenomenal person. She works a lot with GLBT youth and has even personally housed several homeless youth for months at a time. She has a selflessness that I could never approach and I am not sure that I would want. Especially since I increasingly think my growth and survival is predicated on becoming more, not less, self focused. But I admire how deeply she walks the walk.

So after a while at the table, I said I had to leave to go home to walk the dog. Especially since I had been gone all afternoon.

Norma said, ”She’s a dog. That's what they make linoleum for.”

(Kim: It is really something how mean humor usually is.)

I looked at her and realized that she was serious.

I don’t know what was in her head. I am trying hard these days to try not to make up the story for someone else when I don't know.

I am guessing she was disappointed that I was leaving since we live in different places and don't see each other all that much.

But I don't know.

I do know that I was very uncomfortable with her comment. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of putting any animal in such a compromised position and with the offhanded way she tossed off her comment.

I didn’t feel sufficiently comfortable to say something to her. Or what’s worse, to let it go.

Instead, I inwardly cringed, suddenly experienced what I thought to be an insurmountable clash of values and felt myself withdrawing. Even though there is much about Norma that I really appreciate.

I don’t think this is an appropriate response. I wish I could figure out what was.

(Kim: Sometimes I take things too seriously. Once I called one of my teachers because I didn't get into some exhibits. I knew he thought a lot of my work. He replied, "you must not be any good." I think it cured me for my lifetime from complaining about rejection.)

Later,

Joan
Tuesday Feb 21, 2006

Next