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
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,
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
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
(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
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.
Sometimes I take things too seriously. Once I called one of
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.)
Tuesday Feb 21, 2006