Archives for posts with tag: no drama

Sometimes “OPD” (Other Peoples’ Drama) wafts miles and oozes into my consciousness by clinging to the thoughts of faraway loved ones. It is what it is. Sometimes, against my own better judgement and choices supporting my own mental health self-care, the people involved matter more than my particular “no drama” boundary. That’s just real. We are social creatures, us human primates. We matter to each other. How could I turn away from loved ones who need me? (Slippery slope there; see step 1. below for more details!)

It was interesting to me, yesterday, how much of the OPD I was gently dealing with was a byproduct of a very commonplace behavioral loop built on poor self-care and some handy errors in thinking…

  1. Give too much of ourself, unreservedly, and ignore personal boundaries (reliable first step toward drama).
  2. Allow resentment to build up over time. (and it’s gonna)
  3. Have a profound emotional moment, possibly resulting from 1. and 2., but also maybe just due to poor self-care in general, over time.
  4. Reach out for support for 3. but without being observant of the needs or boundaries of others in the moment.
  5. Be rejected in the moment by way of individual (or group) boundary-setting; they are having their own experience, and also have choices and needs.
  6. Lose our shit in an emotional firestorm of weaponized emotion, catalyzing a really bad time – for everyone. (why do people keep thinking this behavior is okay?)
  7. Demand, quite reasonably, respect for our individual emotional experience, while projecting it forcibly into the conscious space of other (non-consenting) adults – without respecting their emotional experience equally.
  8. Storm off, reliably ensuring everyone is invested in our drama, but can’t resolve it without chasing us… or…
  9. Refuse to honor boundary-setting intended to provide recovery space and quiet time for drama-survivors, by continuously, spontaneously, returning to the scene to unleash more weapons of mass distraction at people we say we have affection for.
  10. Maybe both 8. and 9. keeping things really chaotic and focused on us.

I wasn’t directly involved. I didn’t hear/see the original salvo of emotional weaponry get fired down range. I don’t have all the details. It wasn’t my drama. Not my issue to solve. These  steps, however, are pretty reliably a thing human beings do, and it’s highly likely that they played out approximately this way, in basically that order. I don’t find any of it either necessary – though I’ve done it myself – nor do I see it as being at all healthy or productive. It gets to be a cycle, for people who follow the steps regularly; we become what we practice.

We can do better. We can practice another way. It starts with better self-care. It starts, very much, with being aware of that person in the mirror, and what we need over time for ourselves, and healthy boundary-setting, that we, ourselves, respect. It starts with being aware of each other in the moment, observing each other, and asking clarifying questions – and seeking consent. Clear communication, explicit, non-accusatory, emotionally neutral, and built on “I statements” is a huge piece of that. If I’m having a shit time, and you ask me about it, my answer still needs to account for what you are up for, yourself. You are likely not my therapist – so a deep dive into my fucking consciousness, and unpacking all my chaos and damage is probably not something I should dive into, if I respect your space and your emotional needs as I do my own. I’d ask first. Sure, I could honestly say “I’m having a shit time” – giving you a chance to say “tell me about it…”, or instead, perhaps, “that sucks”. Notice how “that sucks” doesn’t directly invite you to tell me more? Yep. If you wanted to talk more, I might like you to make sure that’s cool with me. Maybe I don’t feel up to listening for hours and holding you while you cry? Or maintaining a calm exterior while you rage about things that feel a bit directed toward me? Maybe you need to get a fucking therapist? Maybe I can feel those things and still love you? 🙂

We are each having our own experience. Knowing that, ideally, allows us to respect our own needs – and also be aware that those may not be shared by others.

If you’re following along, we’re about to step 5. and 6. already. Yep. We fired that weaponized emotion down range, but our loved ones, friends, or associates of any sort in the moment have done what we did not; they set clear boundaries based on their own needs, and have attempted to (probably gently, the first time) let us know they are not up for supporting us through our emotional storm at this time. They have their own thing going. Failing to respect that is an emotional attack. Rejection, though, actually does hurt – and if I’m in a super shitty emotional place and already not respecting my own boundaries, I may not be easily able to respect the boundaries of others – and worse, may not be allowing myself to be aware of it. This is generally when shit really gets ugly, somewhere around step 5. or 6. Because – hurt feelings added to existing powerful emotion just makes everything feel much worse. It’s hard not to take whatever – or whoever – hurt us quite personally, and most human beings I’ve met react to hurt feelings with more of whatever got them that result in the first place – so more anger, or more tears, or more sadness, or more arguing – definitely more boundary-violating shenanigans. You read that right, I said “shenanigans” – because we have a choice there. We are absolutely entitled to our feelings – our emotions are not subject to argument, ever! Having said that, our behavior is a choice. Generally, a choice we’ve practiced over time because the results have served us in some way. Get over all that. Do better. (Yep. There are verbs involved. Nope. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Yep. It does take actual real practice. Fuck yeah, your results may vary. Practice more.)

Stop taking shit personally. Be kind to each other (inclusive of being kind to yourself, by the way). Respect boundaries. Yours too. And not just yours, respect the boundaries of others. Deep emotional conversation about your heartfelt pain may be something you really need, something we all really need. There is an entire industry built of human beings who make this their specialty, and even they require consent to undertake it – hell, they insist you make an appointment and fucking pay them. It isn’t unreasonable to recognize that one reason for this is that it is simply a bit much to ask of others – particularly loved ones. 🙂

Steps 8., 9. and 10. are practices. They aren’t particularly efficient or useful practices, and seem to me to be rather under-handed, self-serving, and unhealthy practices. Emotionally manipulative practices. Disrespectful practices. Practices that stem from reactivity that can be eased – with other practices, carefully chosen, and practiced repeatedly over time. We become what we practice.

This morning I woke up still here, in this quiet space, in this drama-free zone. Still, also, wondering how things are “there” and wishing people dear to me well from afar. I’m definitely better at drama from afar. LOL

It’s a good morning to begin again, with better practices, and better self-care. I look around my place, here, and smile; I can do better, too. 🙂

There’s more to say on such a big topic. A paragraph or two about love and lovers isn’t going to cover the subject thoroughly at all. I won’t try. It’s early in the morning, and I’m headed to work soon. The morning is rainy. The coffee is hot. My mood is merry. Easy stuff on a Tuesday.

The view from my weekend away.

I scroll through my Facebook feed, catching up after a weekend away. I flip through the posts – what’s with all the angst-y relationship drama? (More than enough over the weekend, as well – seasonal?) I don’t laugh – it really isn’t a cause for amusement or celebration when lovers suffer in each others arms, most particularly consider the great care some lovers take in crafting their shared misery. The choices! The effort! The lovingly hand-crafted artisanal misery! It’s amazing to me that even if pointed out such that awareness is unavoidable, a great many people will still “well, she…”, “well, he…”, with real ferocity to return to an acceptable understanding that allows them to rationalize not making any changes at all. It’s weird. It’s as if – wait for it – they are actually choosing to be unhappy together instead of choosing to be actually happy, or at least content and blissful. So strange. It’s hard to watch. It’s always been hard to watch. It makes my acid reflux flare up to have to watch it. It makes me heartsick to have to turn away. (I can’t fix it!) 😦

Love isn’t misery. If you are miserable, I assure you, it isn’t the love causing that. It’s the bullshit. 😉 Drop the bullshit. lol (Sounds so easy in those terms, but yeah – there are still a lot of verbs involved, and you can’t avoid those, or pay for someone else to do them.)

I’ve had cause to be soaked in drama recently. Not so much a choice as a test of endurance, loving kindness, compassion, and the experience and (limited) wisdom that come of age – and that come of fucking up several potentially wonderfully promising relationships myself over the years. Doesn’t make it easier to bear witness to the misery of lovers who refuse to see that they are choosing their misery for themselves, with great care, and putting every ounce of their being into tending and maintaining it. Yikes. I can’t even imagine the power and joy of a relationship into which similar effort and energy are put directly into actually loving each other!

Sharing the love, and sharing the building. Destruction is far less joyful.

…Oh. Wait. Yes, yes I can actually imagine the power and joy of a relationship into which lovers are putting the full weight of their effort and energy directly into actually loving each other! I have that! How wonderful! 😀 I worked – and work – with great care to build (instead of destroying) to support and nurture (instead of criticizing and tearing my partner down) to attend to my own chaos and damage (because we really only have the power to change our own ways, to deal with our own issues, to put down our own baggage), and to learn to love well.

A gray, black, and tan moth is colorful up close. Perspective matters. 🙂

I’m still learning. I practice every day. I make mistakes. I make amends. I screw up. I make it right. Again and again. I learn something new that works. I practice it often. I find out something I do is problematic. I look at ways I could change my approach for a better result. I face the awareness that something my lover does is uncomfortable for me. I learn to bring those issues to the table with kindness, patience, and understanding that I am having my own experience, and “demanding change” is not always the most effective (or efficient) way to achieve the result I want. I learned to assume positive intent, and learned to share my words gently, and to listen deeply. I learned to let go of assumptions and expectations, and to distinguish between acceptance and being a doormat. lol So many life lessons to love well! We have to learn each of them on our own. The verbs pile up.

I may be writing about love for the rest of my life – there is that much to say about it, and I’m no expert. 🙂 Love matters most. Love inspires. Love pulls us. Pushes us. Changes us. Love is powerful stuff. I spent the weekend wrapped in love. Home now to begin a new work week, I’m still thinking about love – and lovers.

There is always time for love. (Make time for it.) What could be a more worthy use of your precious limited mortal life than to love?

Speaking of time… it’s time to begin the work day. 🙂 One new beginning among so many. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I fell asleep composing coherent sentences, assembled from thoughts and words, suitable for this morning’s writing. It was, as I recall, a good idea for a blog post. Unsurprisingly, it was lost among my dreams, during the night. I woke rested, clear-headed, content – and utterly without a thought that seemed worth writing about.

I hoped the blinds in the studio to let the sunrise illuminate the room. I watched the geese on the lawn, sipped my coffee, and listened to the peculiar suburban hum of existing humanity that seems so nearly inescapable, generally. I notice that my throat is a little sore, and shuffle my weekend plans around to reduce stress, labor, and exposing others to potential contagion, in case I am sick. If I’m  not actually ill, the sore throat remains a sign that I likely need more rest than I have been getting. I decide to take care of this fragile vessel this weekend. Life is more a thru-hike along a breath-taking wilderness trail than a paved loop through a state park; it’s important to take care, and pace myself. 🙂

I hear my Traveling Partner stirring in the other room, making coffee. I smile, content and wrapped in love. Last evening was weird, infused with drama. OPD. Not my drama. I am supportive throughout, although I struggle a bit with resenting that a human being I have made a point to cut out of my life completely can still push so much toxic waste into my experience. The resentment quickly fades to sorrow that my Traveling Partner has this bullshit to deal with in another (any other) relationship. I know a lot of people who do. Myself, I tend to fairly quickly find my way to “troll blocking” and “unfriending” these days, even in real life; I have no liking of, or time for, destructive games or drama, and very specifically define “love” and “affection” as exclusive of those sorts of things. Yep. I said it. If you treat someone badly on the regular, it is not understandable (to me) that you “love” them. From my own perspective, you do not. That’s not love. There’s no room for argument, it’s merely my opinion, and how my own map of the world looks.

No drama today, I hope. I sip my coffee and smile. My Traveling Partner puts his head in the studio to tell me that there is a new season of Samurai Jack. Finally! Season 5. We share a fondness for it. I can’t tell if my moment of delight has anything to do with Samurai Jack at all, it’s all mixed up with my delight that my Traveling Partner is here this morning. I have no idea what the day holds. It is unplanned. Unscripted. I wonder what moment will define it.

Today is a good day for patience, and a good day for contentment. Today is a good day to love, and to live gently. Today is a good day for laughter, kindness, and gratitude. Today is a good day to enjoy small things, and to build a drama free zone. Today is a good day to make the choices that change the world.

I am groggy this morning. As I scrolled through my feeds, skimming headlines, I felt a sad tug on my heart to see so much violence and hate. It’s hard to watch. Fear and anger escalating with the excessive media use of buzzwords and sensationalism to gain readers (and dollars), and more or less mostly innocent citizen bystanders (consumers) caught in that sticky web of emotion and salesmanship. I found myself actually feeling physically ill, and surprised by the intensity of my reaction – then realized I was probably nauseous from my medication this morning.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

It is easy to be swept away by powerful emotions.

I heard footsteps run past my front door, which is unusual at any hour in this neighborhood, and somewhat alarming at 5:45 am. Combined with the negative headlines, I feel my anxiety creeping up, and ‘home defense’ drifts across my thought-scape. I recognize the trend, and pause for a few deep breaths, taking time to re-engage in ‘now‘; I am okay right now, and there is nothing in my real experience of the  morning to cause me fear or hurt me. It’s pouring rain outside, and a stranger running by is likely just trying to get from the parking lot to the front door without being drenched. Fear doesn’t care about reason, and I find more often than not that taking time to be present in this moment right here, and awake, aware, and mindful there is nothing for fear to build on. There are plenty of terrifying ‘what-if’ scenarios I could run in my head, and even make life decisions on, but it seems a foolish waste of limited mortal lifetime, when there is also so much joy in which I could invest, and partake.

Violence does exist. Choosing not to live minute-to-minute defending myself from fear of violence is one of many possible choices. I have friends who choose differently, and live prepared for violence with an ample arsenal of firearms, open carry permits, and weekend visits to the range for target practice just in case violence ever visits them at home. I have other friends who choose to live with the fear of violence, and without taking any particular steps to secure their own safety, just taking on the fear itself, deepening and investing in it, and letting their fear drive their decisions and rhetoric. I have friends who do neither; they are not convinced that violence exists in any real sense, they have experienced little of it themselves and for them it is very far away and abstract. I know people, they are not those I would call ‘friend’, who live differently with violence; they are violent. People who lash out in anger, seeking to do harm, to injure, to be avenged, to punish – they see themselves as righteous and justified, doing what is ‘right’ or ‘necessary’, and don’t recognize the damage done as being in any way wrong. I see them out in the world, snarling at their loved ones on cell phones, or on the bus, spewing righteous anger and vexation in interactions with strangers – people they couldn’t possibly know well enough to hate – and treating their loved ones even worse. The headlines tell the tale of each of the many sorts of human beings interacting with each other. Violence added to the mix generates sales headlines. Scary sort of world we’ve built, isn’t it? We’ve chosen this. You and I – all of us together – this is the world we have made.

How will I make the world better, myself, in some small way? How will you? If enough of us just keep at it, can we turn this thing around? It probably begins with small simple things, like not yelling at your partner in a moment of anger, or like really listening when a woman is talking about the challenges in her experience of being female, or like taking a deep breath and not freaking out when something goes wrong, and maybe also putting down the handheld devices and making eye contact – and conversation. Setting aside the inflammatory news articles might also be a good start, and maybe sharing positive news more often than negative news could be helpful, too. We could cast our vote with great care, really thinking about the consequences of our choice, by thinking ahead to ‘our’ candidate winning, and imagining the reality of every one of their stated policies becoming real – what would that be like for us? For those people over there? For someone else? We could fact check our fears, too, that might be useful, and refrain from getting into emotionally driven arguments with people when neither involved party has an educated insight into the issues, rather than just spewing emotional garbage at each other until someone gets hurt. We could approach every interaction with another human being as though that other human being is (they are) every bit as human as we are, ourselves – and fully due the same consideration and courtesy we would enjoy experiencing, and then behave that way. We could each simply not kill someone today, or tomorrow, and also refrain from voting for – or hiring – people who seem to favor violence, killing, or incarceration as a solution to the world’s problems. We could invest more of our global resources in human life, than in ending it – both right here and home, and over there on foreign shores.

Domestic violence is not a separate thing from war. Child abuse is not a separate thing from terrorism. Hate is hate. Fear is fear. Abuse of power isn’t less abusive when it is between a parent and a child than it is between an elected leader and the constituency, or between law enforcement and a citizen – but we’ve trained ourselves to excuse so much violence in the day-to-day social landscape that we are ill-equipped to reject it at all. Enraged screaming, slamming things, and breaking stuff at home is not a far distance to travel to murder – and tolerating it socially by making excuses for domestic violence is not a far distance to travel to sending strangers children to die in foreign wars by voting for fear-mongering xenophobic extremists. Seriously. We are each so very human… Fear is easy. Anger is easy. Hate is easy. We have the potential to offer each other so much more. Choose. You can, and so can I – and we do.

This seems glum this morning. I don’t mean it to, honestly. I feel rather hopeful – the very power to choose that finds us here with the world in the state it is,  is so profoundly powerful that we have each moment, this moment, every moment, to choose differently. I guess that while that is indeed incredibly hopeful and promising, it’s a tad glum too, because the people who could benefit the world by choosing differently than they do are not likely to be the people who read the words I write – and I am just one voice. I am regularly cautioned that I am ‘not being realistic’ or that I ‘don’t understand violence’ – often based on the assumption that I have little experience with it. It’s frustrating – sometimes frustrating enough to evoke actual anger, a powerful reminder of how easily we could be tempted to stray into the realm of violence ourselves, in a moment of emotion.

Be love.

Be love.

Here’s the thing though, the hopeful bit, we really do have the power to choose change. It’s a good day to change the world.