Archives for posts with tag: you don’t tell me!

Yesterday, I had yet another opportunity to patiently explain to someone that they do not get to tell me what I think, why I think it, or how I came to the conclusion I did. It seems obvious, really; my opinion is mine to decide, and to decide even whether to share it. Attempting to force assumptions about my opinion, or my thoughts, or my feelings, upon me is… fucking dumb. A.) That isn’t how opinions or thinking work. B.) No one likes that shit or needs that from anyone else. Lastly, C.) Fucking hell, people, how hard is it, really, to ask a question and listen to the fucking answer?

It’s an extra special nightmare frustration when that person is a man and his tone is condescending and patronizing. I’m not a child or a little girl, and frankly, on its own maleness does nothing whatever to make any stated opinion or observed fact somehow more relevant, worthwhile, or legitimate, at all. I’m just… yeah. So done with that bullshit. lol I managed to walk on from that interaction without resorting to insults or name-calling, which turns out not to require any sort of heroic effort of any sort, I just reminded myself silently that I had things to do, and that arguing with an ass clown was not on my list today. lol

On and on. Trump didn’t change it – maybe didn’t even “make it worse” – but his presidency pushed it into the forefront (again)(I mean, really, we’ve fought this fight before, and had made a lot of apparent headway, but… no… here we are). Kavanaugh isn’t “new” or novel, or frankly even fucking interesting. Been. Here. Before. Been here all along. Maybe we can all work on this? We can do better. I mean, seriously America? Fucking Nazis? Are you kidding me?

Words matter. Choose them with care. Really listen to people. Really share your authentic actual thoughts with them (versus just quoting some regurgitated sound bite you lifted from a talking head on cable news). Connect for real. Ask the deep questions that matter most. Listen – really listen – to the answers. Put content over bullshit. Show your fellow citizens some “common decency”, consideration, empathy, and respect. Maybe even let “I disagree with that position” be the actual end of a conversation or disagreeable moment, and walk on.Β You don’t have to persuade or convince everyone that your position is right. Maybe it isn’t. Share it if you care to, then let that shit go, too. Quality of life is not about being right. Great relationships are not built on being right. Contentment and happiness are not made up of moments of being right. Fucking just listen once in a while, and even, now and then, accept that you do not know all of everything… or… just maybe.. in some particular instance… insisting on being right, regardless of perceived factual correctness, maybe be quite the wrong thing to do.

…Then… also… respect both your own expertise, and the expertise of your associates. Ask more questions than you answer. Listen to what you’re hearing, and really be present for that. Learn stuff. Grow. Assume positive intent. Have positive intentions yourself! Be authentically who you are – rightness and wrongness and error, flaws, mistakes, and character failures, and all; we don’t become who we most want to be if we can’t start from who we are right now and move on from there.

What I’m saying is, arguing is dumb. It wastes time, and people who are arguing are not listening to each other. Arguments are made up of people throwing their words at other people who are, at best, throwing words back – without listening at all. It’s ridiculous and gets no further toward truths than standing still quite silently would do, and quite possibly, standing still silently would be more effective. (It probably is, actually…)

Don’t argue.

Don’t yell. (Not really relevant, it’s just super unpleasant, and effective only for escalation the emotionality of the interaction in an unpleasant way; if you’re yelling to make your point, you already lost the argument. Just stop.)

Talk to each other. Really listen. Grow because you are hearing new information – or because you have the wisdom to refuse to incorporate ad copy, memes, or straight up misinformation, in your thinking, in spite of hearing it, again. Ask clarifying questions; there’s always more to know. Get context, and check your assumptions; you’re wrong more often than you realize (I promise you this is true).

People can be really fucking repetitive with shit they pick up along the way that they did not really think through themselves, or apply any critical thinking to, when they adopted it as their own. They cling to that shit. It’s tedious. Don’t follow the crowd. It makes for dull conversation, filled with half-baked bullshit, and actual lies.

Do better. Think your own thoughts. Use critical thinking skills to examine what thoughts you think you have. Check your assumptions for accuracy. Check your expectations to ensure they are shared, and realistic, and not left moldering in a corner all implicit and unverified and shit. Easy stuff. Slow the fuck down and ask yourself some questions about the thoughts you tell yourself are your own. Are they really? Fact-checked, lately, Bruh? Did you make any effort at all to determine whether the words you are about to say reflect who you truly are, consistent with the values you claim you have?

My coffee is tasty this morning. I’m mostly ignoring it. My nightmares were a tad too much “Handmaid’s Tale” for my emotional comfort, and I woke feeling confused, angry, resentful, irritated, puzzled, frightened, restless, and yearning for freedom. The conversation, yesterday, in which some rando man-human specifically told me I don’t think what I do, and can’t because I’m wrong about thinking it, was still grating on my nerves. lol At 55, I fucking well know what my political leanings are, what my philosophy of life is, and where I think my ideas potentially take me in life. I’m pretty over men thinking they have something to say to me about what I think. (Wow. I’m obviously still fucking angry about it, too… and only on this whole meta level as an archetypal conversation repeated over time, not the specific moment and individual. Wild. Why are we still here, at all?)

I grin when I think about the end of that conversation (for me). “I disagree with your position. We have nothing further to discuss.”

Sometimes, I gotta just walk on, and begin again. πŸ™‚

This morning, before I quite realized what I’d done, I’d gotten lost in my newsfeed within moments of sitting down to write. I didn’t write. Well, I did write – but I wasn’t writing in a rational, purposeful, helpful way that supports me as a human, or shares something of value. I was mad. I was… posting replies. Oh my.

Once I noticed I was putting myself at risk of an angry screed, I pushed my chair back, sat fully upright, and took a couple deep deep cleansing breaths, and let myself relax. I held on to the awareness of that moment, breaking free of the tantalizing sticky trap of opinion, pulling myself free of the outrage machinery. (There is so much to be outraged about this days, no lie, that’s real.) Differences of opinion so easily become anger. We each feel so certain we are “right“, and that if only we could share the nuances of our personal perspective, everyone else would get it, too! While that may be true, now and then, it mostly just isn’t, at all. We are each having our own experience. It’s not actually fully share-able.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not a “relativist“. While I do recognize that context, culture, and variations in human understanding and experience can change the truth of a proposition, I also understand the nature of reality to have unchanging elements (that I may or may not be fully able to recognize or understand, myself). I think how we define the terms we use matters a great deal, and definitely affects our ability to have meaning dialogue, generally, every bit as much as “the nature of reality”. I have an ethical framework, as an individual, that suggests to me that some actions and choices are “wrong” – meaning, not consistent with my ethics, as an individual. So far so good. Where things get messy, and I think this is true for a great many of us, is when my own sense of “wrongness” pressures me from within to make a point of calling it out when I see others taking those actions, or making those choices. Do I really get to decide right vs wrong for anyone but me?

Yes.

…Also, no.

So… “yes”, in the limited sense that I’m utterly free to express my opinion on the matter. However, in doing so, I’m a wiser happier human if I can also remain aware that my opinion on such things is not likely to a) change anyone else’s opinion (or actions) or b) have any great persuasive weight in the world, generally, and also… c) it’s not for me to decide what everyone else will think or do. I’m just saying. I mean that – I’m literally merely, simply, only, and “just” saying words. Someone may hear my words and change. Someone else may hear my words and double-down out of pure resentment and fury, because in their view I am clearly wrong. Still someone else will disregard my words without ever hearing me out,. We are each having our own experience. I don’t really get to decide what anyone else understands right or wrong to be – but I am not required to respect, value, share, or appreciate their perspective, beyond hearing them out, and accepting their agency.

I don’t personally take any of this to be an expression of futility, or as a reason to “stand down” or “keep my opinion to myself”, because humanity’s culture has formed around our opinions and understanding of the world. Our shared ethical commitments become our shared understanding of right vs wrong, and ultimately informs entire communities, and whole nations, allowing society to enact change. We do need to share our individual sense of right vs. wrong with each other to help steer this cultural ship through the waters of change and growth over time. It’s the anger and outrage of social media specifically (before coffee) that is problematic; too much noise, not enough signal. So, I give myself a break, sip my coffee, and bring my moment closer to home. I have plenty to do to make change happen right here. I have work to do to be the woman I most want to be. That’s a project I have real influence over – every day. My example, as an individual, has meaning without extending my reach “to the world” by replying to all manner of media detritus in a reactive moment. Hell, I don’t even respect the opinions of 100% of every human; some are worth far more than others (this is likely true for you as well), and we each “rate” the value of another person’s opinion on different criteria!! (Totally true, too.) So… another good moment to practice non-attachment. lol

I finish my coffee and begin again.

…This morning I woke with an idea worth writing down, worth contemplating, worth saying more about… and… I let my brain touch Facebook first. The thought? Gone. It lives no more. It has been erased, or sent wherever forgotten ideas go. That’s a thing. It totally happens. Sometimes it’s the commute… great tidbit to fuel creative thinking, a fragment of really neat poetry, a thing I’d really like to do, or consider, or… I get in the house, I reach for a device, Facebook touches my brain… brain buffer is immediately emptied of all valued content and replaced with… nothing much. Just a sense that I was thinking about something “important”, but it’s gone. lol Worse? I’m often left with the sensation of “having been interrupted” in the middle of “something important” when I am distracted by all things internet… and I wander around searching for that interrupted moment of conversation or… and it turns out to just be… Facebook.

Fuck you, Facebook. lol You’re a damned nightmare. A drama generator. A perpetual lie machine. An outrage escalator. You are best suited for staying in touch with distant friends I’d have otherwise completely lost touch with – and famous for dumbing down an entire global population (or, you know, whatever you can reach).Β  Omg, you are such a wreck. You’ve gone from keeping us all connected to manipulating our emotions and our understanding of reality, and spilling all our secrets – like a sociopathic ex. It’s time to set better boundaries with you – and your buddy “television”, too. Yeah, I haven’t forgotten that jerk.

Just a heads up I’ll be taking a digital break over this coming long weekend. πŸ™‚ You heard it here; I’ll be logging out of social media accounts, and even turning off my phone, a lot. πŸ˜€ I’m so excited. lol So, Thursday morning will be my last post of the week (I don’t want you to worry).

It’s a worthwhile choice to make. I’m not objecting to the technology (yet) or connectivity, generally (it’s a utility in the 21st world), I’m just saying I don’t intend to let it control me; it is my will and intention that it be a tool in my service. It’s a choice. There are verbs involved. It’s going to take some practice. πŸ˜€

I’ll be back, though, probably late Sunday evening, with pictures, and thoughts, and scraps of poetry I have not forgotten. We’ll begin again. πŸ˜€

 

Inspiration is a funny thing. I am occasionally frustrated when Inspiration strikes, and I am “trapped” at work, or in life, in circumstances that undermine the moment from one of great power and motivation to something more like a cognitive itch I can’t scratch. Timing matters. Time matters. Location matters. Available resources with which to work – that matters, too. Any one element being a bit off, or out of reach, and the whole moment degrades, slips away, fades before I can dive into that delicious drenching sea for a quick swim, before inevitably returning to the sometimes tedious shores of a more staid reliably productive wholly limited reality.

Having a studio at home as been awesome, and exploring what that can be like definitely changed my approach to my living arrangements. Making a point to live in spaces in which I can have dedicated creative space has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with location from any of my relationships. That’s been wonderful. Managing my professional life (outside of art) such that I reliably have the resources to keep art supplies well-stocked has uncoupled any struggling to match inspiration with available resources. Β The only significant struggle that remains is to do with time, and timing.

I’m smiling this morning, and feeling fortunate that I’d already planned a long weekend for the equinox. When inspiration struck me with force, it was easy enough to roll with it, change my plans from coastal camping to a stay-cation in the studio, and happily move on with things. πŸ™‚ I arrived home yesterday and happily flipped an imagined “artist at work” sign in my head, made a coffee – because I’ve got 3+ days to play with, and no requirement to adhere to any particular routine unless I choose to do so, and no concern about late nights. Sometime after my 5th coffee of the day (and a bit past 4 pm) I admitted I’d probably had enough coffee. lol In the meantime, I had stepped into my studio, looked around, and agreed with my inner artist that a different arrangement of space, gear, and furnishings would be helpful…

…Somehow, I spent the evening rather energetically (hello 5 cups of coffee!!) “moving in more”, moving stored paintings around, discovering there were just too damned many stacked that I’d intended to be hanging, which lead to hanging more paintings (everywhere). I moved on to “those art cabinets are sort of in the way right there… which lead to moving furniture around. I got to that skinny box by the wall, and went ahead and finished setting up my workstation by putting the big desk monitor in its obvious place – on my desk. One by one, stacks of paintings, boxes of art supplies that had been “left for later”, art cabinets, supplies, blank canvases, books, gear, drop cloths… everything began to “sort itself out” (with my help, obviously – because no one is doing this shit for me!). By 7 pm, I was pretty much stalled. Finished. Done for the day. Not exactly tired, I remember thinking, but more just needing a bit of a break to consider next steps – with every intention of turning on appropriate lights and doing some “dark work” in glow colors.

Coffee or no coffee; I crashed at 8:30 pm, and slept deeply through the night. I woke briefly around 4 am, took my morning medication, peed, and went straight back to bed, and slept another 3 hours. It isn’t common for me to sleep so well, so deeply, or for so many hours. 11 hours of sleep? Brain-tired from an intense, however short, work week. I get it. It makes sense. I’m glad I didn’t make any attempt to force a routine on myself; I obviously needed the rest. πŸ™‚

This morning feels fresh and new and filled with wonder, color, music… and yeah, more coffee. LOL No idea what “next” looks like, yet. I linger over my coffee and my words; there’s no need to rush. This is a moment which is not enhanced by attempts at efficiency. Totally okay with that. The woman in the mirror is a different creature when she’s painting than when she’s 9-to-5-ing. I roll with the change happily, feeling transformed into some more natural state of being, relishing the freedom to be wholly myself, utterly without limitations or restrictions besides those I place on myself. Feels good. I let my soul stretch just as I would let myself stretch my body after a long time in one position; comfortable or uncomfortable, remaining in one position too long generally results in needing a good stretch, yeah? Same for my artist’s soul, I suppose. I feel my heart and my emotions reaching outside the day-to-day limitations of what is comfortable to display in public. Freedom to feel more, to explore myself more, to fully be. My home, my rules, my way. I look around my studio with a smile, and remind the world beyond “you don’t tell me“.

Maybe I write more this weekend. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I get all the sleep I need. Maybe I’m up all night painting. Maybe I paint a ton of tiny paintings. Maybe I work on just one canvas. Maybe I choose. Maybe I let Inspiration lead me gently. Maybe the work unfolds precisely as I envision it. Maybe everything I do ends up entirely different than I expected. Maybe all the housekeeping also gets done. Maybe the weekend ends with dishes in the sink.

That’s a lot of maybes. I’m sure about the coffee. LOL The rest? I’ll let you know on the other side of this vast Sea of Inspiration. It’s time to go for a swim. πŸ™‚

I’m not sure what the hell happened… it’s a tattoo. Just a tattoo. Sure, emblematic of my political thinking. Possibly a bit more “meta” than that – even quintessentially “me” in some way I can’t quite describe with ease. I painted it more than a decade ago. It was intended to be the “other” piece – the left shoulder and the right shoulder – my softer side on the right shoulder, my harder side on the left… how I got where I am, versus why I made the journey, perhaps. Layers of meaning speaking volumes about the fundamentals of the woman I am.

Today is weird. I got the tattoo yesterday. I’m still enjoying an exceptional “whole body” experience of pain relief since then, which is quite wonderful, and rather unexpected…but… What the ever-loving-fuck is going on with my headspace??. I feel… cracked open… and somehow more complete. I feel… more myself for having the new tattoo there. But… I also feel less reserved, less restrained, less well-controlled… ah, but perhaps that makes sense; it’s an emblem of anarchy. A personal statement of who I am – a statement I have not made so boldly, firmly, or publicly, before. Permanent ink. This? This is me. This won’t wash off. It is inarguable. lol

I feel somehow freed. Unchained. I mentioned it to a friend, who suggested it sounded like a great idea for a blog. I don’t think I agree there; I already have so few filters and so little ability to be measured, careful, discreet, subtle, or diplomatic. I don’t really see that I do myself any favors by straight up embracing the disaster that would surely follow abandoning what little I do have. LOL So. No. But I can write about this peculiar morning, this strange moment, these odd conversations I have been having today that seem somehow to suggest that a few people are only now waking up to some of what I’ve been saying all along… and one of them may be… me. How extraordinary.

It is a day to listen deeply to the woman in the mirror, before she surprises me further. Apparently… we need to talk. πŸ™‚